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The Winter Sun

The sun is special during the winter time at the polar circle. First and foremost because it is scarce. Depending on the latitude our home star even disappears for a couple of months and the world remains dark. Slowly the sun raises again every day a little bit more, shy in the beginning it dares going higher with the weeks passing by. In this time of the year the few hours of daylight are encompassed with a very particular light and it provides little warmth in a bitterly cold and hostile (though beautiful) environment.

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Tropics of Thailand

When flying from Bangkok to Southern Thailand you notice some changes immediately after leaving the airplane. The Thai capital is not exactly known for cool temperatures, but soon you learn the difference between hot and tropical hot. It is not the temperature itself though but the high humidity that makes the largest difference. Some of our electrical equipment actually could not cope with these conditions and I got some droplets of water in the back camera of my iPhone. Not because I went swimming with the device but solely coming from the extreme humidity.

Also there are tropical rain showers awaiting you, these are definitely different than rain in Europe. Of course it depends on the season; there are two basically, the raining season and the dry season. Although coming into the dry season it can occasionally rain as well. Mostly it happens in the evening when the high humidity rises up and discharges in the atmosphere, thus creating heavy (but fairly quick) rain showers and thunderstorms. Under these conditions the nature is very different then in tempered climate zones, but more diverse then you would think. Of course there is the jungle and exotic animals (picture 6), but also beautiful lagoons and even pine trees. Of course the endless blue sea dominates everything in Southern Thailand and the coast is fascinating itself with rough rock formations and bizarre little islands (pictures 1, 2, 5, 7). Also the tide is surprisingly strong, at some places uncovering the sea floor for many hours during the day (picture 3) and showingcasing a rich biotope of many different kinds of crabs and crustacean.

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SPQR

SPQR short for latin “Senatus Populusque Romanus”: A leading principle of the politics of ancient Rome, meaning the rule of the senate and the people, became something like a slogan for the empire. The four letters remain present in the modern metropole and can be seen for example on manholes. A vivid reminder of the vast history of this city spanning many thousands of years and its role in the development of modern stateship and democracy.

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Capital of an Empire

Rome today is an economic oriented and liberal European city much like Paris, Madrid or Prague. It offers its residents and visitors alike all advantages of metropoles like a vibrant nightlife or shopping streets. Beneath this Rome though lies another city, an ancient behemoth and important cradle of Western civilisation – the capital of a forgone Empire which spanned almost the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean, at the same time being an antipode to the similarly developed Chinese Empire in the far east. Ancient Rome was a metropole of grandiosity with large temples and treasures beyond imagination, where gladiators fought in large stadiums to entertain the masses and the corrupt political elite discussed the faith of the continent in glamorous bath houses or while watching chariot races in the Circus Maximus. A city with paved streets in grid like arrangements, multi storied residential buildings, working sewerages and roofed shopping centers. Maybe not so different from the year 2020 after all.

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