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World at a Glance: Heidelberg’s Student Prison

From its foundation in 1386 and until World War I, Heidelberg University had jurisdiction over unruly students. Depending on your misdemeanour, you could land a sentence of anything from 24 hours to 4 weeks in the Studentenkarzer (student lock-up). The most common offences? … loud singing in the city lanes, inappropriate behaviour in public as […]

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In Flanders Fields the poppies grow…

“Listen, our guns have stopped.” “Maybe the war is over. Maybe it’s peace.” “Oh hurray! The big knobs have got around the table and yanked the iron out of the fire.” This exchange from the last few minutes of the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth is what I think about while visiting Flanders Fields […]

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A Tale of Two Villas

30 kilometres from Rome, you’ll find two villas. Two very different villas. In fact, the only thing they have in common is being on UNESCOs list of properties worthy of special protection for the future. The bus from Rome (from the station Ponte Mammolo on Metro line B) takes me to Tivoli in the hills […]

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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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