European Lakes & Mountains

There are few exotic destinations which combine luxury, beauty, relaxation and wild adventure quite as comprehensively as the top lakes and mountain destinations in Europe. Although they are often underestimated as being suitable for only winter skiing, a lakes and mountain holiday has a lot more to offer than just sport. The mountains of Europe are a magnet for poetry lovers as well as those who wish to surround themselves with the unsurpassed beauty of nature. Whatever your particular travel requirement, here is a unique selection of Europes’ most exciting and also most relaxing, lakes and mountains exotic travel destinations.

KITZBÜHEL, AUSTRIA
Kitzbühel is a small medieval town of the Tyrol, which is situated in the Kitzbühel Alps on the Kitzbüheler Ache river. Its valley location and charming cobbled streets offer an impressive selection of exclusive shops and cafes as well as a casino. Kitzbühel is a ski resort of international renown; one of the largest in Austria with 168 kilometers of slopes, as well as 40 kilometers of groomed cross-country skiing tracks. There is also the relatively new 3S Cable Car, which has the highest above ground span in the world. Kitzbühel is an extremely exclusive resort, which caters for the most discerning of travellers, and is popular with celebrities and the jet set. The town is vibrant during in the summer, with tennis championships as well as boating activities on the stunning lake Schwarzsee…Read More

Jo Nesbo: Writer & Rock Star

With work as diverse as a footballer, journalist, stockbroker, taxi driver and rock star; Jo Nesbo arrived late to his most successful career as an internationally acclaimed writer. His series of novels feature the troubled Norwegian detective, Harry Hole; who has many personal problems as well as a vicious bunch of psychopathic killers to deal with. The series has been internationally successful, selling seventeen million copies worldwide, “My Harry Hole novels have been translated into more than forty languages, but I still get a kick out of it when a book arrives in the mail and the only word I recognize is my own name on the cover,’ he said.

For many years Jo has been playing guitar and singing alongside his brother Knut in the Norwegian rock band Di Derre, which translates roughly to, ‘Those Guys.’ Music and performing are obviously still very important to him, despite his literary success.

Jo is an enigmatic character, charming, yet aloof. He is known to be exceptionally private about his personal life. Many readers and critics have speculated on the similarities between his fictional detective and himself.  Both seem to be very concerned about political and social problems in Norway. His novel, ‘Redbreast,’ contains a character with psychopathic, right-wing Nazi sympathies. There appears to be a sense of duality, in the seemingly idyllic society in Norway, and its violent undercurrents, which date back to the Second World War.

Jo Nesbo’s interest in this subject is not entirely surprising as his parents fought on opposing sides during the Second World War. His mother was a member of Norway’s Resistance movement: his father fought for the Germans. It is an unusual family history, even for an enigmatic writer; but then nothing about Jo Nesbo or his alter ego, detective Harry Hole, is predictable. “Harry is like all of us; we fall apart. The only question is how fast,” he said.

Literary Prescription

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This unusual science fiction novel is set in a boarding school in East Sussex in England. It is clear from the beginning of the story, that there is something deeply disturbing happening at the school. The children are forced to take precious care of their health; they are not taught any normal life skills, but are encouraged by their teachers, ‘the guardians’ to produce art and poetry, which is taken away by the mysterious ‘Madame. It is gradually revealed, that the children are clones, and their sole purpose is to have their organs harvested for transplants for ‘normal’ citizens. The three main characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, develop close bonds which resonate throughout the novel; Kathy and Tommy sharing a deep love and attraction, which is deliberately thwarted by Ruth. Kathy becomes ‘a carer,’ looking after the clones who have already had surgery, while her friends ‘complete,’ meaning they have no further usable organs to donate. The novel presents a terrifyingly bleak picture of lives which are considered to be less than human. It is a poignant and beautifully written story.

Read more…

Exotic Destinations – Far East

For many, travelling is much more than a mere physical experience, it is an opportunity to sample different cultures, broaden horizons and extend personal knowledge; developing a sense of awareness of the infinite variety of life on our planet. The Far East offers an abundance of exotic destinations which are both physically enticing and spiritually rewarding. If you are seeking something extraordinary; here is our Status selection…

THE FORBIDDEN CITY, CHINA
In the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City was once the ceremonial heart of the Chinese empire; the symbol of power during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Surrounded by a broad moat, which reflects the stunning array of buildings, which include the Palace of Supreme Harmony, where the emperor was crowned and held court upon the gilded Dragon Throne. The Forbidden City is a vast imperial palace complex and the world’s largest group of persevered wooden structures, containing some superb art works from both dynasties. The Forbidden City remained China’s political centre until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912, although the imperial court remained in residence until 1924, when China’s new rulers converted it into the Palace Museum...Read More

Nicola Tesla: The Man Who Electrified the World

Nikola-Tesla-07-620x350“Like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams of my motor. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.” Nicola Tesla.

The word ‘genius’ conjures images of brilliant, eccentric individuals such as Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, gifted thinkers, who challenged and changed the reality of our modern universe. Nicola Tesla, a contemporary of both of these historical figures, was a master of innovation; his accomplishments and vision, influencing the future of the world with his inventions of ‘AC current,’ the ‘Tesla coil’ and motors, wireless energy transmission, the telegraph system, as well as significant developments in x-rays and radar; some of his ideas which are still widely used today.teslareading

Born in a small village in what is now known as Croatia, Nicola was a delicate child, with a passion for engineering. After a first class education, he was brought to the attention of Thomas Edison with whom he worked briefly in 1884, while perfecting his new invention, ‘AC’ or alternating electrical current system. This invention placed him in competition with Edison’s own ‘DC’ or direct current system, which was widely used in America at that time. But it was not only Edison’s lack of vision and his overtly commercial attitude which irritated Tesla, but also his method of working; leading to an inevitable parting of the ways, after a dispute over an unpaid work bonus,

“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search… I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.” said Tesla.

Edison was furious at Tesla’s apparent disrespect, having regarded himself as his mentor; the famous inventor launched a vicious campaign to brand Tesla’s AC current as dangerous and impractical, in the minds of the American public. Edison even stooped to distasteful demonstrations, such as publicly electrocuting a small dog with AC current, in order to prove his point. The feud intensified at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, where Tesla conducted demonstrations of his new AC system, proving beyond doubt its superior safety, efficiency and advanced transmission across greater distances. This event was a major turning point for Tesla, and with backing from George Westinghouse, who had already bought many of Tesla’s patents, Tesla’s Polyphase AC current, powered the first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls, and Edison finally lost the battle of the currents.

In 1900, Tesla began working on his most controversial project; a global communication system conducted through a large, electrical tower, with the aim of providing a single source of free energy, available throughout the entire world!  His idea was to harness the natural energy from the sea, wind and sun, sending it into the ionosphere, where it would generate unlimited amounts of energy. Obviously this was an extremely radical idea, which both astounded and also appalled Tesla’s financial backer, J .P. Morgan, who famously asked, “If anyone can draw on the power, where do we put the meter?” Unfortunately the system had to be abandoned for many practical reasons, but predominantly, Morgan’s withdrawal of financial backing; and so Tesla’s, stunning Wardenclyffe Tower was destroyed. Conspiracy theories abound to this day, as to the potential of ‘free energy’ and the real reasons the project was shut down.

In our modern world, Tesla’s work has inspired a whole new generation of engineers and scientists using his theories, with inventions such as the MRI scanner and the advancement of wireless energy transmission as a source of power for motor vehicles. There very are few scientist and inventors whose personal drive and vision has changed the world so dramatically, and to many, Nicola Tesla embodies the very definition of the word ‘genius.’

 

© Sonia Kilvington 2013

 

Travel Blog

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 Hi!  If you didn’t already know, I have a travel blog on blogger,  and here is my latest post at:

http://soniawriter.blogspot.com/2015/05/bucharest-romanitic-romania.html

 If you fancy a little armchair travelling, why not let me whisk  you away to an exotic destination?

Exiles Guest Blog: Exiles – The short story behind the short story by Sonia Kilvington

Exiles is free today at Amazon!!

Paul D. Brazill

Exiles cover preview (1)Being a very willing exile living in Cyprus, I was delighted to be asked by Paul D. Brazill to join the ‘Exiles’ gang with a short story for the exciting, new noir crime collection. In time, I have encountered many different types of exile, some who have chosen to escape from unworkable or painful situations, others who feel they have been subjected to a type of banishment, both geographical and social, which has been unwillingly thrust upon them.  I have also discovered that state of self-imposed exile quite often occurs as a reaction against a dysfunctional family situation, as it does in my story, ‘Disappearing Act.’

Generally there are parallels between my characters and myself, although at first glance they are not always obvious, even to me! My character in the story ‘Disappearing Act’ is a woman who has spent her life struggling to be appreciated…

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