Travels through History – France

Extract from the book ‘Travels through History : France” available here Catharism was an austere religion following the gnostic philosophy of God and Satan as two separate beings – God was associated with purity and Satan with every aspect of evil. Catharism encouraged its followers to adopt asceticism and celibacy even after marriage. Those whoContinue reading “Travels through History – France”

Gdansk – 6

In 1956, Nikita Khruschev’s address to the 20th Convention of the USSR’s Communist Party spoke of strengthening socialism’s grip on the East, and of the dangers of individualism. Already simmering with discontent the Polish media helped stir local discord and on June 28th a strike started in the Stalin brick factory (later the ‘Hipolita CegielskiegoContinue reading “Gdansk – 6”

Gdansk – 5

The exhibits then contrast the ordinary nature of some people’s lives with the extraordinary events taking place in the Communist countries of the Eastern Bloc. Some events such as the Hungarian uprising of 1956 when Imre Nagy withdrew his country from the Warsaw Pact, the raising of the Berlin Wall on 13th August 1961, andContinue reading “Gdansk – 5”

Gdansk – 4

I rarely use audio guides, but I must recommend them at the European Solidarity Centre as the information provided was clear, concise, and fitted in almost perfectly with what I saw. This may seem obvious but there is so much information to process that you have to concentrate all the time during the visit. InContinue reading “Gdansk – 4”

Gdansk – 3

I stayed at a hotel close to the station as I was moving on by train to Torun in a couple of days. Rather than heading to the reconstructed Old Town I first walked to a large monument visible over the tops of the trees and buildings. Anchors were suspended at the top of threeContinue reading “Gdansk – 3”

Gdansk – 2

Gdansk airport is named after Lech Walesa and if visitors don’t know much about this man before they arrive then they will know a lot by the time they leave, especially if they visit the European Solidarity Centre, which is about 500 metres from Gdansk Glowny by the entrance to the shipyards.This museum is anContinue reading “Gdansk – 2”

Gdansk – 1

The trains run from Gdansk airport to the main station, Gdansk Glowny, every 15 –  30 minutes depending on the time of day. Visitors should follow the red arrows from the west end of Terminal T2 via a covered bridge to the platform where the ticket machines are found. The station is called Port LotniczyContinue reading “Gdansk – 1”

Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 2

  At 8:30 a.m. the starting judge shouts to the teams, “bare ye legs.” All shaving, lubricating, and massaging of the calves must cease and the Tying Men bind the runners’ legs together using jute stripped from old sacks. The knots are very strong and won’t come apart during the race. The teams line upContinue reading “Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 2”

Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 1

The festival of seven-legged racing takes place around the cathedral in Exeter on the third Thursday after the second full moon after Ash Wednesday. The seven-legged race comprises teams of six people who race around the cathedral close in an anti-clockwise direction. The prize is won by the first team to cross the finishing lineContinue reading “Seven-legged racing from Exeter – Part 1”

Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 3

There’s also the pulling fingernail contest where people have to pull large weights along just using their fingernails. The objects used include ploughs, buses and Nell Gwynn, a local cow with a reputation for being bad-tempered. A rope is tied to the object and the contestant then digs their fingernails into the rope and pullsContinue reading “Fingernail Contest in the New Forest – Part 3”