FROM The man in the front seat / June 27, 2013


Anyone venturing into Austria or Germany from late April to the middle of June will be greeted in many place with signs advertising “Spargelzeit” or “Spargelsaison”. What this means is that Asparagus Season is upon us, unlike in the Southern Hemisphere however these asparagus are white not green. Although grown in numerous places, Baden-Wurttemberg, Hesse and Alsace are the most well known areas as white asparagus needs a specific combination of soil, temperature and rain to produce the perfect taste. Each year Germany grows more than 55,000 tonnes of the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 26, 2013

Atomium (Brussels)

Every European city has a monument that is a symbol of the city; Paris with its Eiffel Tower, Rome has its Colosseum and Brussels has…the Atomium. Constructed in 1958 for the World Expo, the Atomium stands 102m (335ft) high and it forms the shape a iron crystal atom magnified 165 billion times. The nine spheres measure 9m (18ft) in diameter and are made of stainless steel along with the tubes connecting them that form the edges of a cube. The tubes contain lifts that give access exhibition rooms with the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 25, 2013

Westvleteren Brewery – we are monks, not brewers

A journey to Belgium wouldn’t be complete without two important things, chocolate and beer…preferably not at the same time. One of the most unique breweries is Westvleteren, located inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren, not far from Ypres. The brewery produces three beers one of which, Westervleteren XII, is widely regarded by beer aficionados as “the best beer in the world”. The beers are not brewed for commercial sale and as a consequence the supply is limited with sales occurring from the doors of the monastery on […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 24, 2013

The Battle of Messines

The Battle of Messines begun on June 7, 1917 and last a week until June 14. The offensive was an assault to capture the German defensives on a ridge running south of Ypres and also to draw German soldiers to Flanders from the Arras and Aisne Fronts and thus relieve pressure on the French soldiers who were struggling at the time. The battle begun at 3.10am with detonation of 19 mines which was followed by a creeping barrage, artillery fire that slowing creeps forward, for some 640m (700ft) which allowed […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 24, 2013

Eiffel Tower (Paris)

Location: Paris,  France Construction begun: 1887 Construction finished: 889 Opened: 31 March 1889 Contractor: Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel Engineer: Gustave Eiffel / Maurice Koechlin / Émile Nouguier Architect: Stephen Sauvestre Purpose: Built for the World Fair of 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution Total Height: 24m (1063ft), equivalent to an 81 storey building Foundations: 4 x 2m (6ft) x 6m (20ft) thick concrete slabs N.B. – the two foundations closest to the river are supported on 2 piles measuring 6m (20ft) wide x 15m (72ft) deep […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 23, 2013

Palace of Versailles (Paris)

Located 20km southwest of Paris is, the once sleepy, village of Versailles. In 1624 Louis XIII built a small hunting lodge in the village after having made several trips to the area to hunt with Albert de Gondi. Eight years later he enlarged the lodge tuning it into a modest château (summer home). His successor however, Louis XIV,  then turned it into one of the largest palaces in the world. In May 1664 Louis held a fair, Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée (Pleasures of the Enchanted Island), and he needed accommodation […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 21, 2013

Mt. Pilatus Cog Railway

Mt. Pilatus is located near the incredibly picturesque town of Luzern, Switzerland. The summit, 2128m (7022ft), is reach either by cable car or cog railway. The railway is considered to be the steepest of its kind in the world with a maximum gradient of 48%. The project was first conceived in 1873 and was to have a maximum gradient of 25%. However, this project was shelved as it was deemed not to be economically viable. Eduard Locher proposed an idea which would increase the gradient to 48% degrees and as […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 5, 2013

The Romantic Rhine

One of the most majestic waterways in Europe, the Rhine, stretching 1,232km (766mi) is known not only for its natural beauty but its spectacular castles and sweeping vineyards. The river is only navigable for 865km (540mi) as far a Rheinfelden in the Swiss Canton of Schaffhausen near the Swiss-German border. Between Bingen and Bonn the Section is known as the “Middle Rhine” passes through a gouge that is decorated with some 40 castles and since 2002 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known as the “Romantic Rhine”. […]

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