One of my favourite spots to stop while in Amsterdam is for homemade appeltaart at the Café Winkel (Noordermarkt 43). Located in the beautiful and tranquil Jordaan area, this is quite possibly the best apple tart in Amsterdam! Raisins and large chunks of cinnamon rolled apples are packed into a perfect crumbly crust and topped with fresh whipped cream. The apple tart goes great with a cappuccino before hitting the Saturday morning market at the Noordermarkt. Make sure to arrive here early in order to avoid the long line-ups. While inside the Café Winkel, large apple pies are cut into hefty slices and placed on the many waiting plates as orders begin to fly off the counter. After the Noordermarkt stop over at the nearby Lindenmarkt and pick-up a fresh bunch of dahlias or tulips.
On February 20, 1989, the Old Bathurst Post Office in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada was designated a Provincial Historic Site and its history shares ties to the Confederation of Canada. The Old Bathurst Post Office is clearly the most significant historic building in the city of Bathurst. 2015 will mark the 130 year anniversary since this iconic building was strategically constructed where the Village and Station Bridges (today's Causeway) meet. For the next 130 years the Old Bathurst Post Office has stood the test of time and throughout time it has become the highly recognizable and iconic landmark of the City of Bathurst. The Romanesque Revival styled structure was commissioned by the federal government under Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald and designed by Thomas Fuller, the country's chief architect at the time (1881 - 1896). Thomas Fuller (B: March 8, 1823 - D: September, 1898) is one of Canada's most prolific architects and is famously known as the architect responsible for the design of our majestic Parliament Buildings (Library of Parliament & House of Parliament) in Ottawa. Other notable buildings designed by Fuller include the Royal Military College (Kingston, ON), Halifax Armoury (Halifax, NS), and New York State Capitol Building (Albany, New York, USA).
The Golden Age of Canadian Architecture
The Old Bathurst Post Office is 1 of 81 unique and individually designed post offices constructed as part of a government initiative which was carried out in the early days of confederation and a period considered to be "the golden age of federal architecture in Canada" (1881 - 1896). Today, less than half of the federal post office buildings (34) have survived with 10 in Atlantic Canada and only 4 remaining in the Province of New Brunswick (Miramichi, St. Stephen, Sussex, & Bathurst). Today, these government buildings are most often utilized for their original intent (ie. post offices) but also as town halls, cultural/information centres, military barracks, and/or to house various municipal departments. The City of Bathurst is privileged to own a Thomas Fuller building with ties to our nation's early beginnings.
The strategic property at the corner of Douglas Avenue and Main Street was first acquired from A.J.H. Stewart at a cost of $990. In November 1884, a construction contract was awarded to builder John Black from Hull, Quebec who supervised production. The building materials consist of red brick made locally by a Mr. Heffner and sandstone which was shipped from a quarry in Grand-Anse by way of a schooner. The masonry structure of 2.5 stories was built over a five year period and part of the costs were voted on and raised by the citizens of Bathurst (Pop. 4,800 at the time). In 1889, the cost of the 4-faced clock was $2,000 and the building and grounds were approximately $33,706. Notable architectural details include a mansard roof, Italian bracket and hipped roof, basement cut of solid stone, voussoir arched windows and doors, soffits decorated with serrations, circular and spiral staircases between the main floors, decorative sheet metal ceiling, 4-story tower, half-circle miniature tower, and capped with a 4-sided illuminated clock face.
For most of its existence the building served as a Post Office and Customs House until 1959 when postal operations moved to a new building and the Department of National Defence purchased it to serve as an armoury for the 2nd Battalion Royal New Brunswick Regiment. The DND utilized the building for 35 years until a new armoury was constructed in 1994. A few years later on March 10, 1997, The Department of National Defence gifted this historic building to the city of Bathurst in exchange for the city’s commitment to preserve and restore the building’s heritage value. Jessica Ryan of the Bathurst Heritage Trust Commission Inc. was instrumental in helping make this initiative happen. The most recent tenant of the property was the Nepisiguit River Company.
In 1991, a Dutch/Canadian clock designer by the name of Wilhelmus "Bill" Bongers (1933 - 2012), originally from Hoorn, Netherlands, moved to the city of Bathurst. Mr. Bongers, who was often referred to as the "Clock Man", took on the daunting challenge of trying to make the old town clock operational again. Bill Bongers was successful in this restoration initiative and exactly 20 years ago (January 1, 1994), the 4-sided illuminated clock of the Old Bathurst Post Office began ticking once again.
2013 - Current
In recent years, the City of Bathurst has struggled to find a tenant for this prime real-estate property and so it has unfortunately remained vacant. In December 2013, it was announced that a newly formed non-profit community radio station, Phantom FM 103.3 (Bathurst Radio Inc.) would become the new tenant of the Old Bathurst Post Office. This is great news and the presence of a community radio station will bring life to the historic building and help improve activity in the downtown business area.
The Musée Océanographique in Monaco-Ville first opened its doors to the public in 1910. This impressive museum was built by Monaco's Prince Albert the 1st but it is often associated with famed French explorer and naval officer Jacques Cousteau, who served as the museum's director from 1957 - 1988. Cousteau's little yellow submarine still sits on display in front of this massive stone building, which is dramatically perched on the cliff side overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The lower-level aquarium area is home to 4,000 different species of fish (starfish, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, eels, etc.) including a massive shark tank which can be viewed from all sides. On the upper floors of the museum one can view a variety of interesting displays from Prince Albert and Cousteau's collections including model ships, animal skeletons, tools, and weapons. It's easy to spend a few hours here and still not see everything.
The tiny principality of Monaco never ceases to amaze me with all it has to offer. On my fourth visit to this lavish area of the world, I finally manage to find my way to what has eluded me all these visits, Le Jardin Exotique du Monaco. Le jardin exotique was first opened to the public in 1933 and boasts over 1,000 species of plants from tropical locations around the world (Mexico, South Africa, and the Middle East). The collection of plants in these gardens actually began earlier in 1895. Perched high-up on a cliffside, the exotic gardens provides soothing breezes and amazing glimpses of the sparkling turquoise ocean (Baie des Anges) and Monaco-Ville (The Rock). Winding down the cliff on a series of winding pathways, I take in the details of hundreds of giant cacti and succulents on this hot sunny afternoon. There is no right or wrong way to navigate through the gardens, as all paths lead you down to an observation deck and a huge cavern in the cliffside. I await the tour guide who brings me down a staircase and deep into the grotto. Inside, stalactites and stalagmites hang from the cavernous ceiling. Approximately 100 steps back up to the surface proves to be a challenging hike but well worth the visit.
Since 1955, the independent non-profit organization, World Press Photo has selected, judged, and promoted the best of international photojournalism. Every year from early April to mid-June, WPP kicks off its worldwide travelling exhibit at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Attending the World Press Photo launch has become one of my favorite traditions while visiting the Netherlands. This past summer I took in my third WPP exhibit of striking and profound images documenting the battle for Libya, the aftermath of Japan’s Tsunami, scenes from North Korea, and an inside view of Mexican drug cartels. This year’s “Photo of the Year” is of a Yemen tear gas victim, by New York Times correspondent, Samuel Aranda. For more information on World Press Photo visit: www.worldpressphoto.com
We arrive in remote Keflavik (Iceland) on a red-eye flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. From the lack of sleep and time difference, fatigue settles in quickly during the early bus ride into a barren and rocky landscape. In the distance we see steam rising near a mountain range. On this sunny June morning, we arrive at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa where we experience the exclusive lounge. From our private room we enter the warm lagoon and exit through a side door out into a turquoise landscape. Enjoying the cool Icelandic air and steam as we swim through a rock cave and under a bridge out into the open waters. We apply the white muddy silica to our faces and float around in the mineral-rich seawater for a few hours. Under the high morning sun, a drink at the floating bar and rinse under the waterfall finishes off the experience. A perfect way to kill a ten hour stopover.
Later, at the Lava Restaurant, we take on the lunch buffet of whale, salmon, herring, roast lamb, and an assortment of Icelandic specialities. A rooftop patio provides a panoramic view of the spa and surrounding area. We head back to the Keflavik Airport well rested and refreshed for our next leg of the journey, the Netherlands.
Attended the 2012 Nuit Blanche arts & culture event held in Amsterdam, Netherlands on the evening of June 16. A beautiful summer night out exploring this great city and searching unique events in interesting venues. Throughout the night we took in a wide variety of art exhibits, music, live performances, and sampled exotic culinary delights. The night began at the floating pagoda style Sea Palace for supper, live music, dance performance, and a fashion show. At het Ruyterhuis a tattoo artist demonstrated his inking skills on a pigs head.
After searching a series of small streets near the Rokin, we finally locate Brakke Grond. A Belgian arts & culture centre where Lucha Libre style wrestling is about to begin. The shows begins and after a while the smell of Belgian fries and sweat prevails. The crowd screams as they are edged on by a taunting wrestler. After a few matches we head into the red light district where we visit the Bethanienklooster, a former 15th century monastary. In the dark space, a bearded man sits meditating and confined in a box as odd sounds ring throughout the vaulted space. To end the night we cross a few canal bridges towards the Oude Kerk where we hear the sounds of Red Light Radio playing. In the inner courtyard a bbq with homemade beer is served until noise complaints close the place down. We call it a night and head back to the houseboat.
A portrait of the Daly Point Nature Reserve in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Read about it in the March 2012 issue of Saltscapes, Canada's East Coast Magazine. Read the full story here: http://hurrah.ca/sanctuary