Saturday, 15 December 2012

Mezzo Elīna Garanča made the Christmas in Vienna 2007 concert truly remarkable

The wonderfully stylish and velvet voiced  Elīna Garanča made the Christmas in Vienna 2007 concert truly memorable.

Fortunately there are many Christmas and New Year's concerts to look forward to during the next two or three weeks on European television channels. While waiting for them, it was nice of French-German ARTE to resend the Christmas in Vienna concert from 2007, a couple of days ago. 

The setting, the Wiener Konzerhaus, the artists - mezzo Elīna Garanča, soprano Eteri Lamoris, tenor José Cura and baritone Paul Armin Edelmann - the orchestra - Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien led by Karel Mark Chichon - were all top class. 

However, again on this occasion, it was the wonderful and stylish Elīna Garanča who made the evening truly memorable. If you missed  Garanča and the others earlier this week, there is another chance to watch them in action on Wednesday, December 19. But you have to get up early - ARTE rebroadcasts the concert already at 6 AM. 

Simple pleasures nr. 22: Watching "UFOs" over Øresund

Yesterday afternoon, just when the sun was about to set, the light was nice. I shot these two pictures through my living room window. Apparently it was also perfect weather for UFOs.

The sky over Øresund is never the same.

On this picture you can clearly see the UFOs in the sky above Øresund. One of the UFOs appeared to be falling down.


Just joking about the UFOs. The "UFOs" in the picture are actually remnants of the recent blizzard on my living room window! 

Friday, 14 December 2012

The difference between autumn and winter

Two and a half months make quite a difference, as you can see below:

A scenery in Hittarp, Helsingborg, on September 30, 3012.

A scenery in Hittarp, Helsingborg, on December 13, 2012. 

CMA CGM Marco Polo - the world's largest container ship - visits Hamburg on its maiden voyage

The 16,020 standard container capacity of the CMA CGM Marco Polo would equate to a line of heavy goods vehicles around 138 kilometres long. 

In the early morning hours on Wednesday, December 12, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, the world's largest container ship, with a capacity of 16,020 standard containers, arrived in Hamburg on its first visit to a contintental European port. The 396 x 53,6 m mega-ship left Southampton two days earlier on its maiden voyage.

Both ships and they way they are loaded/unloaded have developed a lot during the last few decades. It's not SO long ago, when busy ports looked like this:

The French CMA CGM has two other ships of the same class as Marco Polo, in the pipeline for April next year. 

However, the CMA CGM will not hold the largest container ship title for very long. Danish Maersk, the largest container ship operator in the world, will already next summer take delivery of the first ship in the so-called Triple-E series, with a capacity of 18,270 containers.

The competition between the two major operators, Maersk and CMA CGM, tightens. Let's hope there are enough full containers for them to carry on the Seven Seas! 

We are not going to see giants like the CMA CGM Marco Polo here in the Sound - they are just too big. Instead one can hope that they will bring more work opportunities for feeder ships - like the one pictured below - which carry containers from Scandinavian ports to Hamburg and the other big continental container terminals. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Øresund as a magic winter "swan lake"

This afternoon, just before sunset, the Sound was transformed into a magic, winter "swan lake":

I could not resist adding a few other shots from the "swan lake":

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The schooner Nina on a cold December day in Helsingborg

The gorgeous schooner Nina was this afternoon waiting for the 2013 sailing season to begin at the Helsingborg Marina:

Christmas lights in Helsingborg

Christmas lights brighten up the dark season in Scandinavia. Here are some of the lights in Helsingborg, southern Sweden:

Monday, 10 December 2012

Views from my balcony (5): The Christmas tree

The Christmas tree looks nice, with Danish Zealand and Øresund in the background. The ship, barely visible, is the tanker Baltic Faith on its way to Klaipeda.

The Russian imperial yacht Standart in Stockholm in 1909

The imperial yacht Standart (128 x 15,8 m), built by Danish  Burmeister & Wain, was launched in 1895. Czar Nicholas II arrived in Stockholm on board the yacht in the summer of 1909. 

Today Russian oligarchs, among the Roman Abramovich, are known as the world's greatest spenders on luxury yachts. The tradition of owning huge yachts goes back to the Czars. The imperial yacht Standart, shown above moored in Stockholm in 1909, was a "suitable floating palace for the Russian Imperial Family". 

After the downfall of the Romanov dynasty, the Standart had a long history of service in the Soviet Navy:
The ship was renamed 18 marta(18 March), and later Marti. In 1932-1936, Marti was converted into a minelayer by the Marti yard in Leningrad. During the Second World War, Marti served in the Baltic, laying mines and bombarding shore positions along the coast. On 23 September 1941, Marti was damaged in an air attack at Kronstadt, but later repaired and continued service until the end of the war.
After the war, Marti was converted into a training ship and renamed Oka in 1957. She continued serving in that role until she was scrapped at TallinnEstonia, in 1963.
Read the entire article here

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lots of snow in southern Sweden

Today we have experienced a snowstorm here in southern Sweden. This was the view from my balcony at about 2 PM:

Two hours later, not very much snow was falling anymore, and the lights on the Christmas tree brightened the view:

And here is a picture of my neighbor playing with her dog at the Christmas tree, just as the sun was setting:

I have to admit that the "sun" on the photo is just a reflection from my camera light, when I shot the picture through the living room window. But it is a nice sun, isn't it?