Europe

Volcano pony trekking in Iceland

In June 2014, I travelled to the Nordic island of Iceland with a friend to ride Icelandic horses in the countryside and up into the volcanic mountains that dominate the landscape through a company called Eld.Hestar. We flew into the capital, Reykjavik, and were then picked up from the main bus stop and taken to the Eldhestars farm Vellir which is situated in the heart of Iceland‘s south-western countryside close to the town Hveragerði, one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations nestled between volcanic mountains in a green valleys with steaming hot springs. We spent four days riding across the most dramatic landscape including treeless countryside, through marshes,[…]

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A tribute to a very special dog who lived on the streets of Bucharest

By Jane Wynyard September 26 2013 I was so saddened in 2013 to read about the Romanian courts agreeing to cull thousands of stray dogs after one of them fatally mauled a four year old child. The horrific death of any child is hard to comprehend, but the senseless extermination of thousands of homeless dogs in retribution is even harder. It was the State, after all, that forced Romanians to dump their beloved pets on the street during the communist era – the awful legacy of a brutal and oppressive political regime – and now it was the State that wanted[…]

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Meeting Pavarotti in the City of Love – Verona, Italy

In August 1990, I travelled to the city of romance – Verona, Italy –  as part of the New Zealand contingent for the World Festival Choir.  It was my first ever visit to Europe and the start of a long love affair with Italy, Europe, and Pavarotti. Singers had been selected from around the world to sing Verdi’s Requiem at the Arena di Verona with Pavarotti, in a performance to raise funds for United Nations refugees. More than fifty thousand dollars was raised from the concert, which was attended by Princess Diana and the King and Queen of Spain. The performance also[…]

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Riots Over British Gold At the 1920 Antwerp Olympics

It was an amazing Summer for Team GB at the recent 2016 Olympics in Brazil with Britain winning 65 medals, of which 27 were gold, and beating China. Our athletes cemented a place in the heart of all Brits and Team GB left Rio on a cloud of euphoria. Apart from a few competing nations getting upset over our tally of medals, there was huge congratulations all around for the Brits on their amazing success. Now imagine this is 1920, we’re at the Antwerp Olympics and our British Water polo team has just beaten Belgium to the gold medal. Instead of admitting defeat, being happy with a Silver[…]

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Student protests and awe inspiring architecture in Athens, Greece

By Jane Wynyard, April 13, 2009 Athens with the BBC I travelled to Greece with BBC World for a panel discussion with cable operator, Skai Greece, about the future of news. A lot of work went into organising interviews for Jeremy Hillman, News Editor at the time, and making sure that everything ran smoothly.  Arrived in Athens around 6pm and were taken to the King George, the most luxurious hotel I’ve stayed in a long time. It was located in Syntgma Square near the Parliament buildings. My room had a balcony that looked out cross the square and up to[…]

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Thieving monkeys and grumpy vice presidents in Transylvania

By Jane Wynyard – Poiana Brasov, Transylvania, 2005 Forget Dracula, vampires and werewolves. The most menacing creature you’re likely to encounter in Transylvania these days is a thieving monkey dressed in a blue suit that hangs around nightclubs. A resident at the ski resort of Poiana Brasov in the Southern Carpathian mountains, the jittery, red-eyed primate with the sharpest fangs in the business, is usually shoved by its Dracula-like owner into the arms of gullible and unsuspecting tourists. If you don’t pay the 150,000 lei (three pounds, fifty) for a photograph, the monkey bares his fangs, extends his long spidery[…]

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Fresh off the boat – the Adventure of a lifetime begins

December 24, 2003 – RomaThe adventure begins!!!Had a great flight from New Zealand apart from the fact that I was bitten on the hip by a spider that was in my bed the night before. As a result my leg was in absolute agony and I had to lie across four seats and keep moving to stop the pain. The wound got really itchy and ulcerated . . .Amazing what a little arachnid can do to a leg! However, most of the plane was empty from Bangkok so slept most of the way. Thai airways is average – food is[…]

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