Tag: history

Impressions from District Six

District Six is a former residential neighborhood in Cape Town. It’s pretty central, within the so-called city bowl. And, weirdly, it’s a pretty barren area in the middle of town. It is barren and abandoned, as over 60.000 of its inhabitants were forcibly removed from their homes during the 1970s under apartheid laws, when the regime declared the area a whites-only neighborhood. The…

Signal Hill: listen to the noon canon

You can tell tourists and Capetonians apart very easily. Just wait for noon. When you hear the boom, tourists will look around confused, wondering what that was. Capetonians will look at their watch. And maybe set it. Since 1806, every day at noon, a canon is fired from the – appropriately named – Signal Hill. Rising over the neighborhoods of…

Day trip to Versailles

For my birthday, I took a day off, hopped on the Thalys high speed train to Paris, fetched my sister and went on a day trip to Versailles. I had last gone in the spring of 1999. I do not remember much, except that I found it eerily empty. It was probably in preparation to the renovations they had planned,…

Barbary coast

San Francisco is a city born in the gold rush. Within a short time it went from a small town of some 1.000 people to the biggest city on the West coast. On March 28, 1776, the Spanish established the Presidio of San Francisco, an then built the Mission San Francisco de Asís, what is today Mission Dolores. Some years…

Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t know he was a son of Atlanta. Actually, I realized, I didn’t know that much about him, at all, except his fight against segregation and for human rights, and a vague memory of his ‘I have a dream’ speech that we read in English major in high school. So I reserved half a day to visit the Martin…