This is a story based on what actually happened. Young German, Manfred, could not make peace with the reality he got to live in. A few years ago, soldiers created an enormous wall in Berlin, separating his home city into two parts. The sight of this giant concrete wall, surrounded by barbed wire, touched his heartstrings every time he smoke a cigarette in the window of his flat on Bernauer Strasse. But now, everything was ready for him to change his fate.
If a maritime catastrophe expert was asked about an example of one of the most interesting stories, he would probably mention the case of Vasa. In 1961, this very warship was taken out of the sea to be examined by scientists. It is known for being the most expensive and the most decorated ship in the 17th century’s Sweden. The ship that, after sailing 1,300 metres, sunk in the harbour of Stockholm. This embarrassing distance unfortunately did not live up to the expectations people had of Vasa, which was supposed to outshine all the military units on the Baltic Sea at that time.
The inhabitants of London were living in an unbelievable fear for many months. Rumours had it that thousands of people were dying in pain due to an uncurable disease that spread from the Mediterrenean Sea. The hopes of being untouched by the plague became as short-lived as a soap bubble once people started to become infected. One of London’s doctors was examining another person today, whose symptoms resembled the typical signs of the Black Death.
The engineering talent of aqueduct builders from ancient Rome has always astounded me. During those times, the majority of people were happy to use the water from rivers and wells, while building aqueducts, which were supposed to provide water for enormous Roman cities, was a true challenge. Water pipes had not been yet invented, so water had to be coming down. But what if the water source was many kilometers away?
At a first glance, the answer to this question seems ridiculously easy. These masterpieces survived in written forms in books and on digital devices. Of course, the contemporary copies of books of distinguished thought leaders of ancient times are copies of the originals.
Waging of war often requires using not only strength, but also wit. During World War I, Germany, wanting to weaken the Russian Empire, with which it fought fiercly, came up with an canny idea. They found a revolutionist, the so-called Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (lated named Lenin) and sent him away to Russia so that he starts a revolution there that should weaken the tsar enough that the Germans have no one to fight with. Oh this German pragmatism!
Contrary to what one might expect, life of a black fly is not an easy one. Depending on conditions, adult insects live up to a mere few weeks. It’s not a long time to live a life to the fullest and to pass down one’s genetic material. The hero of our story, a male black fly, is about to fulfill its life’s mission. He is only 9 days old, but has already reached sexual maturity. Sadly, he will soon learn that one can be sometimes blinded by love.
Most of the travellers coming to Portugal start their visit from Algarve or Lisbon. In the former, they look for relaxation on beautiful beaches, and in the latter, they want to get to know the capital and occasionally its surroundings. We forget a bit that there are other equally or even more interesting places to see in Portugal. I recently visited the region around the city of Porto.
What would an ancient Roman say about architecture and sculptures of today? Probably something along those lines... "They say all change is good. Of course I do appreciate when a civilization develops and I think the world should be going forward. Back in my times, I gladly welcomed aqueducts to our region and I’ve taken a liking to town baths, as well as to the new social system – finally I had a chance for social advancement. I also understand cultural changes and technological advances. But what is happening in Italy nowadays, with the presumed successors of ancient Rome, is beyond outrageous!
If somebody ever tells you that you’re like a salt in their wound, don’t take offence right away. Instead, remember that salt was once worth as much as gold and grain. Additionally, it was very important in traditional beliefs. It’s still present in superstitions and proverbs. For ages salt has been used to make butter, preserve meat and other food, as well as was given to the cattle and used in the process of tanning animal skins. It was either mined or gathered from salt pans, which influenced its steep price.
17 March 45 BC a battle that is supposed to end the civil war breaks out. 30 thousand soldiers are about to fight for Caesar against Gnaeus Pompeius. Caesar has promised his soldiers that this is going to be their last fight after all the hardship they had to endure for the past 16 years on the area from Brittany to North Africa and from Spain to Greece. Now they are on a slope below Munda and are awaiting the signal for battle. And here it is!
In the 14th century, between the years 1322 and 1324, Europe was struck by especially severe winters. It was so freezing cold for months that even the whole Baltic froze. Merchants, military and bandits made use of this bizarre situation and used the frozen sea as a shortcut. Resourceful innkeepers were overjoyed and started building their inns in the middle of the sea. Special construction of the furnaces prevented them from melting the ice underneath. Seems unreal, right?
Randy often hiked in Yellowstone National Park. For years he had been getting to know this area first with guides, then with larger groups of friends, to finally decide on a lonesome trek in the beautiful surroundings. He packed some food to go and set off early in the morning to explore the Park. After a few kilometers of hiking, he noticed a mama bear with her cubs in a distance. What did he do wrong when trying to save himself? Everything.
„Dad, I think I’m going back home. Poland's Lublin is not that bad, nor is uni. I’ve even learned a lot, but I’ll try to go more to the West, maybe back to the States altogether. Nobody’s picking on me, my buddies are very nice and helpful, do not call names on "capitalists" and are able to score goods on the black market… And the problem is exactly with that weird scoring.
Vincent van Gogh spent the majority of his life in poverty. During his lifetime, he sold only one piece of art, despite having painted over two thousand of them. He committed a suicide one year after leaving a psychiatric hospital. Franz Schubert became famous only 60 years after his demise. Prior to his death, he gave only one public concert which turned out to be… a flop. Actually, some of the greatest painters in the human history died before reaching 30 and were forgotten for about 20 thousand years.
If we could hear the thoughts of Queen Isabella of Bavaria, they would probably go more or less like this... "Ruling over the 15th century French court is all blood, sweat and tears. Especially, if you are a woman and even more so if you are a foreigner. My courtiers often grimace at my harsh Germanic accent and call me Queen Isabella of Bavaria...
Jesus is sentenced to death. Soldiers decorate his head with a crown of thorns. They put a cross on his back, which he carries to the top of Calvary in sweat and tears. He is nailed to the cross and put amongst the other condemned men. He is left to die of exhaustion and of the wounds he’s suffering. When the guards aren’t looking, Jesus takes his chance, slips off the cross and runs away. Is that not what happened? It would have been, had the Romans not known how to crucify people.
Inhabitants of a small Roman town in the Gulf of Naples by the foot of Mount Vesuvius are confident about their future – the fertile soil of this place once again secured a great grape harvest. Marcus Nonius Dama, a former slave from Syria, now a full citizen of Rome, lives in one of the stone houses by the main street. He and his family are getting ready for a meal when suddenly the earth begins to shake.