Topic: Europe

The Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest Munich: O’zapft is’!

12.09.2019

On Saturday, September 21st, 2019 at high noon sharp Munich’s Chief Mayor – the Lord Mayor – will once again ceremonially exclaim: ‘It’s tapped!’ The Oktoberfest, a festival recurring for the 185th time, has been exerting its magnetism on the crowds since 1810. It means huge fun for regular folks, works as an illustrious place-to-be-seen for celebrities of all shapes and sizes and could even enhance or jog a career of one trade or another. And it serves as a welcome runway for the presentation of suitably traditional garb (such as Dirndl, Lederhosn or Lodenjanker) – or for a rare species of couture whose daring cross-over creations are at times hard to swallow for the more conservative. Read article

Reading time: about 9 minutes
Scottish Ceilidh dancers at the height of their frolicsome performance.

Scotch Whisky: Sharing with Angels

10.09.2019

Proper spelling first: Scotch whisky has no e between the k and the y! But if there is an e wedged between the k and the y, the respective whiskey variety usually originates from Ireland, the United States or even from far-away Japan. Whereas wiskey or wisky clearly derive from nowhere, except perhaps from the brains of committed non-whisky-drinkers or those battling with the effects of over-indulgence. The popular spirit’s name, by the way, was simplified in the course of history from the Gaelic Uisge Beatha – meaning water of life – to Whiskybae and finally to Whisky.

Read article

Reading time: about 3 minutes
Black-and-white: Astronauts resting during a training at the Askja Crater in Iceland.

Astronauts: Fly me to the Moon – but fly me to Iceland first

19.07.2019

The vast and diverse landscape of the United States of America is not only the stuff an authentic Hollywood backdrop is made of. In parts, it also offers the essentials a training ground for missions of national and international gravity requires: a moonlike scenery with lots of rubble bearing geological secrets to be lifted, in preparation for lunar missions by NASA, for instance.

Yet, when it comes to „moonlike“, no place on earth is more suitable to simulate an extraterrestrial situation better than Iceland can thanks to its volcanic origin. In 1965 and 1967, two groups of Apollo astronauts accompanied by geologists travelled to the destination for geological studies in preparation for their journey to the Moon. Among the 1967-group was Neil Armstrong, whose Apollo-11-mission was the component vital for the US Space Race to be won over the USSR. It made John F. Kennedy’s challenge, pronounced in 1961, come true: to “land a man on the Moon, and return him safely to the Earth”, before the end of the decade. On the 20th of July, 1969 at 20:17 UTC, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first human ever to leave his footprints on the powdery lunar surface.

Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes
The legendary Ju 52 is a flying treasure and a fine example of German aviation heritage.

Junkers Ju 52/D-AQUI: „Only Ju“

20.06.2019

When gifted inventor Hugo Junkers’s two companies (for engines and airplanes) were merged in Dessau in 1936, the first Ju model – the D-AQUI Fritz Simon – was just about ready for its maiden flight within the Lufthansa route service in April that year. Junkers stroke it lucky with his newly developed aircraft, which is said to have made him the most successful manufacturer of passenger planes worldwide, a happy circumstance to last for many years to come. As for D-AQUI – originally constructed as a water plane – constant changes of ownership in varying countries down to abandonment marked her turbulent path.

Read article

Reading time: about 3 minutes
Beethoven's Ode to Joy

The Sound of Friendship: Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“

5.05.2019

Whenever there is reason to celebrate on a festive scale, a dramatic sound scape must not be missing. Worldwide, solemn ceremonies are carried by Beethoven’s „Ode to Joy“ (Ode an die Freude), being played by enthusiastic orchestras and sung by effervescent choirs in front of a mesmerised audience. Since its debut in Vienna in 1824, the compassionate tune and emotional lyrics manifested themselves as the epitome of the brotherhood of man.

Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes