Tartu, the Cultural Capital of Estonia
Tartu,in Estonia, prides itself on being the town of good or free thinking. Some free thinkers may consider the tradition of walking over the arch of the Kaarsild pedestrian bridge (pictured above) to prove that person is courageous is a good idea. Others may think this is dangerous and worthy of the fine that the police can impose. Somehow this town avoids extremes and produces interesting and harmonious projects ...
Tallinn and a Medley of Museums
Estonians love their museums and Tallinn reflects this passion with some interesting collections, exhibitions and buildings. Raeapteek in the Town Hall Square is the oldest pharmacy in Europe that has continuously carried on its business in the same building. Although a pharmacy in Lübeck is currently disputing this claim ...
Tallinn - Medieval Nobility and Hanseatic Merchants
During the Middle Ages the Estonian Vikings were a thorn in the side of Denmark, a great military and mercantile power at the time. In 1219 the Danish fleet sailed into the harbour of Tallinn, and claimed possession of the city ...
Tallinn - Rotermann and Russians
As I had already explored the old town of Tallinn, Estonia’s capital I was delighted when Katrin, our city guide, offered to show us a different area of Tallinn. The Rotermann Quarter was established by the Rotermann dynasty during the nineteenth century. It flourished during the early twentieth century under the leadership of Christian Barthold Rotermann ...
Tallinn - Bread, Beer and Beautiful Food
I was blown away by the food; fresh, thinly crusted brown bread with slightly salted butter; exquisite gourmet dishes; hand-crafted fruity beers; sparkling sophisticated cider; mouthwatering desserts and pastries ... Where was I? Top London restaurants, Parisian haute cuisine? No, I was in Tallinn, capital of Estonia. My food fest began at restaurant MEKK ...
Viterbo - An Italian Medieval Masterpiece
When I arrived in Piazza Martiri d'Ungheria in Viterbo the sun was shining. It illuminated the splendid old buildings marching along the ridge above me. All around me the landscape was spiked with domes and spires. Which way to go? I chose the middle road and headed for Piazza del Plebiscito …
Nagoya and a Museum that Spins a Good Yarn
Initially I was overwhelmed by the ultra-modern Japanese city of Nagoya. Steel structures and impersonal sky scrapers everywhere. The only high-rise block that did not advertise its name in giant letters on the top was our hotel. I kept getting lost ...
My Favourite Places in Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto has so much to offer it is a must for anyone visiting Japan. It was once the home of the Emperor. It is the site of over two thousand Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of which seventeen are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Naturally, such a famous town attracts crowds but it is easy to lose the crowds and still appreciate the flavour of this heritage town – a seamless fusion of ancient and modern.
Sirmione, a Pretty Peninsula Town on Lake Garda
My first visit to Sirmione was on a lovely sunny, December day. This little town is situated on a promontory in the middle of the southern end of Lake Garda. This promontory is four kilometres long and as narrow as 109 metres in places. Visitors have to park outside the town and walk across a drawbridge and through a medieval gateway to enter the town itself ...
Swanage – A Story in Stone
As I meandered through crowds of holidaymakers dodging swinging buckets and whirling spades I found it hard to believe that Swanage had once been a simple fishing village on the Dorset coast. In those days the centre of the community had been the Mill Pond and it was here I began my walk around the town ...