Category Archives: Napoleon

Palace of the people

AMONG the northern toes of the Sierra Nevada, on a hilltop overlooking the city of Granada, stands the Alhambra – the most complete Islamic fortification and royal palace remaining in Europe. Built as a fortress in 889, it was enlarged in the mid-13th Century during the Nasrid dynasty, and after the fall of Islam in Spain, in 1492, became one the residencies of the Christian monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was eventually abandoned, partially destroyed by Napoleon’s troops, became a haven for the homeless, was rediscovered by European intellectuals and restored to its former glory – and is now Spain’s premier ancient monument and number-one tourist attraction . . . Continue reading Palace of the people

On the road

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THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Sitting in Flo’s Cafe, just south of Doncaster on the Great North Road. The chap on the next table is giving us advice on driving through France. This is after telling us he has just bought a six-berth campervan that has its own sewage and waste-water tank. “Don’t need to hook up to owt, mate. Don’t need to hook up to owt.” I marvel at the ingenuity of the leisure vehicle industry. Not even the snail, nature’s paragon of self containment, evolved to the level of carrying its own waste about . . . Continue reading On the road