A minha Lista de blogues

quinta-feira, 30 de outubro de 2014

The Republic Day of Turkey / 29 Ekim Cumhuriyet Bayramı

The Republic Day of Turkey commemorates the proclamation of the republic on 29th October 1923, after the fall of the Otoman Empire.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was then elected as the first President of the Republic of Turkey.

I lived in Ankara from 1989 till 1993 and my kids first attended school there.

With the exception of The First Gulf War and the war in former Jugoslavia those were very good and memorable years with many holidays in the historic sites, wonderful beaches and the unforgettable Istambul. 

Priene, Turkey

            Marmaris, Turkey

As the Turkish ambassador said today, due to its geopolitical position and History, Turkey can exercise its influence in Europe, in the Black Sea Region, in the Middle East area, in the Mediterranean borders, like a permanent bridge between peoples and civilizations.

Güle güle Türkiye!!! 

terça-feira, 28 de outubro de 2014

a história por detrás da lanterna...

"Abóbora" turca em cobre 

Hoje em dia, quando pensamos em Jack O´Lantern, imediatamente associamos a sua imagem a uma abóbora esculpida como se tratasse de um espectro fantasmagórico assustador com a sua iluminação interior de velas. Contudo, sabias que na Irlanda, onde nasceu a tradição baseada no mito de “Stingy Jack”, nem sequer envolvia uma abóbora? Originalmente, eram usados nabos ou batatas e só nos EUA os imigrantes irlandeses, encontrando abóboras em abundância, resolveram prosseguir essa tradição utilizando-as. As abóboras tornaram-se então parte integrante das comemorações do Halloween, cuja celebração aos poucos se tem espalhado pelo mundo.

Diz a lenda que “Stingy Jack” tentou enganar o próprio Diabo por diversas vezes. Como no final nem sequer o Diabo o queria ver no Inferno mandou-o para o submundo. E parece que Stingy Jack continua a andar por lá, iluminado por uma acha de carvão, oferecida pelo Diabo … daí passou a chamar-se Jack O’Lantern.

segunda-feira, 27 de outubro de 2014

Dylan Thomas- 100 years

Clown in the Moon

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer. He was born on October 27, 1914, in Swansea, South Wales. Today marks 100 years since his birth.

UN: 69 years old

The United Nations (UN) was created 69 years ago on October 24th. All over these decades the UN has dealt with different and complex international issues from conflicts to wars and violations of human rights, environmental protection, as well as many others.

Created by the General Assembly in 2006, to replace the 60-year-old UN Commission on Human Rights the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and to make recommendations on them. 

The council's 47 members are elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the 193 members of the General Assembly.

On last  October 21st, the General Assembly, in one round of secret balloting at UN Headquarters in New York, elected 15 countries, (Albania, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, El Salvador, Ghana, Latvia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar,) to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2015.

Congo, India and Indonesia, whose terms were due to expire at the end of this year, were re-elected. Members of the Council serve for a period of three years. They are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The distribution of seats for the current election was as follows: 4 seats allotted to the African States Group; 4 for the Asia-Pacific Group; 2 for the Eastern European Group; 3 for the Latin American and Caribbean Group; and 2 for the Western European and Other States Group.

In the Group of Western European and other States, Portugal won 184 votes and the Netherlands got 172 votes.

Those elected will be joining in the following States, who will remain on the Council: Algeria (2016); Argentina (2015); Brazil (2015); China (2016); Côte d’Ivoire (2015); Cuba (2016); Estonia (2015); Ethiopia (2015); France (2016); Gabon (2015); Germany (2015); Ireland (2015); Japan (2015); Kazakhstan (2015); Kenya (2015): Maldives (2016): Mexico (2016): Montenegro (2015); Morocco (2016); Namibia (2016); Pakistan (2015); Republic of Korea (2015); Russia (2016); Saud Arabia (2016); Sierra Leone (2015); South Africa (2016); the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2016); United Arab Emirates (2015); United Kingdom (2016); United States (2015); Venezuela (2015); and Viet Nam (2016).

domingo, 26 de outubro de 2014

José Gregorio Hernández

José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919) was a Venezuelan doctor who was called “doctor of the poor” because he rushed to help at the first call and never asked any questions to know if his services would be paid or not.

He was born in Isnotú, a town lost at the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes in the state of Trujillo, Venezuela. His birthplace was declared by the Venezuelan authorities a "Spiritual Place". Thousands of people go there to visit the Sanctuary, built in his honour just to thank him for his miraculous healings and support.

The streets that lead to the Sanctuary are filled with shops, which sell everything that is connected with him.

In this small temple stained-glass windows with the image of Jose Gregorio attract the attention of vistors .

Most of all the Sanctuary strikes by an enormous number of placards, on which people express their gratitude to the doctor for his assistance .

On the occasion of his 150th anniversary, on October 26, 2014, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Venezuela called on all Catholics to attend Mass and thank God "for the life and example of this great Venezuelan and implore his speedy beatification" . Around one hundred and fifty thousand people are expected to attend.

I visited Isnotú in 2008 when I drove from Caracas to the Venezuelan Andes passing by Trujillo.

In Tujillo I also saw the monument to the Virgin of Peace, a very tall structure built in 1983 (bicentenary of the birth of Simón Bolívar). It is the tallest statue to the Virgin in the world (taller than the statue of Liberty in New York or the statue of Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro).

This monument is also an extraordinary viewpoint.

The city of Trujillo seen from the monument

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a way of making better use of the natural daylight by setting your clock forward one hour during the summer months, and back again in the fall.

It was first introduced by US inventor Benjamin Franklin in 1784. In his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” he proposed to economize the use of candles by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning to make use of the morning sunlight.

Germany was the first country to implement DST. Clocks there were first turned forward at 11:00 p.m. (23:00) on April 30, 1916.

Northern hemisphere summer
Southern hemisphere summer

Never used DST
Used DST in the past

DST is now in use in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over a billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another. 

The European Union adopted the “Summer Time” period that was used in the United Kingdom for many years, where DST begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

Sunday, October 26, 2 am

TIME explains Daylight Saving Time

quarta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2014

Peru, a travel destination

Today I went to the embassy of Peru and had the opportunity to learn a lot about the country where I intend to spend my holidays next year.

Lima: visit the Historic Centre

Fly to Cuzco, take the train to Machu Picchu (4 hours)

Fly to Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Iquitos is the largest city in the world that is inaccessible by road- it can only be reached by airplane or boat. Explore the Amazon river on a cruise.

In the meanwhile I appreciated beautiful Peruvian silver frames, jewellery and handcrafts to the sound of Peruvian music, folk dance and a sample of its exquisite cuisine.

terça-feira, 21 de outubro de 2014

The Semi-State Rooms

The Semi-State Rooms are among the most richly decorated interiors in Winsor Castle and are used by The Queen for official entertaining. They were severely damaged by the fire of 1992, although, luckily, their contents had been moved elsewhere at the time. They were completely restored to their 19th-century appearance using the original designs supplied to George IV.

One of the best times of the year to visit Windsor Castle is between 27 September 2014 and 29 March 2015, when the private apartments created for George IV are open. 

I won´t miss them in December together with the spectacular Queen Mary´s dolls´ house.

domingo, 19 de outubro de 2014

The Germany of the Caribbean


It was founded in 1843 by a group of German settlers from the Schwarzwald (Black Forest / Selva Negra).

The village followed the mother culture for a century and people lived isolated from Venezuelan life. The first hotel, La Selva Negra opened in 1938. It was a hard work to build it as there were no roads and the materials had to be carried by mules. 

Nowadays you can reach Colonia Tovar following the beautiful Victoria route. 

It was only in the 1940´s that Spanish was introduced as the mother language and the prohibition to marry outside the community was abandoned.

In 1963 a paved road reached Colonia Tovar from the capital, Caracas.

Nowadays the town is a touristic attraction. At weekends it is full of people, mainly from the capital, who want to glimpse the traditional architecture.

The streets are filled with stalls selling fruit, vegetables, sweets, conserves and crafts

The old style German restaurants can´t be missed

quinta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2014

Poema de um Funcionário Cansado

Poema de um Funcionário Cansado

A noite trocou-me os sonhos e as mãos

dispersou-me os amigos

tenho o coração confundido e a rua é estreita

estreita em cada passo

as casas engolem-nos


estou num quarto só num quarto só

com os sonhos trocados

com toda a vida às avessas a arder num quarto só

Sou um funcionário apagado

um funcionário triste

a minha alma não acompanha a minha mão

Débito e Crédito Débito e Crédito

a minha alma não dança com os números

tento escondê-la envergonhado

o chefe apanhou-me com o olho lírico na gaiola do quintal em frente

e debitou-me na minha conta de empregado

Sou um funcionário cansado dum dia exemplar

Por que não me sinto orgulhoso de ter cumprido o meu dever?

Por que me sinto irremediavelmente perdido no meu cansaço?

Soletro velhas palavras generosas

flor rapariga amigo menino

irmão beijo namorada

mãe estrela música

São as palavras cruzadas do meu sonho

palavras soterradas na prisão da minha vida

isto todas as noites do mundo numa só noite comprida

num quarto só.

António Ramos Rosa

segunda-feira, 13 de outubro de 2014

Simón Bolívar, El Libertador

Portrait of Simón Bolívar by José Gil de Castro. 1824.
Collection of the Bolívar Museum. Caracas

Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) has been portrayed in many different ways. However it is said Bolívar considered this one, by the Peruvian artist, the closest to reality.

The different portraits of Bolívar. Bolívar Museum. Caracas

Bolívar as a young man and one of his last pictures 

A recent reconstruction of his face after the exhumation of his remains in 2010

Register of his baptism in the Cathedral of Caracas.
Bolívar Museum. Caracas

Baptismal font where Bolívar was baptized. It is 400 years  old (upper part) and belonged to the Cathedral of Caracas.

Bolívar Museum. Caracas

Simón Bolívar was born on July 24 1783, in Caracas. His parents were D. Juan Vicent Bolívar and Concepción Palacios y Sojo. The  Bolívar surname came from an aristocratic family in Spain who settled in Venezuela in the 16th century.

The ethymology of his name means millstone in Basque.

Coat of arms of his family in an old piece of furniture and in a 1920 painting

Simón Bolivar´s family was devoted to the Holy Trinity. This altarpiece is from San Francisco church (18th century). The painting is by Tito Salas, as most of the paintings in his house.

Bolivar´s house opened as a museum in 1921. The furniture is from the 18th and 19th centuries. Except for a few pieces, it didn´t belong to this house- it was donated to the museum.

The wealth of his family came from estates, a sugar plantation and mines. The size of his house, some old furniture and decorations reveal the richness of his family.

This wardrobe belonged to his sister Maria Antonia who always remained faithful to the Spanish crown

Picture of his cousin painted by the famous painter Tovar y Tovar

China imported from Europe

Huge mirror from his mother

This litter that was carried by 4 slaves also belonged to his mother

A palia used in the process of sugar production can be seen in Bolívar´s birthplace in Caracas, now a museum.

Simón Bolívar was soon after his birth entrusted to the care of the family's slave la negra Hipolita. He received private lessons from Andrés Bello  and Don Simón Rodriguez, who later became Bolívar's friend and mentor.

He had short stature and his shoes were size 36

Following the early deaths of his parents, Bolívar travelled to Mexico, France and Spain. In Madrid he met and married his only wife, María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaiza. Less than a year after returning to Venezuela with her, she died from yellow fever. Bolivar would later refer to her death as the turning point of his life, as the recent Venezuelan/ Spanish production of  El Libertador tried to show:

Detail of a painting about his wedding. It is rather curious to note that Bolívar is the one holding the bouquet of flowers. According to tradition it was the youngest  who should carry the flowers and his wife was older than him.

Detail of a painting by Tito Salas Battle of Araure in which Bolivar was named El Libertador

In 2008 I visted the historical centre in Trujillo, Casa de Guerra e Muerte, where Simón Bolivar signed the famous document on 15th June 1813.

Here we could also see some objects he used when he slept in this house.

As a man of the military, Bolívar was instrumental in South America, in the fight against Spanish rule and became the leader of their independence. Caracas was retaken in 1813 and Bolívar was hailed as El Libertador. Afterwards he entered Bogotá in 1814, recapturing the city. 1821 saw the creation of the Gran Colombia, under his leadership. This federation included much of what is now Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador. In 1824 he became leader of  Peru, and Bolivia, named after Símon Bolívar, was created in 1825.

A ball was staged at Quinta de Anauco in Caracas in honour of Simón Bolívar’s last night in his hometown, in July 1827: he was never to return alive.

It is very interesting to visit Bolívar´s House and Museum in Caracas, where you can find many obects that belonged to him:

A pair of tiny pistols that he carried in his sleeves

 A neck protector

Beautiful this mini suitcase bar. The bottles have the shape of books.

The rim of this kitchen utensil is sharp so that  the slaves could not taste the cacao

Bogotá, Colombia.
 Museo Nacional

Quinta de Bolívar, Bogotá, is a country mansion that was donated to Simón Bolívar in gratitude for his services. He used it as a retreat on various occasions. It is now a museum furnished in the style of Bolívar´s time filled with some of his possessions.

Bolívar´s room. Quinta Bolívar. Bogotá

Jose Palacio´s bedroom

Jose Palacio was a freed slave born in 1770. At the age of 22 he vowed to Bolívar´s mother, on her deathbed, that he would accompany and look after her son, Simón, who was then only 9 years old and he fullfilled his promise. Bolívar left him the sum of 8000 pesos in his will as a compensation for his services.

Bolívar died at the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in the island of Santa Marta, Colombia in 1830 and was repatriated to Caracas in 1842.

Bolivar´s name was given to some of the most important plazas in the capitals of South American countries he helped to make free from the Spanish rule.

Plaza Bolivar, Caracas                  

              Plaza Bolívar, Bogotá

Plaza Bolívar Panama

If you travel in Venezuela, you will find many cities with beautiful statues of their hero riding his horse Paloma.

Plaza Bolívar, Mérida                                                                                Plaza Bolívar, Cordero

I particularly like this painting by Tito Salas where Simón Bolivar is portrayed as a civilian. Perhaps the idea was to show his human side.

This is when my family and I met someone impersonating Simón Bolivar in Caracas

Famous Quotes:

"The continuation of authority has frequently proved the undoing of democratic governments. Repeated elections are essential to the system of popular governments, because there is nothing so dangerous as to suffer power to be vested for a long time in one citizen. The people become accustomed to obeying him, and he becomes accustomed to commanding, hence the origin of usurpation and tyranny".

"The first duty of a government is to give education to the people"