Burg Kyda (Kiiu)

The cute tower now known as Kiiu carries the dubious distinction of being the smallest surviving Medieval military building in the Baltics. This should lead the intrepid explorer to think from the start that there’s not a lot to go around here even though what there is has a wonderful atmosphere. If Kiiu ends up being on your route, do stop by and take a look!

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Review: The French Foreign Legion, Douglas Boyd

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This was a detailed history in many a way, and it is clear that the author is enthusiastic about the Foreign Legions and its engagements throughout the approximately two centuries it has been in existence. Mr Boyd goes starts by throwing the reader into the deep, expecting them to pick up on what was going on in Vietnam before taking a step back and describing the earliest Legion and its gradual development into an Algerian occupying army and from that the other conflicts it has participated in. Continue reading “Review: The French Foreign Legion, Douglas Boyd”

Review: The Vanquished, Robert Gerwath

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book makes for a compelling narrative of the early interwar years, combining together the stories of the primary nations that took part of the Great War on the side of the Central Powers. Yet, the book also goes beyond these places, also integrating in to some details Japan and Italy which though on the winning side lost as much as they won with the conclusion of the war. Continue reading “Review: The Vanquished, Robert Gerwath”

Bischofsburg Odenpäh (Otepää)

The Estonian Otepää is mostly known to the locals as a winter resort, but this is a place where known history stretches back into the early 12th century — in some form or another. Mostly this is due to the ever helpful neighbouring Rus states, the typical ones to try and extend into these lands being the Novgorodians. The Germans, of course, came in their own time and we know some about their adventures here as well, and for a while the city could have been called the capital of the bishopric in which it was based.

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Bischofsburg Oldentorne (Vana-Kastre)

Oldentorne, or in today’s language, Vana-Kastre was the site of a castle in the Bishopric of Dorpat (Tartu). Not much is left today — I only found a bit of surviving masonry, overgrown by the trees present, and there is a lot of overgrowth present. There might have been some attempts to save this place from nature but it did not last long, and I feel like the local villagers would have taken the potential for stones and used them in dwellings they required after the castle fell into disuse. Continue reading “Bischofsburg Oldentorne (Vana-Kastre)”

Fort de Ruyter

I ended up at Fort de Ruyter after a walk from the port of Vlissingen. It wasn’t a clear-cut road and I did not know what I would be looking at when I arrived. The sight, as ever, was both magical and unexpected. It is quintessentially Dutch to have a thorough combination of the very old and the very modern, and that is what this fort represents in many a way.  Continue reading “Fort de Ruyter”

Binham Priory

I never expected to be visiting Binham but it was on the way. Or, rather, what I saw from the window of my car was that a ruined structure was rising up from the horizon on my right so I decided to stop and go for a walk. It’s a mighty sight to behold, and my poor camera’s representation of it is such: Continue reading “Binham Priory”

Creake Abbey

Creake’s history in effect spans not more than about three centuries, but in it we may find our historic senses of justice and injustice renewed. The small abbey (most of the walls are still standing but the cloister is now a private garden and cannot be visited) was originally founded as sir Robert de Nerford’s private chapel in 1206 and converted into a hospital in 1217. Its status as an ecclesiastical edifice was confirmed slightly later and from 1231, the King, in the person of Henry III, was Creake’s patron.

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Review: Marathon, Richard A. Billows

Marathon: The Battle that Changed Western CivilizationMarathon: The Battle that Changed Western Civilization by Richard A. Billows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Far more than a book on the ancient battle, this novel details the story of Greece for the preceding centuries as well as how Persia and Greece came to a contest of wills in the first place. As such, it is a decent overview of both the cultural and military backgrounds of the two peoples as well as making a decent inroad into separating the fact from fiction. Continue reading “Review: Marathon, Richard A. Billows”

Dilham Hall

I will start by saying I did not even try and approach Dilham because it is a private property. The original fortfified structure was added to, with the resultant edifice being the hall that’s extant today. What I did do was take a look around the general area, and think about the people who started with the constructions here — the 15th century is what background info suggests for the fortifications and the manor/hall-building.

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