Theme Week Bhutan – Wangdue Phodrang

28 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong under reconstruction in 2019 © Christopher J. Fynn/cc-by-sa-4.0

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong under reconstruction in 2019 © Christopher J. Fynn/cc-by-sa-4.0

Wangdue Phodrang is a town and capital (dzongkhag thromde) of Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. It is located in Thedtsho Gewog. The town shares its name with the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong built in 1638 that dominates the district. The name is said to have been given by Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, who was searching for the best location for a dzong to prevent incursions from the south. At the chosen spot, the Zhabdrung encountered a boy named Wangdi playing beside the river and hence named the dzong “Wangdi’s Palace”.   read more…

Portrait: August Macke, a German Expressionist painter

28 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  10 minutes

Selbstporträt mit Hut (1909) by August Macke

Selbstporträt mit Hut (1909) by August Macke

August Robert Ludwig Macke was a German Expressionist painter. He was one of the leading members of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). He lived during a particularly innovative time for German art: he saw the development of the main German Expressionist movements as well as the arrival of the successive avant-garde movements which were forming in the rest of Europe. Like a true artist of his time, Macke knew how to integrate into his painting the elements of the avant-garde which most interested him. Like his friend Franz Marc and Otto Soltau, he was one of the young German artists who died in the First World War. The August-Macke-Haus is a museum dedicated to August Macke founded in 1991. It is located in Macke’s former home in Bonn, where he lived from 1911 to 1914.   read more…

Theme Week Bhutan – Phuentsholing

27 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Bhutan Gate in Phuentsoling, border between Bhutan and India © Afifa Afrin/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bhutan Gate in Phuentsoling, border between Bhutan and India © Afifa Afrin/cc-by-sa-3.0

Phuntsholing is a border town in southern Bhutan and is the administrative seat of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog. Phuentsholing adjoins the Indian town of Jaigaon, and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy. The town had the headquarters of the Bank of Bhutan previously but shifted to Thimphu. In 2017, Phuentsholing had a population of 27,658.   read more…

Nile Delta on the Mediterranean Sea

27 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  11 minutes

Nile River and Nile Delta. Pretty obvious why both are that important to Egypt © ISS Expedition 25 - NASA Earth Observatory

Nile River and Nile Delta. Pretty obvious why both are that important to Egypt
© ISS Expedition 25 – NASA Earth Observatory

The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Lower Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world’s largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers 240 km (150 mi) of Mediterranean coastline and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south the delta is approximately 160 km (99 mi) in length. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo.   read more…

Theme Week Bhutan

26 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  15 minutes

Rice terraces - Eli Shany/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rice terraces – Eli Shany/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by Tibet to the north and India to the south. Nepal and Bangladesh are located in proximity to Bhutan but do not share a land border. The country has a population of over 754,000 and a territory of 38,394 square kilometers (14,824 sq mi) which ranks 133rd in terms of land area, and 160th in population. Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with Vajrayana Buddhism as the state religion.   read more…

Mount Hermon

26 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster constituting the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in Syria and is therefore in two Middle East conflict zones. On the top, in the United Nations buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli-occupied territories, is the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, known as “Hermon Hotel”, located at 2814 metres altitude. The southern slopes of Mount Hermon extend to the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, where the Mount Hermon ski resort is located with a top elevation of 2,040 metres (6,690 ft). A peak in this area rising to 2,236 m (7,336 ft) is the highest elevation in Israeli-controlled territory.   read more…

Hamilton on the Islands of Bermuda

23 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Front Street © JoeyBagODonuts/cc-by-sa-3.0

Front Street © JoeyBagODonuts/cc-by-sa-3.0

The City of Hamilton, in Pembroke Parish, is the territorial capital of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is the territory’s financial centre and a major port and tourist destination. Its population of 854 (2016) is one of the smallest of any capital cities. According to Numbeo, Hamilton, Bermuda holds the record for the highest cost of living index in the world with the cost of living rate in Hamilton being at 147.42 as of 2021.   read more…

Capitoline Hill in Rome

21 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  22 minutes

Piazza del Campidoglio, on the top of Capitoline Hill, with the Palazzo Senatorio © Alvesgaspar/cc-by-sa-4.0

Piazza del Campidoglio, on the top of Capitoline Hill, with the Palazzo Senatorio © Alvesgaspar/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill (Italian: Campidoglio), between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known as Mons Saturnius, dedicated to the god Saturn. The word Capitolium first meant the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus later built here, and afterwards it was used for the whole hill (and even other temples of Jupiter on other hills), thus Mons Capitolinus (the adjective noun of Capitolium). In an etymological myth, ancient sources connect the name to caput (“head”, “summit”) and the tale was that, when laying the foundations for the temple, the head of a man was found, some sources even saying it was the head of some Tolus or Olus. The Capitolium was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, and was adopted as a symbol of eternity.   read more…

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles

19 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Greater Los Angeles Area, Hotels Reading Time:  8 minutes

© flickr.com - Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0

© flickr.com – Chris Eason/cc-by-2-0

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, originally the Los Angeles Biltmore of the Bowman-Biltmore Hotels group, is a luxury hotel located opposite Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Upon its grand opening in 1923, the Los Angeles Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago in the United States. In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles. In 1951, the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Company sold to Corrigan Properties for more than $12 million. Regal Hotels purchased the Biltmore in 1996, and then sold it in 1999 to Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. As of 2009, the Los Angeles Biltmore is operated as part of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels chain as the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The hotel has 70,000 square feet (6,500 m²) of meeting and banquet space. From its original 1500 guestrooms it now has 683, due to room reorganization. Since 2015, four restaurants and bars serve the hotel, including Smeraldi’s Restaurant (American continental cuisine), newly relaunched Bugis Street Brasserie, the Rendezvous Court, and the Gallery Bar.   read more…

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