Nearly Perfect


Very Large Moat Required

Simply by not owning 3 medium-sized castles in Tuscany I have saved enough money in the last 40 years on insurance premiums alone to buy a medium-sized castle in Tuscany.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Source: the US Museum of Natural History's magazine, Natural History, Feb 1992, an advertisement for KD River Cruises of Europe, represented in the US by Rhine Cruise Agency, San Francisco, California and White Plains, New York.

Floating an Idea

King Pacific Lodge: Reappears every spring in Barnard Harbor in British Columbia

Canadian Hotel Refloats Every Spring

by Kitty Bean Yancey

If it were a mystery, it might be titled "The Case of the Disappearing Hotel."  Every fall, the 3-story King Pacific Lodge in northern British Columbia vanishes from its perch on Barnard Harbor.  Every spring, it reappears.  The luxury fishing lodge is constructed on an old navy barge, which a tugboat chugs into storage when the harbour freezes.  In warmer weather - it opened 1 June this year - up to 25 guests relax in its 14 rooms and 3 suites, catch salmon or take wilderness tours.  Each of the spacious room features a king-size bed with luxurious down duvets,  comfortable window-side seating area, and slate-lined bathroom with soaker tub.  Getting there is the tricky part, requiring a flight to Prince Rupert, then a 45-minute ride by seaplane.  Rates start at $1,900 per person for a 3-night stay, including meals, seaplane transfers and some activities.

Information: 1 (888) 592-5464 or

Source: USA Today Friday 8 June 2001

Floating Estate

Spotted on Long Island Sound last summer

Source: "Houseboats" posted 23 May 2006 edited 23 May 2006


The Invisible Town of Kitezh (1913) by Konstantin Gorbatov

Kitezh was a legendary town in what is today the Voskresensky District of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in Russia.

The legend has it that Georgy II, Grand Prince of Vladimir, first built the town of Maly Kitezh (Little Kitezh) on the Volga River (today's Krasny Kholm).  It is sometimes erroneously called Gorodets, which was actually founded some 30 years before Georgy's birth.  Later on, the prince crossed the rivers of Uzola, Sanda, and Kerzhenets and found a beautiful spot on the shores of the Svetloyar Lake, where he decided to build the town of Bolshoy Kitezh (Big Kitezh).  It is believed that the name of the town came from the royal residence of Kideksha (near Suzdal), ransacked by the Mongols in 1237.

After having conquered some of the Russian lands, Batu Khan heard of Kitezh and ordered his army to advance towards it.  The Mongols soon captured Maly Kitezh, forcing Georgy to retreat into the woods towards Bolshoy Kitezh.  One of the prisoners told the Mongols about some secret paths to the Lake Svetloyar.  The army of the Horde followed Georgy and soon reached the walls of the town.  To the surprise of the Mongols, the town had no fortifications whatsoever.  Its citizens didn't even intend to defend themselves and were engaged in fervent praying, asking god for their redemption.  On seeing this, the Mongols rushed to the attack, but then stopped.  Suddenly, they saw countless fountains of water bursting from under the ground all around them.  The attackers fell back and watched the town submerge into the lake.  The last thing they saw was a glaring dome of a cathedral with a cross on top of it.  Soon, there were only waves.

This legend gave birth to numerous incredible rumours, which have survived to this day.  It is said that only those who are pure in their heart and soul will find their way to Kitezh (ironically, the road to the lake is still called the Path of Batu).  It is also said that in calm weather one can sometimes hear the wailing sound of chiming bells and people singing from under the waters of the Lake Svetloyar.  Some people say that the most pious individuals may actually see the lights of religious processions and even buildings on the bottom of the lake.  This is why the Lake Svetloyar is sometimes called the "Russian Atlantis".

Source: From Wikipedia, the great free encyclopedia

Haven't a Clue, but I Like It

© JuM Gregor 26 May 2006 Source:

For pages on all sorts of natural disasters - including lightning strikes, volcanoes, floods, global warming and more - as well as satellite photos and some great pictures of trees, clicking the "Up" button immediately below takes you to the Table of Contents page for this Environment section.

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