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
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.
Reading time: about 3 minutes
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 die development of the mysterious substance and its long voyage from Central America to far-away Europe.
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
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