One of the earliest recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites, France’s famed Mont Saint-Michel island commune in Normandy stands as one of France’s most recognizable landmarks, not to mention one of its most popular tourist destinations.
Situated about 1 km off the country’s northwestern coast, the tidal island crowned by its great Romanesque abbey supports a small population of around 50 permanent residents, all living within the boundaries of this medieval walled city.
Inaccessible during high tide, this fortified position has been held since Roman times, and in addition to its position as a place of worship since the 11th century, The Mont as a strategic stronghold stands legendary as having been unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War, not to mention its successful 1433 defense against a full scale English assault.
Of course the reverse of this unconquerable nature wasn’t entirely missed either, with the tidal island also spending a fair bit of its history as prison stronghold for some of the Kings of France.
A team over at Great Big Story put together this great little primer on the fabulous Mont Saint-Michel:
No wonder it is one of France’s most visited tourist attractions.
Some 55 km from the capital city of Ljubljana, you’ll stumble across the tourist popular little town of Bled, tucked in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia.
In the middle of the lake is a tiny island, Bled Island, and what makes this small island so special is the fact that it is home to several buildings, chief among which is a pilgrimage church (complete with Gothic frescos and Baroque equipment) dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.
The church has a 52 m high tower and there is a stairway of 99 stone steps leading up to the building – which tradition holds brings extremely good luck should the groom be able to carry his bride all the way up the stairs and ring the bell at the top, on the day of their wedding.
Recently, a team from Great Big Story put together this great little feature on Lake Bled, more than enough to stir up the wanderlust in pretty much anyone who sees this!
Once home of the legendary Viking seafarers and now with a population of roughly 5,084 million people, Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Known as a country for fishing, hiking and skiing, Norway’s capital and most populous city is Oslo, which sits on the country’s southern coast at the head of the Oslofjord.
Oslo has a population of roughly 620,000 people and is itself known for its green spaces and museums – including of course its famous Viking Ship Museum whose collection includes Viking ships from the 9th century!
The industrial and container port area of Bjørvika is a neighborhood in the Sentrum borough of Oslo, serving as both an outlet for the river Akerselva, as well as an inlet in the inner Oslofjord. It has been undergoing extensive urban redevelopment since the 2000s, with the plan for it to be transformed into Oslo’s new urban and more importantly, cultural hub.
The Barcode Project is a particularly controversial part of these redevelopments, but there is no denying that this collection of new multi-purpose high-rise buildings doesn’t show off Norway’s strong modern architectural and industrial design ethos!
On the map:
First up was the five-star gourmet meal that Chantelle cooked up (she can give you all the details in case you are curious) for Retha and Miguel’s late night visit here at Nagua Bay where they regaled us with tales from their recently completed month long holiday over in Europe. That in particular was an awesome visit considering the fact we hadn’t seen them since December (Miguel we haven’t seen since our wedding!), so it was a great chance to catch up and receive some awesome goodies in the process! ;)
Another bit of fun and games on Thursday night actually came an hour or so earlier on my way home from work, when I pulled off at Checkers in Muizenberg to get something to eat because my blood sugar must have been quite low considering I was on the verge of passing out behind the wheel! But to cut a story short, I returned to my car, pie in hand, when I watched a truck slam into the overhead railway bridge, literally collapsing the poor driver’s entire container and I imagine, leaving him with quite a bit of explaining to do to his boss when he finally made it back to work! (Geez, these trucks hitting into that low bridge happens far more frequently than what I would ever have imagined!)
Anyhow, Friday I finished up feeling pretty good about myself after having completed three 20 minute sessions on the treadmill, one in the morning, one at lunch and one directly after work. No hassles with the legs, no particular fatigue, just a plain old good sensation of having achieved that! Not that I returned directly home mind you. No, seeing as Chantelle was on work duty and Ryan had just received a rip of the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths movie I so wanted to see, I headed off to Bellville to join up with Karl-Heinz, Terrance and Ryan for some FIFA madness, where we slotted in a couple of games and some great goals for the next two and half or so hours! (Karl managed to finally end his goal drought and banged in three goals on the night, one being an awesome back header that completely flummoxed the keeper).
Saturday morning I broke tradition by starting the day off by watching the above mentioned Justice League movie, and man was it as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The only problem after that, was of course that nothing else seemed quite as exciting for the rest of the day! Now initially I had planned to do a ton of web work over the course of the day, working on websites, typing up documents, etc. but thanks to the oppressing 35+ heatwave that engulfed the area, I was pretty much left lying on the couches, watching anime, rugby, reinstalling Ubuntu and playing Devil May Cry 4 (and doing the much hated housework), so at least I ended up feeling fairly relaxed by the end of the day.
Funnily enough though, the one game I had been waiting for the entire day, namely the Stormers Super 14 clash, I actually ended up missing on the night, but all for a good reason it must be said. One phone call from Chantelle and all of a sudden I found myself sitting down at the table with a couple of glasses of beer in my hand and enjoying a fabulous snoek and crayfish braai with Chantelle, Wammy and Louise, and some of her guests, all under a fabulous warm summer night sky. It was lekker (and so was the Devil May Cry 4 gaming session which closed off the night for me).
Sunday however I didn’t make the mistake of turning on the TV to early and so I did actually end up behind the keyboard for the most of the day, but considering the horrible wind and heat outside, I guess it wasn’t too bad a play. Lots of blog posts neatly scheduled, an important letter scripted and proofread (well mostly anyway) and some further work on the Funakoshi website project that seems to be continuously trudging along, pretty much made up the most part of the day. Oh, and plenty of Devil May Cry 4 slotted in between. Turning out to be a damn good game, just as good as the previous one after all.
Outside of that, I did make a quick stop at GBL in the afternoon to have a look at Chantelle’s buggy wi-fi access point (as well as keep Candice and her mom company), and then later take Chantelle out for supper at the Sunset Spur after her shift ended come 21:00.
So it was a good, Melrose cheese spread filled weekend of not doing much, meaning I’m all rested up for what could potentially be quite an important week for me – though more on that with tomorrow morning’s post in case you’re curious! ;)