July 4, 2016
Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia.
Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. Riga was the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umeå in Sweden. It is home to the European Union’s office of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Riga is served by Riga International Airport, the largest airport in the Baltic states.
The river Daugava has been a trade route since antiquity, part of the Vikings’ Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium. A sheltered natural harbour 15 km (9.3 mi) upriver from the mouth of the Daugava — the site of today’s Riga — has been recorded, as Duna Urbs, as early as the 2nd century. It was settled by the Livs, an ancient Finnic tribe. The Livonian Chronicle of Henry testifies to Riga having long been a trading centre by the 12th century, referring to it as portus antiquus (ancient port), and describes dwellings and warehouses used to store mostly corn, flax, and hides.
It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest and the largest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world. This is due to the fact that at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, when Art Nouveau was at the height of its popularity, Riga experienced an unprecedented financial and demographic boom.
April 24, 2016
Nuuk is the capital and largest city of Greenland.
Nuuk is the Kalaallisut word for “cape”. It is so named because of its position at the end of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord on the eastern shore of the Labrador Sea. Its latitude, at 64°10′ N, makes it the world’s northernmost capital, located only a few kilometres further north than the Icelandic capital Reykjavík.
The site has a long history of habitation. The area around Nuuk was first occupied by the ancient pre-Inuit, Paleo-Eskimo people of the Saqqaq culture as far back as 2200 BC when they lived in the area around the now abandoned settlement of Qoornoq. For a long time it was occupied by the Dorset culture around the former settlement of Kangeq but they disappeared from the Nuuk district before AD 1000. The Nuuk area was later inhabited by Viking explorers in the 10th century, and shortly thereafter by Inuit peoples
Seafood, including seal, is also sold in abundance in Nuuk’s fish markets, the largest being Kalaaliaraq Market. Minerals including zinc and gold have contributed to the development of Nuuk’s economy. Nuuk has an international airport located 4 km (2.5 mi) to the northeast of the town centre. Built in 1979, it is a focus city for Air Greenland, which is also headquartered in Nuuk,
As a result of the high cost of flying goods to Greenland, Nuuk and other towns in Greenland are connected to Denmark by cargo vessels which sail mainly from Aalborg during the warmer months after the winter ice has melted. For most of the year, Nuuk is served twice-weekly by the coastal ferry of the Arctic Umiaq Line which links the communities of the western coast.
December 26, 2015
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Kiel Fjord was probably first settled by Normans or Vikings who wanted to colonize the land which they had raided, and for many years they settled in German villages. This is evidenced by the geography and architecture of the fjord. The city of Kiel was originally founded in 1233 as Holstenstadt tom Kyle by Count Adolf IV of Holstein, and granted Lübeck city rights in 1242 by Adolf’s eldest son, John I of Schauenburg. Being a part of Holstein, Kiel belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and was situated only a few miles south of the Danish border.
Kiel, the capital of the county (later duchy) of Holstein, was a member of the Hanseatic League from 1284 until it was expelled in 1518 for harbouring pirates. In 1431, the Kieler Umschlag (trade fair) was first held, which became the central market for goods and money in Schleswig-Holstein, until it began to lose significance from 1850 on, being held for the last time in 1900, until recently, when it has been restarted.
Kiel was the site of the sailors’ mutiny which sparked the German Revolution in late 1918. Just before the end of World War I, the German fleet stationed at Kiel was ordered to be sent out on a last great battle with the Royal Navy. The sailors, who thought of this as a suicide mission which would have no effect on the outcome of the war, decided they had nothing to lose and refused to leave the safety of the port. The sailors’ actions and the lack of response of the government to them, fuelled by an increasingly critical view of the Kaiser, sparked a revolution which caused the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of the Weimar Republic.
November 22, 2015
Cerro Catedral is a mountain located 12 miles from San Carlos de Bariloche, and inside the Nahuel Huapí National Park, Patagonia, Argentina.
The mountain holds one of the biggest ski centers in South America, with 75 milesof ski runs, and a lift capacity of 35,000 skiers per hour. Cerro Catedral has the highest frequency of days with snowfalls in Argentina, averaging 98 days per year. It is also very popular due to the magnificent view of the Nahuel Huapi lake.
Lake Nahuel Huapi is the largest and deepest clear water lake in the lake district of Argentina, with a depth of 1,394 ft. The lake was discovered by the Jesuit priest Nicolás Mascardi in 1670 who also built a chapel on the Huemul Peninsula of the lake. The lake extends 72 miles across the border with Chile, and includes many fjords and the Valdivian temperate rain forest.
Nahuel Huapi lake was known to Spaniards since the times of the Conquest of Chile. In the summer of 1552–1553, the Governor of Chile Pedro de Valdivia sent Francisco de Villagra to explore the area east of the Andes at the latitudes of the city of Valdivia. Francisco de Villagra crossed the Andes trough Mamuil Malal Pass and headed south until reaching Limay River in the vicinity of Nahuel Huapi Lake.
November 22, 2015
Costa da Caparica is a Portuguese civil parish, located in the municipality of Almada along the western coast of the district of Sétubal.
Human presence in the area of Almada dates to the end of the Neolithic period about 5000 years ago; archeological excavations performed in the municipality suggest that non-sedentary nomadic tribes may have occupied this location sporadically. The gradual development of settlement here made its greatest advance with the coming of Islamic civilization, when Muslims constructed a fort at Almada to defend and monitor the entrance to the Tagus River. Lying across the river from Lisbon, the area of Almada was a crossroads for a succession of various peoples who traded along the Tagus, including Phoenicians, Romans and Moors.
Legend suggests that, in 1800, the Costa da Caparica was the site for the Casa da Coroa (the first house of rock and limestone) which received its importance for a little-known fact. It was believed that King John VI of Portugal in 1824 had eaten a delicious seafood stew, and for that reason, he ordered that the royal coat-of-arms be raised on the local fountain. Similarly, the site was the supposed way-point on journeys involving Queen Maria II of Portugal and King Pedro V of Portugal and his Royal Consort, who travelled through the Costa de Caparica on unrelated trips.
November 21, 2015
Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on the north shore of Kauaʻi island in Hawaii.
Hanalei Bay consists of nearly two miles of beach, surrounded by mountains. In the summer, the bay offers excellent mooring for sailboats, stand up paddle boarding and swimming. During the winter the surf becomes large and is a favorite surf location.
On April 5, 1824, King Kamehameha II’s royal yacht, Pride of Hawaii, sank near the mouth of the Waiʻoli River, on the southwest corner of the bay after its crew struck a 5-foot-deep (1.5 m) reef a hundred yards offshore. It is believed the captain and crew were drunk at the time. A large section of the ship’s hull washed ashore in 1844 in a winter storm surge, but most of this historic wreck remains buried in silt in the bay. In 1995–2000, archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History excavated the wreck and recovered more than 1,200 artifacts. During this excavation, a 40-foot (12 m) section of the stern was discovered, documented, and then re-buried where it was discovered.
Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote a short story entitled “Hanalei Bay” set in the area. The story is included in the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Hanalei Bay also served as a filming location for the 1958 film South Pacific.
October 18, 2015
The Pointe du Raz is a promontory that extends into the Atlantic from western Brittany, in France.
It is named after the Raz de Sein, the dangerous stretch of water between it and the island of Sein (Enez Sun in Breton). It is a dramatic place of crashing waves and strong winds. The word raz was borrowed from Norman by the Bretons and shares the same etymology as the English word race “strong current of water”, both are from Old Norse rás.
La Vieille is a lighthouse in the département of Finistère at the commune of Plogoff, on the northwest coast of France. It is among the small class of lighthouses around the coasts of France carrying the moniker “hell”, due to a remote position in rough seas. La Vieille achieved notoriety in the 1920s when two disabled war veterans were stranded there for weeks by storms, their health deteriorating. They were employed under a new law reserving the job of lighthouse keeper to those who had served in the war. The tremendous difficulties experienced in getting them back to shore led to the repeal of the new law. In 1995 it was the penultimate French lighthouse to become automated, a process delayed due to the keepers on-site staging a protest against the task being carried out.
Great storm of 2014