Thursday, 29 January 2015

PENNYROYAL

Mentha pulegium, commonly (European) pennyroyal, also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae native to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Crushed pennyroyal leaves exhibit a very strong fragrance similar to spearmint. Pennyroyal is a traditional culinary herb, folk remedy, and abortifacient. The essential oil of pennyroyal is used in aromatherapy, and is also high in pulegone, a highly toxic volatile organic compound affecting liver and uterine function.

Pennyroyal was commonly used as a cooking herb by the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks often flavoured their wine with pennyroyal. A large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius call for the use of pennyroyal, often along with such herbs as lovage, oregano and coriander. Although it was commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it gradually fell out of use as a culinary herb and is seldom used as such today. The fresh or dried leaves of the plant were used to flavour pudding.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

COLMAR, ALSACE

Colmar (German between 1871–1918 and 1940–1945) is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. It is the seat of the prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department and the arrondissement of Colmar. The town is situated along the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the "capital of Alsatian wine" (capitale des vins d'Alsace). The city is renowned for its well preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece.

Mostly spared from the destructions of the French Revolution and the wars of 1870–1871, 1914–1918 and 1939–1945, the cityscape of old-town Colmar is homogenous and renowned among tourists. An area that is crossed by canals of the river Lauch (which formerly served as the butcher's, tanner's and fishmonger's quarter) is now called "little Venice" (la Petite Venise). Colmar's cityscape (and neighbouring Riquewihr's) served for the design of the Japanese animated film Howl's Moving Castle. Colmar's secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone, timber framing).

We visited Colmar in June 1999 and these photos date from then, hence the quality is not optimal, given I was using an early model digital camera with low resolution. However, the memories they bring back are crystal clear...

This post is part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.








Monday, 26 January 2015

EUREKA TOWER, MELBOURNE

Eureka Tower is a 297.3-metre skyscraper located in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Construction began in August 2002 and the exterior completed on 1 June 2006. The plaza was finished in June 2006 and the building was officially opened on 11 October 2006. The project was designed by Melbourne architectural firm Fender Katsalidis Architects and was built by Grocon (Grollo Australia).

The developer of the tower was Eureka Tower Pty Ltd, a joint venture consisting of Daniel Grollo (Grocon), investor Tab Fried and one of the Tower's architects Nonda Katsalidis. It was the world's tallest residential tower when measured to its highest floor, until surpassed by Ocean Heights and the HHHR Tower in Dubai. As of December 2013 it is the 14th tallest residential building in the world. It is currently the 98th tallest building in the world.

This post is part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

BUDDHA TOOTH TEMPLE, SINGAPORE

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum is a Buddhist temple and museum complex located in the Chinatown district of Singapore. The temple is based on the Tang dynasty architectural style and built to house the tooth relic of the historical Buddha. The ground breaking ceremony was conducted on 13 March 2005. Costing S$62 million and 2 years later, a soft launch was held to coincide with the 2007 Vesak Day celebration.

The building was conceptualised and designed by the temple’s Chief Abbot Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, aided by a team of local and overseas consultants. Its grand design is based on the elements and history of Tang Dynasty and the Buddhist Mandala, the latter which is a representation of the Buddhist universe. Other highlights found in this temple include the Buddhist Culture Museum, Eminent Sangha Museum, Sacred Light Hall, and a Theatre which holds cultural performances, talks and film screening.

It is claimed that the relic of Buddha from which it gains its name was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. It also houses other sacred relics of the Buddha, such as bone and tongue relics. The temple prides itself on the research done to ensure accuracy and authenticity on the design and architecture found here. Since opening, the temple has become a popular attraction within Chinatown. Simple vegetarian fare is served in the basement of the temple, and payment is by donation.

This post is part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme,
and also part of the Spiritual Sundays meme.








Friday, 23 January 2015

SOUTHBANK, MELBOURNE

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

FOREST GLADE

This lovely forest glade is found in the Dandenongs, a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest, predominantly of tall Mountain Ash trees and dense ferny undergrowth.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

MARVEL OF PERU

Mirabilis jalapa (the four o'clock flower or marvel of Peru) is the most commonly grown ornamental species of Mirabilis, and is available in a range of colours. Mirabilis in Latin means wonderful and Jalapa is a town in Mexico. Mirabilis jalapa is said to have been exported from the Peruvian Andes in 1540. The flowers usually open from late afternoon onwards, then producing a strong, sweet-smelling fragrance, hence the first of its common names. It belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family.

A curious aspect of this plant is that flowers of different colours can be found simultaneously on the same plant. Different colour variation in the flower and different colour flowers in same plant. Additionally, an individual flower can be splashed with different colours. Another interesting point is a colour-changing phenomenon. For example, in the yellow variety, as the plant matures, it can display flowers that gradually change to a dark pink colour. Similarly white flowers can change to light violet.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

VICTOR HARBOR, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Victor Harbor is a city on the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 80 km south of Adelaide, South Australia. The city is the largest population centre on the peninsula, with an economy based upon agriculture, fisheries and various industries. It is also a highly popular tourist destination, with the city's population greatly expanded during the summer holidays. A variety of swimming and surfing beaches tempt holiday makers.

Victor Harbor is the centre of the surf zone known as the "South Coast" to Adelaide and local surfers. Popular surf beaches in the area include Parsons, Waitpinga, Middleton and Goolwa. The Granite Island breakwater usually shields the town from waves. Victor Harbor also offers numerous fishing opportunities varying from offshore reefs for larger boat based anglers to excellent surf fishing on the beaches closer to the Murray Mouth.

This post is part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.






Thursday, 15 January 2015

TRACHELIUM

Trachelium caeruleum (common name blue throatwort) is a species of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae native to the Mediterranean, where its native range includes Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Sicily. It has also become naturalised in a few areas, including New Zealand, the Azores, and parts of mainland Europe.

Growing to 120 cm tall by 30 cm wide, it is a woody-based erect herbaceous perennial, with oval leaves and dense cushions of violet-purple flowers in summer. The specific epithet caeruleum means "dark blue". In temperate climates this plant is usually grown as a half-hardy annual for summer bedding schemes or planters. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. There are many cultivars with a variety of flower colours, including white, red, pink, and dark purple.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 14 January 2015

AMSTERDAM POSTCARD

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the Dutch capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands though it is not the seat of the Dutch government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 813,562 within the city-proper, 1,112,165 in the urban region and 1,575,263 in the greater metropolitan area. The city itself, contrary to the Dutch national institute of statistics, calculates the number of inhabitants in the greater metropolitan area to be 2,332,773.

The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin as a dam of the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I spent a few months living in Holland a couple of decades ago and I have fond memories of the city.

This post is part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

FOREST PATH

This photo was taken in Melbourne's Dandenongs. The Dandenong Ranges (commonly just the Dandenongs) are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest, predominantly of tall Mountain Ash trees and dense ferny undergrowth.

This post is part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

PONDERING & REFLECTING

This is one of the ponds at Latrobe University in Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia. At the weekends especially it is a great place for locals to meet and have fun - not to mention their dogs.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Weekly TopShot meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.






Friday, 9 January 2015