Riksgränsen, the northernmost ski resort of Sweden

July 19th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

© Johannes Jansson/norden.org/cc-by-2.5-dk

© Johannes Jansson/norden.org/cc-by-2.5-dk

Riksgränsen, The National Border in Swedish, is a ski-resort in Kiruna Municipality in Lappland, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The skiing season is from February to June. From end of May the lifts operate under the midnight sun. more…

Tallahassee, the capital of Florida

July 17th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Unlike most of Florida, Tallaahassee experiences all four seasons © Urbantallahassee/cc-by-sa-3.0

Unlike most of Florida, Tallaahassee experiences all four seasons © Urbantallahassee/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. The population is at 190,000, making the city the 126th-largest city in the United States. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Northwest Florida region as well as the main center for trade and agriculture in the Florida Big Bend and Southwest Georgia regions. Tallahassee is home to the Florida State Capitol, Supreme Court of Florida, Florida Governor’s Mansion, and nearly 30 state agency headquarters. The city is also known for its large number of law firms, lobbying organizations, trade associations and professional associations, including the Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. It is also a recognized regional center for scientific research, and home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In 2015, Tallahassee was awarded the All-American City Award by the National Civic League for the second time. Tallahassee is currently ranked as the 18th best college town in the nation by Best College Reviews. Tallahassee’s terrain is hilly by Florida standards, being located at the southern end of the Red Hills Region, just above the Cody Scarp. The elevation varies from near sea level to just over 200 feet (61 m), with the state capitol on one of the highest hills in the city. The city includes two large lake basins, Lake Jackson and Lake Lafayette, and borders the northern end of the Apalachicola National Forest. Unlike most of Florida, Tallahassee experiences all four seasons. more…

Port Stephens in New South Wales

July 14th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Jimmy's Beach (Winda Woppa) toward Yacabba Headland © J.lyle

Jimmy’s Beach (Winda Woppa) toward Yacabba Headland © J.lyle

Port Stephens, an open youthful tide dominated drowned valley estuary, is a large natural harbour of approximately 134 square kilometres (52 sq mi) located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales and is larger than Sydney Harbour. Port Stephens lies within the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park and is situated about 160 kilometres (99 mi) north-east of Sydney. The park was established to protect the wide variety of sea life that inhabit the port and nearby coastal areas of the Tasman Sea from just south of Forster to the northern end of Stockton Beach. The harbour lies wholly within the local government area of Port Stephens; although its northern shoreline forms the boundary between the Port Stephens and Mid-Coast local government areas. The port was named by Captain Cook when he passed on 11 May 1770, honouring Sir Philip Stephens, who was Secretary to the Admiralty. Stephens was a personal friend of Cook and had recommended him for command of the voyage. It seems Cook’s initial choice had actually been Point Keppel and Keppel Bay, but instead he used Keppel Bay later. Port Stephens is a popular tourism destination with a strong focus on aquatic activities such as whale and dolphin watching, fishing and recreational boating and swimming. more…

Baseball

July 12th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport |

American cultural icons: Apple pie, baseball, and the American flag © USDA ARS - Scott Bauer

American cultural icons: Apple pie, baseball, and the American flag © USDA ARS – Scott Bauer

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and fielding (Baseball rules). The batting team attempts to score runs by hitting a ball that is thrown by the pitcher with a bat swung by the batter, then running counter-clockwise around a series of four bases: first, second, third, and home plate. A run is scored when a player advances around the bases and returns to home plate (Baseball positions). more…

Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca

July 10th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Abraj Al Bait Towers © King Eliot/cc-by-sa-3.0

Abraj Al Bait Towers © King Eliot/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Abraj Al-Bait is a government-owned megatall complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca. These towers are a part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that strives to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims. The central hotel tower, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, A Fairmont Hotel, has the world’s largest clock face and is the third tallest building and fourth tallest freestanding structure in the world. The building complex is metres away from the world’s largest mosque and Islam‘s most sacred site, the Masjid al-Haram. The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group. The complex was built after the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel which stood atop a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. The destruction of the fort in 2002 by the Saudi government sparked Turkish and international outcry. It is also the most expensive building in the world. The tallest tower in the complex is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia, with a height of 581.1 metres (1,906 feet). Currently it is the fourth tallest freestanding structure in the world, surpassing Taipei 101 in Taiwan, but shorter than the Shanghai Tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. more…

The European Union: Bon appétit!

July 8th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, UNESCO World Heritage |

While in the early part of the EU article series, the focus was on abstract, formal and sometimes somewhat dry topics, it now becomes cozy. Café d’Europe has already presented the most popular bakery products in the member states. This article is about what brings us all together: Food and drinks. As on all other topics, the member states are culinary very diverse (about 3,000 different varieties of bread, cheese, sausage, wine, beer each and a much, much higher number of different dishes). Therefore, let’s have a closer look at what is being eaten where. Bon appétit! :-) more…

The European Union: Institutions

July 8th, 2017 | Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union |

The Politics of the European Union are different from other organisations and states due to the unique nature of the European Union (EU). The EU is similar to a confederation, where many policy areas are federalised into common institutions capable of making law; however the EU does not, unlike most states, control foreign policy, defence policy or the majority of direct taxation policies (the EU does limit the level of variation allowed for VAT). These areas are primarily under the control of the EU’s member states although a certain amount of structured co-operation and coordination takes place in these areas. For the EU to take substantial actions in these areas, all Member States must give their consent. EU laws that override national laws are more numerous than in historical confederations; however the EU is legally restricted from making law outside its remit or where it is no more appropriate to do so at a national or local level (subsidiarity) when acting outside its exclusive competencies. The principle of subsidiarity does not apply to areas of exclusive competence. more…

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