Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Culinary regions of Spain – Ribera del Duero and Rueda

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Ribero del Duero BodegasRibera del Duero
The Duero is a river inextricably linked to wine. Rising in highlands near another famous Spanish wine region, La Rioja, it trickles its way through the arid, dusty plains of Old Castile en route to Portugal, where it becomes the mighty Douro, whose terraced slopes are cultivated with grapes that give rise to the country’s many varieties of Port Wine. Compared to this landscape not unlike the German Rhineland, the Spanish wine growing region of Ribera del Duero is somewhat of a poor relative, parched and plain in comparison, yet it is here that some of the finest wines in Spain are produced. (more…)

Vanilla, go on a culinary voyage of discovery

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Vanilla can easily be described as one of tVanilla London - Loungehe coolest new eateries in town. Descending steps from street level you have the impression of entering a club, a sensation that is enhanced as you step into the Vanilla Lounge, the bar and lounge area that makes up the ‘vanilla flower’ as it were. Following this theme the tones are soft creams, diffused with coloured lighting that creates a wonderful blend of vodka bar cool and retro futurism. Call me crazy but the latter always gets me a little excited. No dreary standard contemporary décor here then; that interior designer was not hired for the job. (more…)

Royal Siam

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

At once mysterious and welcoming, Thailand is a tropical paradise with hidden depths beyond its beaches, spa resorts and nightlife.

A Thai Buddhist monkTypically South East Asian, Thailand is the confluence of three great cultures. Dominated for centuries by the neighbouring Khmer, the people of Thailand have also been strongly influenced by India and China. From early Hindu influences through to Buddhist conversion, the Thai have borrowed from their Indian and Chinese neighbours to create a distinctive identity of their own. While many of these traditions may have their origins in the India of classical times, and while a large percentage of the population is of Chinese extraction, the resulting mix is a spicy blend that can be rightly labelled as Thai.

The Thai, or Siamese, state was established when the country broke free from the yoke of its Khmer masters and established the first of several dynasties, the Sukhothai, in the 13th century. From then on, the nation became a major power in the region, eventually even wreaking its revenge on the Khmer as the 15th century Kingdom of Ayutthaya invaded modern-day Cambodia and destroyed the old Khmer capital at Angkor. Smaller kingdoms competed for power until the nation was finally unified in the late 18th century and bordering areas incorporated under King Rama I, founder of the Chakri dynasty that rules to this day. (more…)

Daniel Libeskind villas, Marbella

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Exterior Libeskind Villas in MarbellaWith an ultramodern project designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, the man charged with designing the new World Trade Centre site in New York, Marbella has attracted a project of true architectural significance.

One of the leading architects of our time, Daniel Libeskind has also added to an already impressive list of great American designers. A sought-after guest lecturer at universities around the world, his work is inspired by the possibilities of a new era in which technology, media and novel materials are pushing the definitions of conventional living spaces towards new boundaries.

Noted for his impressive public and commercial projects, Libeskind also brings the expressive freedom of these genres into the design of private homes, as in the case of the Libeskind Villas in Marbella. Offering the kind of quality, comfort and luxurious living environment expected from a modern villa these homes reject rectangular spaces, conventional materials and construction techniques in favour of the angularity of a new age. (more…)

Classic safari

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Photography Wilderness Safaris & Caroline Culbert

On safari in NamibiaIt is hard these days to see and experience the Africa of old, as described by the likes of Ernest Hemingway in the days of the classic safari, when wildlife roamed the open African savannah and tom-toms sounded from within hidden villages. Fortunately there are still pockets where Africa lives on in all its glory.

One such pocket, indeed a sizeable one, is Namibia. Situated to the northwest of South Africa, this is a country that stands out for its peace, stability and relative prosperity. Quite in contrast to most of the continent, it is not plagued by coups d’etat, unrest and famine, but has enjoyed many years of growth, building on natural resources such as minerals, its wildlife and scenic beauty, and a population that is small enough in relation to resources to allow a good standard of living. (more…)