The small, mountainous nation of Montenegro that sits astride the Adriatic Sea celebrates July 13 as Statehood Day, a day in 1878 in which the Berlin Congress recognized it as an independent state.
It was later occupied by Austria-Hungary during the First World War, became a part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the wars, was occupied by the Axis during the Second World War, was a member of socialist Yugoslavia for decades after the war then became embroiled in the civil war that led to Yugoslavia’s dissolution before finally regaining its independence in 2006. History is inescapable in the Balkans, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the spectacular scenery and hospitality of the place. These photos will give you a small hint of what it’s like:
June 23 is officially Luxembourg’s National Day, but celebrations start a day early when the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess visit a different town in the European city each year.
The actual date has moved around over the years to coincide with various monarch’s birthdays, but the date they celebrate now was simply chosen to take advantage of the fine summer weather that typically happens in June. Sounds practical.
If you’ve never been to the tiny country, then these photos give you an idea of what it’s like:
Plenty of countries are connected by bridges, but none of them are as short as the one that links Spain and Portugal. The wooden bridge that crosses the stream between Spain’s La Codosera and Portugal’s Arronches stretches a mere 10.4 feet or 3.25 metres. Don’t expect to drive across. It’s for pedestrians only, although it’s okay to cross on your bicycle.
FURTH IM WALD, GERMANY – For 500 years, this tiny Bavarian town has staged an annual performance of the story of St. George slaying the dragon that has grown from a humble religious procession into a spectacular event that today features the world’s largest walking robot.
On the day I had come to this medieval German town near the Czech border to witness this event, it was grey and rainy. The show would go on, despite the weather, but the thought of spending two and half hours sitting in the rain didn’t sound like fun.
Prior to the start of the show, I visited some of the sights in the town related to the performance. The Drachenhöhle is a museum that explains the long history of the St. George play known as Drachenstich that is staged here each August. It displays old photos from years gone by, antique costumes and models showing how the gigantic dragon robot was built. It also explains how it began as part of the annual Corpus Christi procession, but broke off from the church in the 19th-century as a secular event.
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While many English-speakers refer to it as Holland, the lowland country famous for tulips, windmills and wooden shoes is properly named the Netherlands. Nord and Zuid Holland are two of the European country’s 12 provinces.