In woodland close to Rainau, a small town a little over 80 kilometres eastwards of Stuttgart, I saw one of the tallest remaining sections of the stone wall that was a key element of the Upper German-Rhaetian Limes. Crunching across pine cones and bouncing over sun-dappled ground springy with fallen pine needles, I visited a remnant of the stonework accompanied by Dr Stefan Bender, an archaeologist working at Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Limes information centre in Aalen. “It was known as the Devil’s Wall,” said Dr Bender as we approached the stonework. “People thought in former centuries that the devil had constructed the wall.”
For a romantic view of sundown over the city take a taxi up to the Miradoura da Senhora do Monte, a scenic lookout named after the site’s hilltop chapel. Alternatively, enter São Jorge Castle, shortly before closing time, to enjoy panoramas of the city from battlements over which cannons protrude, then meander through the Alfama district. Visiting the Carris Museum, which tells the story of public transport in Lisbon, is an ideal precursor to a ride on the famous Number 28 tram, whose route passes several of city’s A-list attractions, including the fortress-like Sé Cathedral and São Bento Palace (the meeting place of the Portuguese parliament). Disembarking at the vast Prazeres cemetery means an opportunity to stroll in quietude between mausoleums.
“For me, Arras is one of the most beautiful cities in France, maybe in Europe. It’s very nice to work here, with good people and good conditions. For the business it’s a very good place for us. Belgian chocolate is very appreciated here in France they don’t have the same one — we have Belgian chocolate!” said Thomas Laforge at the Doctor Steam Bar, as, instead of trying his hot chocolate, I sipped a cup of his mulled wine fortified with a shot of rum.
Over centuries the Mi’kmaw people, one of Canada’s First Nations, have navigated routes in the region. The Mi’kmaw would paddle along waterways then disembark their birch bark canoes to carry them on portages of up to two kilometres at a time. Cody explains that Todd Labrador, a Mi’kmaw craftsman, operates workshops in which he demonstrates how to strip bark from birch trees and make traditional canoes. Interpretative tours also provide insights to other aspects of Mi’kmaw heritage, including the medicinal use of plants.
Yesterday I took a leisurely boat ride in the Red Sea: a day trip to experience snorkelling with turtles at Ras Mohammed National Park, at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The mountains of the arid South Sinai region were visible inland but most of my fellow travellers were lying on the backs, facing upwards at the cloudless sky, relaxing on towels spread out on the deck. There was a flurry of activity as we pulled on our flippers and masks then splashed into the water to view the marine life.
The explorer Samuel Champlain named the landmark le Rocher Percé, which means ‘pierced rock’, because of the arches, worn into the vast, cliff-like rock by the sea. Around 433 metres in length and 88 metres high, it is reminiscent of a stone iceberg jutting from the water. Around 150 types of fossil have been found in the limestone rock, which forms part of Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, along with the nearby Bonaventure Island.
“Van Gogh was obsessed not so much by Rembrandt but by Hals. His works opened Van Gogh’s eyes to colour and a new bravura method,” asserted Ann Demeester, the Director of the Frans Hals Museum, at the opening of the exhibition. She explained that in letters written by Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, the artist enthused about how Hals used colour to shape his paintings and featured more than twenty colours of black.
We’re approaching the end of the 21st century’s second decade yet personal robots that can clean and take care of mundane household chores still, unfortunately, aren’t commonplace. Didn’t boffins take to television, promising that everyone would have one by the year 2000 on programmes such as Tomorrow’s World?
The urban landmark stands by the River Spaarne. Even if you’re not into history and heritage taking a tour of the windmill is worthwhile for the elevated views. Its wooden platform, 12.7 metres above ground level, provides outstanding perspectives across the waterway and into the centre of Haarlem.
Baseball is America’s summer sport. Taking in a ball game while slurping cola and munching fast food is a way of experiencing American life. You can do that at countless minor league games across the state. Alternatively, head to Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx, or Citi Field, in Queens, to watch one of New York’s major league teams. Four hours’ drive north of the Big Apple lies Cooperstown, home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It tells the story of the game and displays artefacts that have been worn and held by the sport’s biggest names. A self-guided tour means, like the drive northward, you do it in your own time.