St Ives, Cornwall Webcamera

October 18, 2015

St Ives is a seaside town, civil parish and port in Cornwall, England. 

ives4St Ives

The town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis, and the town is now primarily a popular holiday resort, notably achieving the title of Best UK Seaside Town from the British Travel Awards in both 2010 and 2011. St Ives was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1639. St Ives has become renowned for its number of artists.

The origin of St Ives is attributed in legend to the arrival of the Irish Saint Ia of Cornwall, in the 5th century. The parish church bears her name, and St Ives derives from it.

The Sloop Inn, which lies on the wharf was a fisherman’s pub for many centuries and is dated to “circa 1312”, making it one of the oldest inns in Cornwall. The town was the site of a particularly notable atrocity during the Prayer Book rebellion of 1549. The English Provost Marshal (Anthony Kingston) came to St Ives and invited the portreeve, John Payne, to lunch at an inn. He asked the portreeve to have the gallows erected during the course of the lunch. Afterwards the portreeve and the Provost Marshal walked down to the gallows; the Provost Marshal then ordered the portreeve to mount the gallows. The portreeve was then hanged for being a “busy rebel”.

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Vik is a municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway.

stort2Vic i Sogn

The farms in Vik lie on old marine terraces, and many of the burial mounds lie on the edges of these.   The Hove mounds were built about 400-500 AD. At Hopperstad, finds have been made that prove Viking raids from Vik. These finds are bronze bowls and bronze dishes, things that probably found their way to Norway with the Viking raids.

In the latter half of the 12th century the Hopperstad Stave Church was built at Hopperstad and the stone Hove Church was built at Hove.  The Stave churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking Age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.  The Hopperstad stave church was saved from demolition on the initiative of the architect Peter Andreas Blix.

The “West Norwegian Fjords of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord” were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005.  The two fjords are situated 120 kilometres (75 mi) from each other and they are separated by the Jostedalsbreen glacier.

Porto, Portugal Webcamera

September 6, 2015

Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon.

portoPorto

Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined CelticLatin name, Portus Cale,  has been referred to as the origin of the name “Portugal”, based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin.

The history of Porto dates back to around 300 BC with Proto-Celtic and Celtic people being the first known inhabitants. Ruins of that period have been discovered in several areas. During the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula the city developed as an important commercial port, primarily in the trade between Olissipona (the modern Lisbon) and Bracara Augusta (the modern Braga).

One of Portugal’s internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport and export of the fortified wine.

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700.

live-photoLisbon

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.

Most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery left from Lisbon during the 15th to 17th centuries, including Vasco da Gama‘s expedition to India in 1497. In 1506.   The 16th century was Lisbon’s golden era: the city was the European hub of commerce between Africa, India, the Far East and later, Brazil, and acquired great riches by exploiting the trade in spices, slaves, sugar, textiles and other goods. This period saw the rise of the exuberant Manueline style in architecture, which left its mark in many 16th century monuments (including Lisbon’s Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites). A description of Lisbon in the 16th century was written by Damião de Góis and published in 1554.

The city of Lisbon is rich in architecture; Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern constructions can be found all over Lisbon.

Tuli Block, Botswana

March 15, 2015

The Tuli Block is a narrow fringe of land at Botswana‘s eastern border wedged between Zimbabwe in the north and east and South Africa in the south

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Tuli Block

Tuli Block consists mainly of privately owned game farms offering safari tourism. The eastern section up to and including Redshield has been declared a game reserve, known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve.

The Tuli Block is quite different from anywhere else in Botswana. It is referred to as the Hardveld because of the rocky outcrops and the abundance of stones and pebbles of all shapes and sizes. The red sand of the Tuli area is an unforgettable trait, as well as the massive trees that occur along the banks of the Limpopo.

Much of the area is unfenced allowing the animals to roam freely between the Motloutse and Limpopo rivers. The vegetation is spectacular, the scenery diverse. Gigantic Nyala trees and the yellow barked fever trees grow along the riverbanks. Gaunt sesame trees take root in rocky outcrops. Characteristic baobab trees are ubiquitous amongst the rock koppies. Animals flourish in the wild terrain.

Wildebeest, kudu, eland, impala and waterbuck migrate through the area. Lions (some of them black maned), leopard and cheetah follow the game and mingle with the large herds of elephants. Nile crocodile abound in large pools in the Limpopo River, with the occasional hippopotamus. Bird life proliferates in the diverse environment.  Different kinds of kingfishers dart into the streams and rivers, while waders stand in the shallows. The rare Pel’s Fishing Owl frequents banks above large pools in rivers, best seen at night.

2014 in review

December 29, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Aizu-Wakamatsu Station is a railway station in Aizuwakamatsu, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

fukishima Aizu-Wakamatsu Station

 The train operation is divided at Aizu-Tajima Station. The electrified southern part has through service beyond the Aizukōgen-Ozeguchi terminus onto the Yagan Railway Aizu Kinugawa Line, Tobu Railway and JR East all the way to Tokyo. The non-electrified northern part runs diesel service beyond Nishi-Wakamatsu Station to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station on the JR East Tadami Line.

On Friday, 11 March 2011, 14:46 JST, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. Shindo measurements throughout the prefecture reached as high as 6-upper in isolated regions of Hama-dōri on the eastern coast and as low as a 2 in portions of the Aizu region in the western part of the prefecture. Fukushima City, located in Naka-dōri and the capital of Fukushima Prefecture, measured 6-lower.

Train services were stopped due to damage caused to railway infrastructure. The Iizaka Line reopened two days later on March 13, and on March 31 the Yamagata Shinkansen resumed limited service and the Ōu Main Line resumed full service.  By April 7 the Tōhoku Main Line was reopened in both directions, however it was closed again following a strong earthquake later that night. The Tōhoku Main Line was again reopened in both directions from Fukushima on April 17.   The Tōhoku Shinkansen reopened with limited service on April 23, and the Abukuma Express Line resumed limited service from Fukushima on April 28. Aizu-Wakamatsu Station Video