The Making of a Bohemian Microcosm
Montmartre evolved following a massive urban reconstruction and relocation scheme initiated by a great man of the 19th century: Napoleon III. Together with his ambitious town planning prefect Baron Haussmann, he aimed at creating a mundane Paris of dazzling allure and wanted it to become „the most beautiful city of Europe“ – not without granting spacious plots of land in prime locations to Haussmann, his many friends and financial supporters. By rigorously stomping unsightly areas into the ground and by replacing humble housing by posh manorial edifices and narrow crooked alleyways by grandiose and airy boulevards and squares, Paris’s face was substantially lifted and embellished – albeit at the expense of the less privileged population, who became early victims of gentrification.
Reading time: about 6 minutes
When the definition „perfect symbiosis“ between a resort and its guests needs to be satisfied, few places come to mind. St. Moritz is one of them. In by-gone decades, the glamorous guest list included Charles Chaplin, Greta Garbo, the Kennedy’s and the controversial Shah of Persia. Or actress Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs in each other’s tow. All of them readily showcased themselves on this elitist alpine merry-go-round under the scrutinising eye of the rainbow press. Whereas generations, nationalities and names on the sophisticated society chart prove exchangeable, the denomination „St. Moritz“ has reliably positioned itself as a sparkling gem safely embedded in craggy mountainous surroundings.
Reading time: about 4 minutes
A cool tribute to art and nature
The Ice Music Festival is a unique artistic and musical project arranged annually when the first full moon of the year occurs. It is an ovation to nature and to a resource treasured by mankind like no other: water. In its frozen state it is appreciated for a variety of purposes, from cooling drinks to posing as a temporary playground for more or less talented skaters. Here in Norway, it is even shaped by congenial creators into softly crackling, translucent musical instruments. Extravagant players elicit wondrous sounds in undependable, ever-changing acoustic colours coming from a harp, a cello, a tuba … some with clammy fingers wrapped in thick gloves protecting against the severe chill prevailing here. The festival site has recently been relocated from Geilo to Finse; the actual venue is located close to the Finse 1222 Hotel and the train station. Helpful to know that Finse is accessible solely by train during the winter months.
Reading time: about 3 minutes
No tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll
In the history of man’s evolution, „up the tree – and quickly!“ seemed a splendid option when it came to escaping from all sorts of bloodthirsty evil inadvertently popping up from nowhere. In order not to be devoured, predominantly benign early humans, hunting and gathering relentlessly, just followed their instinct. Enabled by helpful tools shaped from stone, hammered from bronze or cast from iron in later ages, the long-hatched dream of a safe permanent dwelling high up a tree did come true. Second best to the cosiness of easily defendable caves, the properly fastened tree-house offered lofty shelter, an ideal lookout for invaders and food protection from voracious scavengers – whereby the odd poisonous snake or spider moving in unasked had to be tolerated.
Reading time: about 3 minutes
The Niagara Falls represent one of the most impressive wonders of nature of our day and rightfully enjoy their reputation as an untamed – and untamable – site of awesome beauty. Reason enough for Hollywood movie-producers to make this dramatic setting their filming location for ‘Niagara‘. In this creepy psycho-thriller screen goddess Marilyn Monroe is put through a bloodcurdling cinematic ordeal. In her role as Rose, she suffers nerve-racking distress induced by wicked husband Joseph Cotton alias evil George, who desperately wants to get rid of his wife. George vanishes and is believed dead, but he reappears. Shrouded in a misty waterfall spray and in the assumed privacy of the Rainbow Tower, he brutally strangles Rose to death. But there is a witness …
Fictional Hollywood stories aside: what comes now is REAL! The Nightmares Fear Factory is ‘the scariest and best haunted-house attraction in Niagara Falls Canada’.
Reading time: about 2 minutes