The Lapland War

Riding south from Ravaniemi on the E75, I spotted a small side turning leading east marked Tervola and slipped quickly of the rough north south route, into the unknown. The brilliant sunshine glimmered of the the new bridge over the Kemi, as I stopped in the shade of the Kirk. Finland’s wartime past is not widely publicised but knowing the Russian pacts and advance from the east and the Finnish resistance and the earlier Lapland War, the number of German and Finnish war graves with similar dates reinforces the strategic importance of this river crossing in 1944.

The Bridge at Tervoia The battle for Tervoia

BUGN DRHQ FPNE QXVN IKPV HYSD

If you get a chance go to Bletchley Park. Its a haunting place that was the location of the UK Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), and perhaps most famously the site that allowed Dilly Knox and the team including Alan Turing to build the Bombes which helped crack the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. I had to double check my facts after my first visit as I just could not believe that in the UK homosexuality remained a criminal offence until 1967. Turing committed suicide on June 7th 1954 after begin persecuted for being gay. It is little recompense that the UK government officially apologised to him for the “the appalling way he was treated”, but on the 24th December 2013 Turing was pardoned posthumously by the Queen – its not the finest moment for our democratic system and tolerant culture – live and let live.The Bombe

Little Blackall Street – Go Figure

Stumbled across some excellent street art last weekend in Little Blackall Street in Shoreditch,London EC2. Turns out this little alley supports displays from RUN, C215, 616, Swoon and Alice Pasquini as well as Pichi and Avo, some of the original work is covered under hoardings but even those have been enlivened. Did a bit of digging and found some “whose watching the watchers” art on display and when I checked on street view I found this – the irony is not lost on me…

The KissSolo

By si niečo na pitie

Going to have to leave the east shortly – these 17 days have raced by with a series of multi lingual exchanges and gesticulations bound by the common thread of an old man riding an old motorcycle – lasting memories will be the torrential rain and the stunning vistas for wherever you look in eastern Europe the people are friendly and welcome you into their homes – the number of times I have been offered a drink when asking for directions – like the two go hand in hand…Eastern Europe Forest

Jungfernsprung

The story goes that a young maiden ventured into the Forest of Dahn to pick berries when a man with ‘dishonourable intent’ thought to be Hans Trap from Berwartstein Castle chased her down to take her ‘innocence’. The young maiden gathered up her skirts and took to flight but in her panic she did not watch where she was going and found herself at a cliff edge – without stopping to think, the young maiden fell over the cliff and because her skirts ballooned out she floated down gently and survived the leap unhurt – ever since at the spot of her leap a spring has flowed. All I know is that stumbling across this set of waterfalls on a bimble around the Austrian and German border was amazing.Jungfernsprung

Downtime in Austvågøya

Austvågøya could be overshadowed by Higravstinden the huge dominating mountain on the eastern island side but it also shares superb coastal beaches, stopping for tea and dried fish (is this were the British and Norwegian cultures met?) I kicked back in the summer sunshine and marvelled at the clarity of the water which at times allowed you to see the unperturbed marine life in its natural glory. Austvågøya

Skyscraper Envy

Can a country get Skyscraper envy? Frankfurt has around 30 Skyscrapers… I wonder if this could be inked to Andrew Lawrence’s belief that the “skyscraper index,” is in play. Andrew maintains that, a skyscraper begins construction when the economy is growing, but this is then followed by a sharp downturn. But once a skyscraper is finished, according to the index, the economy is climbing back. By my understanding there around 6 substantive skyscraper building projects under way in Frankfurt today…

Frankfurt Skyline

Gothic Edinburgh Cityscape

Managed to squeeze in a break before Christmas to come back to Edinburgh, I had forgotten just how beautiful and cosmopolitan this city is and without doubt one of the most welcome, clean and dynamic cities in the UK. The Gothic architecture and sense of history and civic pride is all pervading and with eclectic corner café’s the city culture is vibrant.