When Britain switched over to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, abandoning the more inexact Julian calendar, not everyone in the country was quick to follow. The new calendar made a slight mess of things, requiring that the world be set back in time—on the calendar—by about fortnight. Eventually, folks leapt into the calendar with fewer Leap Years. Some of the British, however, are still holding out. Meet the Welshmen of the Gwaun Valley. Read more
On my first day in Wales, I spent the afternoon wandering around the second city of Swansea. Dylan Thomas, who had been born there a century ago, famously called the place “an ugly, lovely town.” In the movie Twin Town, when the character comes across a plaque at the train station with Thomas’s clever quote, he dubs Swansea “a pretty shitty city.” Read more
At 8:58 a.m., I stood inside the Tower of London complex as four red-jacketed Grenadier Guards marched through the passage marked “Bloody Tower.” Either some tragic event had happened here or an annoyed Brit tasked with naming the edifices inside the fortifications had grown tired of his job—It’s just one more bloody tower to name.
Back in 2010, six years after I had visited the concentration camps and ghettos where my grandparents had been enslaved, I had the opportunity to return to Poland. But on this second trip, I would be traveling with a few dozen twenty-somethings and a Holocaust survivor named Leo Zisman. Read more