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Berlin Survival Guide

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Thinking of going to Berlin? Want to know what to do and where to go? Have no fear, I've got you covered. I present to you the ultimate Berlin Survival Guide - your one stop shop for a fantastic trip no matter whether you are an adventurer, a clubber or a creature of culture.
Get Some Culture! Berlin is steeped in modern history, with the shadow of the Berlin Wall still very much a part of the city. And its not just modern history it holds in excess, with galleries on museum island and incredible 17th century architecture in the form of the state opera house, if arts and history are your thing, you will not be left disappointed. 
Sandemans Tour - FREE(ish) If you only have one day in Berlin GO ON THIS TOUR!. Berlin is not a small city and you can easily waste a day just trying to find the sites featured on this list. Sandemans offer a FREE (yes, free!) tour of the city that will take you through all of the highlights and have a nice lunch stop in just 3 hours. I've been on Sandema…

Operation Little Vittles: A Mini Story

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When researching for my Teufelsberg post a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a wonderful piece of history that could not go without being retold. Fair warning, this may be the sweetest story you will ever hear. So without further ado, here is the tale of Operation Little Vittles.



Gail Halvorsen was a US Officer, WWII command pilot, and all round good guy. Following a turbulent few years fighting, Gail finally settled down to an easy life, transporting goods and services across the Atlantic Ocean, only to find himself in the limelight once again in June 1948, at the start of the Berlin Blockade.  To jog your memories, the Berlin Blockade was a year long lock-down of West Berlin by the USSR. The Soviet Union were not pleased with West Berlin behaviour and decided the best method of discipline would be to cut all transport links out of the city, isolating the West from all outside goods and services. Unfortunately for the USSR, this scheme failed to deliver, as the allies banded togeth…

Trespass on Devils Mountain

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8th May 1945. The second Great War comes to an end. Germany had just surrendered to the Allies and it would be only a matter of months before Japan would follow suit. It was time for the world to piece itself back together again.
Soldiers would return home, governments would reform and economies would start to rebuild themselves. This would be no small task, particularly for Berlin, a city with 70% of its buildings in need of repair and a third destroyed completely. Consequently midnight on the 8th May 1945 (aka Stunde Null) saw the beginning of the biggest clean-up operation the city had ever seen.
Stunde Null (‘Zero Hour’ in English) was seen by many as the moment that Germany began to put the atrocities of the war behind them, the start of a new non-Nazi Germany. Overnight Soviet forces began to dismantle industry and transport across the city, removing any trace of the previous government occupation. Two months later the city would be formally divided between the four major powers, …

Box Hill - Tales from the Home Counties

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Box Hill lends its name from Buxus sempervirens, or more commonly, the Boxwood tree, a species whose members shade the western slopes of this Surrey summit. When venturing up by car you climb these very slopes, taking the appropriately named ‘zig-zag road’ from base to peak, in a slalom of single-track hairpin bends cocooned by both the aforementioned Boxwoods, and numerous gnarled Yew trees, a common sight around the area. It was at the top of this twisted road that I found myself at lunch time on a sticky summer’s day.
Upon leaving the carpark and picking up a (free!) map from the National Trust cafĂ©, I made my way toward the first viewpoint, where I could fuel up on packed lunch before my adventure began.  I rounded the corner, and the hill dropped off ahead revealing the viewpoint as promised. It did not disappoint. What felt like the entirety of this beautiful home county was staring up at me, the river Mole flowing below, the railway line running alongside. As I sat watching th…

Close to home... Abbotsbury

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As someone who tends to travel away at the weekends, I often miss opportunities to explore what is right on my doorstep. So a couple of weekends ago, me and a friend headed to the village next door for a little local adventure, and were met with a welcome surprise. Here are some of the delights the sleepy village of Abbotsbury has to offer:
Chesil Beach Reaching from Portland down past Abbotsbury and onwards, Chesil beach is 29km of shingle, and a sight you’re unlikely to see anywhere else! Easily accessible from Abbotsbury, it is a prime fishing location, and thanks to the steep shoreline, home to some spectacular crashing waves that just encapsulate the vastness of the ocean.

Swannery
Abbotsbury Swannery is home to hundreds of swans, all of whom have chosen to make the swannery their home. This beautiful sanctuary is designed for the swans to leave should they choose, and yet every year the population grows and grows, homage to the majesty this beautiful place holds. In addition, every …

A City of Culture... Liverpool

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Last week I went on a day trip to Liverpool, a city I had never visited before, a city of culture (as of 2008), and a city I am now very fond of. We hopped off the train (an easy £5 return journey from Manchester) to immediately be welcomed by the stunning st Georges Hall towering across the road, an unexpected glimpse into a Liverpool of the past. Unfortunately the hall was closed for Easter Sunday, however, without having to walk more than a few seconds from the station we were bombarded with enough delights that it was clear why Liverpool was crowned European Capital of Culture in 2008.

We began our day wandering around the Walker Art Gallery, a classic art gallery full of works dating back to the 1300's, before heading next door to the Central Library. If you ever find yourself in Liverpool, make sure to put this high up on your to-do list, Central Library is one of the most magical buildings to grace this country. Once you wander up through the ultra modern entrance and onto …

Oslo Survival Guide

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I have now returned from my adventures in Oslo, and I can confidently say that it is possibly the most beautiful country I have ever visited. Stunning pine woods thick with snow lie above a clean and charismatic city in a medley of nature and human creation. I stayed just outside the city, up in the hills near Holmenkollen, and I could easily spend hours talking about the breathtaking views and the crisp mountain air, but instead I present to you a survival guide - my top tips on how to make the most of the city.

KEY FACTS
Language: NorwegianCurrency: Nordic KronaCost: $$$Best way to get around: The city itself is very easy to explore by foot, but to reach just outside the city to areas such as Holmenkollen you are best taking the metro which costs around £3 for a single ticket - which is valid for one hour to any destination. When to go: Pretty much any time of the year would be worth it, but you will get very different experiences.December-February if you love the snow and fancy a bi…