Woodstock Artists Cemetery~

A few minutes’ walk from the Woodstock Village Green, a zone often filled with lively music and art, there is a piece of green on a hillside filled with music and art, but in a little different way…….. This is the Woodstock Artists Cemetery, and its name came not from the founding family, who didn’t establish the cemetery with artists in mind, but from local residents who saw the place as a snobbish affront, a cemetery for the summer elite who fancied themselves too highly to rest for eternity among…

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Peppermint Pig: a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York~

Yes. Smashing this pink candy pig with a tiny hammer is a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York. Here, on Christmas Day families gather around tables to smash candies with hammers: a small pink candy with the shape of a peppermint pig, represent a tradition dating back to the 19th century. According to a local story, it was a regular quiet Christmas-Eve-night in the quaint Victorian village of Saratoga Springs. The first dusting of winter’s snow gathered in darkened downtown doorways and twirled by night’s wind seemed to…

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Helensburg Glowworm Tunnel~

After a hard shift on June 13, 1895 coal miner Robert Hales was walking home through the relatively short 80m Helensburgh Tunnel south of Sydney when a steam train appeared behind him. He ran, but not fast enough and his body was cleft in two with the halves found some distance apart. Some say his ghost still haunts the tunnel and can be seen running from the darkness as if trying to flee! Of course, this is just one of the legendary tales surrounding the abandoned railway tunnels on the…

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Lampreia de Ovos, an egg-based Christmas dessert which celebrate a bloodsucking fish!

Here we are: We are in Portugal, where for centuries nuns doubled as egg yolk–slinging pastry chefs, cementing the country’s specialty in yellow-coloured desserts. In religious houses, the egg whites were used for ironing, and the Convent Confectionery could evolve thanks to the use of the egg yolk surplus, which originated countless recipes. There’s for example ovos moles, small, seashell-shaped candies, or pão de ló de ovar, a decadent, gooey cake. Then there’s lampreia de ovos, perhaps the most unique among the yolk-based creations. The origin of the Egg Lamprey…

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The best Japanese craftsmen make a series of Furniture for Cats.

The tendency to create specific objects for pets is constantly increasing, thanks also to the media success that our small friends receive on social networks and on the web. The latest news comes from Japan, where, as we already know, cats are really loved. Just think of the famous chain of Cat Cafè Mocha, or Tashirojima, which is only one of the cats’ islands in Japan. Here, the Okawa furniture line was created, specially designed for cats. The campaign is titled “Craftsman MADE Okawa”, and aims to give a new…

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Venezuelan Pan de Jamón~

Here we are: In Venezuela, traditional Christmas bread is made with ham, raisins, and olives! The name pan de jamón, which mean “ham bread”, doesn’t do this Christmas pastry justice: rather than imagining white bread topped with a piece of ham, imagine a cinnamon roll. Then swap the glaze and cinnamon filling for a golden egg wash and thin slices of savory ham, keep the raisins and add pimento-stuffed olives. Not enough strange? Add also some bacon! So, this is pan de jamón. If a Venezuelan feel the aroma of…

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The Canada’s gnarliest tree.

Just a five-minute walk from the road outside Port Renfrew, British Columbia, Canada, the ancient cedars and Douglas firs have become a very popular attraction! This interesting grove is filled with large western red cedars and Douglas firs. All normal? Absolutely no, in fact, many trees seem to be growing out of each other, with knots as if there was a struggle to break free of their bark! The southern end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia has the perfect climate for growing trees: It gets plenty of rain and…

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Cougnou, a Christmas bread shaped like the baby Jesus

Here we are: We are in Belgium or in northern France, where bakers create a Christmas pastry that’s reminiscent of the shape of the baby Jesus himself! In the Southern Low Countries, is know also “bread of Jesus”. This pastry, often called cougnou, cougnolle, coquille de Noël, or with other different regional names, seems to have originated in ancient Hainaut, and it is a sweet brioche, sometimes studded or decorated with raisins, chocolate chips, or sugar crystals. Most often, it’s made of one large, elongated ball of dough in the…

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In Leiden, Netherlans, there is One of the few Floating Christmas Market in Europe.

We are in Leiden, Netherlands, where a market built atop boats is one of the few floating Christmas markets in Europe! As we know, Christmas markets are a very popular pastime in Europe and we can usually be found in every city. The differences between cities and countries is the size, the variety of products exposed, and location of the markets. For example, do you remember the ohbej ohbej Christmas market in Milan, Italy? However, the Christmas market in Leiden is unique in many ways because it floats on top…

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New Orleans: the tradition of Réveillon Dinner~

Here we are: It’s hard to image a city that takes culinary tradition more seriously than New Orleans, where old Creole dining customs and typical dishes contribute so much to the already distinctive local cuisine. But like every traditions, also here are open to change and evolve. The Reveillon dinner is the reincarnation of an old Creole holiday custom updated for modern tastes and lifestyles. This French Creole Christmas Eve tradition takes midnight munchies to a different level: after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, famished French Creoles of Louisiana returned…

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The Mystery of Rennes le Chateau.

It was a simple country priest to discover (and to keep hidden) what Rennes-le-Chateau has kept since the times of the Knights Templar. It has little more than a handful of inhabitants, but this little village of Aude, in France, is the destination of thousands of mystery lovers and simple curious, attracted by what is said about this singular place. Rennes-le-Chateau is nothing more than the receptacle of a unique legendary story for its variety of themes coming from very different cultural environments. The trait-d’union is an alleged treasure that…

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25# Merry Christmas to everybody!

Thanks to everyone for the many visits and appreciation to our advent calendar. Next year we will try to invent something new. Keep following us!!! Merry Christmas and a happy new year from me and all our fantastic collaborators! děkuju vám a přeju pohodové prožití vánočních svátků a úspěšný nový rok pro vás i vaše hosty! Pavel 🇨🇿 – Честита Коледа и Весела Нова Година! Пожелавам ти една Вълшебна Коледа, изпълнена с много приятни емоции и незабравими преживявания! (Ivan 🇧🇬) – This festive season is so much more than Christmas…

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24# The true story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer~

24 December! We now know that Christmas is associated with various legends and mythical and unusual characters since time immemorial. Among these, we have not yet speak about Rudolph, popularly known as “Santa’s ninth reindeer”. Rudolph is depicted as a reindeer with a glowing red nose, and is one of Santa Claus’s prized reindeers. Known for pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas, Rudolph’s nose is believed to light the path while Santa goes from house to house, placing gifts under the Christmas tree. There have been various television shows, movie, comics…

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Crimes, mysteries and ghosts in Beelitz, Germany.

Crimes, mysteries and ghosts: this is Beelitz, a famous abandoned German hospital, located near Berlin, exactly in the south-west part. The entire structure is made up of 60 buildings and was built in 1898. During this period, tuberculosis spread in Germany, and the hospital was built with the intention of hosting the tuberculosis patients, with the function of a sanatorium. This was far from population centers and therefore in the middle of nature, perfect for the sick. However, during the World War I, this structure became a military hospital, dedicated…

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23# Christmas around the world: traditions and customs from Canada~

Yes, it seems that today is my turn! Even if I come from different countries, and you don’t ask me the reason, today I’ll talk you about Christmas in Canada, the country where I was born. Today Christmas is celebrated in various ways and in particular traditions come from the French, British and American traditions. Christmas is generally defined as the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, but the feast has complex origins and ambiguous non-religious resonances. The origin of the name Christmas is the Old English Crïstes mæsse,…

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22# Silent Night and the Christmas truce.

This story is probably another chapter in the book of the countless Christmas legend, and another checkbox in our advent calendar! It was 1914 ,and soldiers on both sides of the battlefield somewhere in France were enduring a dark and frozen Christmas Eve night. During World War I, the Great War, eventually more than 10 million people died, and it is doubtless that the men of that Christmas Eve were contemplating much more beyond their longings for home and warmth and family. When soldiers on the German line placed candles…

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William Utermohlen: the artist who documented the progression of Alzheimer’s disease with harrowing self-portraits.

In 1995, at the age of 61, the American artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In response to his illness, the artist, who lived in London, began a series of self-portraits that depicted him as he saw himself. This is a difficult diagnosis and illness for anyone, and the artistic skills of the painter visibly deteriorated until it disappeared almost completely in the last self-portrait, made in 2000. The self-portraits of Utermohlen allow you to have an objective look at the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s symptoms…

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21# I tell you the very first American Christmas!

Once upon a time, in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean…..but not only all historians are really agree upon when it comes to the character of Christopher Columbus! There are really lot of historical proof that the first exploration of North America happened nearly 500 years before Columbus by Norse explorers who landed in modern day Newfoundland, or another stories…for example, do you remember the story of Madoc? But even if proof exists that Columbus was not the first one here, exists some proof that Columbus was the first to celebrate…

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New Orleans: the King Cake with a hidden baby Jesus inside~

Americans celebrates the new year with countless diets and lifestyle resolutions, but many people across the world, particularly those from predominantly Catholic countries, celebrate the calendar change with a sweet pastry known as king cake. Some associate it with Mardi Gras, others with the celebration of Epiphany. King cake is traditionally eaten on January 6 in honor of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which historically marks the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus. (The plastic baby hidden inside king cakes today is…

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20# The Halifax Christmas Disaster of 1917

The northern seaport city of Halifax, Nova Scotia on the eastern Canadian sea board, was recently in the news for the commemorative events surrounding the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Halifax was in fact the city of rescue for the Titanic, and more than 100 victims from the sinking are buried there, forever making the city a tourist destination for Titanic’s story enthusiasts. But there is another story, happened just five short years after the so famous sinking of the Titanic. December 1917. All we know the…

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5 Photos of People Laughing in the Face of Death

How would you feel when you are just inches away from a possible death? There are some brave soldiers who have laughed at death during the World War II. These soldiers are martyrs and they have sacrificed their lives for their motherland, and even death could not kill their virtue and honor. All wars cause death and destruction, and the images of the devastation caused by many past conflicts are often terrible. Some photographs, however, cause a special emotion, because are taken in a few moments, or a few hours,…

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19# I Saw three ships….

When thinking of Christmas, we think of Santa Claus, nativity, Christmas trees, lights….but when thinking of Christmas at sea, we probably immediately think of the traditional carol “I Saw Three Ships”. Did you know this song? Repeatedly made popular by interpretations in modern recording ranging from Sting to Amy Grant to traditional orchestras, it is a tune dating back to the 17th century. But the truth is that nobody really knows who wrote it or even what it entirely means. The lyrics have confounded historians for centuries and it is…

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Greece: The ruins of Old Navarino Castle

We are in Greece, where the ruins of a 13th-century fortress perched above a really breathtaking Mediterranean bay. Once an important observation place, it was built in Greece in the 13th century by the Franks, on the ruins оf an anсient аcrοpolis. Its strategic location made it a prime spot for protecting the bay and as such, it endured centuries of attacks and sieges. The Venetians gained control of the fortress in the 15th century, but soon the Ottomans attempted to stake their claim to the castle. The fortress passed…

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18# Why Christmas is celebrated on 25th December?

According to popular tradition, Christmas is celebrated on 25th December to celebrate the birth of Jesus. However, no records exist in the Bible or elsewhere to suggest that Jesus was actually born on this date, which raises an important question: why is Christmas celebrated on 25 th December? According to Catholic Encyclopaedia “there is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned Christ’s birth“. However there are lot of reasons to suggest that Jesus was probably not born in December. Firstly, Luke, in his gospel wrote…

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The Splendid Waves of the 19th century paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky.

The painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, in the nineteenth century, was the author of some of the most incredible paintings representing the sea. Of Russian-Armenian origin, he was one of the most important painters of his time, author of the painting “The Ninth Wave”, considered by many “the most beautiful work of a Russian”. The title of this incredible painting, in the image below, refers to an old sailing expression referring to a wave of incredible size that comes after a succession of incrementally larger waves. It depicts a sea after…

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17# Christmas Around the World: Czech traditions and Superstitions.

Christmas is coming, and today is already December 17th! We are very happy because our advent calendar is truly appreciated by readers from all over the world, and every day we have really lot of visitors! Our collaborators have already tells about Christmas in Slovenia, Milanese Panettone and the traditional Christmas market in Milan, and Christmas traditions in Bulgaria. So, Christmas is coming. It’s time to slow down, be more good (maybe), recharge batteries and spend some time with the closest friends, family, but also have fun with some Czech…

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Discover a gigantic unexplored cave in Canada.

A huge cave has been discovered hidden in the remote Canadian nature, and despite its overwhelming scale, researchers suggest it may never have been seen by human eyes before! We live in one era in which Google Maps, street view or similar are available in every smartphone, tablets, computers of billions of people on earth, so one would think that there are no unknown corners of our planet, but this thought is far from being reality! It was recently discovered in Canada, in the “Wells Gray Provincial Park”, a cave…

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16# Rare Vintage Photos of Christmas From the Victorian Era

It’s hard to imagine now, but at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration: many attribute the change to Queen Victoria, and it was her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert that introduced some of the most usual aspects of Christmas. In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert’s childhood in Germany. Soon every…

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15# Christmas around the world: Bulgaria.

Many countries in Eastern Europe celebrate Christmas on January 7th because most Orthodox Churches use still today the old Julian Calendar, but the Bulgarian Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December. For many Bulgarians, the preparations for Christmas start with Advent, which lasts 40 days in the Orthodox Church and starts on November 15th. According to one legend, Mary started her labor on Ignazhden, December 20th (Saint Ignatius of Antioch’s Day) and she gave birth on Christmas Eve but the birth of Jesus…

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14# The Christmas Spectre of Clarence Street.

There is an old house in Liverpool’s Clarence Street that is the theater of supernatural unrest every time the festive season is upon us. Here are heard the sounds of a disgruntled voice cursing a long-dead man named Charles and it happen on the Christmas Eve, when the ruffled ghost puts in an appearance. He is a man of around 50 years of age who wears a long purple velveteen coat, a grey waistcoat, and a pair of long narrow trousers. Over the years lot of people have seen him…

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