Ten Feet around Europe

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Historic Hanseatic Riga

Very early on in our first backpacking holiday, we decided it would be fun to record, in some symbolic way, all the places we were visiting. We stumbled across an old and well-worn manhole and our daft idea was born.  As we stood around the manhole, admiring the beautiful design of its cover, one of us took the opportunity of taking a photograph of the manhole surrounded by our feet — and the phrase ‘Ten Feet around Europe’ was born.  A mad idea, I know, but it has kept us amused on many occasions and we have held up traffic in most of the places we have visited, which is something to be proud of! 🙂

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Water or Vodka?

We are very selective you know, and won’t settle for anything less than very special! Of course we have learned much about manholes in the process.  One thing we found is that some places are so proud of their heritage that they have very special manholes made, showing off their historic town in a small round piece of engineering. Some town planners have had lots fun with them too, we have occasionally found unusual images on the covers which have nothing to do with the town at all. Street artists sometimes pretend to be climbing out of one, and in Bratislava there is a bronze statue showing a worker half stuck in a hole. Best of all, in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic we were very amused to find a manhole which appeared to give us access to Vodka on tap!

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Stuck in a hole

Our manhole pictures also became a record of who was, and wasn’t with us on a particular day.  Three friends visited us for a week as we travelled around Norway, which made taking the picture just a little difficult, and we held up the traffic for a bit longer than usual!  At other times, Tim and I found ourselves alone, either because the kids refused to do any more sightseeing, or — as was the case in Warsaw — when we both woke up very early in the morning and walked the Jewish Path of Remembrance through the city by ourselves – two pairs of feet and one manhole, making a very poignant reminder of Warsaw’s World War II history.  At other times our eldest flew back to the UK for a week, leaving only 8 feet to circle the manholes.  But mostly we were 10 feet, and in truth, most of the time the manhole pictures are just a little joke.

Bergen Manhole 8 - Copy.JPGOne day I’ll write that book though! ‘Ten Feet around Europe’ is lodged firmly in the back of my head and I shall enjoy recalling all our memories of our travels, trials and tribulations. For now though, I am concerned with more immediate things.  Determined to see my travel guides in print, I have registered for the London Book Fair in London and am about to approach one or two carefully selected publishers to discuss my little project. Sign up to my blog and you’ll be the first to know!

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One Comment

  1. Boris Lot
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Love the website – full of fun facts and places to see. I guess 10 feet works better than 3 metres!
    Keep up the good work.

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