Day out Beirut: Tyre

I’m in Southern Lebanon today; joined by 6 Brits and an American couple (the woman went to university in Beirut in 1964!) and our cheerful guide Pierre, all wanting to have a look at the Roman ruins in Tyre. Or Ksour, the city’s present-day Arabic name. We’ve driven 82 km south from Beirut, a picturesque coastal drive. […]

Park Musakowski: biking across borders

See the bridge here? It is one of several bridges in Park Musakowski/Muskauer Park, crossing the River Neisse. Perhaps that name sounds familiar? You may remember the Oder/Neisse line from history lessons in school: at the Potsdam Conference after World War II, on Stalin‘s insistence, the rivers Oder and Neisse were set as the border […]

Kinderdijk, the cat and the cradle

Holland; what image comes to mind? Tulips? Indeed. Wooden clogs? That, too. The sublime paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn? Most definitely. Windmills? Oh yes! And probably the Kinderdijk windmills, specifically. Can’t get a more classical Dutch image than this. And I’ll tell you a bit about this most Dutch of ingenuities, but first, a little […]

Lovely Lucerne: 4 hours is but a glimpse

You know how you’ll find articles telling you how to spend 24 hours – or 48 hours or 72 hours – in a given city? Well, this isn’t one of those. This is more of a marathon: 4 hours in Lucerne, a brief glimpse, at best. But 4 hours is better than 0 hours. Way […]

World at a Glance: Flemish béguinages, a 13th century women’s movement

A béguinage, what is that? Well, let’s begin with a béguine (come on, that was funny…) A béguine is, or rather was, a woman who dedicated her life to her god – but didn’t necessarily want to take a vow, or withdraw from the world. Who were these women? According to one theory, wars and […]

Belgian Belfries

We’ve covered many serial world heritage sites here on Sophie’s World. Some are within the same country, such as the mining landscapes of Cornwall and Devon, while others are transnational: Struve’s Geodetic Arc, Europe’s ancient beech forests, and even transcontinental, like le Corbusier’s buildings. Today, we’re in Belgium, taking a look at a transnational property, comprising 56 belfries scattered throughout this […]

The Palmyra Hotel in Baalbek: Wacky, Weird and Wonderful

We don’t write heaps of accommodation reviews here on Sophie’s World. Can’t be just any boring old accoms, you see. It has to be unique, like a lighthouse, say. Or a shipping container. Or an exceptionally beautiful hotel. Or a combination hotel/refuge for asylum seekers/artists’ workshops. Or haunted. Every once in a while, something special […]

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