Jessi Turnure

Multimedia Journalist

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Europe’s Hidden Secrets: The France Edition

This week’s secret: Montpellier, France.

Montpellier, located in France’s south coast on the Mediterranean Sea and with a population of 265, 000, is the eighth largest city in the country.

Here’s five reasons to put Montpellier on your vacation wish list:

1. The weather.

Montpellier is a tropical paradise almost year round. During the winter months, the lowest temperature is about 40 F and during the summer, the high is about 85 F. How perfect is that?

2. The French cuisine.

French Crepe

Duck Pate

Steak Tartare

If you plan on visiting Montpellier, and really any where in France, you need to come with an open mind. Some of the best food I’ve ever had was food I never thought I would try. In Montpellier, the most unique dishes I tried were duck pate (a French delicacy, also known as foie gras: a duck liver with a rich, buttery flavor), steak tartare (a raw meat dish made from finely chopped or minced raw beef with seasonings) and caviar.

3. The shopping.

Place de la Comedie

The city center, Place de la Comedie, contains a plethora of intriguing stores and restaurants. Visitors can find anything from designer clothing to knickknacks to specialty foods and wines.

4. The sights.

Exercise equipment in local parks

In the heart of Montpellier, almost everything is in walking distance and there’s so much to see. The city has several unique parks like the one above that contains exotic plants from all over the world. It also has many awesome sculptures like the one above and even has its own Arc de Triomphe (just like every city in Europe it seems). And maybe the last picture is why Europeans are typically thinner than Americans?

5. The proximity

Palavas Beach

Palavas Beach Pier

Pic Saint Loup

Palavas Beach and Pic Saint Loup (Peak San Lou) are two of the main attractions in Montpellier and both are less than 40 minutes away by car. Palavas Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean Sea with plenty of activities for people of all ages, such as camping, surfing and snorkeling. Pic Saint Loup offers visitors a bird’s eye view of the entire city and houses some of the most beautiful wineries in the world.

Stay tuned! Next week’s secret comes from Belgium!

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ok, besides Christmas, the Summer Olympics is a pretty exciting time for my family and me. With less than a month until the XXX Games in London, I’ve basically been stalking all the events and athletes with a little help from NBC.

As the official broadcaster of the 2012 Summer Olympics, NBC has been rocking Olympic coverage around the clock.

One of the events that blew my mind was the 100 m women’s qualifier. Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix were both timed in 11.068 seconds and a review of both angles of the photo finish, taken a 3000 frames-per-second, was unable to distinguish a clear winner. According to many who have seen the image blown up to maximum there is not a pixel of difference between the athletes’ torsos and the finish line. Watch this (starting at 4:22):

A runoff was scheduled for July 2, but Tarmoh dropped out at the last minute, sending Felix to London. ESPN tells us why here:

Swimming and diving events are also some of my favorites. Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps will be tough competitors again this year. Will Lochte win more golds than Phelps this year? It’ll be interesting.

2012 Swim Trials: Lochte Beats Phelps in 400M IM

The synchronized diving is one of my favorite parts of the diving competition. Here’s another example of how close the line is between who goes to London and who stays home:

Abby Johnston and Kelci Bryant Qualify for Olympics by Three-Tenths of a Point

Gymnastics is a third favorite of mine. I tried it out when I was little and my determined four-year-old self gave up after a year of it. I admire gymnasts for having so much strength.

Here’s one of my favorite gymnast’s routines during the Day 1 Trials:

2012 Olympics Trials Day 1: Nastia Liukin Key Routines

I will also be watching beach volleyball and water polo games. I occasionally check-in on soccer, basketball and tennis, but I like watching the more unique Olympic sports more. But I always watch the finals for all of the sports.

Stay tuned July 27 for the start of the 2012 London Summer Olmypics!

Europe’s Hidden Secrets: The Spain Edition

This week’s secret: Montserrat.

Montserrat literally means “jagged mountain” in Catalon, one of Barcelona, Spain’s official languages. It’s most famous for its monastery, where monks still live and work. Some people also believe this site is the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend.

Here’s five reasons to put Montserrat on your vacation wishlist:

1. The transportation. 

Our ascent

One of the best things about Montserrat was the trip to the top of the mountain…in a cable car. It reminded me of the first and only time I’ve been skiing. I was terrified every time the ski lifts would slowly begin our ascent up the mountain. Multiply this by ten and this was how nervous I was to get to the top of Montserrat (even though it was enclosed). However, halfway up, the view was so amazing it was easy to forget my fear.

2. The close proximity 

Barcelona, Spain

Montserrat is only an hour train ride from the heart of Barcelona, Spain. The trip is also cheap. The only thing you have to pay for is transportation. You can get a joint ticket for a train and cable car for 18 euros (about $23).

3. The rich religion 

Since Montserrat is most famous for its monastery, visitors can see and feel its deep, religious roots everywhere. This cross is just one of many examples. Throughout the site, other crosses and statues of saints appear around every corner. A large, beautiful church sits in the center of square. On hikes around the mountain, we also found three versions of the 15 Stations of the Cross. As a Catholic myself, seeing these images in such an awesome place increased my experience.

4. The sculptures and architecture

“Stairway to Heaven”

Throughout the site, awesome architectural pieces kept popping up, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I love my picture of the “Stairway to Heaven” and even though a sign said “Do Not Climb,” my friends and I still regret not climbing to the top of the sculpture I’m standing next to.

5. The view…need I say more?

This was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope to go back!

Check back next week for my secret on a city in France!

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