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Godalming in Surrey, a historic town not far from London

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Godalming in Surrey is an ideal day trip from London, an old historic centre that offers some museums, buildings even dating from the 1400s and a few lovely country walks if you like walking.

The old market town of Godalming was once a stopping point between London and Portsmouth. In fact, even now you can see many buildings and shops from the 1600s. Godalming was famous for its market which dates back to 1300, it was also an important center for the trade of wool and textiles.

If you want to learn something about the history of this town you can visit the museum located at Wealden House on the High Street. The building has parts that also date back to the 1400s, but other parts were added in the following centuries.

The museum has everything on local history including exhibitions dedicated to the geology and archaeology of the area. The museum also celebrates two famous Godalming residents: Gertrude Jekyll who was a gardener and Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect.

Godalming has a church that dates back to Norman times and was built with the Bargate sandstone found in the area. Also built in the same stone is the Charterhouse which was located in London until 1872 and houses a well-known private school. One of the most distinctive buildings has to be the former town hall called The Pepperpot and which was built on the High Street in 1814 with a strange arcade.

Another building worth visiting is Munstead Wood, Gertrude Jekyll’s home which is located in a dense forest. The house was designed by Luytens and built with the same local stone as the parish church in the 1800s. Jekyll’s tomb was also designed by Lutyens.

How to get to Godalming in Surrey?

Very easy to get there from London, in fact it is on the railway line from Waterloo Station to Portsmouth. You can also take the train from Clapham Junction and  you will get there in about 40 minutes. If you feel like going for a nice walk, you can walk from Guildford to Godalming (or vice versa) and cross beautiful countryside along the River Wey, a total of 8 km, but the route is flat and quite easy.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Sighisoara in Romania, a place of towers, churches and Dracula

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Sighisoara in Romania  has a look and atmosphere that immediately makes us think of Count Dracula. We should not be surprised, in fact Sighişoara is located in Transylvania and was the birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler. A historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker to write the novel Dracula. It was not fa coincidence that Vlad was really called Vlad Dracul.

The medieval centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will immediately understand why. Visiting the centre is certainly a unique pleasure.


The centre had 14 defense towers, each managed by a different guild and corporation, this was an area often attacked by the Turks. The towers have been used a lot. Now 9 of these towers survive, for example the shoemakers’, the tailors’ and the blacksmiths’ towers remain. They are generally closed to the public but are nice to photograph from outside.

The clock tower which dates back to 1300 is not closed to the public. Not only is it beautiful to look at but you can also climb it to have beautiful panoramic views.

Many will want to visit Vlad Dracul’s house where there is now a restaurant, but if you go there and ask the waiters, for a small fee they will show you Vlad’s room.

Sighisoara in Romania; the place of Vlad the Impaler

The unpronounceable Piaţa Cetăţii is the market square that was the centre of medieval life of the town, here there were also the many executions by Vlad.

The church of the Dominican monastery has a decidedly Baroque look and was in fact rebuilt in 1600 after a raging fire. The church has existed here since at least 1200. Visit it just to see the carpets from Anatolia. Behind the church you will find a statue of a very mustachioed Vlad Dracul.

If you feel like climbing stairs, you can go up to see the church on the hill in a late Gothic style. This church was also older and initially in Romanesque style but was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1300-1400.

There is also a festival dedicated to vampires, during the event you may have problems finding a place to sleep, so book in advance.

Sighisoara in Romania is located on the railway line to Bucharest and therefore easily accessible

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Albert Bridge in London, facts you might not know

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Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in London, but perhaps the Albert Bridge is the most beautiful and certainly the most delicate bridge. Named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, the best time to see this bridge is after dark when over 4000 lights illuminate it.

But its pastel colors play with the sunlight at any time, it is a bridge to be seen several times, with the sun, the moon and the clouds. The Albert Bridge connects Battersea to Chelsea and is a modification of a cable-stayed bridge but has been modified several times due to its instability. Initially, you paid to cross the bridge but it was not very successful and after six years it became a bridge open to the public.

If the bridge has a delicate look it is no coincidence, this structure has always been delicate and shaky since its inauguration in 1873.

The thing got worse with the advent of the car and heavy vehicles. Especially the SUVs driven by the wealthy inhabitants of Chelsea. Another problem was that the bridge was used by troops from Chelsea Barracks to cross the Thames, and hundreds of marching men were a danger to the bridge. For this reason you still see signs instructing the troops not to march on the bridge.

The problem of dogs on the Albert Bridge

Another thing that ruins the bridge is the urine of dogs taken for a walk from Chelsea to Battersea Park, in short, dog pee corrodes the wood of the structure.

In the 1950s, the bridge was due to be demolished, but vigorous campaigning by prominent supporters, including the poet John Betjeman, who was fighting at the time against the destruction of many historic buildings, stopped the demolition.

In 1973, pillars were placed to strengthen the bridge which remains the least used of London’s bridges. It was recently closed for restoration for a year and officially reopened in 2011 by two dogs from Battersea Dogs Home, aptly named Prince and Albert.

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London: How to visit Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

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In the northwest part of Hyde Park, almost hidden away is the famous Pet Cemeteryfrom the Victorian era. Not everyone knows where it is and it’s not easy to see even from Bayswater Road.

Opened in 1881, the animals of wealthy London families were buried here until 1903. It all started by chance when the park keeper a Mr. Winbridge allowed two children who always visited Hyde Park to bury their little dog Cherry in the garden. The following year another dog was buried and then another, until the cemetery began to become popular.

There are not only dog graves but also two cats, a couple of monkeys and other pets. They all have a small headstone exactly like a miniature human cemetery. There are over 300 small tombstones in the cemetery and often have writings that show how much these animals were loved by their owners.

Keeping pets was very fashionable among wealthy Londoners in the 1800s. The second dog buried here belonged to Prince George the Duke of Cambridge’s wife who was the granddaughter in the male line of King George III of the United Kingdom. He was an army officer and served as commander-in-chief of the British Army from 1856 to 1895. The little dog was a Yorkshire terrier and was killed after getting under the wheels of a carriage.

To visit it you have to book one of the tours that are organised every now and then to see the animal cemetery, otherwise you can only see it from the outside. To see when there are organised tours you can look here. There are regular guided tours to visit the cemetery and the good thing is that they are completely free. Even the pandemic has not stopped these initiatives. If you want to participate, just book online.

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