Tag Archives: war

Llandaff Cathedral, Wales

Possibly one of the most underrated cathedrals in Wales, can be found in Llandaff, in the outskirts of North Cardiff. The Anglican cathedral is extraordinary, both visually and historically.

On the 2nd of January, 1941; during world war 2, Cardiff suffered the worst bombing of the war. With around 165 people killed and another 427 seriously injured, the city was at a chaotic state. The UK’s major towns and cities have been bombarded by then. And so, was Llandaff. Landmines have fell and exploded in the churchyard, cathedral spire and the roof. It destroyed many a graves, but especially the roof which collapsed inwards destroying most of the furnishings. Luckily a lot of its valuables such as the Victorian stained glass was taken out and put into into storage, and there was no outbreak of fire.

The architect, wanted to restructure the remaining parts of the cathedral by including a modern additional plaque to support the building itself and give it a new feature. To this day, visitors comment about this choice; you either love it, or hate it!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

drachen

A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

Flint Castle

During my last visit to North Wales in November, my boyfriend who knows how much I adore castles took me to Flint Castle. I did see some photos of the castle before we made way to it, but as soon as I saw the castle up on a green grassed hill, I realised that the photos didn’t do it justice. Although not massive in size, the location and the atmosphere was amazing. The fact that we were the only two people on its grounds made it even more special.

flint1

A little bit of history

The castle has been erect for over 700 years now. In fact the building work began in the year 1277 and was finalised in 1284. It took 1,800 workers and masons to built the foundations and the castle itself. This castle was the first castles to be built after King Edward I invaded Wales. The design of the castle is a mix of Gothic architecture of the Medieval era together with the design of a Concentric castle – making it stronger, bigger and more luxurious than most castles built during the same time. Flint Castle’s unique fortress design was not repeated in any other castle, and as such the layout at Flint remains unique throughout the British Isles.

One important feature of flint Castle is its access to the sea. This not only speeded up construction due to the ability of transporting equipment and building materials by boats, but also helped in the success of the new fortified town which was built around the same time as the castle. This ensured that the town had fresh food supplies and provisions which prevented its occupants from starving to death during the siege warfare.


The castle is located on the North-East coast of Wales, which gives a magnificent view of the shore and Liverpool in the distance.

flint 7

Interesting facts

– In 1399 Richard II of England was held by Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle before returning to London
– During the English Civil Wars which started in 1642, the castle was held by the Royalists. After a 3 month siege it was then captured by the Parliamentarians in 1647. In order to prevent the castle to be used again in a conflict, the castle was set for destruction. It is because of this, that what remains today is ruins.
– Today, the castle is maintained by CADW which is the Welsh government body that conserved and promotes the building heritage of Wales. The castle can be accessed by the public for free.
– In summer 2009 the castle was temporarily closed due to anti-social behaviour as teenagers were drinking and vandalising the castle. It reopened after CADW liaised with police to improve security at the castle.

The world will NEVER forget

I have tried, to write something on what has happened this Friday in Paris, and what has happened on Thursday in Beirut, but I have realised that no words of mine would be enough.

Until, today I stumbled on the words of Isobel Bowdery, a 22-year-old who was at the rock concert in Bataclan in Paris. Here, is what she had to say, after the ordeal she had to endure, with other hundreds of people, of which some did not make it out alive;

“you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naiively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant. Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless.. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circuling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticoulsy aimed at shot people around the standing area i was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. i expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare. But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst i whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy i loved was dead, to the injured man who i had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so i wouldnt have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. to never let this happen again. but most of this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didnt get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I feel priviledged to be there for their last breaths. And truly beliving that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.”

isobel-shirt

No words were edited. Sharing them here is out of respect and a way to remember what has happened… As yet again, this is a tragedy which the whole of Europe and the rest of the world will not forget.

RIP to the lives lost.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

12141748_10154264470069606_7506035073343809104_n

12096384_10154264469919606_1729303589918724258_n

12112253_10154264469884606_2042140698733082667_n

In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

10610669_10153235622309606_8179365273069322981_n

1622671_10153235622399606_2418373263476334742_n
One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

Siggiewi World War Shelters

So, I have been slightly quiet the last few days, but I guess I needed some me time, as I have been very busy with work. I have made two new friends over the weekend, which was great too.

On Sunday, the Siggiewi World War Shelters opened for the very first time. There were a lot of people so it was difficult to get a lot of pictures. But this will give you a brief idea. For those who have been to Siggiewi, these shelters are right under the main piazza, so they are pretty massive. I used to think that the ones in Qormi are quite big, but it’s nothing compared to these shelters; corridors upon corridors, with small rooms which the families themselves dug to have their own private space.

Great work done by the Siggiewi Local Council who opened this for the public.

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (1) copy

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (2) copy

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (3) copy

Ode to War

Tear Gas.
Fighting.
Explosions.
Tortures.

The symptoms of war,
Our soldiers endure.

Orders –
Followed;
Enemies –
Destroyed;

Like sheep they behave
They kill and never let live.

Wounds –
Physical;
Psychological;
Trauma

The guilt they burden,
The nightmares they pass through.

Reason?
Peace.
Unity.
Patriotism.

The lie we are led to believe.
Affecting us. Our life, perspective.

How fitting it is
To die for ones country?
When if you survive,
You’ll regret it for all your life.

Knowing that you were just
an insignificant number;
And you will be forgotten
there after.

//By Steffi