My, my. Could a connotation to a food product be more flattering and mollifying than the one attributed to chocolate? It is a scientifically corroborated happy-maker! Endorphins – hormones produced by the human brain – make you see the bright side of life even on a grey November day. Heaven knows what else is triggered by the miraculous components chocolate evidently contains. Speculations are manyfold. Hips and pouch? Rumour! Just succumb to the temptation! Chocolate also works wonders as an antidote, should a guilty conscience creep up after unbridled indulgence. It is a virtuous circle indeed.
Chocolate, respectively the use of cocoa beans, looks back on a history of nearly 4000 years. It has been a long way from the heaven-sent bitter drink Maya and Aztec civilisations consumed, to the solid sweet treat of our day. The Chocolate Museum of Bruges in Belgium unravels the development of the mysterious substance and its long voyage from Central America to remote Europe in: The Choco-Story.
Reading time: about 3 minutes
Before setting off on a journey to foreign latitudes, a general plan of action seems a reasonable idea. When time and funds are limited, the most has to be made of both. The aim is an agreeable cocktail of experiences upon whose long-lasting effect individual memories and emotions can foster. Sometimes even carefully charted programmes are missing a vital link. One that takes travellers back into a country’s historical and political past, grim as it may have been. Then it will be understood why the past is inseparable from the present and the future and why landmarks such as Joburg’s Constitution Hill epitomise the lifeblood of an entire nation.
Reading time: about 5 minutes
This TED talk was first posted almost exactly five years ago. See the parallels to Covid-19? Read article
Reading time: about 1 minute
The Latin name equus ferus caballus may not ring any bells in minds other than the ones found in veteran equestrian circles. As Lipizzaners, the graceful snow-white horses are known for their sublime elegance when ballet-dancing according to a sophisticated choreography and largely admired for their seemingly light-footed stunts. Their legendary teachabiity has been displayed at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna for more than 450 years, showering the Lipizzaner breed with international fame. Up to 1920, the statuesque stallions performing in Vienna were bred at the Lipica Stud Farm in Slovenia. Today, the stud embodies a planet in its own right, where breeding is maintained – and treasured – with undiminished sincerity and passion since the estate was founded in the 16th century.
Reading time: about 2 minutes
Drawing objects from memory can be a tricky affair not seldom crowned by a shattering outcome. Bringing even the most familiar of items to paper free-style may turn into an insoluble challenge. Yet unintentionally, it does occasionally (or frequently?) lead to astonishing creations – and to the „construction“ of somewhat adventurous contraptions. Such as the bikes computer-simulated by Italian designer Gianluca Gimini according to sketches made by a random group of people. He had confronted them with one simple task: to draw a men’s bike by heart.
Reading time: about 2 minutes