Skagen, the Land of Light

7 January 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture Reading Time:  5 minutes

The lighthouse © Martin Olsson

The lighthouse © Martin Olsson

Skagen (The Skaw) is a projection of land and a town, with a population of 8,636 (1 January 2010), in Region Nordjylland on the northernmost tip of Vendsyssel-Thy, a part of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. Skagen is located in Frederikshavn municipality. The area is extremely picturesque, and distinguished by its low, yellow houses with red tile roofs nestled into the beach areas. The impressive and wild landscape was largely formed by a severe process of desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries. Problems with moving dunes and desertification were brought under control in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries by large-scale plantations of grasses, bushes and fir trees. Two significant migratory dunes remain in the area, including the enormous Råbjerg Mile.   read more…

Canterbury in England

5 January 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Canterbury Cathedral © Hans Musil

Canterbury Cathedral © Hans Musil

Canterbury is an English city which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour. Many historical structures remain in the city, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey and a Norman castle, and perhaps the oldest school in England, The King’s School. Modern additions include the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Marlowe Theatre, and the St Lawrence Ground, home to Kent County Cricket Club. The city lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district.   read more…

The island of Ruegen – 1,000 square kilometers vacation island with historic and natural diversity

5 January 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture Reading Time:  7 minutes

Rügen Karte © Devil m25

Rügen Karte © Devil m25

The Island of Rügen, together with the Island of Hiddensee and some smaller islands form Rügen County the county town Bergen. Other cities are Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz and the seaside resorts Binz, Sellin, Göhren, Baabe and Thiessow. Rügen is visited by many travelers from all around the world for its rich landscape and the long, sandy beaches. On the relatively small island area the full range of German history can be found, in addition to the partially resurrected seaside resort tradition and architecture, it is said that the famous pirate Klaus Störtebeker hide and buried his treasure here and a lot of modern history happened too. The Island of Hiddensee, a holiday hideaway for the SED leaders of the former communist East Germany, as well as the still-existent 4.5 km long KdF resort in the seaside resort Seebad Prora from the Nazi past – for any epoch tangible architecture, art and culture can be found. Rügen, more than any other baltic seaside resorts, managed the change of times in a short period and established itself as a sustainable holiday destination for national and international visitors.   read more…

First German department store ever located in Vladivostok: Kunst & Albers, a success story from Hamburg

3 January 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Shopping Reading Time:  8 minutes

Kunst & Albers © ZDF

Kunst & Albers © ZDF

It is always interesting and exciting to learn more about outstanding pioneering and entrepreneurial efforts. An incredible success story began in Vladivostok, with the rise of the German trading house Kunst & Albers, which supplied South Siberia supplied with goods from all over the world. The first German department store ever, it was located at the end of the world and there it still stands. The building housed not only all sales departments, the accounting, banking and shipping departments and the shipment of goods, upstairs was even room for living quarters for employees. When the masonry structure of the present-day State Department Store, GUM, replaced the old wooden building in 1885, it immediately became a Vladivostok landmark. Today it remains one of the finest examples of the city’s commercial architecture. Known officially as the Kunst and Albers Trading House in the past, it was one of the oldest masonry multi-story buildings in the region. Having met in China, the two German entrepreneurs Gustav Kunst and Gustav Albers decided to go to Vladivostok and establish a trading house together (1864). Supported by the Deutscher Bank and different companies in Germany, Great Britain, and Japan, the Kunst and Albers Trading House soon grew into the largest trading house in Eastern Siberia with 16 affiliates in Russia, five in Manchuria, and one in Japan. Living in Hamburg, Kunst, who served as the head of the company, supplied mostly German commodities. The enormously beneficial impact of the trading house on commerce and everyday life in the region is impossible to exaggerate.   read more…

Europe’s Capital of Culture 2011: Tallinn (Estonia) and Turku (Finland)

3 January 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Tallinn 2011

© Tallinn 2011

Tallinn
Tallinn was appointed in November 2007 together with the Finnish City of Turku to one of the European Capital’s of Culture 2011. With the motto “Tales from the sea” numerous cultural events and festivals will be held in 2011, including the “Tallinn Maritime Days”, which will bring the city closer to the sea again. About a dozen architectural installations will be built in the city. Since independence, improving air and sea transport links with Western Europe and Estonia’s accession to the European Union have made Tallinn easily accessible to tourists. Estonia has made rapid economic progress since independence and this is reflected in local prices. Although not extortionate, neither are prices as cheap as in other former Eastern Bloc countries. The main attractions are in the two old towns (Lower Town and Toompea – UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites since 1997) which are both easily explored on foot. Eastern districts around Pirita and Kadriorg are also worth visiting and the Estonian Open Air Museum (Eesti Vabaõhumuuseum) in Rocca al Mare, west of the city, preserves aspects of Estonian rural culture and architecture.   read more…

The Appalachian Trail

27 December 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Bon voyage, Living, Working, Building, Sustainability, Environment Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Appalachian Trail Conservancy

© Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Each year, the year has come again. One has just completed the plans and preparations for the coming year, but then there are the plans which you can’t squeeze into business plans, budgets or profit expectations. Before Christmas I saw a documentary on television about the Appalachian Trail in America and there was the plan again, “Just get out and find time for yourself for a few months.”. Well, between “seek for your inner self” and “find your inner self” there lie about six months of hiking thru the wilderness, but it seems to be at least in some aspects the most sustainable form of self therapy. Of course, the long-planned motorcycle trip from Norway to Sicily or from the Canadian border to Key West wouldn’t be a bad ways to make some personal spiritual experiences as well, but both ways are perhaps still too close to daily life.   read more…

Lyon, city of the palate

16 December 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

Lyon Panorama © Elwood J. Blues

Lyon Panorama © Elwood J. Blues

Lyon is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region. With 480,000 inhabitants Lyon is the third biggest city after Paris and Marseille. Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking and the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, and has focussed in recent years on a growing local start-up sector. The city hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, Euronews and International Agency for Research on Cancer.   read more…

Malmö, Sweden’s gateway to the continent

15 December 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Malmö Collage © Twowells

Malmö Collage © Twowells

Over the past decade, Malmö has undergone a most dramatic post-industrial transformation. This cosmopolitan city has “reclaimed” the seafront, where entire new city districts full of interesting modern architecture and bustling street life have been constructed. Of course, another radical change has been the mighty Öresund Bridge, opened in 2000, which connects Malmö with Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, just twenty minutes away. The region now forms a single metropolitan area; one of the most expansive, exciting and energetic in Northern Europe.   read more…

Vaduz actually derives from “water pipe” and not from “money pipe”

14 December 2010 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

City Hall © Hans G. Oberlack

City Hall © Hans G. Oberlack

Vaduz, with the Princely Residence, the Government and Parliament, is the capital of Liechtenstein. In the town center, known as the “Städtle”, there are museums, street cafés and many attractive shops. Vaduz is particularly well known as an international financial center, especially since CDs are making the round, which are pretty interesting for some finance ministers from other countries. Tourist holds Vaduz and Liechtenstein ready are interesting tourist places, especially for families and so called silent tourism. Vaduz is architecturally interesting, but it offers no great surprises especially because of the size of the town. It’s nevertheless worse a journy or two.   read more…

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