March 11, 2013

Incredible Malpasset Dam in Provence

Incredible Malpasset Dam in Provence

Nutmeg has a friend who is interested in really big construction projects. He had previously visited the site of the Malpasset Dam outside Fréjus and recommended a visit to the site as an interesting road-trip. The Malpasset Dam was an enormous initiative completed in 1954. It collapsed less than five years later, on December 2, 1959. The dam on the Reyan River was arched in design, or more technically a double curvature with a variable radius.  The dam height was 60 meters, 6.78 meters at the foundation and the length of the crest was 223 meters.   The history of the dam is a bit unclear as some reports have work starting in 1941, possibly early planning that was very likely disrupted by World War II. In 1946, there were geological and hydrological studies undertaken. There is now some question about the quality of the engineering studies, due to lack of proper funding. Construction work on the dam started in April 1952, the work was halted a few times due to labour strikes. The final cost of the project in 1955 dollars was 580 million francs. The statistics are all below: (more…)

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,

 
August 1, 2011

Monaco Grand Prix Amber Is The Lounge

Monaco Grand Prix Amber Is The Lounge

Twenty-three Formula One (F1) cars, 800 horsepower V-8 engines spooling, it’s the start of the Monaco Grand Prix (GP). Deafening! Full ear protection is essential. Within the confines of the city of Monte Carlo, the towering hills a natural amphitheatre, magnify the sound of the race circuit. The idiosyncrasies of the Monaco GP circuit truly test drivers’ skills. Cars come to a virtual standstill on some hairpin corners, head through a tunnel and then accelerate to breakneck speeds on the straightaways. If a F1 race were to be proposed in Monaco today, it would be considered unsafe. Former world champion driver Nelson Piquet described driving in Monaco as, “like trying to cycle round your living room.” Click here to watch Ginger’s video. In Monaco, track corners have their own names, such as Tabac, Louis Chiron, and Piscine. Many car aficionados only know the course by the names of the corners. Torrid action usually takes place at Sainte Devote, the turn located before the long uphill straightaway towards the Casino. This corner is named after the small church dedicated to a Christian martyr from the 4th century, whose treasured bones and thought to have protected the Monegasque locals from invasion for centuries. Not surprising given Ginger’s passion for speed that his “ European Top 10” list included a F1 race. He has had the thrill of flying above Mach 1 and has surpassed the speed limit in one sporty German automobile. Like most boys, he once envisioned driving a race car and reveling in the thrill of victory. Race car driving was not Ginger’s destiny. The next best thing was to witness a classic F1 car race, like Monaco.  Nutmeg felt auto racing was best included in the category of male bonding. Ginger needed a suitably minded playmate for this event. Who better than his brother-in-law Truffle? (more…)

Recipes & Travel:
, , , , ,