Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dolmen Hunting Tour

Ever since I read that there are dolmen in southern Germany and Switzerland I was obsessed with the idea of finding them. I just couldn't believe to find them so far in the south. But here I am on my dolmen hunt. My first stop was the museum of Freiburg. And I wasn't dissapointed. It is a small but very fine museum. Here some objects from the museum:

Something Neolithic:

Something from the Bronze Age, a Feuerbock, the English name is totally elusive to me, sorry.

And something from the Alamannen special exhibition:

I then went farther south to the French speaking Switzerland. My first stop was Courgenay, where a dolmen portal plate with a so-called spirit hole was supposed to have survived. Since it is getting dark very early, I stayed at a very charming and rustic hotel in Courgenay. This is the bathroom.

And after I had a pizza which tasted more like a tarte flambée in the restaurant 'La pierrre percèe' I had my first glimpse of a Jura dolmen:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Kauai (the end) and Oahu

Well, I think you still hadn't enough of Hawaii's beauty, therefore some more pictures. Apart from flowers and beautiful landscapes you will be lucky and can embrace fantastic archaeology (no just kidding, it won't be that bad).
A hiking tour brought us through forests and rivers:
Heliconia rostrata or hanging lobster claw heliconia
Schefflera actinophylla or Octopus tree, the one with the red flowers
On our last evening in Kauai we went to see the Mokihana Hula competition at the Kaua'i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu'e. Solo and group hula of all age classes did the hula at their best:

We left the Garden Island with a lot of things unfinished, unvisited, not yet done. But this is one reason to go back, right? And it is not as if we went to a barren and inhospitable place. No, we had the pleasure to go to O'ahu, the main island.
At the entrance to the Kea'iwa Heiau State Park (Aiea Heights Dr., Aiea) is an ancient healing centre from the 15th century, the Kea'iwa heiau. The 4-foot high stacked rock wall encloses the sacred area that measures 30 by 50 meters (100 by 160 feet). Within the enclosure was a halau (large thatched structure) built for the master kahuna (priest) to store the medicinal implements and train the students. Other features might include hale (small thatched structure) and a puholoholo (steam bath).Here the Kahuna (priest) grew plants, prayed, diagnosed and healed injuries and diseases.

At the entrance to the Wahiawa Botanica Garden is situated a heavily reconstructed heiau, the Hale o Lono heiau, the "House of Lono". It was build around 1400 and was dedicated to the God Lono, one of the four Principal gods of ancient Hawaii. He ruled agriculture and harvests, weather, sports, and medicine.

The garden itself should not be missed, apart from all the beautiful plants of Hawaii it harbours the Waimea Falls (depending on the rain, they were dry this year) and some archaeological sites, including, reconstructed on the spot, Taro towers:

they were freshly planted, hence you can only see some small taro leaves looking out of the tower.

But there are all kinds of flowering plants, ferns, trees:

Heliconia stricta belongs to the order Zingiberales like ginger

Alpinia purpurata or Hawaiian Red Ginger

Platycerium or elkhorn fern (Geweihfarn) growing on a tree

In short a well kept up and informative botanical garden, well worth a visit.