For the fifth consecutive year Earth Day is celebrated with careful audiovisual production that includes the wonderful and unique landscapes of the eight Canary Islands, with a special role dedicated to the new space created by the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma. This video will try to reach 5.2 million people, in particular Internet users who have a particular interest in environmental issues and nature tourism.
Earth Day, which is celebrated every 22 April, has in recent years become the perfect excuse to highlight the natural spaces of the Canary Islands which are now enriched by the newborn volcanic environment of La Palma. This new landscape is called to become a major tourist attraction that will serve to promote the economic recovery of Isla Bonita. The celebration of this event consolidates the fact that the Islas Canarias brand has become a standard-bearer for the defense of the territory and the uniqueness of the different landscapes offered by the archipelago, great natural attributes of the destination. With the celebration of Earth Day in recent years, the Canary Islands brand aims to strengthen in the minds of tourists its commitment to defending the territory and the uniqueness of the archipelago’s landscapes.
To achieve greater success in communicating this message, the target audience has been segmented so that the content reaches the Internet users most interested in environmental issues, nature tourism and the discovery of the landscapes of the destinations they visit. Furthermore, it is hoped that this video will go viral on social networks thanks to the emotional message conveyed by the natural environments, fauna and flora of the eight islands. This year the video was also made in vertical format to be able to share it on the reels of Instagram and its replica on Facebook. The piece will be broadcast in ten markets: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, Irish and Norwegian.
Contrary to what you might think, Vienna has a green lung made up of woods, vineyards and meadows to the west of the city. It extends from the outlying districts of the city to the countryside of Lower Austria. We are talking about the Vienna Woods, one of the 727 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the world, but the only one, at least among the European ones, located on the edge of a metropolis. It covers an area of approximately 105,000 hectares and extends over seven of the 23 Viennese municipal districts, and over 51 municipalities in the Lower Austria region.
It is a territory where man and nature coexist and benefit from each other. The intertwining of forests and settlement areas, as well as the contrasts between rural areas and the metropolis, produce special natural conditions and at the same time represent a great challenge. The goal is to protect natural habitats and plant and animal species by creating the conditions for responsible development. More than 60% of the area is covered by forests, the effect of which on the climate, air and water balance is fundamental for the entire metropolitan area. The Viennese Wood in all seasons is a recreational area much loved by residents, a destination for trips and excursions in all seasons: in spring, when primroses appear and the forest smells of wild garlic; in summer, when it becomes an oasis of coolness, where you can find refuge from the heat of the city; in autumn, when the foliage transforms the green of the leaves into yellow and red. But even in winter, with bare trees, its landscapes have an irresistible charm.
In addition to forests, meadows and vineyards characterize the landscape. There are 33 forest associations and 23 open grasslands, in which very specific animals and plants live. In dry meadows, for example, pulsatilla and yellow hadonide can be found. Siberian iris and marsh gentian grow in wet meadows. With a variety of 70 plant species and 560 animal species per hectare, lean lawns not only display unexpected richness, but are also particularly beautiful thanks to showy blooms. Then there are small peat bog meadows, now rarefied, habitat of orchids, amphibians, dragonflies, cicadas and many other insects. In the eyes of hikers and nature lovers, the colorful meadows of the Viennese Wood are the original image of “unspoiled nature”, but all these meadows and pastures exist only thanks to centuries of cultivation by man. With the disappearance of agricultural use, the meadow would return to the state of forest, through various evolutionary stages. Finally there are the vineyards: the wine-growing landscapes have motivated the designation of the Wienerwald as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. On the sunny slopes of the Viennese Wood, viticulture draws the landscape, together with fruit trees, hedges, and stone walls, the latter also surprising natural habitats.
The vineyards of Lanzarote are different from the others. They represent one of the many “battles” that have taken place between man and the environment. If you try to stop in a winery in La Geria and take a taste, you will realize that here the man really managed to win a great challenge. In this case, however, he once made the landscape beautiful and created something good for the earth and the economy.
The vineyards of Lanzarote grow on a basaltic sea of black rocks formed after the eruption of Timanfaya in the 18th century and this is only the first of the many obstacles that a normal vineyard could encounter if it wanted to produce wine grapes. Good wine I mean! To all this we must add the climate of Lanzarote which is heavenly for men but certainly not for the cultivation of grapes: lots of sun, very little rain and even strong winds.
Although everything seems to the limit of the impossible, the wines of Lanzarote continue to win many awards for their goodness and their taste, a sign that behind the work of the farmers there is not only the commitment in wanting to grow something in a difficult condition, but also the great ability to create an excellent product.
El Grifo de Lanzarote won a prize in a Brussels competition for its 2018 Malvasia Volcanica Lias and one for the 2019 Red Collection, ticking it off among 10,000 wines from nearly 50 different countries. Martinon, Rubicon and La Geria also got some awards.
But where does the “secret” of the cultivation of the vineyards of Lanzarote really come from? The winemakers realized that under the lava and ash, the soil formed by sand and clay was still fertile and so they dug deep funnel-shaped holes and planted 3 vines in each of them. They also added semi-circular stone walls to protect the vines from strong winds and the volcanic ash that moves with them.
As for the absence of rain, the layer of lapilli (small fragments of lava) has been exploited, which have a thermo-regulating effect on the subsoil. This facilitates the filtration of rain avoiding evaporation from the soil and maintaining a constant temperature.
The image of Menorca is that of a green island with many pristine coves and beaches. In short: tranquility, nature and living at a slow pace. But if we go and see what beautiful “hides” this island, in reality, there is much, much more: the countryside activities, outdoor sports, local culinary delights, crafts and products.
In truth, Menorca is an island that shows its treasures to those who truly seek them. The highest point on the island is Mount Toro which measures 358 meters above sea level. The north coast is rugged and wild with sparse vegetation and dark reddish sand. The southern coast, on the other hand, is made up of wooded ravines that descend towards coves and beaches with white sand and turquoise sea.
The climate is particularly mild and temperate, although a feature of the island is strength of the north wind. It’s such a strong wind has shaped the landscape. The island is divided in eight administrative councils: Maó, Ciutadella, Alaior, Es Castell, Sant Lluís, Es Mercadal, Ferreries and Es Mig jorn Gran.
The biosphere reserve
Menorca has been declared a biosphere reserve since October 1993 by virtue of the close link between man and territory. Here the economic growth tries to be compatible with the conservation of the island and, with it, agriculture is also done in a sustainable way. In the landscape it is clearly perceptible how agriculture still makes use of ancient customs, such as the use of dry stones used to delimit agricultural land for example.
The Albufera des Grau Natural Park, with its 5000 hectares of surface, represents the fulcrum of the biosphere and has a salt pan, a stretch of coast, several islets and wetlands where birds of prey and seabirds can find a home. The ravines offer shelter to wealth of fauna and flora, including a number of endemic species and endangered aspecies like red kites and Lilford’s wall lizards. The dunes, streams, ravines, holm oak groves, wild olive trees and pines, all contribute to the uniqueness of Menorca as a Biosphere Reserve.
Archeology in Menorca
The archaeological heritage of Menorca is almost as rich as the natural and marine one if you consider that on the island there are on average two monuments every square kilometer! One of the most emblematic of Menorca is undoubtedly the Navetades Tudons, buildings used as collective ossuaries built in stone between 700 and 1000 BC. Trepucó, Talatí de Dalt, Torre d’en Galmés, Torralba d’en Salort, Cornia Nou are other sites that can give an excellent idea of the prehistoric past of the island. They are monuments built using large stones without mortar that bring with them a sense of mystery and give an idea of the rituals performed by the first inhabitants who inhabited the island in the past.
The Menorcan countryside is unspoiled while 70% of the territory is protected. A long stretch of the northern coast is considered a Marine Reserve and many islets belonging to Menorca are unspoiled and have great ecological value. These small islands are inhabited from endemic animals, including eight subspecies of the Lilford wall lizard, each subspecies unique and different. There are a number of good ecosystems to explore: woods, cliffs, wetlands, streams, spring pools, as well as ravines dug by the erosion of the limestone rock.
Along the 216 km of coast of Menorca there are about eighty sandy bays, as well as numerous coves and hidden coves in the shore. Son Bou, with over 2.5km of sand, is the longest beach. The smallest beaches are barely 100 meters long, although size is beside the point when you are talking about genuine natural paradise placed in what is one of the best preserved holiday destinations in the Mediterranean.
Along the northern coast the landscape is wild and untamed, with predominantly earthy, ocher and golden tones. There are amazing beaches and coves, as well as fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving locations. Cala Pregonda might well be the best known natural beach, but Cavalleria and Cala Pilar are equally stunning. The beautiful landscape of La Vall is where Es Bot and Es Tancat are located, the twin beaches of Algaiarens. Cala Presili and Cala Tortuga are neighbouring beaches located in the nature reserve Parque Natural la Albufera des Grau. Those who prefer beaches with some facilities but still want a stunning setting will love the beaches at Cala Morell, Arenal de Son Saura (Son Parc), the wide sandy beach at Es Grau, or Cala Mesquida.
The southern coastline is irresistibly appealing, with turquoise blue sea, fine white sand and leafy woods providing shade almost down to the water’s edge. The best known natural beaches are: the twin beaches of Son Saura, the famous beaches of Cala en Turqueta, Cala Macarella y Macarelleta, as well as Cala Mitjana and Mitjaneta. Trebalúger and Cala Escorxada beaches are two jewels which are somewhat quieter as it is quite a long walk to reach them. Binigaus is another delightful option: it is the widest unspoilt beach of the south coast and is easily accessible for a day at the beach, as is tiny Atalis beach, at the end of Son Bou beach. The most beautiful beaches next to resorts are: Son Xoriguer; majestic Cala Galdana, which is almost always calm, sheltered as it is by the cliffs; the long stretch of sand at Sant Tomàs and Cala en Porter. The beaches at Binibèquer,Punta Prima and Binissafúller stand out among the beaches in the Sant Lluís area.
Camí de Cavalls
The Camí de Cavalls is a great way to discover The magnificent landscape of Menorca. It is a 185 km route around the coast of the island which includes a variety of different scenarios Its exact origin is unknown; what is known is that the Camí de Cavalls has been used for many centuries as a link between the defense towers that had been built to watch over and safeguard the island from any possible attack or invasion. The path has had various uses over the centuries and has been possibly restored and open to the public in 2010. Today it is part of the long European remote trail network, numbered GR-223.
Gastronomy and local products
Simplicity is the essence of Menorcan cuisine; its foundation lies in people who are down-to-earth, but who know how to enjoy life and how to make the most of what they have. Within every apparently humble dish there lies a touch of refinement, a delightful hint of foreign cultures. Traditional cookery books all contain recipes for oliaigua and other vegetable dishes, seafaring delicacies such as caldereta de langosta, meat and game recipes, stuffed aubergines and other oven baked dishes like perol. There are lots of recipes for pastries as Menorcans have a very sweet tooth. Carquinyols, flaons, pastissets and amargos are some of the sweet and savoury pastries that are made here. The one Menorcan product known worldwide is surely mayonnaise. Experts agree that it was originally a local sauce made here on the island and that it spread to the rest of the world after the French invaded Menorca in the 18th century. The theory is that the Duke of Richelieu tasted the sauce while he was on the island, and then took the recipe back to the French court where it became known as mahonnaise, in reference to the town Maó
The local food industry has created a hallmark of guarantee Made in Menorca. A prime example is the cheese which has obtained the protected designation of origin (PDO) Mahón-Menorca and has recently been classified among the best in the world. Menorcan cheese is square in shape, with a darkish reddish brown rind and a slightly salty flavour. The Gin from Maó has been attributed a protected geographical indication (PGI) and is very well known both in Menorca and abroad. The Menorcan gin is the oldest gin in Spain. It is distilled from wine alcohol with juniper berries and a selection of herbs in old copper stills heated by wood fires and is one of the most aromatic gins on the market. There are some traditional liquors and spirits as well as the Menorcan gin that are produced on the island, such as herb liquors, the native camomile liquor and citric fruit liquors which are drunk after a meal as a digestif. In recent years some artisan breweries have started up. The beer they brew is made from natural unpasteurised ingredients. The result is a range of signature brews of different flavours and characteristics.
‘Vi de la Terra Illa de Menorca’ is a geographical indication of quality of wine. There are several wineries that have brought back traditional wine making methods to the island, producing wines of a distinctive island character. A couple of wineries offer tours and wine tastings. Olive oil is another quality food product. There are a few extra virgin olive oils produced in Menorca, thanks to enterprising local producers, although only very small amounts are made at the moment. The hallmark ‘Made in Menorca’ recognises some of the local meat products, particularly cured pork. Carn-i-xulla is the most characteristic product, dating back to ancient roman curing methods. Other types of cured pork products are ‘sobrasadas’ (both mild and mature), ‘botifarrons’ and ‘cuixots’. There is a small amount of honey made on the island. Prized for many centuries, the Roman author Pliny claimed the island’s honey was the best in the world next to Greek honey.
Menorca: perfect place to admire the stars
Preserve an island with respect for the environment and nature not only mean having a wonderful sea, lots of greenery and many animals but also being able to enjoy the sky without too much artificial light disturbing the vision of the night show. Since 2019 Menorca also has the “Starlight” tourist destination certification, which means that this island has been selected among the ideal destinations to enjoy the wonders of the constellations and galaxies and meteor showers for example. In Menorca there are some points suggested by Starlight where you can find the ideal conditions to observe the night sky. Cala Macarella is a quiet and isolated beach where you can see the stars without being disturbed by too many artificial lights. The lighthouses are instead spectacular places from which to observe the sea, the stars and, why not, from which to take fantastic photos to share or to take home and keep as a souvenir. The Faro de Cavalleria or the Favaritx (cover photo) will leave you breathless.
Also worth considering Pont den Gil (pictured above) both for evening observations and for taking great pictures
Coming on holiday to Menorca does not only mean thinking about enjoying nature and a sea that is unique in the world but also about entering a protected area for a few days which, as such, must be preserved and respected. The rule of the good tourist and the good traveler implies that in Menorca you have to respect some rules, such as the simpler ones of not dirtying the environment by leaving waste around or perhaps ruining the beaches and the sea. The butts are put in the ashtrays and everything must stay in its place. The animals and plants that live here must continue to live in total tranquility, as well as the people who have always worked and lived here. The earth and nature belong to everyone. When we visit this and other paradises we try to take care of them!
Source: Menorca.es Photos: Adobe stock, Pixabay and Unspash.
There is a small group of tiny islands up there facing Germany. They are the Halligen Islands and here every season means having to deal with the sea and climate change. These 10 islands are so low above sea level that many times every year the sea submerges everything and then lets it re-emerge after some time.
A few dozen inhabitants live on each island and now the risk that with climate change everything is submerged forever is really high. However, these islands have a certain importance for several factors: first of all, they protect the German coasts and, above all, allow many species of birds to settle in these parts. The regular floods that submerge these islands bring in fact sediments that help flora and fauna to feed. Elsewhere this would not be possible. It is for this and other reasons that the coastal state of Schleswig-Holstein, which includes the Helingen Islands, is investing a lot of money so that here we can raise the level of the islands with respect to the sea and also enlarge their surface. According to the studies carried out by experts, each island would have to “grow” by about 4-5 mm every year to keep up with the sea level. So far only the island of Hooge, thanks to a closed dam surrounding the island, has managed to limit the floods, while Nordstrandischmoor is only growing by 1-2 mm per year.
The bird population
The Wadden Sea was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 and it is no coincidence that a bout 60,000 birds live on the Halligen, which means more than half of the species found in Germany. Sea swallows, arctic terns and gulls are the most common species here. On the Halligen islands they find an ideal place to nest away from predators that stay away thanks to the abundant winter floods. Preserving the life of people on this island therefore also means saving that of an environment unique in the world where many animal species can proliferate and survive. This is why it would be important to continue with the conservation projects of this place.
The railway lines
The Halligen Islands are connected by two railway lines: the first is the Lüttmoorsiel-Nordstrandischmoor, also known as the Lorenbahn. This first line is 3.6 km long and was built between 1933 and 1934. It is used for the transport of goods, for mail and for the transport of construction materials. Every resident of Nordstrandischmoor owns a wagon and must be at least 15 years old and have a license to drive it. The second railway line is the Halligbahn, which runs along the Dagebüll – Oland – Langeneß line. In Oland there is only a small municipality with about fifteen houses and a church, while Langeneß is home to 58 families.
Nordstrandischmoor covers an area of about 1.9 square km and has four terps, a couple of schools and a restaurant. In 2010, 18 people lived here;
Langeneß is today the largest Hallig of all and has a total length of 10 km. Its 134 inhabitants of which 113 in Langeneß are divided into 18 terp: Bandixwarf, Christianswarf, Honkenswarf, Ketelswarf, Kirchhofswarf, Kirchwarf, Hilligenley, Hunnenswarf, Mayenswarf, Neuwarf, Norderhörft, Peterhaitzwarf, Peterswarf, Rixithwarf, Törfwarland and Oörfwarland. The income of this Hallig comes partly from agriculture and partly from the state enterprise for the protection of the coasts;
Gröde with 252 hectares, is the third largest hallig on the island. Only 8 residents live here and there are two terps, one of which is uninhabited;
Hamburger hallig owes its name to two Hamburg merchants who bought the island in the 17th century. This hallig is connected to the mainland and managed by the NABU (Nature Conservation Union) and has a bird keeper. Nobody lives here and its two terps are uninhabited.
In Süderoog Nele Wree and Olger Spreer run an ecological farm. They are the only inhabitants of the island. In addition to many guests, seabird species such as knot and sandpiper also come here.
Hooge is the second largest hallig and is protected by a stone dam that “defends” it from the biggest floods. Here live 95 people spread over 10 terp which are: Backenswarft, Hanswarft, Ipkenswarft, Kirchwarft, Lorenzwarft, Mitteltritt, Ockelützwarft, Ockenswarft, Volkertswarft and Westerwarft. In Hooge there are 2 schools, 5 restaurants, 2 bars and also 2 hotels, as well as various city services which are located in Hanswarft, the main hangar of the Hallig.
Habel is undoubtedly an undisturbed territory of wild nature. This hallig is inhabited only by a bird keeper for the Jordsand and V. association and, in summer, also by a watchdog for birds. The bird species that come here are not even counted.
Norderoog, is also known as “Vogelhallig”. In 1909 the Jordsand and V association purchased this hallig with the intention of making it a bird sanctuary. Thanks to donations and the work of young volunteers, stone embankments have been built here and the constant risk of flooding has been slowed down. In Norderoog live about 14 species of nesting birds, 6 of which are endangered and, with them also lived the legendary keeper of the hallig Jens Wand who after living 40 years here has never returned from a walk in the muddy plains. of the area.
Oland covers an area of about 2 square kilometers and has about twenty residents distributed in 18 houses on a single terp. The peculiarity of this hallig is that here you can find the only lighthouse built in straw in all of Germany.
Sudfall is also a hallig where the presence of seabirds reigns. The property has been in the Jordsand association since 1957 and a limited number of day trips are allowed here. Only in summer two inhabitants come: an engineer and his wife who keep company with 15 species of seabirds: herring gulls, arctic terns, just to name a couple.
Sources: BBC, wikipedia and halligen.de/ Photos: Adobe stock photos