Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy

Posted by batman on Oct 28th, 2008
2008
Oct 28

Mont Saint-Michel is a small rocky island currently connected to the mainland by a causeway. Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy

According to legend, the Archaengel Michael appeared to a local bishop in 708 AD and told him to build a church on top of the rock. He did so, and over the centuries, the church grew into a large abbey. A town also developed on the slopes, and walls were built around the island for defense from invaders and pirates.

The Wonder of the Western World forms a tower in the heart of an immense bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe.

It was at the request of the Archangel Michel that Aubert, Bishop of Avranches built and consecrated a small church on the 16th October 709. In 966 a community of Benedictines settled on the rock at the request of the Duke of Normandy and the pre-Romanesque church was built before the year one thousand.

With Rome and Saint Jacques de Compostelle, this great spiritual and intellectual centre, was one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the Medieval occident. For nearly one thousand years men, women and children went there by roads called paths to paradise hoping for the assurance of eternity, given by the Archangel of judgement

Mont Saint-Michel, NormandyThe Abbey was turned into a prison during the days of the French Revolution and Empire, and needed to be restored before the end of the 19th century.

With the celebration of the monastic’s 1,000th anniversary, in the year 1966 a religious community moved back to what used to be the abbatial dwellings, perpuating prayer and welcome the original vocation of this place. Friars and sisters from “Les Fraternités Monastiques de Jerusalem” have been ensuring a spiritual presence since the year 2001.

At the same time as the abbey was developing a village grew up from the Middle Age. It flourished on the south-east side of the rock surrounded by walls dated for the most part from the Hundred Years war. This village has always had a commercial vocation.

UNESCO has classed the Mont Saint-Michel as a world heritage in 1979 and this mecca of tourism welcomes more than three million visitors a year.

TidesMont Saint-Michel, Normandy

Mont Saint Michel is always accessible, and the causeway is never recovered by the water. The water starts to rise up two hours before the high tide.

The parking lot is about 400 meters. Those can be recovered sometimes. Arriving on the car park, you will be told the place where you can leave your car. In case of high tide, you can let your car on the causeway. If there are too many cars you will have to use the parking lot at two kilometers. It is free of charge and situated at the entrance of the causeway.

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More Blue Bull Bashing

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

More rugby jokes

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

Good Looking

Blue Bulls player: “Doctor, doctor, every morning when I get up and look in the mirror – I feel like throwing up. What’s wrong with me?”

Doctor: “I don’t know, but your eyesight is perfect.”

Brave Call

A rugby referee died and went to heaven. Stopped by St Peter at the gates he was told that only brave people who had performed heroic deeds and had the courage of their convictions could enter. If the ref could describe a situation in his life where he had shown these characteristics, he would be allowed in.

“Well,” said the ref, “I was reffing a game between the Blue Bulls and Natal Sharks at Loftus Versveld. The Bulls were 2 points ahead, 1 minute to go. The Natal wing made a break, passed inside to his lock. The lock was driven on by his forwards, passed out to the flanker who ducked blind and went over in the corner. However, the flanker dropped the ball before he could ground it, and as Natal were clearly the better side all game, I ruled that he had dropped the ball down, not forward, and awarded the try.”

“OK, that was fairly brave of you, but I will have to check it in the book.” says Peter, and disappears to look it up. When he comes back he says “Sorry, there is no record of this. Can you help me to trace it? When did all this happen?”

The ref looked at his watch and replied “45 seconds ago.”

Vicious Rottweiler

2 boys are playing cricket on a field in Durban, one is attacked by a vicious Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy took his cricket bat and managed to wedge it down the dog’s collar and twist,luckily breaking the dog’s neck and stopping its attack. A reporter sees the incident, and rushes over to interview the boy.

“Young Sharks Fan Saves Friend From Vicious Animal, “he starts writing in his notebook.

“But I’m not a Sharks fan,” the little hero replied.

“Sorry, since we are in Durban, I just assumed you were,” said the reporter and starts again.

“Western Province Fan Rescues Friend from Horrific Attack …”

“I’m not a Western Province fan either!” the boy said.

“I assumed everyone in Durban was either for the Sharks or Western Province.” “So what team DO you root for?”

“I’m a Blue Bulls fan!” the child beamed.

The reporter starts a new sheet in his notebook and writes,

“Little Bastard from Pretoria Kills Beloved Family Pet

Little Willie

Little Willie was in his junior school class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up;-

Fireman, policeman, salesman, politician; Willie was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father.

“My father’s an exotic dancer in a gay club and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer’s really good, he’ll go out with a man, rent a cheap room and let them shag him.”

The teacher hurriedly set the other children to work on some colouring and then took Little Willie aside.

She asked him, “Is that really true about your father?”

“No,” said Willie, “My father plays rugby for the Blue Bulls, but I was just too embarrassed to say”.

Family Ties

Dear Dr Ruth,

I am a crack dealer in Kempton Park, Gauteng. I was recently diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in Hillbrow and one of my sisters, who lives in Benoni, is married to a transvestite.

My father and mother were recently arrested for growing and selling marijuana. They are financially dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Brakpan. I have two brothers; one is currently serving a non-parole life sentence at Leeukop Central Prison for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. My other brother is currently in jail awaiting charges of sexual misconduct with his three children.

I recently got engaged to marry a former prostitute who lives in Yeoville. She is now a part time “working girl”. All things considered, my problem is this. I love my fiancé and look forward to bringing her into the family. I certainly want to be totally open and honest with her. Should I tell her that my cousin is Luke Watson?

The Operation

An Englishman wanted to become an Irishman, so he visited a doctor to find out how to go about this. “Well” said the doctor, “this is a very delicate operation and there is a lot that can go wrong. I will have to remove half your brain”. “That’s OK” said the Englishman. “I’ve always wanted to be Irish and I’m prepared to take the risk”.

The operation went ahead but the Englishman woke to find a look of horror on the face of the doctor. “I’m so terribly sorry!!” the doctor said. “Instead of removing half the brain, I’ve taken the whole brain out”. The patient replied, “No worries, mate!!”

Balance

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for Six days. Eventually, Michael the Archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, “Where have you been?”

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look Michael, look what I’ve made.” Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, “What is it?”

“It’s a planet, replied God, “and I’ve put LIFE on it. I’m going to call it Earth and it’s going to be a great place of balance”.

“Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth.

“For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while Southern Europe is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot.”

“Over there I’ve placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people” God continued, pointing to different countries. “And over there, I call this place America.

North America will be rich and powerful and cold, while South America will be poor, and hot and friendly. And the little spot in the middle is Central America which is a Hot spot. Can you see the balance?”

“Yes” said the Archangel, impressed by Gods work, then he pointed to a smallish land mass and asked, “What’s that one?”

“Ah” said God. “That’s New Zealand, the most glorious place on Earth. There are beautiful mountains, rainforests, rivers, streams and an exquisite coast line. The people are good looking, intelligent and humorous and they’re going to be found traveling the world. They’ll be extremely sociable, hard-working and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace. I’m also going to give them super- human, undefeatable, strong in character citizens who will be admired and feared by all who come across them”.

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then exclaimed, “You said there will be BALANCE!”

God replied wisely. “Wait until you see the buggers I’m putting next to them”


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Blue Bulls Bashing

Posted by batman on Oct 24th, 2008
2008
Oct 24

Hugo Boss’s girls in Madrid’s Tennis Masters

Posted by batman on Oct 19th, 2008
2008
Oct 19

Hugo Boss's girls in Madrid's Tennis Masters Hugo Boss's girls in Madrid's Tennis Masters

Fashion models are replacing traditional ball boys and girls at the Tennis Masters Series in Madrid. Madrid organisers have done a good job of spicing up the men’s Masters tournament in recent years.

But unlike other tennis championships around the world, in Madrid the tennis stars come second.

Here it is the model ballgirls – all clad in pink and blue outfits emblazoned with Hugo Boss – who draw the crowds.

Despite drawing the ire of Spanish government officials, equality groups and even American hero Andre Agassi, the marketing stunt looks set to stay.

Not that this year’s testosterone-fuelled male tennis stars seemed to mind.

Top seed Tim Henman joined a chorus of players who can’t see what the fuss is about as a feminist Spanish politician goes to war against leggy models serving as ball girls at the Madrid Tennis Masters. “It’s all getting a bit serious, isn’t it?” said the Briton, whose wife is expecting their second baby, after being told that Spain’s secretary of state for equality, Soledad Murillo, has called for the tradition-busting experiment to be halted. “They are fomenting a clear discriminatory vision,” the female minister stormed in the local press, calling it a “sexual use of the image of women”. Hugo Boss's girls in Madrid's Tennis Masters

“The models are doing a job and are being paid for it – around 1,200 euros. It’s the fruit of a sponsorship deal.”Hugo Boss's girls in Madrid's Tennis Masters

Second seed Andre Agassi also gave his tentative seal of approval to the publicity attracting one-off, limited to night showcase matches. But he hasn’t had the chance to personally experience the phenomenon as his match was played during the day. “I think it’s something different, isn’t it? They certainly look good from where I’ve been sitting,” said Agassi.

The girls, all professional models in their late teens and early 20s, have been working at the Rockodromo to public appreciation.

Agassi added: “It was difficult, to say the least, to concentrate on the ball. But I suppose I had an advantage. I’m used to playing with my wife.”

With their long slit skirts, it’s the bending over which seems to pose the biggest problem as ball girls tend to be outfitted in shorts. “The skirts look like they’re a little difficult to run in – I think they need to be shorter maybe,” joked Agassi.

Spain’s Albert Costa, who fell to Henman today, said there was no issue. “I haven’t been influenced at all. In my opinion, they’re doing well. I think we’re talking too much about it, too much gossip. The goal of this new idea is to offer a show, but I don’t think it’s sexist.

But the girls are the ones to answer this question, how they feel. That’s up to them.”

One ballboy was reported to have aired a more economical than social complaint: “They give us a sandwich and the girls get a wage,” he said in sports paper Marca.

Back to the tennis…

I was really looking forward to yet another titanic struggle between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but things weren’t destined to go that way. First of all Federer succumbed to Andy Murray, without too much drama or fuss – perhaps his mind was also on Hugo’s girls?

Nadal seemed set for a comfortable victory as he quickly racked up the first set 6-3, and was cruising in the second against an apparantly exhausted Frenchman Gille Simon. But I remember the shot that changed Simon’s belief – one of many blistering forehands straight down the line, and from that point on he knew that he was actually in this match. He out-Nadal’ed Nadal – matching the long, patient rallies that Nadal normally uses to wear down his opponents. Nadal for once seemed to be the one being worn down, and making more mistakes, while Simon waited for his chance, before pouncing with the ferocity of a cat to blast a straight, flat forehand down the line.

When Simon was broken to trail 4-2 in the final set, it seemed all over. He looked visibly broken, and against a player with the credentials of Nadal, it seemed a mountain too high to climb. But climb it he did – he broke back immediately, and took the match into a tie-breaker. Once again he quickly fell behind in the tie-breaker, and again it looked all over. But incredibly, yet again he fought back to lead 5-3, and this time he didn’t let go. Nadal seemed the more worn-out player, ragged and making more mistakes than he’d normally make in a year. He was gracious in defeat, and had a smile for the likeable Frenchman who had played some scintilating, “Federesque” tennis to beat the world’s number one player.

Simon seemd pleased with this major achievement, but barely managed a walk around the court before practically collapsing in his chair. It would have been no surprise to see him wheeled of the track. One only hopes he has something left in the tank for tomorrow’s final against Britain’s Andy Murray.

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