March 19, 2017

A view to the artificial lake in the river Agly in Languedoc-Rousillon. France South.

In this pano you can see the artificial lake near the village Caramany by the river Agly.
We made a tour around this lake starting from the bridge at the right side and crossing over in the end of the lake. App. 3hrs. Recommended....

Below a photo taken along the yellow marked route around the lake:

Mount Canigou - the Holy mountain of the Catalans in Spring (France)

In the very South of France - but still in Catalonia you will find this mighty mountain. In the early spring still dressed in a white cape. In the foreground some of the vineyards by the village  Belesta - one of those small places with everything closed a Sunday afternoon in March.

March 18, 2017

Vineyards in Paulilles, Cote Vermeille. South of France

Once again a walk in the vineyards in springtime. The Madam enjoys the view over to the Madeloc summit in the distance. This is the fine vineyards at the little bay Paulilles just outside the village Port-Vendres - not far from the border to Spain along the rugged coast and curved old coastroad.

From the net:
Paulilles is located about 2 miles (3 km) south of Port-Vendres behind the Las Portas pass along the scenic Route Départementale 914. It is a small scale Mediterranean bay, forming a prairie down to the sea between the Béar cape, and the Oullestrell cape and forms three beaches: Bernardi, del Mitg, Fourat separated by small cliffs in the bay. The original forest has been well preserved and is typical of the Mediterranean region. Local flora is well represented with the Armeria of Roussillon (Armeria ruscinonensis Girard), the polycarpon of Catalonia (Polycarpon polycarpoides), the Thymelaea hirsuta, the Limonium tremolsii, and also Tamarix (Tamaricaceae), and Gattiliers (Vitex agnus-castus).
All the waters around Paulilles are also protected by Natura 2000, for its Posidonia oceanica, a species of seagrass that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea and Coralline algaes that offers shelter and nursing home for the rich aquatic life.[4] This marine plants forms large underwater meadows of high importance to the environmental conservation of the region.

March 17, 2017

Moonless night in Collioure. South of France. Iphone6+

The moon is hidden behind some clouds in the night sky as we are walking home from a restaurant visit in the evening. You may spot the Madam alone along her way home.

Another iphone6 work under low light conditions.

March 16, 2017

Empuriabrava a Fantastic Canal town in Catalonia, Spain

We had spent most of the time this day in the more than 2000 years old ruins of the Empuries. On our way back we had a short stop in this Canal town and Holiday resort Empuriabrava outside of Roses. It was natural to think: What will this place look like if it is excavated 2000 years into the future.
Take a look at this most special place in the Google Earth version:
Take the time to read the fantastic history of Empuriabrava from the net
Empuriabrava (Ampuriabrava in Spanish) is one of the most unusual towns along the Costa Brava.
Sporting nearly 24 kilometers (15 miles)1 of canals, and 5,000 private jetties, Empuriabrava is the largest residential marina in the world.
For most of us that means it provides ample opportunity to gawk at how the rich and richer spend their money: in this case on expensive houses and yachts.
If you’re into the type of town where you can have a romantic stroll along picturesque streets, or enjoy tapas at an old bar where you mingle with the locals, this is probably not your cup of tea. There’re almost nothing authentically Catalan about the place (which, after all, is only about 40 years old).
Those are the primary reasons why we ourselves would not consider vacationing here — even though we have visited the place several times, usually while on our way back from Cadaqués.
That said, reminiscent of Venice or Miami Beach, Empuriabrava is a major, upmarket tourist destination. It is particularly popular with Germans and the French, and — to a much lesser extent — Dutch and British visitors as well.
A great beach: Platja Empuriabrava : 1.5 kilometers long and 90 to 100(!) meters wide
A scala of watersports: sailing, surfing, windsurfing, water-skiing, para-skiing, fishing, diving and so on
Fantastic skydiving: just north of the town is Europe’s most famous skydiving school, considered to be among the three best in the world
Platja Empuriabrava — the very wide, main beach with in the distance the suburbs of Roses
Many tourists and day-trippers rent sailboats or motorized boats, or at the very least take a canal boat tour.
And while Empuriabrava itself doesn’t have much history or, for that matter, charm, the old cities of Figueres (15km), Girona (55 km) and Cadaqués (23km) are nearby. The French border is, at 40km, close as well.
Center to center, Roses is only a 9km drive, proviving ample restaurants and bars.
Like we said, no building in the place is over 40 years old — but if you do need to see old buildings in a setting that still evokes that old Catalonia feeling, you can always visit the small, medieval city of Castelló d’Empúries — of which Empuriabrava actually is a suburb.
While they’re only 2km apart, the contrast between the former — which dates back to the ninth century — and the latter couldn’t be greater.
In this part of the Costa Brava, there’s a wind condition called the Tramontana. The name means “on or coming from the other side of the mountain.”
Get this: barely 40 years ago, all you would see at this spot was a wide expanse of swampy coastal land with, to the North, the town of Roses overlooking the bay.
The land — interspersed with salt marshes, lagoons and wetlands — was shared by five large farms and some smaller ones.
In the 19th century this area was an important source of wheat, corn and alfalfa.
During much of the 20th century, the focus shifted to cattle farming — providing meat for markets up and down the coast, as well as livestock for what was then an important cattle market at nearby Castelló d’Empuries.
We’ll take a closer look at Castelló d’Empúries in a separate entry. For now, just note that the much larger Empuriabrava actually is a suburb of this small town (population: 4.000).
In December, 1964, a company named Eurobrava SA (later Empuriabrava SA) came up with a plan to create an international flying club, along with a residential community. The company was run by three businessmen, including the owner of four of the five large farms.
The plan was formally presented to the town hall of Castelló d’Empuries in June, 1965, and immediately met with the vocal opposition of most owners of the smaller farms in the area.
Mind you, this was a different era — in which planning committees, zoning maps and environmental protection laws played little to no role.
Imagine this: the plan actually called for the building of ‘tall, separate structures’ designed to break up the ‘horizontal monotony’ of the Gulf of Roses.2
No developer in his right mind would say that kind of thing nowadays, but even back then the plan was very controversial.
Small wonder that there was no love lost between the town hall and the developers, particularly when it turned out that — just three months after submitting their plans — the latter had already commenced, illegally, with the construction of roads and canals.
That the plan was nevertheless approved, in June 1967, is largely due to the fact that during the 1960s Spain was experiencing its first tourism boom.
The development company, now named Empuriabrava SA, had cleverly launched an intensive marketing campaign aimed at tourists in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands.
Whereas officials and others initially thought their district had nothing much to offer to tourists, the enthusiastic response to this ad campaign opened their eyes to manifold financial opportunities.
The second phase of the project started in 1975, but by then the company faced two major problems:
Increasing pressure from nascent environmental groups, which only gained even more power during Spain’s transition to a democracy3
The death of Dictator Franco in November 1975 coincided with a quadrupling of oil prices that played havoc with Spain’s already poor economy4
As a result, the developers were forced to scale down their plans. For instance, the planned construction of a canal to Figueres — 18 kilometers (11 miles) inland — was scrapped.
Nevertheless, in 1980 the project was in crisis, and in June that year control of Empuriabrava passed from the developers to the town hall of Castelló d’Empuries.

Catalonia beach in spring. Sant Martí d'Empúries, Spain

After visiting the ancient ruins of d'Empuries we walk the short distance to a restaurant in Sant Marti for a lunch.

The March weather this day was simply perfect. Blue sky and sun. App. +20C very comfortable...

Historic time travel to the Ruins of the Empuries in Catalonia, Spain

In company of Nordic friends from NIMROS (association of people from Nordic Contries living in Languedoc-Rousillon in South of France) we spent a fine day visiting the more than 2000 years old Ruins of the former Greek and roman settlements at the Empuries outside of Figueres in North of Spain.

There is also a similar PDF presentation:
You may click here to download/open it

..or just continue the story here on this page..
for large size photos click in the photos...

Med Nordiske venner til historiske Empuries
Ca. 24 NIMROSER valgte å være med en dag på en historisk tidsreise over 2000 år tilbake til den tiden Fønikere, Grekere og Romere gikk i land på denne store sletten øst for Figueres hvor Middelhavet kunne tilby flotte naturlige havner og landskap for bosetting og gode forhold for dyrking av både korn og planting av vinranker.
NIMROSERE i besøkssenterets kinosal venter på en multimedia tidsreise

Historien slik den presenteres på nettet

One does not have to be particularly interested in history or even interested in archaeology to succumb to the charm of the excavations of Empúries.
The Greeks settled here beginning during the sixth Century before Christ, and later the Romans selected the place for their settlement, surely not only from strategic considerations, but certainly because it also pleased them.
Asklépios, god of medicine
The historical name of Empúries comes from the Greek term “Emporion” which means market place or commercial centre and correctly describes the purpose of the site.  The city was favourably situated at the delta (at that time) of the (river) Fluvia and at the crossing of several trade routes.  The natural harbour basins in front of the Emporion offered protection to the trading vessels.The actual town foundation for the 6-century before Christ buildings are not part of the visible excavations.  The oldest building ruins are under, or were replaced by, the village St Martí d’Empuries.  This village with its restored centre and the late gothic church is also a popular destination.
In the V century before Christ the Greeks shifted Emporion to the location of the current excavations (the current St Marti d’Empuries).  Emporion became rapid one of antiquity’s  most important commercial ports of the Mediterranean. During the second Punic war, in the third century before Christ, Emporion became a Roman possession, called Emporiae.  This was the beginning of the romanisation of the Iberian Peninsula.
Our Guide at the site - Anna
Julius Caesar probably found Emporiae to be a special place.  He built a new Roman settlement behind the originally Greek city that was ten times larger than the prior one (today we would call the addition an urbanisation) for homes for war veterans.    So that the inhabitants were not bored, he – naturally – constructed an Amphitheatre and for the sport training of the citizens he had a sports field built.  Fashion shops and taverns were grouped around the forum.  The homes were not the dull drab architecture of a social welfare-building project; mansion fragments show the construction to include generous sized facilities and wonderful ornamentation mosaics on the floor.
Later, Empúries lost its importance, in the third Century after Christ the city was completely abandoned.  When, during the 17-century, fishermen created L’Escala, many Greek and Roman stones from Emporion or Emporiae served as the building material.

Dagens Empuries
Examples of Greek and Roman town construction art and their essential structures can be visited in Empúries:  The Greeks adapted their places to the site and the terrain, while the Romans designed their plan and made the land accommodate their chessboard-similar raster pattern for their cities.

Et knippe Nimrosere følger med så godt de kan på den ikke alltid helt perfekte engelsken til guiden Anna

The visible excavations in Empúries began in the year 1908 and continue today.  Only about 25 % of the surface is observable.
Empuries is managed by the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, which looks after other historic sites nearby and on the peninsula.
Den øvre delen  av byen bygd over en Romersk garnison

Store deler av sletta i den øvre byen er fortsatt ikke utgravet - så her skjuler det seg nok mange interessante både objekter og historier fra fortiden

Det finnes noen flotte mosaikkgulv på stedet
- dessverre var de stort sett fortsatt vinterpakket under plast - men noe så vi her og der
Det var en flott vårdag for å besøke dette interessante stedet

In 218 BC the Romans took control of Empuries in an attempt to block Carthaginian troops during the Second Punic War. By 195 BC a Roman military camp had been established and over the next century a Roman colony named Emporiae emerged at the site, lasting until the end of the third century AD. However, over time the city waned as the nearby centres of Barcino (Barcelona) and Tarraco (Tarragona) grew. The importance of Empuries dwindled and the city was largely abandoned at this time.

Blant viktige ting her i verden synes vi denne utgravde utedoen representerte dagliglivets trivialiteter
- også for Romernes bemidlede som hadde egen svamp for rengjøring av sine edlere deler...
Etter dette gjorde vår guide Anna en veltilpasset avslutning ved byporten
hvor den lykkebringende Fallos stenen ble omtalt (og av flere berørt...)
In the eighth century AD the Franks took control of the region, after defeating the Moors, and the area took on an administrative function – becoming capital of the Carolingian county of Empúries. This role remained until the eleventh century, when it was transferred to Castellon. From then on Empuries served as the home of small groups of local fisherman and was largely forgotten.

Deretter vandret vi en liten kilometer til den nærliggende landsby for en noe forvirret lunsjservering i det fine været
.Alle var enige om at det hadde vært en fin dag i Empuriene...
Ref (English texts):
All Copyrights 2017: Jack R.  Johanson.

March 15, 2017

To walk a dog along a narrow canal in Collioure. South of France

Detail from the small village Collioure in Languedoc-Roussillon.
The Canal is usually without water - but, of course, this is March and some water is coming down from the hills around the village.

The cliff road to the Cape Bear Naval Station and lighthouse. Cote Vermeille. France South

A most charming walk in the fine spring weather goes from the small Village Port-Vendres and out to Cape Bear. Where from the endpoint you can see the rugged coastline and into Spain just some kilometer further South. In France the coast is named Cote Vermeille - after the border to Spain: Costa Brava - continuing right down to Barcelona.

March 14, 2017

Vineyards walk in the Spring. Collioure. France South

Fort St. Elme in the back is well situated on the background hill overlooking Cote Vermeille here in France South.  The Madam is out there walking, following the narrow road to the old village Collioure. A fine day in March - where sign of spring is already showing.

In 6 months those naked roots will be full of grapes - ready for picking

Frame your photo when in Collioure. France South

On this hill, overlooking Collioure by the shores of the Mediterranean, you have an option to frame your panorama photo of this village.

As I understand it - looking through the frame you will have the same "picture" and motif that has been used by one of the former painters and artist that visited the village under the period of Fauvism - the "wild beasts"

Fauvism, the first twentieth-century movement in modern art, was initially inspired by the examples of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne. The Fauves ("wild beasts") were a loosely allied group of French painters with shared interests. Several of them, including Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, and Georges Rouault, had been pupils of the Symbolist artist Gustave Moreau and admired the older artist's emphasis on personal expression. Matisse emerged as the leader of the group, whose members shared the use of intense color as a vehicle for describing light and space, and who redefined pure color and form as means of communicating the artist's emotional state. In these regards, Fauvism proved to be an important precursor to Cubism and Expressionism as well as a touchstone for future modes of abstraction.

Spring in Collioure. South of France.

Simply how the springtime can be in the South of France.
Blue sky. Sun
A flowering tree. A vineyard in the background.
On top of the hill a small Chateau.

Not least it display that you can have some DOF even with a iPhone6+

March 12, 2017

The small Chapel of Sant Vincent in Collioure. France South

At a tiny island by the shores of the Mediterranian Sea is the small chapel of Sant Vincent - the protector of all sailors and fishermen - out there in the ocean doing his job.  
Here from a grey day in the early springtime.

From the Catholic online:
Sant Vincent: Martyr. It is known with certainty that he was put to death at Collioure, Gaul (modern France), under Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305), although his Acts are considered quite unreliable.

On a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, the Chapel of St. Vincent is located at the end of the esplanade of Collioure.

The small chapel dates from 1642 and at that time it was located on a very small rocky island. Sometime in the 19th Century, a dike was built that connects the mainland with the rock on which the chapel stands. According to legend it was on this rock that Saint Vincent was martyred.

The Chapel consists of a single small rectangular room with portal and above the entrance is the simple tower with the single bell.

A conversation between 2 doves in an alley in Collioure. France South

A rare moment from busy Collioure - a more calm place in the early spring.

March 11, 2017

Off Season Saturday in Collioure South of France

Few visitors to see at the weekdays now in the off season periode in popular Collioure. But in the weekends the place starts to live as many visitors enter this small Catalan village and take their time in the sun to enjoy some drink or lunch by the seaside. This version a stitch of 2 photos.

March 3, 2017

Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway. Blue hour with iphone 6+

The last blue hour version from this fine afternoon a Friday in March 2017 along the main street of Oslo: Karl Johans Gate. The stately Grand Hotel with the very famous and popular Grand Cafe at the corner vis a vis the Parliament building of Norway.

From the net:
Grand Hotel was founded in 1874 by the pastry chef Julius Fritzner. When it first opened, the block on Karl Johans gate consisted of three buildings: the Bardoe, the Fuhr and the Heiberg buildings.

The latter, a three-story building at the corner of Rosenkrantz gate, was equipped as a hotel. Nicolay Fritzner bought the building, but his brother Julius ran the hotel.

The Grand Café opened first. Architect Jacob Nordan was in charge of refurbishing the local, and Fritzner's good friend, Wilhelm Krogh, a specialist in theater and set decoration at Kristiania Theater, painted the interior. Originally, the café was above street level, with access from stairs on the outside of the building, but in the latter part of the 1870s, the floor was lowered and the entire venue was redecorated. From that moment on, the Grand Café became the meeting place for all of Kristiania’s citizens.

Professor Christen Heiberg's three-story building on the corner of Karl Johans gate 31 was one of a number of distinguished houses built around 1840 along the "New Palace Road", as Karl Johan was called in those days.

Today it seems logical to open a hotel in this newly fashionable district, but that was not the case at the time. Many of Fritzner's contemporaries tried to discourage him from opening a hotel so far away from what was then the center of Kristiania.

Blue hour in the mainstreet of Oslo, Norway

"Karl Johans Gate" the main street of Oslo used to be filled by pedestrians, cars and trams. The last years it have developed to more like a pedestrians street while cars and trams are no longer to be seen as before.  This is around 5 o'clock PM a cold afternoon in March 2017 in the blue hour.

From the net:
Karl Johans Gate stretches from the central railway station to the Royal Palace.
The street was laid at the Swedish-Norwegian King Charles Fourteenth Juhani, after whom later was named.

It is famous for a lot of small shops and stalls of street vendors, art galleries open-air performances of musicians and actors directly on the pavement.
Almost all the buildings on this street were built in the twenties and fifties of the nineteenth century by the court architect of the Norwegian Linstow, whose goal was to make the street, Karl Johans Gate in the "Champs Elysees" of Oslo.

The most notable building in the street - the central building of the University of Oslo, built in the classical style by the renowned Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

Blue hour by the Stortinget - The Parliament Building, Oslo, Norway

A Friday afternoon by the Parliament Building in Oslo. Some few pedestrians is passing and the compulsory begger is sitting there - "business as usual" . Another iphone 6+ photo.

Under a photo with the old university main building to the left.

From the net: 
The Storting is the Norwegian Parliament. It is the supreme arena for political debate and decision-making in the Kingdom of Norway.
The Storting represents the ultimate expression of the sovereignty of the Norwegian people. Through the Storting, it is the people who govern the country, introduce legislation, authorize public spending, impose taxes and control the work of the Government.

There are 169 elected Members of the Storting. Parliamentary elections take place every four years. There are no by-elections, nor is there any constitutional provision to dissolve the Storting between elections.

The system of parliamentary rule means that it is the Storting that determines the composition of the Norwegian Government. It is also the decision of the Storting to decide whether or not to initiate a referendum on a particular issue.