Portrait: The novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka

26 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Franz Kafka in 1923 © Archiv Frans Wagenbach

Franz Kafka in 1923 © Archiv Frans Wagenbach

Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.   read more…

Theme Week Thailand – Udon Thani

25 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Chinese Shrine © Stefan Fussan/cc-by-sa-3.0

Chinese Shrine © Stefan Fussan/cc-by-sa-3.0

Udon Thani is one of the four major cities (Khorat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen) of the Isan region, Thailand, (known as the “big four of Isan”). It is the capital of Udon Thani Province. Udon is approximately 560 km from Bangkok. Udon is a major official and commercial center in northern Isan, Thailand, and the gateway to Laos, northern Vietnam, and southern China. Some of the revenue from tourism is related to tourists going to and/or coming from the archaeological site Ban Chiang (forty-seven kilometres from the city).   read more…

Theme Week Thailand

24 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Yaowarat Road, the centre of Bangkok's Chinatown © flickr.com - Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Yaowarat Road, the centre of Bangkok’s Chinatown © flickr.com – Ninara/cc-by-2.0

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese Peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km² (198,120 sq mi) and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world’s 50th-largest country by total area and the 22nd-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. It is a unitary state. Although nominally the country is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup, in 2014, established a de facto military dictatorship under a junta. Thailand is an emerging economy and is considered a newly industrialised country. Thailand functions as an anchor economy for the neighbouring developing economies of Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.   read more…

Rue Crémieux in Paris

24 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Paris

© flickr.com - Arthur Weidmann/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Arthur Weidmann/cc-by-sa-2.0

Rue Crémieux is a one-block pedestrian street in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, originally built as workers’ housing. The street has been widely recommended to tourists for its quaint painted housefronts, and has become a popular destination for filming and for social media photos.   read more…

Hudson Yards in Midtown Manhattan

21 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Living, Working, Building, New York City

Vessel sculpture © flickr.com - Ajay Suresh/cc-by-2.0

Vessel sculpture © flickr.com – Ajay Suresh/cc-by-2.0

Hudson Yards is a neighborhood on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan, bounded roughly by 30th Street in the south, 43rd Street in the north, the West Side Highway in the west, and Eighth Avenue in the east. The area is the site of a large-scale redevelopment program that is being planned, funded, and constructed under a set of agreements among the State of New York, City of New York, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), with the aim of expanding the Midtown Manhattan business district westward to the Hudson River. The program includes a major rezoning of the Far West Side, an extension of the New York City Subway‘s 7 and <7> trains to a new subway station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, a renovation and expansion of the Javits Center, and a financing plan to fund the various components. The various components are being planned by New York City Department of City Planning and New York City Economic Development Corporation.   read more…

Montreux Jazz Festival

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

© montreuxjazzfestival.com

© montreuxjazzfestival.com

The Montreux Jazz Festival (formerly Festival de Jazz Montreux and Festival International de Jazz Montreux) is a music festival in Switzerland, held annually in early July in Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline. It is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreux Jazz Festival was founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, Géo Voumard and René Langel with considerable help from Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün of Atlantic Records. The festival was first held at Montreux Casino. It lasted for three days and featured almost exclusively jazz artists. The highlights of this era were Charles Lloyd, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Evans, Soft Machine, Weather Report, The Fourth Way, Nina Simone, Jan Garbarek, and Ella Fitzgerald.   read more…

Hotel Sacher in Vienna

17 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels

© Thomas Ledl/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Thomas Ledl/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Hotel Sacher is a five-star hotel located in the Innere Stadt first district of Vienna, Austria, facing the Vienna State Opera. It is famous for the specialty of the house, the Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot filling. There is also an art gallery in the hotel with works from the 19th century. The hotel is built near the former residence of Antonio Vivaldi. Hotel Sacher is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.   read more…

Sydney Road in Melbourne

14 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© orderinchaos/cc-by-sa-3.0

© orderinchaos/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sydney Road (in its northernmost part also known as the Hume Highway) is a major urban arterial in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Sydney Road starts at the northern end of Royal Parade at the boundary of Parkville and Brunswick and continues north through Brunswick, Coburg, Coburg North, Hadfield, Fawkner, Campbellfield, Somerton and Craigieburn, where it joins the Hume Freeway. The section passing through Brunswick and Coburg, between Park Street at its southern end and Bell Street near the site of the former Pentridge prison, at its northern end, is Melbourne’s longest continuous shopping strip, with an abundance of small businesses and a variety of restaurants and coffee shops, clothing stores, places of worship, and community services. It is well known for its wedding fashion shops, discount shopping and a number of specialist food stores.   read more…

Kalorama in Washington, D.C.

12 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

24th Street NW © flickr.com - Tim Evanson/cc-by-sa-3.0

24th Street NW © flickr.com – Tim Evanson/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Kalorama area within the Northwest Quadrant of Washington, D.C. includes the residential neighborhoods of Kalorama Triangle and Sheridan-Kalorama. The area is accessible from the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park Metro stations, as well as various bus lines. Kalorama Triangle is bordered by Connecticut Avenue, Columbia Road, Calvert Street, and Rock Creek Park. Sheridan-Kalorama is adjacent, to the southwest, between Connecticut Avenue, Rock Creek Park, Massachusetts Avenue, and Florida Avenue.   read more…

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