Topic: Europe

A green Easter egg depicting Czar Nicholas II. The Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg

Guardians of the „Egg“ collection: The Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg

12.03.2019

Карл Густавович Фаберже – Karl Gustavovich Faberzhe – the Russian goldsmith and jeweller born in St. Petersburg in 1846, gained worldwide fame with his luxuriously fashioned Easter Eggs crafted in precious metals and lavishly encrusted with twinkling gemstones. Czar Alexander III awarded The House of Fabergé the title „Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown“ in 1885, after getting acquainted and enthused about their exquisite contemporary craftsmanship on the occasion of a Moscow exhibition. He induced Fabergé’s works to be displayed at the renowned Hermitage and commissioned the first superbly finished Easter egg as a present for his wife, Empress Maria. Over time, frequent orders were placed by the Imperial Court and ample freedom was granted in terms of design, which proved to become more and more elaborate. Only one condition needed to be fulfilled by the talented jewellers: each one of the eggs must contain a surprise. Until this day, the bejewelled masterpieces exert their magic on whoever lays eyes or hands on them. The tradition of Czars ordering Easter eggs from Fabergé continued until 1918 when – during the October RevolutionThe House of Fabergé was nationalised by the Bolsheviks and their stock confiscated.

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A toy harbour scene: The Miniature Train World in Hamburg's attracts millions of visitors each year.

Hamburg: The world’s largest model train exhibition

12.03.2019

Where’s Gulliver?

If a long-hatched childhood dream is ever to come true, entrepreneurial reason mostly isn’t the proper leverage to make it happen. Frederik Braun and his twin brother Gerrit still bravely ventured out on a project not only demanding a vast amount of courage, enthusiasm, utmost technical aptitude, congenial logistics and never-ending perseverance – but also a mighty portion of disregard towards the shaky economical outlook and the financial risks lurking virtually everywhere. A browse through a model railway shop in Switzerland’s capital Zurich back in 2000, triggered the idea for what was to become the largest and most successful exhibition of model railways worldwide. Read article

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Horses galopping in the snow: The White Turf Horse Race in St. Moritz.

White Turf: The „St. Moritz Roar“

5.02.2019

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.

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Terje Isungset playing the ice tuba during the Ice Music Festival in Geilo/Norway.

Norway: The Ice Music Festival

22.01.2019

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.

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The Wild Haggis: Fact or fiction?

Scotland: Is the Wild Haggis fact or fiction?

3.01.2019

Bringing down the rare Haggis scotticus – the Wild Haggis – to secure the next traditional Haggis meal – requires utmost agility and perseverance by human persecutors equipped with equally-measured lower extremities. One must know that Wild Haggii vary in characteristics and that it is two different genera who roam steep and rough highlandish terrain. In both cases the legs on their left are different in length from the ones on their right – and vice versa. Either way, their unusual physique allows them to swiftly climb and scuttle around their regular habitat unperturbed by topographical challenges, albeit in one single direction only: Wild Haggii featuring longer legs on the left, move around clockwise, whereas the ones relying on extended limbs on their right, will logically proceed counter-clockwise. A refined GPS system usually prevents painful head-on collisions and all Haggii, limbed in whichever fashion, are said to lead a fairly peaceful coexistence.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes