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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, […]

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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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Christiansfeld: history and honey cakes

One of the latest sites to be added to UNESCOs World Heritage list is Christiansfeld, a Moravian Christian settlement on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark. Seeing as it’s just down the street (more or less), I decide to make a day of it. An hour or so in the air and 40 minutes in a […]

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Underneath the river: Secret London

Did you know you could walk from one side of the Thames to another, underneath the river? A social revolution Opened in 1902, the Greenwich Thames foot tunnel allowed dock workers who lived on the south side of the river an easier way to get to and from work. But also, families living in the […]

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Daytrip from Sofia_ the exqiosite Rila Monastery

Day out Sofia: Rila Monastery

Last week, I told you about a wee church – but a very special church – on the outskirts of Sofia. Well, I decided to remain in Bulgaria just a bit longer. This week, I thought I’d take you along to another treasure. Today, we’re going to Rila Monastery, about 125 km from the Bulgarian capital, […]

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World at a Glance: The Magic of Boyana

Inside this unassuming building in a woodland park just outside the Bulgarian capital is an absolute treasure. This, you see, is Boyanska tsărkva, or Boyana Church of St. Nicholas and St. Pantaleimon. It’s actually a bit bigger than it looks here, comprising three buildings, in an interesting mix of architectural styles, where the oldest part date back […]

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What makes us human? Thoughts on prehistoric cave art.

Last summer, I spent time in Bordeaux and the surrounding wine districts with my mum and sister. A highlight in the area was the ancient cave art in the nearby Vézère Valley. There are many excellent caves to visit in the valley. Having studied archaeology, I have a penchant for prehistory, and if you too […]

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