I was going for I hike in a very good mood.
Now I’m sad.
What I’ve seen brought many memories back.
Twenty-three years ago. I’m still in school.
46 people get up on an autumn’s morning. They have different lives, different nationalities and speak different languages. Some are men, some are women, some are rich while others are looking for a better life. Some are leaving their home, some are returning home. All different lives with only one thing in common: they’re all going to die soon, and they don’t know.
The Alps have always been an important part of Europe.
They are geographically important, representing 11% of Europe’s surface and heavily influencing its climate. They are important from a historical point of view, as they were a barrier for people movements and trade. They are culturally important for a shared, cross-national Alpine culture has developed on their valleys and mountains.
Matterhorn, at the border between Italy and Switzerland
Local lifestyle and the way the Alps are seen from the outside have both changed dramatically during recent decades. From a remote, hard-to-live-in region where economy was mainly based on livestock, the Alps turned into one of the most important tourist destinations in Europe, especially in winter.
This is not a surprise, since the Alps provide awe-inspiring and majestic views.
If you’ve ever been on the bottom of one their valleys, which look like being hollowed out of the surrounding rocky walls, or on a flower-covered meadow on the top of a hill with high snowy peaks all around, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Besides, since the Alps are made of high mountains spanning for several hundreds of miles, they are a natural venue for countless ski slopes and related resorts. Here is one of them featuring the highest suspension bridge in Europe.
Let’s check some facts about Europe’s most famous mountain range.
During a conclave, Catholic Church cardinals are confined in the Sistine chapel and in their quarters for all the duration of new pope’s election. They are not allowed any contact with the rest of the world.
Let’s take a look at some little-known details.
1. Conclave is an Italianization of the Latin words cum + clavis, literally meaning “with a key”, that is, “locked inside.”
2. Conclave is the oldest method of election in the world among the ones still in use.
3. Nowadays a Faraday cage is installed to shield mobile phone or Wi-Fi communication in and out. Failing in obeying the no-external-contact rule can result in excommunication.
4. Current electoral body for the election of a new pope–the College of Cardinals–was designated nearly 1000 years ago, in 1059.
Before that, popes could be elected by either the people, noble families, or any kind of then-powerful lobby. German emperors and Italian kings usually made a lot of pressure as to who should be elected.
5. Any baptized catholic could be theoretically elected pope. However, last election of a non-cardinal pope took place in 1378. Therefore, if you hoped of being the new pope and you’re not a cardinal, give up your hopes. It’s their business.
He seems to be thinking thoroughly before answering my question. After a long pause, he says “I think that our people did something unforgivable somewhere in Eastern Europe and as a consequence they had to run and hide. And what place would have been better than this to hide, where nobody else would like to live!”
Actually the place we are talking about is awesome. By looking out of the window, I can see a nearly flat land covered in woods and snow, with some granite formations coming out of the ground.
However, living here until a few decades ago must not have been that easy. A long winter, with temperature easily reaching minus 20 F, must have made life hard. For most part of the year there weren’t even crops, leaving only animal food available.
That may explain why I see butter and dried bread available everywhere in the cafeteria. Food habits always tell a lot about a people’s history. Just as much as their language.
But I have a lot more questions about the Finns other than a simple “why are you here?”
Here is a possible solution for a budget accommodation in St. Petersburg’s charming — and expensive — city center
St. Petersburg, Russia, is an extremely charming city.
It was built starting from early XVIII century in the north-western corner of the then Russian Empire on a then freshly annexed land, following a war.
Some historians believe that the act of building St. Petersburg, which was so close to Scandinavia and Prussian territories, and making it the new capital, was the turning point that transformed Russia from a remote Asian empire into a European country.
St. Petersburg is home to a wonderful and large historic center that makes it the most charming city in Russia. Its center partly resembles Italian and French towns, thanks to architects from those countries who were hired by the tsars and helped designing it.
Such beauty and charm, however, don’t come without a price. Although Russia is still a convenient country for westerners, an accommodation in St. Petersburg’s center can cost well over $100.
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