Modernist Architecture in London – Part 2

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A themed walk through the “Florence of the 21st Century” The City of London is where most of the capital’s truly iconic works of modernist architecture are concentrated, but West London, too, has many fine new buildings.

The big difference is this: while London’s business district provides a homogeneous context of brashness – big and high “cathedrals of capitalism” vying with each other and encouraging the construction of ever bigger and higher buildings –, the significantly more varied architectural landscape of the West End enforces second thoughts and compromises.

It is also fair to point out that the City of London is, economically speaking, a monoculture: its business is business and nearly all of last week’s buildings were commissioned by the financial services industry, while today’s group is much more mixed batch, with buildings that were constructed for the government or retailers, as museums and as

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Modernist Architecture in London – Part 1

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A walk through Skyscraper National Park: the world’s most exciting collection of modern architectural masterpieces There are many good reasons to visit London: for its world-class theatres, its magnificent pubs, or to pay a visit to the Queen. Here is another one: the town’s unique collection of modern architecture.

This has not always been so. Until fairly recently, say the mid 1980s, there were not a great deal of interesting new buildings around. Paris was where all the cutting-edge stuff was being built (the new Opera, the Centre Pompidou, the Louvre pyramids).

Since then, however, the tables have very much been turned, and London has, virtually by stealth, become the world’s capital of modern architecture – even though, in many people’s minds, it still is a Victorian city with some old and some new bits thrown in.

In fact, this

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Summer Reading for Easy Hikers

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Summer is not only a great time for travelling, but also for reading all those articles you missed – or did not have the time for – earlier in the year. Here is a small selection.

Are you sitting comfortably, in your sun lounge on some foreign beach, or in your favourite chair, in your garden or on your balcony? Good, because here is something travel-related that you can do without any need to get up. All you have to do is lift that proverbial finger, click on the link – and read. Has there ever been a lazier way of entertaining yourself on a hot summer day? (Hey, we are not called Easy Hikers for nothing, you know!)

Generally speaking, there are two types of enjoyable travel writing: there is travel writing that gives you the itch, that makes you fall in love with the

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The Perfect Hiking Trail

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The circular walk around the moated castle of Kemnade and the medieval Blankenstein fortress ticks all the boxes of a pleasant hiking experience Some hikes are great because they focus exclusively on One Big Thing and never let you forget how magnificent that One Big Thing is: hikes through the Grand Canyon, for example, fall into this category, but so do – one level down on the scale of awesomeness – ascents of the smaller peaks in pre-Alpine regions.

But this is not the only way of achieving greatness. Hikes can also do this through a process of incrementation, a kind of “greatness by number” if you like, which works by adding up everything that contributes to a pleasant hiking experience: by providing a good blend of forest and open countryside, enough ascents to make the hikers break a sweat without exhausting them, by throwing in a castle

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Freiburg – Beer, Buzz and the Black Forest

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If you want to explore the Black Forest, one of Germany’s main hiking regions, you basically have the choice between two options A couple of years ago, we went from town to town, tackling consecutive stages of the Westweg trail: the classic “long-distance hiking mode”. This has always been my preferred way of hiking.

But this time, we had to think of something else because the trip to the Black Forest was a “tail end” addition to another journey, and we had far more stuff with us than we would have wanted to carry on our backs from town to town, including two weeks’ worth of dirty laundry, computers and Mrs. Easy Hiker’s catch from the summer sales.

Which is why we based ourselves in a cheap hotel at Freiburg and undertook a couple of day trips from there, something that –

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