Reporting from:

United Kingdom

All posts from United Kingdom

Republicans in N. Ireland

Londonderry, UK (View on map)
Posted 9 Aug 2007:

Today marked my first border crossing since I left the Netherlands just over a week ago. It`s a border some wish didn`t even exist: the one between the Republic of Ireland and the UK province of Northern Ireland. The border is hardly mentioned and if it weren`t for the different traffic signs, it would be very hard to determine where the border actually runs. It is obvious that today`s article will discuss the troublesome relation between the Irish and the Brits, particularly in the north of the island. British troops withdrew from Northern Ireland two weeks ago. A sign of progress, but Northern Ireland still has a long way to go on the road to reconciliation.... Read more

Tourism in Londonderry

Londonderry, UK (View on map)
Posted 10 Aug 2007:

Londonderry is a city different from all others and it also attracts an atypical audience. No bus loads of Japanese people here and no Indians playing pan flutes. There are no obvious tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Big Ben. But tourists still find their way to Derry and the youth hostel I am staying in, is fully booked on almost every day during summer. I am wondering what drives people to Derry and find myself chasing tourists in the streets.... Read more

Loyalist Northern Ireland

Londonderry, UK (View on map)
Posted 11 Aug 2007:

I`m in Northern Ireland and if it was not clear to me yet, it becomes clear to me today. I`m in the United Kingdom. Today, the loyalist community of Northern Ireland celebrates the Relief of Londonderry, that took place on a summer day in August more than 300 years to go. The traditional marches are on the agenda and there is no way of escaping them if you happen to be in Derry`s city centre today.... Read more

Meeting the Scots

Glasgow, UK (View on map)
Posted 16 Oct 2007:

Haggis, kilts, ginger people and whisky: I exchanged Sweden for Scotland last night and am now trying to get a quick impression of what Scottish life is like. People smile a lot here and they are more expressive than the Swedes. Beer and football seem to make the world go round - everything to have a good time together. What else is happening in Scotland?... Read more

Big Brother watches U

Glasgow, UK (View on map)
Posted 17 Oct 2007:

Reality TV has been a big hit in the UK ever since the first season of Big Brother in the year 2000. It has found its way to people`s daily lives, and not just via the TV screen. Citizens of Glasgow can be sure that they are observed 24 hours a day, in the city centre and residential areas alike. An impressive number of cameras, announced as CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision), have taken possession of the streets. I am wondering how that makes people feel.... Read more

Social classes

Edinburgh, UK (View on map)
Posted 18 Oct 2007:

Money makes a difference. Much more so in Britain than in the previous two countries I visited: Finland and Sweden. The traditional abundance of social layers of British society may have somewhat faded, but everybody is still very aware, or made aware, of the differences that still exist today between working class, middle class and upper class. How does social status influence people`s daily lives? That is what I am trying to find out today.... Read more

Scotland vs England

Edinburgh, UK (View on map)
Posted 19 Oct 2007:

The English-Scottish rivalry goes back a long way in time. There have been countless battles between the two people, many of which have even been the basis for big Hollywood productions. The Braveheart tradition is still present in people`s mind, even though it leads to a lot less violence these days. Football matches between the national teams revive a glance of the old days, but how does all of that go on an ordinary day?... Read more

Language challenges

Edinburgh, UK (View on map)
Posted 20 Oct 2007:

Foreign languages do not come natural to everybody. Finland or Sweden may make it seem like that, but the United Kingdom proves the contrary. Britons can get by speaking English in most other European countries, which for most people takes away the wish to learn another language. How about learning another one?... Read more

Scottish partying

Edinburgh, UK (View on map)
Posted 21 Oct 2007:

Partying is an essential part of growing up in Scotland. Apart from the many pub-quizzes, karaoke, board game or darts competitions, there are quite a few events that lead to celebrations all over Scotland. Here`s a a quick selection of the most appealing ones:... Read more

Choices, choices

Edinburgh, UK (View on map)
Posted 22 Oct 2007:

The UK may not be known as the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, but they do have a lot in common with their western neighbour across the Atlantic. Like the United States, the UK has an economy that floats on consumer choice. Former state monopolies have been privatised and are now set to make profits rather than fulfil people`s basic needs.... Read more


Newcastle, UK (View on map)
Posted 23 Oct 2007:

Europe is not a favourite topic of conversation in the United Kingdom. Even the most pro-Europe politicians have their reservations and prefer to see the UK as a separate country. People in the street, on average, are even more Europe-averse. Still, the UK will soon sign the new European constitution and transfer yet another set of rights from London to Brussels. ... Read more

What`s cookin`

Newcastle, UK (View on map)
Posted 24 Oct 2007:

Ask Europeans to rate the other members` cooking culture and England is likely to end up in the lower ranks of the competition. They frequently fall victim to the French joking about their taste, while the obesity problem suggests that an English diet may also be harmful to your health. A good reason to ask people in Newcastle: what are you having for dinner tonight?... Read more

British favourites

Liverpool, UK (View on map)
Posted 25 Oct 2007:

All cities I visited in the UK so far are very distinctly different from one another. Glasgow relates to football and work, Edinburgh is the more classical and stylish city, while Newcastle is a typical regional capital with a high number of working class inhabitants. I am curious which cities or regions the Britons themselves like the most, and which ones do not appeal to them at all. Here`s an overview:... Read more

Terrorist threat

London, UK (View on map)
Posted 7 Jan 2008:

9/11 in the United States, 7/7 in London and 11/3 in Madrid. Many Europeans will recognise at least one of these numbers to terrorist attacks by suicide bombers. Fortunately, these events are happening on a much less frequent basis in EU countries than in some other parts of the world. London is supposed to be one of the best protected cities in Europe, especially after the terrorist bombings in 2005. But how does it feel to be constantly reminded that your life may be at risk?... Read more

UK vs US

London, UK (View on map)
Posted 8 Jan 2008:

They both live in a country that dominated the globe during several extended periods in history and yet, they do not have as much in common as people from the European mainland may expect: similarities between the United Kingdom and the United States are mostly limited to the English language and the way both countries are fanatic about spreading peace and democracy as guarantees for freedom. What do the British think about their North-Atlantic partners? Here`s a quick mix of some people`s opinions, just to prove that putting British and Americans on one pile does not do justice to either side.... Read more

A month off work

London, UK (View on map)
Posted 9 Jan 2008:

What would people do if they had a month of work? I initially planned to ask people what they would do if they only had one more month left to live but decided to change that in order not to scare people or have people tell me about somebody who had recently had the very same experience. So today`s question to people in London became: what if you were told today that you can have a month paid leave, starting tomorrow?... Read more

Childhood memories

Southampton, UK (View on map)
Posted 10 Jan 2008:

Culture and traditions are handed over from generation to generation and the transmission usually starts at very young age. Childhood memories are therefore likely to be very culture-specific ? a good reason to harass some people with the following question: which is your first and/or best childhood memory?... Read more

Internet replaces TV

Southampton, UK (View on map)
Posted 11 Jan 2008:

Big Brother, imported from The Netherlands in 2000, grew out to be a big hit during the first two editions on British television. Clones and spin-offs like Teen Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother saw the daylight shortly after, just like many other reality-based programs. After huge initial successes, the popularity of the Big Brother concept has slowly faded out, with the withdrawal of Celebrity Big Brother ? announced today ? as a so-far low. Question of today: which TV programs still motivate people to switch on their black box?... Read more

Donors Wanted!

Cheddar, UK (View on map)
Posted 12 Jan 2008:

Every day, one person in the UK dies, while his or her life could have been saved by a donor organ. The United Kingdom has long lists of people waiting for an organ transplant to save their lives. A handful of European countries, including Spain, Austria, Belgium and Sweden have tried to solve the waiting list problem by automatically turning all of their citizens into organ donors, obviously with a possibility for people to resign from the program. The UK has no such system in place, but the introduction of `presumed consent` is on the way. I am asking some people in Cheddar whether they would agree to such a drastic change in organ donation policy?... Read more

Simply happy in Wales

Cardiff, UK (View on map)
Posted 13 Jan 2008:

Day 166 and still going strong? I arrived in Cardiff earlier today, the capital of Wales. I will not have much time to discover the entire region, so bluntly stepped up to people today with the following question: What makes Wales different from England?... Read more

In the Welsh Valleys

Pontypridd, UK (View on map)
Posted 14 Jan 2008:

-- Please note -- Postings may be severely delayed over the coming 10 days -- Northern Ireland and Bask Country previously suffered from my strict one-year travel schedule, and so does Wales. This is my second and last day in Wales, and I realise that I should have allowed more time to cover Europe`s smaller countries. In an attempt to find out some more about Welsh life, its pleasures and challenges, I took a train out of the capital to have a look in The Valleys and see what life is like beyond the northern borders of the capital.... Read more

Ambitions and choices

Manchester, UK (View on map)
Posted 15 Jan 2008:

-- Please note -- Postings may be severely delayed over the coming 10 days -- Seeing book shelves full of Self Help books could easily make visitors think that British people don`t know how to make something out of their lives. Gossip magazines are not much of a good example either: they show that even people considered role models hardly have a clue. In the meantime, young and well-educated British youngsters dream of traveling to far-away places or find alternative ways to avoid the scariest phenomenon among current day British youth: commitment.... Read more

Through European eyes

Manchester, UK (View on map)
Posted 16 Jan 2008:

Manchester is the second largest city in the United Kingdom. Starting out as the capital of the industrial revolution, Manchester has since then transformed itself into a modern British city, home to many different nationalities. The largest population of immigrants in the UK is of Indian descent, but I am limiting today`s research to three temporary European immigrants and ask them which differences with their own country struck them most.... Read more

View all posts