Garden Route in South Africa

22 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Eastern Cape © flickr.com - South African Tourism/cc-by-2.0

Eastern Cape © flickr.com – South African Tourism/cc-by-2.0

The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 mi) stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre. Recently the towns of Albertinia, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, De Rust and Uniondale have been added to the Garden Route district and municipality.   read more…

Bikini Atoll in the Pacific

9 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Entrance sign to the island © Ron Van Oers/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

Entrance sign to the island © Ron Van Oers/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

Bikini Atoll, sometimes known as Eschscholtz Atoll between the 1800s and 1946, is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands consisting of 23 islands surrounding a 229.4-square-mile (594.1 km²) central lagoon. After the Second World War, the atoll’s inhabitants were relocated in 1946, after which the islands and lagoon were the site of 23 nuclear tests by the United States until 1958. The atoll is at the northern end of the Ralik Chain, approximately 530 miles (850 km) northwest of the capital Majuro. Three families were resettled on Bikini island in 1970, totaling about 100 residents. But scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium-90 in well water in May 1977, and the residents were carrying abnormally high concentrations of cesium-137 in their bodies. They were evacuated in 1980. The atoll is occasionally visited today by divers and a few scientists, and is occupied by a handful of caretakers.   read more…

Matamata in New Zealand

19 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Hobbiton sign in Matamata © Michael Goetter/cc-by-sa-2.5

Hobbiton sign in Matamata © Michael Goetter/cc-by-sa-2.5

Matamata is a town in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. It is located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, and is a thriving farming area known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits. It is part of the Matamata-Piako District, which takes in the surrounding rural areas as well as Morrinsville and Te Aroha. State Highway 27 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town. The town has a population of 7,910 as of June 2019.   read more…

Island of Gorée

5 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

Île de Gorée is one of the 19 communes d’arrondissement (i.e. districts) of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is an 18.2-hectare (45-acre) island located 2 kilometres (1.1 nmi; 1.2 mi) at sea from the main harbour of Dakar, famous as a destination for people interested in the Atlantic slave trade although its actual role in the history of the slave trade is the subject of dispute. Its population as of the 2013 census was 1,680 inhabitants, giving a density of 5,802 inhabitants per square kilometre (15,030/sq mi), which is only half the average density of the city of Dakar. Gorée is both the smallest and the least populated of the 19 communes d’arrondissement of Dakar. Other important centres for the slave trade from Senegal were further north, at Saint-Louis, Senegal, or to the south in the Gambia, at the mouths of major rivers for trade. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is a corruption of its original Dutch name Goedereede, meaning “good roadstead“.   read more…

Lamu Island in Kenya

3 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Lamu Town © flickr.com - Erik (HASH) Hersman/cc-by-2.0

Lamu Town © flickr.com – Erik (HASH) Hersman/cc-by-2.0

Lamu Island is a port, city, and island just off the shore of Kenya in the Indian Ocean approximately 150 miles from Mombasa. It is a part of the East African country of Kenya. Lamu was founded in the 12th Century. Lamu is one of the longest established, and best preserved remaining settlements of the Swahili tradition in east Africa that remains today. The island has continually been inhabited for over seven hundred years, and continues to be an important center in eastern Africa. In 2001, Lamu was designated a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO site. Centuries ago the island of Lamu was highly dependent on the function of slavery in its economy, since abolishment of slavery the island has looked for other ways to bring wealth back into its economy. With the diverse cultural and colorful design of Lamu, it is a place of interest for tourists drawn to the East African Coast.   read more…

One Belt and One Road Initiative, the new Silk Road

31 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

President of China Xi Jinping © The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. “Belt” refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called “the Silk Road Economic Belt“; whereas “road” refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road until 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word “one” was prone to misinterpretation. The Chinese government calls the initiative “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future”. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.   read more…

Gumball 3000 Rally

29 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Sport

© Frankie Fouganthin/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Frankie Fouganthin/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Gumball 3000 is a collection of companies that includes an apparel brand, a registered charity and is best known for an annual 3,000-mile (4,800 km) international celebrity motor rally, which takes place on public roads. The name comes from the 1976 movie The Gumball Rally. It was established in 1999 by Maximillion Cooper, with his vision to combine cars, music, fashion and entertainment.   read more…

Smart City

22 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Design & Products, Energy, Environment, Building Automation, Green Buildings, Green Technologies, Intelligent Buildings, Living, Working, Building, Sustainability

© flickr.com - Wilgengebroed/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Wilgengebroed/cc-by-2.0

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.   read more…

The Great Journeys of New Zealand

3 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand © KiwiRail/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Great Journeys of New Zealand is the tourism division of KiwiRail that brings together its three Scenic train services (TranzAlpine, Northern Explorer and Coastal Pacific) with its passenger ferries business, Interislander. The new division was launched in May 2017 and replaced the former tourism brand, KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.   read more…

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