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World at a Glance: The Bellinzona castles

In my World Heritage quest, I’ve seen a lot of military architecture lately. Not something I thought I’d be particularly excited about, but I’ve found these sites surprisingly interesting, including the three Bellinzona castles. Quite a few of these engineering feats are now on my wish list (heritage listed or not), such as Beelitz Heilstätten […]

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A Day Like Any Other Day

It’s a chilly winter day and I’m in the state where the wind comes sweeping down the plain. The Sooner state, the Boomer Paradise, the core of Tornado Alley, the only state with an active oil rig next to the state capitol building. Lately, also home of earthquakes, very possibly man-made. Among all the nicknames, […]

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Maulbronn Monastery Complex

It’s difficult to appreciate just how powerful monasteries were in the Middle Ages. Here at Maulbronn, for example, the abbey owned land all the way up to Speyer – today, a one-hour drive away (or two, if your SatNav isn’t cooperating; speaking from experience here). But… a monastery, nevertheless. Plenty of those about. What makes […]

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Day out London: Kingston-upon-Thames and the fickle king

I’ve long been curious about all the little upon-Thames towns (partly due, no doubt, to having seen one too many episodes of Midsomer Murders, or read one too many Daisy Dalrymple mysteries). There’s an array of them: Henley-on-Thames, Staines-upon-Thames, Richmond-upon-Thames, Kingston-upon-Thames…

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World at a Glance: The Mesdag Panorama – walking into the painting

In the Mesdag Panorama, you step into the painting: a 3D, 360° image of Scheveningen of another era; the people, the beach, and the rough North Sea. You’re in a museum – and you’re on the beach!

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The Peranakan of Singapore

I’m writing this in the lobby of the wonderfully quirky Kam Leng hotel in Singapore, a country where I’ve been many times. It has always been a favourite stopover of ours, on the way to Australia or New Zealand or Bali. But for the very first time, I’m here without the girls, and I must […]

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Laura Plantation – Portrait of a Creole family

By Alexandra Redisch in Vacherie, Louisiana At the earnest insistence of my three children, Lollie, Daisie and Charlie Jr., I write the memories of my childhood days on the old plantation in Louisiana for them. I have concluded to do so, before my memory begins to fail me, for I realise that I am the […]

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