Tag Archives: history

Exploring Western Ireland in 3 days

On our long weekend in Ireland, people kept telling us we were blessed. “You’re here for the best weather of the year.” We were indeed lucky; our trip was only three days and we had three full days of warm sunshine and deep blue skies. A woman who’d brought her kids to play hide and seek in the ruins of an old stone friary told us that this could be their summer weather – it might not get better than this. Maybe they’d have another spell, but you never knew. People were sitting out along the river in Galway, walking through villages with ice-creams. We even saw a guy jumping into the 10 degrees sea one evening.

We’d arrived in Ireland at Shannon airport with a guidebook full of places we wanted to see, but only three full days to spare, so we asked our hosts along the way what they suggested and their great recommendations ensured we had a wonderful trip. Here’s what we got up to.

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Castles, vineyards and solar observatories on the Saale bicycle trail

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Germany is full of surprises, and I am continually finding out about new places here. Last Saturday has to rank as one of the best days of this year. We spent the weekend cycling on the Saale bicycle trail in Thuringen and Saxony-Anhalt, an area of vineyards, castles, ancient archaeological finds, medieval villages and beautiful countryside. Here it how it all began. Continue reading

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Hello Chrudim!

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About an hour from Prague are other cities and towns well worth a visit. We’ve made a couple of day trips to several of them. Two cities, Pardubice and Hradec Kralove, lie relatively close to each other, and not far from Pardubice lies the town of Chrudim. We visited this lovely town again this weekend and I thought it was about time I posted some photos of it. Continue reading

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Battle of the Seelow Heights and a walk near the Oder river

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Approximately 90km from Berlin lies the Seelow Heights, where the last major defensive line outside of Berlin was situated towards the end of World War II. This area of countryside, woods and villages lies near today’s border of Germany and Poland, near the Oder and Neisse rivers. From the 16-19 April 1945, a battle was fought for passage to Berlin between 1 million Soviet soldiers of the 1st Belorussian front and 110 000 German soldiers. Between 20 000 -70 000 Soviet soldiers (according to different sources) and 12 000 German soldiers were killed, and victory was taken by the Soviets, leaving the road to Berlin open from the 19th April. By the 23rd April, Berlin was surrounded and the final Battle of Berlin began. It is estimated that more than 1 million German soldiers were killed as well as 100 000 civilians and 300 000 Soviet soldiers, and that approximately 100 000 women were raped. Within 2 weeks, Berlin was taken, Hitler committed suicide and World War II had come to an end. Continue reading

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