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When Dracula Came to Whitby Little has changed since the count’s 19th-century visit














Port Arthur, TAS



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L’Anse aux Meadows, NL


L’Anse aux Meadows

Where the Vikings built North America’s first European settlement in A.D. 1000

Lonely Planet Canada, 14th edition

CHRISTOPHER Columbus’s status as the first European to find North America has long been disputed—fishing fleets from various parts of the Old World may have known about it centuries earlier, for example—but the first proof of European New World settlement didn’t come until the 1960s when archaeologists found a small cloak pin and the outlines of sod houses at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland.

“Norse folklore had mentioned a site called ‘Vinland’ for centuries,” says the 14th edition of Lonely Planet Canada, and here it was: in A.D. 1000, led by Leif Erickson, Vikings had sailed from Scandinavia and landed at L’Anse aux Meadows, where “they settled, constructed houses, fed themselves and even smelted iron out of the bog to forge nails… Archaeologists now believe the site was a base camp and that Vikings ranged much further along the coast.”

L’Anse aux Meadows is now both a Canadian national historic site ( and a UNESCO World Heritage site. “Visitors can see the remains of [the Vikings’] waterside settlement: eight wood-and-sod buildings, now just vague outlines in the spongy ground, plus three replica buildings inhabited by costumed docents.”

The guidebook says to “allow two or three hours to walk around and absorb the ambience.” It admits that “visiting a bog in the middle of nowhere and staring at the spot where a couple of old sod houses once stood” may seem dull, “but somehow this site, lying in a forlorn sweep of land, turns out to be one of Newfoundland’s most stirring attractions.”

The guidebook recommends the site’s interpretive centre and the three kilometres of trails leading from it.












Charlottesville, VA



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23 November 2020

Beethoven’s 250th Birthday


Many planned events delayed, cancelled; go visit his homes instead


LUDWIG VAN Beethoven was supposed to have quite the 250th birthday party in 2020. Internationally, major events were scheduled as far from his hometown as Japan. Marin Alsop, music director of the symphony orchestras in Baltimore and Sao Paulo, had intended to conduct his Ninth Symphony in New Zealand, the United States, Brazil, England, Austria, Australia and South Africa. In Bonn, Germany, where Beethoven was born (baptized 17 December 1770), a year-long programme of 300 concerts, exhibitions, dance and theatre performances was planned. Vienna, where the composer spent most of his career, had a similarly impressive calendar set, including three staged versions of his opera Fidelio and special shows at the National Library, Leopold Museum and House of Music.




16 November 2020

Machu Picchu Again Welcoming Visitors


Peru has reopened several Inca sites including its most popular, Machu Picchu


MACHU PICCHU, Peru’s most popular tourist destination, reopened 1 November 2020 after an eight-month shutdown due to covid-19. Used to receiving 1.5 million visitors a year, it has had its capacity reduced by 70 per cent to accommodate physical-distancing rules, limiting the number of daily sightseers to just 675, and no groups larger than eight. Everyone must have their temperature taken before entering and wear a mask throughout their visit.




15 November 2020

Secret Swiss Fortification Opens to the Public


Fort de Chillon, opposite 12th-century Château de Chillon, was part of WWII defences


FROM THE END of November 2020 the Swiss will open the defences carved into the rock opposite the 12th-century Château de Chillon during the Second World War. The tunnels and caverns were part of the “national redoubt,” a series of fortifications begun in the 1880s to defend Switzerland by denying an invader access to the country by controlling its mountain passes. The Fort de Chillon works were constructed in 1941-2, when the country was surrounded by Axis powers, as the system’s western gateway. It had a garrison of more than 100 soldiers.




23 October 2020

Praise for Artemisia Gentileschi Exhibition


National Gallery’s first major show since covid-19 struck gets rave reviews


THE FIRST MAJOR exhibition at London’s National Gallery since covid-19 struck in March 2020 has opened to five-star reviews from the Telegraph, the Times, the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the BBC.

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