Santa with his eight reindeer as seen by poet Clement Clarke Moor.

Ho ho ho: Good tidings from the North Pole

8.12.2020

It’s Christmas time, and most of us are sucked up by the current that swashes along with it. Year by year, it seems to be swashing earlier and to suck more. Easter rabbits have hardly vanished from shelves, August-heat blazing and: forward come chocolate Santa Clauses and gingerbread loaves, twinkling stardust-sprinkled Christmas balls and light chains. By October, carols obtrusively blaring from loudspeakers near and far have long lost their magic – and meaning. In November, commerce and media insist that it is high time for us to finalise our Christmas shopping, and we are constantly reminded of the Western-World citizen spending an average of 280 Euros on presents alone. Those who won’t comply, will be forever stigmatised stingy misanthropists, who – not even for the holiest of occasions – overcome their revolting parsimony.

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The New Tree House at Luxury Safari Lodge Tongabezi in Zambia.

A global trend: Glamorous Camping = Glamping

1.12.2020

No tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll

In the history of man’s evolution, „up the tree – and quickly!“ seemed a splendid option when it came to escaping from all sorts of bloodthirsty evil inadvertently popping up from nowhere. In order not to be devoured, predominantly benign early humans, hunting and gathering relentlessly, just followed their instinct. Enabled by helpful tools shaped from stone, hammered from bronze or cast from iron in later ages, the long-hatched dream of a safe permanent dwelling high up a tree did come true. Second best to the cosiness of easily defendable caves, the properly fastened tree-house offered lofty shelter, an ideal lookout for invaders and food protection from voracious scavengers – whereby the odd poisonous snake or spider moving in unasked had to be tolerated.

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Historic vehicles on display in Glasgow.

Down by the Riverside: Glasgow’s Museum of Transport and Travel

6.10.2020

Whenever a building has been designed by Iraqi-born star architect Zaha Hadid, it is destined to become an award-winning landmark that attracts maximum attention. The Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel set on the north bank of the River Clyde in Glasgow, profits from a combined power: the magnetism exerted by a contemporary architectural shell of attested refinement and the veteran exhibits restored to enchant present and future crowds. The Riverside accommodates more than 3,000 objects that profoundly document the city’s transportation-linked past – maritime and otherwise.

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The white Horses of Lipica

Lipica – the cradle of Lipizzaners

18.09.2020

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.

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Paris: The stage of a glamorous Montmartre Show.

Paris. Montmartre – a Sphere of its own Right

3.09.2020

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. Read article

Reading time: about 6 minutes