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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.

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31.12.09

The World: and how it keeps time

Dear Border Hoppers,

Although we don't normally like to consider the value of time (such a nuisance, it is), this "New Year" reminds us: it is a fascinating subject. Particularly when we consider how various peoples across the globe have chosen to measure it. And so we decided to do some searching.

The results:

Time, according to various sources

Happy New Year.


Prague, Czech Republic:


Astronomical Clock by simpologist
A famous lankmark on the side ot the Old Town Hall in Prague. An interesting history of the clock, which dates back to 1410, is here.


Hong Kong, China:


The Old Clock Tower by slack12
Clock Tower, Kowloon Star Ferry terminus, Hong Kong


Morocco:


Marrakech and a tale of astrological signs by Maryam Montague
"What's this?" she asked in an offhand manner.
"Oh, it's very old," he said. "It is one of those astrological devices used for guidance."
"For guidance? I could use some of that," she said.
And they both laughed.


Izmir, Turkey:


saat kulesi by hüseyin atilla
This clock tower, a symbol of Izmir, is located in Konak Square in the heart of the city. Construction in 1901 was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Abduhamit II's ruling.


Germany:


clock by LaurenQuitLollygagging
a coo coo clock from germany


Seattle, Washington, United States:


Zooming Clock by helpcraft
Pike Place Market clock early in the morning. #112 on Explore, November 20, 2007


Venice, Italy:


orologio by suaila
The astrological clock of Piazza San Marco


Los Angeles, United States:


Park Plaza Hotel Art Deco Clock by ANiceCupofTea
This unique art deco clock is above the entryway of the Park Plaza Hotel, near downtown Los Angeles. Originally built in 1925, the Park Plaza served as a prominent meeting place for Elks club members and guests. Bing Crosby, Jack Dempsey, and Eleanor Roosevelt were a few of the Lodge's "regulars." (Notice the elk in the center).

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20.12.09

Pagan Europe: border hopping, and how a tree did just that

A Western Christmas is not complete without a certain green, pine-scented masterpiece in every home. But where, many of us wonder, does this idea come from?

To start, well, it should be no surprise that Mary and Joseph did not decorate a tree upon the birth of Jesus. The holiday's origin is largely based on the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice. Winter... trees... we're getting somewhere, right?

But what of the all the tree's glitz?



With it's shining lights...



glittering balls



angels agleam



ornaments glittering



bells aringing?

Well, it's is a tradition perhaps mythical. In the harsh season of winter, food was scarce for the ancient pagans. The bulbous ornaments, often fruit-shaped, symbolize the harvest hoped to come next year. The tree itself is an evergreen: eternal life. And its origin?

According to Christian legend, the first tree was cut down and celebrated by Saint Boniface in Germany.


Käthe Wohlfahrt (Christmas Store), Rothenburg au de Tauber, Germany

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13.12.09

Auvergne: how a 10th century fortress earns a facelift



What to do with a 1,000-year-old castle full of a patchwork array of its lifetime's design trends? Preservation architect Joseph Pell Lombardi approached Château du Sailhant in Auvergne, France with immense respect for what appeared to be a bit of a split personality of a building. The surroundings are natural and romantic, the perfect stage for a revival of its 19th century livings. Lombardi was able to procure antiques from this period, revive its old wall paper scheme, and even adjust the floor plan to allow for the original great room—temporarily subdivided into bedrooms by a previous owner.

"If you're on a quest trying to go back in time, you're not always successful. It's essentially like time travel, and if you do find the answer to your quest, it is a little miraculous," he is quoted in Architectural Digest.












[images © Architectural Digest]

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