“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.
Submerging myself in the Blue Lagoon was like stepping into a vast bathtub. A sign informed me that the water temperature, where I entered, was 38°C. I could feel the temperature rise and fall as I moved slowly around the pool.
At Spannum, a few kilometres south-west of Húns, you can find the Farm of the World studio. Students from around the globe compete for prestigious apprenticeships. The property has a compact garden and a medicinal-smelling workshop in which plants are dried and treated to create dyes. Wool is carded and brushed to straighten wool fibres that will be utilised in artworks. Coloured wool is strewn on tables in the workshop across the yard where works are painstakingly created. Hues and textures are central to Jongstra’s artworks.