Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tintern Abbey

Executive summary by darmansjah

Tintern Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on 9 May 1131. It is situated in the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye which forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England. It was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. It inspired William Wordsworth's poem "Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey", Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "Tears, Idle Tears", Allen Ginsberg's "Wales Visitation", and more than one painting by J. M. W. Turner. The village of Tintern adjoins the abbey ruins which are Grade I listed as of 29 September 2000.

The Ruins

In the next two centuries little or no interest was shown in the history of the site. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the ruins were inhabited by workers in the local wire works. However, in the mid eighteenth century it became fashionable to visit "wilder" parts of the country. The Wye Valley in particular was well known for its romantic and picturesque qualities and the ivy clad Abbey was frequented by "romantic" tourists. After the publication of the book Observations on the River Wye by the Reverend William Gilpin in 1782, tourists visited the site in droves. The importance of the abbey and its surroundings for later visitors is also reflected in Wordsworth's famous poem cited above, written in 1798. The site was best approached from the river until 1822, when a new turnpike road, now the A466, was opened through the valley, cutting through the abbey precinct. An engraving of Tintern Abbey was among the decorations of Fanny Price's sitting room in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

In the 19th century ruined abbeys became the focus for scholars, and architectural and archaeological investigations were undertaken. In 1901 the Abbey was bought by the crown from the Duke of Beaufort for £15,000. It was recognised as a monument of national importance and repair and maintenance works began to be carried out. In 1914 the Office of Works was passed responsibility for Tintern, and major structural repairs and partial reconstructions were undertaken — the ivy considered so romantic by the early tourists was removed.

American poet Allen Ginsberg took an acid trip at Tintern Abbey on July 28 1967, and wrote his poem Wales Visitation. In the poem, about nature, he wrote: "...the lambs on the tree-nooked hillside this day bleating/ heard in Blake's old ear, & the silent thought of Wordsworth in eld Stillness/ clouds passing through skeleton arches of Tintern Abbey-/ Bard Nameless as the Vast, babble to Vastness!"

Monday, December 30, 2013

Zermatt, Switzerland

Best For: Photographers with a taste for old-world culture and never-ending descents

executive summary by darmansjah

Switzerland is a country of classic ski towns, but Zermatt is its crown jewel. To many, it is the world’s ultimate ski resort. Though surrounded by several glacier-clad peaks, everything here—the town, the skiing, the sky—is dominated by the spiking pyramid of the mighty Matterhorn, one of the most distinctive mountains on Earth. The village itself allows only electric cars (you arrive by rail), and luxury hotels sit side by side with centuries-old wooden barns. Streets are narrow and cobbled; restaurants are abundant and expensive. It’s everything you imagine a Swiss ski village to be.

Zermatt offers three interconnected Swiss skiing zones, each with its own cluster of lifts and all skiable with a single ticket and accessible directly from town. There are also two ski zones just across the Italian border. The scenery is unrelentingly stunning but the skiing and snowboarding is even more so, with vertical drops of up to 7,152 feet on terrain that varies from never-ending cruisers to north-facing powder runs. The more than 50 on-mountain restaurants are among the finest anywhere, and taking time for a relaxed lunch is de rigueur.
Don’t miss the ride on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car—the highest in the Alps—on which you can descend 12 miles into the Italian area of Cervinia (joint lift tickets available), where a midday meal costs half the price you’d pay in Switzerland.

Ask a Local 

Longtime Zermatt resident Amadé Perrig is a former ski racer and instructor and the retired CEO of Zermatt Resort. He has climbed the Matterhorn more than 20 times. Here are his recommendations.

Best Digs 

Budget: Hotel Bahnhof is a simple, low-budget hotel that is well known by climbers.
Swank: The Mont Cervin Palace is an old, classic, five-star hotel.

Best Eats 

Cheap: Walliserkanne has a really good low-budget menu.

Gourmet: Try Chez Heini for high-quality lamb in the company of celebrities.

Best After-Ski Party Spot 

Unique Hotel Post Zermatt has five bars, including one with live music.

Tinakilly Country House

Executive summary by darmansjah

4-star Victorian hotel in Rathnew with a restaurant

Situated in a rural location, this hotel is close to Mount Usher Gardens, Wicklow's Historic Gaol, and Black Castle. Local attractions also include Wicklow Golf Club.
Hotel Features

In addition to a restaurant, Tinakilly Country House Hotel & Restaurant features a fitness facility. Other amenities include a bar/lounge and complimentary wireless Internet access.
Room Amenities

Televisions come with satellite channels. Guestrooms also feature complimentary wireless Internet access, coffee/tea makers, and desks.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dublin city centere area

Executive summary by darmansjah

light house

dublin harbor entrance

evening on the grand canal

st stephen greens

Cabello blanco, espalda con agobio, paso firme tiene la vida por delante------White hair, tired back , strong steps.... all his life in front - AnaMariaOss

Snow, Leinster Rd, Rathmines, Dublin