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Did you know that the only Finnish word that is commonly used in English is “sauna”? The Sauna is a big thing in Finland, in a country with a population of 5 million, there are estimated to be around 2-3 million sauna’s. That’s a sauna for every two people! A […]

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Schools in Finland – The Best in the World?

Finland shocked the world in 2000 when the international PISA survey (Programme for International Student Assessment), which measures the abilities of 15 year old students all around the world in key areas, found that students in Finland were the best in the world at reading, and in the top 5 […]

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Visit to Portugal

Portugal

It was pitch black out of the aeroplane window when gradually a pale white fog of light became visible. I didn’t have long to wonder what this strange illumination was before we broke through the glowing white clouds and night-time Lisbon lay glittering below us. I was not the only […]

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I Feel Like I Know France…

eiffel tower france

Of all foreign countries, I feel like France should be the one I know best. Apart from Ireland, it is my nearest neighbour, I have visited it far more than I have any other country, five times in total I think, and my first foreign trip was to France. Admittedly, […]

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Arguably, Denmark’s most outstanding feature is not anything about its history, a great landmark or famous person – it is the remarkable fact that Denmark is officially the happiest country in the world. As a point of comparison, the USA is 13th and the UK 23rd in the 2016 survey. […]

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Estonian Food & Drink

Curd Snacks

Estonian Food “Where there’s work, there’s bread” – Estonian Proverb Estonia may be the smallest country I’ve come to so far, in terms of population that is, but when it comes to its cuisine it has more than a few surprises. It may be because of its position, clinging to […]

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In this article I’m taking a look at Croatia, an increasingly popular holiday destination in the Balkans region of Eastern Europe. In the aftermath of the fall of Communism there were several years of strife and struggle for independence, but although some of the scars remain, Croatia has put that […]

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Finland – Land of the Midnight Sun

Finland

Finland – Land of the Midnight Sun If you look at Finland on a map, you will notice that it is the easternmost of the three ‘Scandinavian’ countries, which look a bit like three fingers pointing downwards. The shape of Finland is generally thought to be that of a woman […]

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Estonia – A country punching above its weight

Tartu, Estonia

Introduction to Estonia “Make fun of the man, not of his hat” – Estonian Proverb Estonia is a small country in Eastern Europe, the northernmost of the three ‘Baltic states’, the other two being Latvia and Lithuania. It is bordered by Latvia to the south, and Russia to the East. […]

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All About the Czech Republic

Karlovy Czech

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country smack bang in the middle of Central Europe, bordered by Germany and Poland to the north and Slovakia and Austria to the east and the south. It’s a country of rolling hills and plains, with lots of forest too – over a third […]

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About The Site

This site is mostly about books, short stories and reading and writing generally. As well as writing about books I occasionally write on other topics I’m interested in – check out the Misc section to find out more.