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
Isn’t „unique“ a fantastic word to work with? Considering that it defines this one singular, outstanding idea, object or place, hardly a description could be more adequate. The ICEHOTEL in northern Sweden does not claim to be the one and only specimen of its kind. What renders it solitary is that it is redesigned and skillfully recreated every winter afresh – from scratch. 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, embedded in an untouched environment dotted with thousands of pristine lakes and crossed by wild rivers, lies Jukkasjärvi. Every year, the remote village witnesses a fascinating spectacle repeating itself.
Reading time: about 3 minutes
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.
Reading time: about 2 minutes