Topic: Europe

The Smetana Hall + Obceni Dum in Prague

Prague: Obecní dům – a Genius Loci of fine Art Nouveau

21.11.2019

Great sculptors and painters of their time have created an architectural treasure, whose masterly opulence bears witness to their genius to this day. Jan Preisler, Mikoláš Aleš, Max Švabinský, František Ženíšek, Ladislav Šaloun, Josef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek or Alfons Mucha – names difficult to pronounce – were but a small fraction within the remarkable group of skillful artists involved in building and decorating Obecní dům – the Municipal House located right in the heart of Prague. Since its inauguration in January of 1912, the extraordinary building has served as a splendid stage for atmospheric concerts, grand festive balls and fancy fashion shows and is justly listed a national heritage site.

Its two protagonists – the Smetana Hall and the restaurant Francouzská – alone are well worth the trip to Prague, from whichever corner of the globe it may have to commence.

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Aurora Borealis in Iceland

Iceland: Sleeping in a bubble

11.11.2019

When mystical veils of polar lights are wafting across northern skies in unknown shades of green, observers from near and far are eager to come and watch the stunning spectacle. A great many people have the Aurora Borealis on their bucket list of things to do at least once in a lifetime. Witnessing the awesome natural miracle when in Iceland can happen in the most comfortable of ways: by dreamily lying on one’s back underneath the transparent skin of an unconventional „hotel“ room in the shape of a bubble. Glamping under a canopy of stars means freedom and shelter at the same time.

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Lindau Puppet Opera: Swanlake Pas De Deux. Christian Flemming

Lindau/Germany: Why Opera-goers adore Puppets on Strings

1.11.2019

When shapely legs are swung high during the meticulously rehearsed Swan Lake performance, they are not made of flesh and blood. Nor, in fact, are any of the lissome corporal parts belonging to the remarkable cast exerting themselves on the miniature stage of the Lindau Marionette Opera (House): they are puppets on strings choreographed and directed with an expertise and finesse that leaves every audience open-mouthed with bafflement. And that doesn’t just account for the ballet troupe bobbing their tutus in tune with Tchaikovsky’s legendary piece of distinguished classical music: there’s Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Strauss, Bizet and Humperdinck on the programme as well.

Yet, how is it accomplished that rigid images sculpted from wood seem to display credible emotions? Carving features adaptable enough to augment the illusion of changing mien is the craftsmanship their creators are excelling at.

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Longevity in Blue Zones

Longevity: The Blue Zones Methusalem Enigma

7.10.2019

The quality of longevity is being discussed in controversial ways. Whereas the goal set by the ones optimistic of their (ever-)lasting physical and mental stamina is reaching an age of biblical extent, others would rather see themselves passing away at the height of their beauty, wit and grit – just in time, so to say. For them, the outlook on being left helplessly wilting in a forlorn nursery home or as an undead vegetable plugged to the wonders of life-prolonging contraptions, is utterly unbearable. Not to hope for heavenly conditions on earth seems the more realistic approach since, commonly, just-in-time rarely happens.

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Abbey Road Studios in London

A groovy kind of place: The Abbey Road Studios

29.09.2019

The much-published image of a Liverpudlian boy-band cheerfully zebra-crossing Abbey Road, is one familiar the world over. Miraculously, it has never gone threadbare! In times when impatiently awaited new albums regularly catapulted the international fan base into a state of frenzy, the venue of recording stood a serious chance of attaining similarly excessive attention.

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