Como, Italy – Italian riches

When taking a long road trip (for example, from France to Liechtenstein), it is always a good idea to have a point to stop, stretch one's legs and see something interesting to break up the monotonous hours of motorway/autobahn/highway travel. This specific stop was a nice city on the Swiss-Italian border (on the Italian side): Como. … Continue reading Como, Italy – Italian riches

A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

Francis Grose, Author of A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue Have you ever typed an unknown word into Google to figure out what it means and come across a website called UrbanDictionary? If not, I highly recommend it. Warning: this website includes many vulgar terms and while it is constantly evolving, changing, and growing in … Continue reading A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

Vaduz, Liechtenstein – A tiny capital for a tiny country

Vaduz dates back to the 1100s (at least, it appeared in manuscripts from the time); a castle dates from 1322, but the Swiss completely destroyed both in 1499. Until 1719, the Hohenems family held Liechtenstein. This is when the Liechtenstein family purchased it. The family originally came from Castle Liechtenstein in Lower Austria. They wanted … Continue reading Vaduz, Liechtenstein – A tiny capital for a tiny country

Santuari de Meritxell, Andorra

In the mountains in Andorra lies a village called Meritxell (the 'tx' is like the 'ch' in English) with 66 inhabitants. So why is it one of the places to go when visiting Andorra if you want to get a feel for the people? The answer lies in the Santuari de Meritxell, a sanctuary basilica. … Continue reading Santuari de Meritxell, Andorra

Castell Ddinas, Wales – Ancient defences

Castell Ddinas was the highest castle in England and Wales. It dates back to the Iron Age, which in Britain was between 600BC and 50AD. Along with many castles in Wales, such as Caerphilly Castle, the Normals built the now ruins during their conquest of Wales in the early 1070s. A Norman castle The Norman … Continue reading Castell Ddinas, Wales – Ancient defences

Caerphilly Castle, Wales – A Staple of BBC shows and documentaries

The largest castle, Caerphilly Castle, in Wales (and the second largest in Britain) has quite a long and bloody history reaching back almost 800 years. A multitude of families have held the castle over the years. It has been both loyal and rebel to the country, and has set a few records in its time. … Continue reading Caerphilly Castle, Wales – A Staple of BBC shows and documentaries

Great Green Dragon – English Adjective Order

Have you ever wondered why 'a red, large coat' just doesn't sound quite right in English? Did you know that in English, we have a preference for adjective order? This is especially true when they go before a noun? If you aren't a native speaker, how can you become used to certain adjectives going in … Continue reading Great Green Dragon – English Adjective Order

Montserrat, Spain – One of Catalonia’s religious mountain

So you have visited Barcelona and, frankly, you have seen it all in the city. Are you bored of the sunshine, the moonlight, and the boogie? But what else is there to do? Well, if you can take day trips (either in your own or public transport), Montserrat is the place to go! But what … Continue reading Montserrat, Spain – One of Catalonia’s religious mountain

International Phonetic Alphabet and Phonemic Alphabets

/gɛt jɔː ʃwɑː ɒn/ Have you ever seen something that looks like the Roman Alphabet but then it has some extra dots, symbols and letters you have never seen before? Does it follow other words and come after vocabulary (usually)? International Phonetic Alphabet If you answered yes to these questions, then you have most likely … Continue reading International Phonetic Alphabet and Phonemic Alphabets

Great Vowel Shift

Have you ever wondered why English pronunciation is so difficult? Why are words written one way but pronounced in another? In addition to English's bastard origins, there was a great event over a couple of centuries of extreme linguistic and phonological importance called the Great Vowel Shift. Questions, questions? So what is this Great Vowel … Continue reading Great Vowel Shift

Budapest, Hungary – The twin capital

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is definitely one of the European capitals that I would highly recommend to anyone on a tour of Europe. From brilliant architecture and rich history to the thermal baths to the ruin bars, there is something for everyone. Additionally, as is true with many eastern European countries, Budapest and Hungary … Continue reading Budapest, Hungary – The twin capital

Maulbronn Monastery, Germany – A Religious Paradise

Nestled in the tiny town of Maulbronn in the Enz Province of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, sits the Maulbronn Monastery, a Romanesque-style monastery with a long past. This Monastery, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a long and bloody past but is also a beautiful and unique place to visit. History The name comes … Continue reading Maulbronn Monastery, Germany – A Religious Paradise

The Most Important Word in the English Language and Its History

What is the most important word in the English language? How can we even begin to classify words in terms of their importance? What does that even mean? To answer this question, we need to look at some history. History and language For anyone who has studied a little bit of British history, you know … Continue reading The Most Important Word in the English Language and Its History

Dresden, Germany – The dark capital

So I was recently able to spend a few hours in Dresden, one of the historic centres of Germany which has enjoyed a lot of power throughout its history. Its importance in the Holy Roman Empire especially led to its prosperity. You can see it in the architecture rebuilt after Dresden's destruction during World War … Continue reading Dresden, Germany – The dark capital

Wartburg Castle, Germany – The birthplace of religious resistance

Eisenach is a town in western Thüringen (Thuringia). It is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Wartburg Castle. This town has a surprisingly star-studded history: Martin Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German in Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach was born here in 1865, and hosted the famous writer/statesman Johann Wolfgang Goethe, all … Continue reading Wartburg Castle, Germany – The birthplace of religious resistance