Big Sur in California

9 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

California Highway 1 near Ragged Point © flickr.com - Fred Moore/cc-by-2.0

California Highway 1 near Ragged Point © flickr.com – Fred Moore/cc-by-2.0

Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. Big Sur has been called the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States,” a “national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development” and “one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation.” The stunning views, redwood forests, hiking, beaches, and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for about 7 million people who live within a day’s drive and visitors from across the world. The region receives about the same number of visitors as Yosemite National Park, but offers extremely limited bus service, few restrooms, and a narrow two-lane highway with few places to park alongside the road. North-bound traffic during the peak summer season and holiday weekends is often backed up for about 20 miles (32km) from Big Sur Village to Carmel.   read more…

Norfolk in Virginia

7 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

USS George Washington in Norfolk Naval Station © U.S. Navy - Mate 3rd Class Summer M. Anderson

USS George Washington in Norfolk Naval Station © U.S. Navy – Mate 3rd Class Summer M. Anderson

Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. In 2017, the population was estimated to be 244,703 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach. Norfolk is located at the core of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, named for the large natural harbor of the same name located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It is one of nine cities and seven counties that constitute the Hampton Roads metro area, officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. The city is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. It also shares land borders with the independent cities of Chesapeake to its south and Virginia Beach to its east. Norfolk is one of the oldest cities in Hampton Roads, and is considered to be the historic, urban, financial, and cultural center of the region.   read more…

Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin

5 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage

Aleppo Room © flickr.com - Richard Mortel/cc-by-2.0

Aleppo Room © flickr.com – Richard Mortel/cc-by-2.0

The Museum of Islamic Art is located in the Pergamon Museum and is one of the Berlin State Museums. The museum exhibits a variety of works of Islamic art from the 7th to the 19th century from the area between Spain and India.   read more…

Boca Raton in Florida

2 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Miami

Boca Raton is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida, first incorporated on August 2, 1924 as “Bocaratone,” and then incorporated as “Boca Raton” in 1925. The 2015 population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau was 93,235. However, approximately 200,000 people with a Boca Raton postal address reside outside its municipal boundaries. Such areas include newer developments like West Boca Raton. As a business center, the city also experiences significant daytime population increases. It is one of the wealthiest communities in South Florida. Boca Raton is 43 miles (69 km) north of Miami and is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which had a population of 6,012,331 people as of 2015.   read more…

The brig-sloop HMS Beagle

1 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Tall ships, Yacht of the Month

HMS Beagle Replica in 2017 in Punta Arenas © S p-hunter/cc-by-sa-4.0

HMS Beagle Replica in 2017 in Punta Arenas © S p-hunter/cc-by-sa-4.0

HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy, one of more than 100 ships of this class. The vessel, constructed at a cost of £7,803 (£613,000 in today’s currency), was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames. In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom, and for that occasion is said to have been the first ship to sail completely under the old London Bridge. There was no immediate need for Beagle so she “lay in ordinary“, moored afloat but without masts or rigging. She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three survey expeditions.   read more…

Headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service in Berlin

1 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, General, House of the Month

© Fridolin freudenfett/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Fridolin freudenfett/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Klaus Kinkel Center for Intelligence, also known as the Headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service or the BND Headquarters (German: Zentrale des Bundesnachrichtendienstes, colloquially the BND-Zentrale) is the headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) of Germany, and is located at the Chausseestraße in the Mitte district in the centre of Berlin. It is also known colloquially by the metonym Chausseestraße.   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…

Theme Week China – Tianjin

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

Ancient Culture Street entrance © William M Benson

Ancient Culture Street entrance © William M Benson

Tianjin, alternately romanized as Tientsin, is a coastal metropolis in northern China and one of the nine national central cities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with a total population of 15,621,200 as of 2016 estimation. Its built-up (or metro) area, made up of 12 central districts (all but Baodi, Jizhou, Jinghai and Ninghe), was home to 12,491,300 inhabitants in 2016 and is also the world’s 29th-largest agglomeration (between Chengdu and Rio de Janeiro) and 11th-most populous city proper.   read more…

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