Haven and history: a refuge in the Italian Dolomites

Bleggio provided shelter for displaced people during the second world war, including Eliot Haworth’s family. He travels there to explore their place of protection

Travels through History: France

The south-eastern part of France has an abundance of historical interest. From the Roman theatres of Arles and Orange to the Cathar castles in the foothills of The Pyrenees there is much to see and remember.

There are mysteries too.

Why would the Roman Catholic Church create a crusade against the Cathar ‘heretics’ when these people were following such a devout life? How did the Romans build the Pont du Gard so quickly as part of a 40-mile water channel to provide water to Nimes? What did Bérenger Saunière discover in Rennes-le-Chateau that made him so wealthy?

Added to the history and the mystery are a host of natural wonders, beautiful scenery, and familiar names appearing in unfamiliar places.

Travels through History: Journeys in the former Yugoslavia – Kosovo

This excerpt from the book about my travels in The Balkans

“My friends and I think that someone pays them to wear that clothing,” said the taxi driver, pointing at a woman wearing a burqa, “and it has only started in the last 18 months, 2 years. It is the same with the men growing the long beards, they are being paid to make the long beard. It is not traditional. That is what the Muslim women wear here,” he continued jabbing a nicotine-stained finger at another woman with a long, orangey-yellow scarf wrapped around her hair. She was also wearing a long-sleeved blouse and a baggy skirt, both in understated pastel shades. “Those long-bearded men are being paid to be radicals.” “Who would do that, which country would do that, which organisation would pay people to wear burqas and grow beards?” I asked sceptically. “It is Serbia, they are paying people a hundred Euros a month or more to make these statements, so they can cause unrest amongst the people and cause the people to doubt each other. But it won’t work, because they don’t know the Muslims, they don’t know we won’t fall out with each other, because there’s no jihad against fellow Muslims. It is not just to fight your brother, but it is just to fight against a different religion if the circumstances are right.”