Neusiedlersee/Lake Fertő

At the border between Austria and Hungary you’ll find a lake with tall reeds and soil excellent for wine growing. That’s Neusiedlersee. Or Fertő tó, depending on which side of the border you’re on. Austrian wine growing country with Neusiedlersee on the horizon As both are landlocked countries, lakes are popular getaways, and Neusiedlersee / […]

Winter in Oslo

-What are you doing the third Friday in January? Tom and Andrew asked. Or words to that effect. -Eh… nothing special. -We might squeeze in a flying visit to Oslo. Are you planning to be around, or might you be jet-setting somewhere? Next to my kids, these two are my fave travel buddies. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, England, […]

World at a Glance: Medieval Rhodes

Medieval Rhodes is beautiful. My favourite thing about this gothic city, however; is that it’s all but impossible NOT to get lost. No new world grid construction here, no straight Roman roads. Within the 4-km city wall, there are hundreds of little streets that don’t even have names. There are gates and squares. Temple ruins, […]

Wieliczka Mines: A World of Salt

On my daughter’s school visit to the concentration camps and the Stasi prison in Berlin, the organisers wisely added lighter activities to the agenda, including a swimming stop at a tropical island inside a Nazi hangar – and a tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine. Leonardo, in salt! 40 years ago, the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural […]

Melk Abbey and the Wachau Valley

Just like the landscape of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley is protected by UNESCO, the Danube has its own area of special significance: the 40-km Wachau Valley in Austria, between the towns of Krems and Melk. And like that Rhine stretch, Wachau has hilltop ruins, castles, vineyards, historic towns and quaint villages. As UNESCO calls […]

Day out Bordeaux: Vauban’s military trilogy

Once an orphan living in poverty, later an engineering genius with a prestigious career. A familiar story, perhaps. Yet that doesn’t diminish its power to inspire. That is also the story of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban: military engineer, advisor to Roi Soleil Louis XIV, France’s most famous king, and most importantly for this little piece, […]

World at a Glance: Snorri’s hot tub

Do you remember I mentioned Snorri Sturluson in this post? Teller of tales, scribe of sagas, author of adventures, narrator of novels, editor of epics? Some say he was the most important writer of all in medieval times. Without Snorri, we wouldn’t know much about the Vikings – or Odin, Thor, Loke and the other […]

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