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2 East End Reads

Two East End Reads

Two excellent books we recommend in our episode on the East End of London are Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and Charlie Connolly’s Constance Street.   The first takes you into the lives of the Bangladeshi community at the very end of the 20th century and the second goes back a hundred years and tells the story of one family and the street they lived in for generations ….. until it was destroyed by German bombs on Black Saturday in September 1940.

London Episode 16

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Lena’s diary

Lena’s diary

St Petersburg’s haunting Memorial to the Defenders of Leningrad recalls the dreadful 900 day long blockade of the city by German troops during the Second World War. Supplies to the city were so ruthlessly cut off that the population was starved and 800,000 people lost their lives. 16 year-old Lena Mukhina lived through it and kept a diary.  Its contents bring the period alive in a way the monument just can’t.

St Petersburg Episode 11 The Siege of St Petersburg

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Edinburgh’s real-life Jekyll and Hyde

Edinburgh’s real-life Jekyll and Hyde

Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh has 2 pubs signs illustrating the man who was, by day, ‘pious, wealthy and much-respected’, but at night became ‘a gambler and a thief, dissipated and licentious.’  It’s thought that the Edinburgh-born author Robert Louis Stevenson took his inspiration from Brodie for his novel, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.

Edinburgh Episode 05

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The Munich Art Hoard

The Munich Art Hoard

The Munich Art Hoard tells a fascinating true story.  In 2012, German customs authorities uncovered an astonishing hoard of more than 1,400 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures stored in the flat of an elderly recluse, Cornelius Gurlitt.  Author Catherine Hickley searched the archives and conducted dozens of interviews in order to unravel the story of these treasures which had mostly belonged to Jewish collectors.  They were stolen in the 1930s and 40s and disappeared into a tangled web of Nazi persecution and dishonest art dealers, finally ending up in Mr Gurlitt’s possession.  This book offers an unusual angle on Munich during and after the war years.

Munich Episode 10

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The palaces of Seville

The palaces of Seville

Yes, the Alcazar is a gorgeous must-see in Seville.  But in Episode 06 we go on a wander through three other stunning palaces in the city and tell some of the stories behind them: the Casa de Pilatos, the Palacio de las Dueñas (pictured) and the Palacio de Lebrija.

Seville Episode 06

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All things Florence

All things Florence

Florence’s official tourist website is a treasure trove of ideas whether you’re a first timer or have been to Florence dozens of times.   Loads of suggestions for walking tours, for specialist interests (Jewish Florence, Baroque Florence, a focus on contemporary art or on Dante), ideas for visits out of the city and for upcoming events.  Just too much to summarise here: have a look!

https://www.feelflorence.it/en

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City Breaks Edinburgh

City Breaks Edinburgh

‘If you’re going to pick a city to get stuck in your head forever, like a first love, then smoky, beery, hilly Edinburgh is a good choice to make.’  (Christopher McNab)  Our new series has just begun: Fàilte gu Dùn Èideann.  Welcome to Edinburgh.

 

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Impressionist Paris

Impressionist Paris

Most people head to the Musée d’Orsay to see impressionist paintings on a visit to Paris.  But don’t forget the other two specialist collections:  Monet’s giant water lily paintings in the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Musée Marmottan, which houses over 300 Monet paintings and 100 oil paintings and water colours by the best known female impressionist, Berthe Morisot.

Paris Episode 09

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Heart of Munich Tours

Heart of Munich Tours

Looking for an experienced guide who provides a range of enjoyable tours in and around Munich?  We recommend Heart of Munich Tours, whose founder, Jax, was a guest on our first two Munich Extra episodes.  He offers lots of choice: city tours, a beer or bike tour, and a trip to Ludwig II’s castle at Neuschwanstein (‘the Disney castle’) For those interested in history, there is also a 3rd Reich History Tour of Munich and an accompanied trip to the nearby Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

Munich Extra Episode 01 (city tours, beer and bike tours, Neuschwanstein)

Munich Extra Episode 02 (3rd Reich tour, visit to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site)

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The Coronation Chair

The Coronation Chair

39 English monarchs have been crowned while sitting on this chair, commissioned for Westminster Abbey in 1300 by King Edward I.  Mary Tudor, the fervently catholic queen crowned in 1553 declined to use it, rejecting it because it was the same chair on which  her protestant half-brother Edward had been crowned.  But Oliver Cromwell used it for his installation as Lord Protector in 1657, although it was moved from Westminster Abbey to Westminster Hall for the occasion.

London Episode 05

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