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LATEST ARTICLES

Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

If perchance, you were a child in the twentieth century - as I was - or if you are a devotee of classic comics, then the name of Hergé will be familiar to you. That's because it was dramatically announced at the beginning of each television episode of ... 'Hergé 's...

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Divided By A Common Language: Biscuits

Divided By A Common Language: Biscuits

A bit of a minefield, this one. If you're from the UK, you know exactly what a biscuit is. And if you're from the USA you know exactly what a biscuit is. And yet the two products are totally dissimilar. Sometimes, you'll read or hear that a UK biscuit is a cookie. It...

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Visiting The UK. Queensway Tunnel, Merseyside

Probably the most well-known method of crossing the River Mersey comes from a 1960s pop song - from the early days of Merseybeat. Continued to fame as a theme sung by football crowds, it is of course Ferry Cross the Mersey. Ferries have been used to cross the river...

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Airbnb Guests: Is Your Booking Legit?

At time of writing there are over two million properties listed on Airbnb. So it's safe to assume that a lot of people stayed in Airbnb rentals last night, will tonight and will tomorrow night. And I suspect that 99.99% of them had a trouble-free and wonderful stay....

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Visiting The Netherlands: Giethoorn

Just look at that photograph. It doesn't get much more idyllic than that, does it? I live in Fort Lauderdale, often described by people marketing the place as the 'Venice of America' and as you might expect, Giethoorn gets the 'Venice' nickname too. And I have to...

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Divided by a Common Language: Telling the Time

I'm trying to remember when I last wore a watch. An old-fashioned analogue two-hands-and-a-dial watch like the one above. I remember that I'd just arrived at a gite in France (I'm thinking it was in the mid nineteen eighties) and removing the watch was symbolic of...

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See Pier 54, New York

Local authorities are much better now at preserving historic buildings and places. It used to be that anything more than 50 years old was likely to be knocked down in the name of progress but the situation is a little better now. But Pier 54, with a curious maritime...

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East Side Gallery, Berlin

I've rarely seen street art that I haven't appreciated. And that appreciation is doubled - no, much more - when the venue is the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down in 1989, artists from all over the world commemorated this with the creation of 105 murals painted on...

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Luggage Covers: Yes or No?

Luggage covers are, for the most part, pretty revolting design-wise unless you get a plain colour or a transparent cover. But are they a good idea? They are easy to put onto your suitcase and simple to remove and launder. Plus they do keep your expensive suitcases...

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Visiting the UK: Eleanor Crosses

It may well be that you've been to Charing Cross station in London and, like me, not really noticed the lavishly decorated monument that stands right outside. And if you're English - we tend to be a bit blasé about the history that's liberally scattered throughout our...

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Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California

Just before Christmas in 1958, twelve couples driving through California received an unusual Christmas gift. Independently of each other, they all spotted what seemed to be a new motel - the Madonna - and stopped to stay there for the night. The next morning when they...

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Visiting Spain: What Is Sobremesa?

Recently, we've discussed the Swedish fika and the English custom of afternoon tea so it's interesting to see what other countries have as afternoon traditions. What about the Spanish? When you're visiting Spain will you find an afternoon tradition that's similar to...

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The Final Frontier?

The news is full of it at the moment - the Aurora Station that plans to be the first hotel in space. Hmm, so let's forget for the moment that reports are saying that a 12 day trip into space, inclusive of transportation and accommodation, will cost $9.5million per...

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2 Willow Road, London: Ernő Goldfinger

Number two Willow Road is the central apartment in a row of three - built in the late thirties and designed by Ernő Goldfinger. Goldfinger was a well-known designer and architect - he was originally from Budapest but made his home in London for many years - in this...

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Lucy the Elephant: Margate City, New Jersey

Have you ever wanted to see a huge elephant? An elephant that is actually a building you can go into? No, I thought not... But just in case you have, then Margate City in New Jersey is the place to head to. This Lucy, this humungous elephant, could be deemed a...

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Ferniehirst Castle, Scotland

They were a fierce lot, those Scots. And this castle, located right on the Scottish border has seen more than its fair share of what newsreaders today would call 'skirmishes'. It was built as long ago as 1470 by the Kerr Clan and is said to have been built in a very...

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The Knotted Gun, Malmö, Sweden

Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd created The Knotted Gun, also known as Non-Violence, after the shooting of John Lennon in 1980. As an activist for peace, Lennon would have been appalled at the situation with guns today, especially in his adopted homeland, the...

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