I'm very curious by nature, and I always have lots of questions, I like to know how things work ... And since we are confined, I have all the time necessary to tell you some of my discoveries.
I decided to continue my Series on London, and to tell you about 2 technical achievements that I’ve seen:
The Thames Barrier in London
The Channel Tunnel
The city of London, since its creation in the Roman era, has been the victim of sea floods, caused by high tides and storm surges, coming from the North Sea.
Following the terrible floods of 1953, a project to build a barrier was studied.
Finally, it was inaugurated by the Queen in 1982 after 10 years of construction.
It protects 1.3 million people, numerous sites and 67 underground stations…
This is the 2nd largest barrier in the world, 520 metres (1,710 ft) wide and 20m (66 ft) high.
Solidly anchored with concrete foundations, it consists of 10 steel gates, very wide to be able to withstand the pressure of the water and to stop the tide.
The 4 middle gates weigh 3,700 tonnes each, half the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
They’re activated by a hydraulic system and can close in 15 minutes.
This barrier will be operational until 2070, engineers are already considering the next innovation ...
When the dream of generations of English and French became reality in 1994, the year of its inauguration.
It took more than 5 years of construction, no less than 12,000 people, 2 teams (one English and one French) working 24/7, and 1 million tonnes of concrete.
Eleven tunnel boring machines - huge excavation machines - built specifically for this project, have extracted 10 million cubic metre of underwater rock.
In the end, 3 tunnels, 2 for train traffic and one service tunnel in the middle. Every 375m (1,230 ft) they are connected to each other by cross-passages.
If crossing the tunnel lasts only half an hour, it remains impressive when you think that it is 50km (31 mi) long, including 35km (21,75 mi) under the sea. Besides, above our heads, 80m (262 ft) of water and 40m (131 ft) of limestone.
The Eurostar is the most powerful locomotive in Europe, 3,000 tonnes to tow for an average of 140 km/h (87 mph).
But it’s also the most used railway in the world, up to 400 trains per day, or one entry into the tunnel every 4 minutes!
In 2018, 1.69 million trucks passed through the tunnel, 2.66 million cars and 22 million passengers.
And for those who want to learn more, here’s a video for you:
Read again my London Series:
My Birthday in London
The Royal Mews
The Design Museum
I love December
Happy New Year 2020
Have a good week!
Love & Genius,
This week, I take you to my adopted country, on the island that saw my rebirth, and by the way, the Orthodox celebrates Easter this weekend, a week after the Catholics.
Follow me to Santorini, Greece, to my favourite village: Pyrgos!
And to start this article, let me share with you a small extract from my book My Solo Wedding in Santorini:
When I finally passed the ceremonial table to stand behind, I noticed my ring. It was arranged on a small marble tile with the effigy of Santorini, and a wreath of bay leaves drawn on it. I had found it a few days before, in a small souvenir shop in Pyrgos. We went to visit this small traditional village on the heights of Santorini, with my sister and her fiancé. I fell in love with the place, its ruined old castle at the top of the hill, its ramparts, its 48 churches ... A peaceful and mystical atmosphere. This magic that I cannot explain but that enchants the whole island.
48 chapels or churches of any size, even though the village is very small, built on the hillside.
Santorini had 5 Venetian castles in the 15th century, and Pyrgos was the administrative city of the island.
Time, but also the terrible earthquake of 1956, turned this fortress into ruins.
Its maze of small alleys - typical of medieval architecture - which go up and down, with a surprise at every corner ...
No matter where you are, the view of the vineyards and the sea is magnificent, not to mention the sunset.
Pyrgos has plenty of cafes, restaurants and taverns, some of the best on the island, with this tasty Greek cuisine that brings people together.
This is where I celebrated my birthday in 2018!
Easter celebrations are very important in Greece, and traditions are still well respected.
During Good Friday, Pyrgos lights up with thousands of lanterns and candles.
A wonderful video at the end of the article, to make you live this magic.
Take care and stay at home!
Love & Light,
I know, it’s already Easter, this year in very special circumstances with this confinement because of Covid 19, which paralyses almost the entire planet.
Last week, we went around the world (read Friendship again), this time I'm going to show you one of the emblematic cathedrals of France: Reims.
Reims, even if known for its champagne, it’s more visited for its cathedral, which has been associated with this city for centuries.
Built in the 13th century and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, its majestic Gothic stature impresses with its 2,300 statues.
This Roman Catholic cathedral has been listed as Unesco World Heritage since 1991.
It was the place of coronation of the Kings of France until 1825, and it’s as impressive as Notre Dame de Paris, with its 2 facade towers reaching 266ft or 81.50m (226ft or 69m for Paris) and the height of the Nave under vault is 125ft or 38m (108ft or 33m for Notre Dame de Paris).
In addition, it innovates with frame windows called "rémoise window" (window of Reims), made of a rose above 2 lancets.
It has retained many original stained-glass windows, but it has also been enriched with contemporary stained-glass windows made by renowned artists such as Marc Chagall.
You’ve certainly noticed Joan of Arc in the Cathedral, she’s strongly linked to it, since in 1429, she accompanied Charles VII to be crowned King.
She’s celebrated during a festival, every year at the beginning of June, with many shows, music, dance, workshops, a medieval village and a parade on the last day.
But there’s a visit I particularly like, the access of the cathedral’s roof!
Don't be afraid of the 249 steps to climb, or the heights, but it's worth it: the city’s view is breathtaking.
You can also admire the many details of its facade and structure, as well as its lead roof.
This cathedral was severely damaged during the First World War, during the German bombardments, a fire completely ravaged the wooden frame in 1914. In 1920, it was finally rebuilt in reinforced concrete, including John D. Rockefeller Junior as one of the sponsors (yes yes, the Rockefeller family from New York, reread Christmas in New York).
And during this period, read again my article Chocolate, to succumb without feeling guilty…
Happy Easter everyone!
Love & Joy
We’re going to start our 4th week of lockdown in France, we’ve gotten used to it now, we know how to respect the space of the people with whom we are confined, we don’t eat the family packet of crisps in one go, and we’re learning to do gym at home.
I shared with you my daily activities in a video this week, I put it here for those who haven’t watch it (French subtitles available, click on CC / subtitles).
After going around the world last week, thanks to Las Vegas, I decided to check in with my friends living all over the planet, and you're going to assist me.
Let's start with Greece, which as you know has an important place in my life, since My Solo Wedding in Santorini.
They’re also confined since mid-March, tourist places and shops are closed, apart from supermarkets and pharmacies, unnecessary trips are prohibited, and Europeans arriving in Greece must self-confine for 14 days.
In short, they’re like us, however, they took strict measures from the first case of Covid19 on their territory, on February 27, which means that the country is very little affected.
I can't wait to go back there, but in the meantime let's dive back into the Greek blue with my articles:
My first TV Show
Rainy day in Athens
Series about Crete
Switzerland is less affected than France, with less restrictive measures so far.
I haven't yet shown you the charming city of Zurich with its lake and old houses, but I will soon.
No need to introduce this European city, I talked about it a lot in my special London series:
My Birthday in London
I love December
The Royal Mews
Happy New Year 2020 or How my dreams came true
In the Air 2 or Living on Mars
My friends are confined like us, some show great energy and creativity, like my friend Vincent, a gym & dance teacher, who gives live lessons from home on a donation basis. Don’t hesitate to inquire on his Instagram account: @vmerouze, you won’t regret it!!
The situation is difficult there, not all states are confined, fortunately people discipline themselves with social distancing and self-quarantine.
Difficult to know when we’ll be able to go there again, fortunately there are my blog & souvenir photos:
Spas around the World
Christmas in New York
In the Air (Grand Canyon)
Country that welcomed me for 7 years, and which remains very dear to my heart, as proof the certificate of friendship given by the Mayor of Brisbane at the time.
The measures put in place are less restrictive than in France, people are invited to stay at home, work from home is encouraged, no more than 2 people to go out or do the groceries, and only Australians can return but they’re quarantined in hotels.
You can re-read my previous articles:
Christmas in Brisbane
My Favourite Animals
Since March 24, no more entry and transit for foreigners, residents can return but only under certain conditions and with an authorisation. And as of April 7, they’ll be in total confinement like us.
To relax, read my article Spas Around the World, in which I had already made you discover this Asian city.
Obviously, a little tour of France: Paris, Reims, Grenoble, Annecy, Albertville, Marseille ...
To read again:
My Birthday in Paris
Christmas in Paris
Rainy day at Epernay
A special thought for my friends working for the French Embassy in Morocco, and for the French Embassy in Mali.
If you need more distraction, go to the Travel Page to read more.
Some of my favourite posts:
Rainy day in Madrid
Friendship has no border, no skin colour, no religion. My friends have diverse nationalities, various religions, different cultures and lifestyles, without forgetting my friends from the LGBTQ community: read Superwomen 3 again.
I wouldn’t be who I am without their infallible support and their love, I think very much of you, and I’ll come to visit you as soon as this pandemic is over!!
Have a beautiful week!
Love & Friends,