The Adventures of Milady in Rügen with Elizabeth von Arnim

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On Wednesday I start this summer’s “Big Adventure”. In 2013 I spent a month working at a B&B in Switzerland and last year and the year before I took myself off to Ireland for 4 weeks and 3 weeks successively. This year I’ll be travelling in Germany, Denmark and Sweden visiting Lübeck, the Baltic islands of Rügen and Bornholm, walking the Osterlen Way before finally spending two nights in the Swedish university city of Lund. Originally I had hoped to travel quite independently by ferry and car but there are no longer passenger car ferry services between the north of England and northern Germany or Scandinavia. I think there is still a service to Amsterdam but that is as far north in Europe as you can get these days. So, to save precious time, I’m flying to Hamburg and back from Copenhagen.

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One of my favourite authors is Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941) and in 1904 she published her book recounting the story of her journey in 1904.

Every one who has been to school and still remembers what he was taught there, knows that Rügen is the biggest island Germany possesses, and that it lies in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Pomerania. Round this island I wished to walk this summer, but no one would walk with me. It is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things. It is the one way of freedom. If you go to a place on anything but your own feet you are taken there too fast, and miss a thousand delicate joys that are waiting for you by the roadside.

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A Postcard from Rügen

Thus her story begins. Walking was out of the question for Elizabeth since at that time she could not walk alone. In the end she travelled by coach and horses with her retinue, or at least one maid. For my part I prefer to have company for such a trip and one day that company presented itself in the form of Queen Breaca (QB) who comments here and offered to accompany me and indeed plan the trip to Rügen together. We shall be travelling by car and staying in one place but travelling out each day to different parts of the island for our walks.

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From that plan a visit to Lübeck was suggested by another reading friend (Rhona) and not quite finally, a friend who used to be a neighbour but has since moved to Derbyshire, suggested a walking tour in southern Sweden since Rügen is but a hop, skip and a jump from the starting point Ystad in Sweden.

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Hearing of this plan QB then suggested adding an additional trip to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic of which, up to now, the only thing I knew and  remembered about it from my school geography lessons was that it is (or was) a major source of China clay!

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The map at the top outlines Elizabeth’s trip and we hope to visit many of the same places. Different adventures will befall us and we’ll do different walks too. I’m very excited about this adventure!

 

The Llangernyw Yew : The Oldest Tree in Wales and a Forgotten Poet

… And one of the oldest living things in the world! I don’t know why we don’t all know about this phenomenon. From The Pulpit Yew we drove on to the village of Llangernyw in order to find this ancient yew – more than 4,000 years old.

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Saint Digain’s Church also features in Simon Jenkins’s best buildings in Wales book.

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The Pulpit Yew : Nantglyn, North Wales

Earlier this week I spent a few days in North Wales with two friends. We stayed in a lovely old Landmark Trust property, Dolbelydr, near Trefnant in Denbighshire.

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Here’s an extract from the Landmark Trust website  about Dolbelydr :

Meadow of the Rays of the Sun

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Mariposa Sculpture Garden

The series of books (originally published in Germany but some titles now available in English) 111 places that one must see includes only the non-famous sights and places off the beaten track. One of the 111 places that we “must see” in Tenerife was the Mariposa Sculpture Garden up in the hills near Arona, about a 20 minute drive from Palm Mar.

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Messing About on the River Thames

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as messing about in boats”*

One of the chief delights at Ferry Cottage, Cliveden was the proximity to the River Thames. There are rough footpaths along the banks. And, lucky for us, the river trips started for the 2017 season that very weekend.

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1917 Romanovs & Revolution at The Hermitage, Amsterdam

Last weekend I made a short trip to Amsterdam. My Dutch friend, Monique, who joined me on my Irish trip last year, had invited me to her 60th party and I joined up with two Swiss friends (also called Barbara) for the weekend. We all met when I worked in Cambridge and they were at Language School. That summer (1977) Monique and I went to work at a Hotel in the Bernese Alps. We met up with the Barbaras during our time there and have met up over the years ever since in Boscastle, Italy, London, Grindelwald and Amsterdam. Later this year Tenerife is on the cards!

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The Hermitage Amsterdam

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