Day out Alicante: El Palmeral de Elche

So – you’re in the busy Costa Blanca, lounging on its lovely beaches. But for a bit of variety, you might be looking for something a little different to do. Perhaps away from the hustle and bustle? If so, may I recommend tranquility among palm [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

2017-11-11T23:12:45+00:0016 September 2017|Belgium, Museums, castles and gardens|

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 [...]

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 [...]

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