Travels through History – 9 Greek Islands

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the one about 9 Greek Islands:

Greek Islands

This book keeps it simple and covers nine Greek Islands: Symi, Patmos, Samos, Syros, Paros, Tinos, Delos, Mykonos and Rhodes.

Travels through History – Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the about Northern Ireland and Scotland:

Northern Ireland and Scotland

A series of essays about visits to the murals of West Belfast, the award-winning Titanic Centre, The World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway, the seven little-visited stone circles at Beaghmore, and the dramatically situated Dunluce Castle perched high on the cliffs in Antrim in Northern Ireland. There are further stories about the island of Lewis and Harris, Edinburgh, Dryburgh Abbey, and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.

The Night of Wencelas by Lionel Davidson

There are some fascinating details about Prague in this book, hence this book review is in my travel blog.

Nicolas Whistler is a young man who lives in digs in London and spends most of his spare cash on his car. He has a girlfriend that he rather likes and a job he doesn’t like. He regularly goes down to Bournemouth to see his mum and her friend who both live in the same hotel.

His father had an interest in a Bohemian glassworks in Czechoslovakia. Nicolas receives some disturbing news from a solicitor that his uncle has died and left him an inheritance. Before he can acquire this money, he receives an offer from the solicitor to go to Prague and bring back a formula for some glass that will make the maker of it a fortune as it will be almost unbreakable. All Nicolas has to do is leave a guidebook on a desk in a glassworks he will visit near Prague and the formula will be placed in the flyleaf of the book. Nicolas meets a statuesque girl and this complicates things slightly but he returns to London clutching his guidebook and hands it over thinking his mission is over.

It isn’t.

The news about his uncle was a lie and unfortunately the formula he brought back is incomplete. He must go back to Prague and obtain the rest of the formula. This time his suspicions are aroused when he inspects the guidebook he’s been given before he visits the glassworks. It turns out Nicolas is being used by the authorities and he’s a spy, an unintentional spy. The Czechoslovak secret police interrogate and beat him, but he escapes and is on the run. He realises he can’t trust anyone, no one is actually who they seem, not even the girl he fell for in his previous visit.

What happens…well that would be telling. It’s a lovely book and I will read more by this author.

Travels through History – Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the about Northern Ireland and Scotland:

Northern Ireland and Scotland

A series of essays about visits to the murals of West Belfast, the award-winning Titanic Centre, The World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeway, the seven little-visited stone circles at Beaghmore, and the dramatically situated Dunluce Castle perched high on the cliffs in Antrim in Northern Ireland. There are further stories about the island of Lewis and Harris, Edinburgh, Dryburgh Abbey, and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.

 

Travels through History – 9 Greek Islands

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the one about 9 Greek Islands:

Greek Islands

This book keeps it simple and covers nine Greek Islands: Symi, Patmos, Samos, Syros, Paros, Tinos, Delos, Mykonos and Rhodes.

 

Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

An excerpt from the book: Travels through History – North-East England

At the time of writing, the Victoria Tunnel is the number 1 ranked attraction in the North-East of England on TripAdvisor and yet doesn’t rate the merest mention in the Rough Guide to England. This guidebook refers to an attraction in the Ouseburn district that is on the opposite side of the street to where people meet to begin their tour of the Victoria Tunnel. This seems a little odd to me, especially as the tunnel tour merits the ranking on TripAdvisor and presents the visitor with a philosophical dilemma on how best to survive an encounter with a rumbling 2,000 lb coal waggon in almost total darkness 60 feet underground.

The office for the trips to the Victoria Tunnel is opposite the Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books. All the guides and the people in the office are friendly and even arranged for my previous booking to be refunded as I’d inadvertently booked for the wrong time. There were 15 people on the same tour as me and we followed one another towards the entrance about two blocks away.

We were given the safety drill and allocated torches and hard hats in the daylight. An introduction went into why the tunnel was built – to get coal from a local mine to the waiting ships on the Tyne in the quickest possible manner, but the most interesting part was that the tunnel wasn’t built on pure guesswork. The engineers had a geological map created in 1835 that showed an ice age river running from Spital Tongues to the Tyne, The engineers also knew the river was now boulder clay which would be easy to remove. I thought it was amazing they had such accurate maps in those early Victorian times, but then I was reminded that all the local collieries used to mine coal from the same seam as it progressed through the earth, so if they knew where the coal went then they would certainly know where other seams went such as the boulder clay.

The Spital Tongues mine was opened in 1835. Initially, the coal was carried on carts from the colliery through the streets to the river, ready for shipping. This was slow, as the town was still had a layout of narrow, cobbled streets and expensive because of the road taxes. The coal dust also provided breathing difficulties for the citizens of the city.

Porter and Latimer, the colliery owners, employed a local engineer, William E. Gilhespie to construct an underground wagonway, an overground waggonway being out of the question as the Freemen of Newcastle would not give permission for tracks to be laid across the Town Moor, a building rule that is followed to this day.

Permission to build the tunnel was granted in 1838 and work started the following year. The tunnel was probably dug in sections by around 200 workers. The walls of the tunnel were lined in stone, and a double brick arch supported the roof. It is approximately 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m) high and 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) wide. This was just large enough to accommodate the custom-built chaldron wagons. The gradual gradient of the tunnel meant loaded wagons simply rolled along a standard gauge rail track down to the river. A rope was tied to the last wagon in the train and a stationary steam engine at the top of the tunnel hauled the empty wagons back up to the pithead after they’d unloaded their coal.

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 who wished to serve became Perfects (Parfaits) after a demanding ceremony called a Consolamentum. This ceremony was deemed unnatural by the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope issued a Papal bull decreeing it as sacrilegious. In 1095 the Roman Catholic Church started crusades in the Middle East. After the embarrassment of the 4th Crusade (1202 – 1204) that had ended in the Sack of Constantinople – which meant most soldiers on the Crusade didn’t reach The Holy Land – Pope Innocent III turned his attention closer to home and became particularly interested in the Languedoc, where some of the people practiced a separate sect of Christianity called Catharism.

 

 

Travels through History – The Balkans

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the one about The Balkans:

The Balkans

The North Macedonians build a fountain and upset the Greeks. Villages on the road to Lake Ohrid fly Albanian flags instead of North Macedonian ones. Kosovan taxi drivers believe fundamentalists are being sponsored in their country by former foes. Dubrovnik is so popular a one-way system is now in operation on the city walls. In Sarajevo, the place the First World War started is not easy to find, but evidence of more recent atrocities is. Memories are long in The Balkans, contrasts and contradictions are all around. History is always in your face, reminding you nothing stays the same for long in this most fascinating corner of Europe.

 

Travels through History – Armenia

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to. If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the one about Armenia and the UK.

Armenia and the UK

Armenia is full of monasteries, fortresses, and people who are passionate about their past. The traveller is always aware of the importance of religion and history in this little-visited country, whose only open borders are with Georgia and Iran. In the UK, I describe visits to Leicester, Derby, Manchester, Bristol, and Cardiff.

The Baltics and Poland

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to.

I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.

If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover only the places I visited.

Here is the one about Poland and The Baltic countries. 

Poland and the Baltics

This is a short travelogue for independent travellers to Poland and the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. 

In particular, this travelogue covers the Polish cities of Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan, and Torun and describes the history and the sights that can be seen there.

When visiting Gdansk, Poznan, and Wroclaw it’s difficult to believe that these cities were largely destroyed during WWII by both sides in turn. 

I describe the sights that can be seen in Lithuania including the unique places called the Grutas Park with its collection of Communist statues and the Hill of Crosses with its millions of religious symbols. 

I also visited Tallinn in Estonia as well as Riga and the Rundale Palace in Latvia.

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