Drunken Aviator Lands in City Centre, 1956

In perhaps the greatest ‘hold my beer’ escapade to date, Thomas Fitzpatrick stole a plane to prove he could fly from Jersey to New York in just 15 minutes. Read about how he won his crazy bet.

Bulky sedans rumbled sedately along the right-angled streets, and haggard creatures of the night here and there passed under the patchy street lighting past rows of rectilinear brownstone tenements.

It was the witching hour on St Nics Avenue in New York City’s heart. Of course in the city that never sleeps life still stirred, and it was about to get a serious wake up call.

Jimmy was wiping down the bar waiting for the last of his patrons to stumble out after a long night. The edge of his lips curled up with a wry smile; earlier that night one of his favourite patrons, a gung-ho flyboy named Thomas ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick made a bet that he could fly from New Jersey to New York City in 15 minutes. ‘I’ll land out there to prove it, how ‘bout that?’ slurred Fitz. ‘OK ya crazy, drunken Irishman’ laughed Jimmy ‘Hold my beer, will ya?.’ And, with a leery grin, Fitzpatrick plodded out the door.

Good laughs, thought Jimmy.

That was almost an hour ago. A barking dog out the window broke his reverie and Jimmy looked up to see a late night walker and his dog facing opposite directions; the man was pulled back by his leashed dog.

The mut was staring back up the street and whined, its head tilted with that gaze of rapt concentration only a dog can do. “Come on!” the guy bawled, looking bewildered.

Then Jim detected the sound of an engine, but it was no automobile; it was more of a deep buzz, and it quickly got louder.

That sound was one of a small plane approaching and, crazy as it sounds, Fitzpatrick was making his approach to land the thing on the Avenue.

One or two cars screeched to a halt as the small aircraft buzzed overhead. Bedroom lights flicked on and anyone quick enough caught a fleeting glimpse of Fitzpatrick as he zipped by.

Jimmy slammed the door open in time to witness, mouth agape, the plane touchdown and whizz past his bar before coming to a stop.

So Fitz won the bet after all!

The stolen plane on St Nics Avenue, complete with chalk outline (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)

After leaving the bar, Fitzpatrick had hightailed it 15 miles across the state line to Teterboro Airport and there, stole an aircraft.

What the wager was is unknown but he won his bet and his antics made newspaper headlines. The New York Times called the flight a “feat of aeronautics” and a “fine landing”, and a plane parked in the middle of the street made for quite a sight in the morning.

For his illegal flight, he was fined $100 after the plane’s owner refused to press charges.

Incredibly Fitzpatrick performed the same stunt again in 1958 because in another bar someone questioned the story. For that, he was sentenced to 6 months incarceration, blaming his antics on the “lousy drink

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Czech Cop Rampage Smashes Dozens of Cars, 2016

Although you expect police officers to be pillars of the community, they’re not all perfect. Some are occasionally corrupt, but disorderly and out of control? Never! That is until one day Officer Kadlec of Prague City Police Dept. decided to have a few drinks and get his fifteen minutes of fame. Find out the chaos he caused.

Prague’s Vinohrady neighbourhood, Cz Rep: One Spring afternoon, above the gentle hubbub of city life, a loud noise broke the city’s normal calm indicating the chaos which had broken out in some quarter near; the blare of dozens of car alarms echoed down Vinohrady’s elegant, tree-lined avenues of fine, old, Austro-Hungarian terraces. The distant wail of sirens soon chimed in.

On Šumavská street a drunk and dishevelled out-of-uniform police instructor named Karel Kadlec was handcuffed and led away from the trail of carnage he’d just caused which disgraced his name and dealt a serious dent to his career in the process.

Wrecked automobiles on both sides of the street lay at odd angles and glass and bits of vehicle body parts littered the road; Kadlec had gotten boozed up and careered his SUV down the street, smashing and ramming as he went, to damage a total 51 vehicles. He caused over 2,000,000Kč (£70,000 in 2020) worth of damage but thankfully no casualties.

So what caused this cop to go haywire? Shamefully enough, he was actually on leave at the time due to a drink-driving accident the previous year, and on that occasion, he was caught driving without insurance too.

Kadlek had told reporters after that: “This is something I’d never like to experience again.

Just months later however he realised his career was about to come to an ignominious end, so he went out with a bang.

It was the day before Kadlec was due to face a disciplinary tribunal that Kadlec went berserk, yet after, he apologised for what he had done.

It didn’t save his career, however, his bosses had no choice than to fire him. Rumours are that his next job was a security guard, at a carpark.

Kadlek under arrest after being brought to a halt (dailymail.co.uk)
One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

5 Fabulous Towns for Foodies and Connoisseurs

Cheddar, UK

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar (coombecastle.com)

If you like any cheese at all it will likely be Cheddar cheese; it is the most widely eaten cheese in the world. With a mild taste, inoffensive to even the most trepid palate, it’s popular either sprinkled over a dish like your favourite pizza, stuffed into a ham and cheese sandwich or just eaten by itself.

Officially Cheddar cheese is described as ‘a relatively hard, off-white, sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese made from cow’s milk’.

Since the 12th Century the cheese’s popularity has grown and now Cheddar cheese has a place on millions of people’s dinner tables.

Cheddar is a town of 5000 residents and is nestled at the foot of a stunning gorge on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills in England.

Cheddar Gorge is the town’s centrepiece; with its dramatically steep, craggy walls, and a slaloming road running through, it’s breathtaking for drivers who cannot resist the urge to take their eyes off the road.

It is the caves of Cheddar Gorge that provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese in the past, and they still do. These caves, alongside the nearby Wookey Hole Caves, are now a popular family day out.

Cheddar, and its breath-taking gorge (countrylife.co.uk)

As a popular tourist destination Cheddar boasts plenty of bars and restaurants where you can sit outside and gawp at the rock walls around you. Can you still get the finest Cheddar cheese in the world there? Most definitely!

The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is family-owned, independent, and has been making award-winning cheeses since 2003. Their Cheddar Cheese is still matured in the caves.

Then there is The Original Cheddar Cheese Company which opened its doors to business all the way back in 1870 and their shop and café are located at the same spot at the mouth of Cheddar Gorge. The shop is now world-famous and remains family-operated today.

Pilsen, Czech Republic

The world-famous Pilsner Urquell (theeverydayman.co.uk)

There are a gazillion types and sub-types of beer out there and none more popular than Pale Lager, otherwise called Pilsner. Described as a ‘very pale-to-golden-coloured with a well-attenuated body and a varying degree of noble hop bitterness’ …whatever that all means.

It does go down a treat on a hot Summer’s day, I know that much, and millions agree.

Pilsner came about in the early 19th Century as a result of a fermenting process imported into Bohemia from neighbouring Bavaria and that produced a beer with a longer shelf life. It’s popularity took off from there. It is no surprise that the people of the modern Czech Republic state, of which Pilsen is its fourth largest city, love the drink so much they only half-jokingly refer to it as a soft drink, or ‘liquid bread’.

Pilsen is a fine city of 175,000 residents, and it packs quite a punch to entice visitors with.

Its spacious town square is rimmed with townhouses showcasing grand Austro-Hungarian architecture and in its centre sits St Bartholomew’s Cathedral which offers a breathtaking vista from its church tower – the tallest in the country.

With its history, many parks, and landmarks like the iconic Prazdroj Brewery Gate it is no surprise that Pilsen was European Capital of Culture, 2015.

The Pilsner Fest in full swing (mistoprodeje.cz)

Its real draw is as the capital for beer lovers. One of the world’s biggest pilsner brands, Pilsner Urquell, still has its brewery in the City and is a mecca for lager lovers the world over. Visitors to the brewery can enjoy guided tours where they will learn about the history of Pilsner’s famous beer and, of course, enjoy a glass or three; nowhere does it get any fresher than straight from the company’s beer cellars.

And the highlight of the city calendar is the Pilsner Fest. Whilst in the neighbouring German city of Munich they have their world-renowned Octoberfest, also in October Pilsen hosts a two day festival of beer of its own which draws bigger and bigger crowds every year.

Cognac, France

The unique Cognac brandy (vinepair.com)

Cognac is a unique brandy produced by twice distilling white wines. So while it does indeed taste like brandy, it reflects the exclusive flavour sensations not found in other brandies.

Unlike Cheddar cheese, what makes it so sought after is that it must be made according to strictly defined regulations; namely, it must be made in or around the town for which it is named. As a result the Cognac commune, in the Charente department in southwestern France, is the centre of the universe for lovers of the iconic brandy.

So what of Cognac the town? It’s inhabited by 18,000 and is absolutely dripping with fine historical architecture. It has its own medieval quarter of unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, and situated on narrow cobbled streets and which contain sculptures of the salamander, the symbol of King François I, as well as gargoyles and richly decorated façades.

With its red banner, Hennessy’s Cognac Maison (blog.ruedesvignerons.com)

Over 200 producers of Cognac ply their trade and five of the biggest of them have their ‘Grande Marque’ Cognac houses in the town centre. They are Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin, and each welcomes visitors with open arms.

Surely there is no more authentic place to enjoy a glass to sip on than in Bar Luciole on the banks of the Charente River. With more than 130 varieties of Cognac, whatever you order the team can provide a personal introduction to each and every one of them.

Every year in the last weekend of July the Cognac Festival is held, and is a very popular event. Fishermen’s huts are converted for the occasion and visitors can sit around tables and savour delicious cognac cocktails, and each night revellers can let their hair down dancing and foot-tapping at two concerts.

Camembert, France

Moist, soft, creamy camembert (countryliving.com)

Camembert is a moist, soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese. It was first made in the late 18th century at Camembert, Normandy, in northern France. It’s a divisive cheese due to its strong taste. However, for those who enjoy stronger varieties of cheese Camembert is delicious and quite healthy too. So nutritious, in fact, the cheese was famously issued to French troops during World War I, becoming firmly fixed in French popular culture as a result.

It is now internationally known, and many local varieties are made around the world, yet the original Camembert, named Camembert de Normandie, can only be made from raw, unpasteurized milk from Normandes cows.

The quaint village of Camembert in Normandy, France (normandyfoodie.wordpress.com)

Meandering along quaint country lanes around Camembert, in Normandy, northern France you’ll be struck by the verdant hedgerows and the patchwork of pastures where cows sedately ruminate upon their lot under the glorious French sunshine.

It’s a lovely corner of the world, even if it sits off France’s radar as a top tourist hotspot. Yet, the village of Camembert is somewhat petite, but any fromage fan need not stray far from the village to find all the top sights (and smells) related to this much loved cheese.

At the Maison du Camembert you can learn all the history and secrets of camembert cheese production, then gorge on some gooey goodness inside the round, cream-coloured building next-door which resembles a round of camembert.

You can also visit the very home of the woman who invented Camembert, Madame Harel was inspired to create Camembert by a passing Brie cheese maker during the French Revolution in the beautiful, imposing 17th Century Beaumoncel Manor. Do check it out!

And there is no better place to stock up on Camembert than at the last remaining cheese farm located in the village – the Durand Cheesemonger at the Héronnière Farm.

The nearby Vimoutiers village is a great base to discover the area from.

Frankfurt, Germany

The much loved Frankfurter hotdog (washingtonpost.com)

Not to be confused with similar sticks of meat like the ‘Vienna Sausage’ the Frankfurter Wurchen aka ‘Frankfurter’ or ‘Hot Dog’ to most of us, is a cheap, tasty and versatile dish best eaten with little slices of gherkin or roasted onions, or even sauerkraut then topped with mustard or ketchup.

With protected geographical status since 1860, the authentic Frankfurter is a thin parboiled sausage made of pure pork in a casing of sheep’s intestine, and its taste is teased out by a special method of low-temperature smoking.

Yet, where did it get its name from? Frankfurt in southern Germany is the nation’s 5th largest metropolis and one of Europe’s major financial hubs. A city where the River Main flows past tree-lined embankments, and tourists and city workers relax on their lunch breaks to the backdrop of sleek skyscrapers clustering the city skyline.

Frankfurter fans should flock to the Kleinmarkthalle. A cultural melting pot; a culinary Aladdin’s Cave; this indoor market place has over 60 vendors and its Frankfurters are the best on the planet.

The Main Festival, to the backdrop of the Frankfurt skyline (frankfurt-tourismus.de)

Frankfurt is home to a number of other Teutonic, culinary delights than just frankfurters, this includes its own ‘Apfelwein’ apple wine and pastries. Visitors can delight in Frankfurt’s drinks, foods and vivacious vibes at its many festivals, such as the Main Festival and Fressgass Fest.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

The 5 Most Famously Named Towns in Europe

There are quite a few towns behind the names of famous… ‘stuff’. (the now-renamed) Asbestos in Canada or Balaklava in Ukraine are two examples.

Some of these quirky towns really are the centre of the universe for fans of the ‘thing’ and, in this article, we find out about five of these towns, the connections they have and what makes them so worth discovering.

Rugby, UK

44.9 million fans enjoyed South Africa’s triumph over England in the 2019 World Cup Final (rugbyworld.com)

It was during a game of football being played at Rugby School in 1823 that a schoolboy named William Webb Ellis, being the cheeky scamp that he was, caught a lofted ball and decided to run with it instead of letting the ball hit the pitch as he should have. And so, Rugby Football was born.

This game, where fifteen players fight to force an oval ball across the line in the opponents’ half, is known for its combativeness which overspills into borderline violence, and it has the highest number of catastrophic injuries in any team sport. In its two most popular forms — Rugby Union and Rugby League — it is one of the most popular team sports in the world; 857 million people watched the World Cup in 2019.

The birthplace of rugby football as you’d expect boasts many attractions which stir the passions of sporting enthusiasts. A town of 70,000 people, Rugby offers a pilgrimage for those who want to immerse themselves in the history, culture and development of the game. First stop should be the World Rugby Hall of Fame. In this state of the art sporting temple visitors discover rugby’s greats and the moments that defined the sport.

Then there is the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum. Housed in the building in which a man named James Gilbert made the very first rugby football in 1842, this little museum is especially popular and they still manufacture hand made balls here which visitors can buy from its shop. You can also take a stroll along the Pathway of Fame to learn about some of the greats in the game and see William Webb Ellis immortalised in statue.

The world-famous Rugby School (brittanica.com)

Rugby School is where the game was born and is one of the most famous private schools in the country. It is close to the town centre and a walk around its perimeter gives an excellent view of its imposing Victorian architecture and, more importantly, the hallowed field the first ever game of rugby football was played.

Naturally Rugby has its own rugby club — the Rugby Lions. Although its team plays in just the 6th tier of the English rugby union system, it is a venerable club which was founded in 1873 and is just one of four clubs entitled to an all white team kit.

Pilsen, Czech Republic

The hugely popular Pilsner Beer (outdoortrip.com)

There are a gazillion types and sub-types of beer out there and none more popular than Pale Lager, otherwise called Pilsner. Described as a ‘very pale-to-golden-coloured with a well-attenuated body and a varying degree of noble hop bitterness’ …whatever that all means. It does go down a treat on a hot Summer’s day, I know that much, and millions agree.

Pilsner came about in the early 19th Century as a result of a fermenting process imported into Bohemia from neighbouring Bavaria and that produced a beer with a longer shelf life. It’s popularity took off from there. It is no surprise that the people of the modern Czech Republic state, of which Pilsen is its fourth largest city, love the drink so much they only half jokingly refer to it as a soft drink, or ‘liquid bread’.

Pilsen is a fine city of 175,000 residents, and it packs quite a punch to entice visitors with. Its spacious town square is rimmed with townhouses showcasing grand Austro-Hungarian architecture and in its centre sits St Bartholomew’s Cathedral which offers a breath-taking vista from its church tower — the tallest in the country. With its history, many parks, and landmarks like the iconic Prazdroj Brewery Gate it is no surprise that Pilsen was European Capital of Culture, 2015.

The Pilsenfest may be overshadowed by the Octoberfest, yet I had loads of fun at the 2016 event (festivaly.eu)

It’s real draw is as the capital for beer lovers. One of the world’s biggest pilsner brands, Pilsner Urquell, still has its brewery in the City and is a mecca for lager lovers the world over. Visitors to the brewery can enjoy guided tours where they will learn about the history of Pilsner’s famous beer and, of course, enjoy a glass or three; nowhere does it get any fresher than straight from the company’s beer cellars.

And the highlight of the city calendar is the Pilsner Fest. Whilst in the neighbouring German city of Munich they have their world renowned Octoberfest, also in October Pilsen hosts a two day festival of beer of its own which draws bigger and bigger crowds every year.

Cognac, France

Cognac is almost exclusively produced in the environs of Cognac, France (normandin-mercier.fr)

Cognac is a unique brandy produced by twice distilling white wines. So while it does indeed taste like brandy, it reflects the exclusive flavour sensations not found in other brandies. Unlike Cheddar cheese for example, what makes it so sought after is that it must be made according to strictly defined regulations; namely it must be made in or around the town for which it is named. As a result the Cognac commune, in the Charente department in southwestern France, is the centre of the universe for lovers of the iconic brandy.

So what of Cognac the town? It’s inhabited by 18,000 and is absolutely dripping with fine historical architecture. It has its own medieval quarter of unusual buildings, built between the 15th and 18th centuries, and situated on narrow cobbled streets and which contain sculptures of the salamander, the symbol of King François I, as well as gargoyles and richly decorated façades.

Over 200 producers of Cognac ply their trade and five of the biggest of them have their ‘Grande Marque’ Cognac houses in the town centre. They are Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin, and each welcomes visitors with open arms.

Hennessy’s Grande Marque cognac house on the banks of the Charente River (blog.ruedesvignerons.com)

Surely there is no more authentic place to enjoy a glass to sip on than in Bar Luciole on the banks of the Charente River. With more than 130 varieties of Cognac, whatever you order the team can provide a personal introduction to each and every one of them.

Every year in the last weekend of July the Cognac Festival is held, and is a very popular event. Fishermen’s huts are converted for the occasion and visitors can sit around tables and savour delicious cognac cocktails, and each night revellers can let their hair down dancing and foot tapping at two concerts.

Marathon, Greece

The ‘genuine’ Marathon race from Marathon to Athens is still ran every year (tornosnews.gr)

You’ll be no doubt familiar with the origins of the popular Marathon race; in Ancient Greece in the year 490BC an Athenian army heroically defeated a Persian invasion force at the village of Marathon. Legend has it that a herald was sent to deliver news of the victory to Athens. He ran the whole way and arrived at Athens so utterly exhausted, he collapsed dead immediately after the good news passed his lips.

And so, the Marathon race came into being to commemorate this feat, measured out at 26.2 miles (42.2km) – the distance that messenger had run. It is now an Olympic event and seen as the ultimate physical challenge to attempt in a lifetime. Around 500 marathon events are held annually worldwide.

The town where the first ever Marathon set off from is an unassuming place but a tumulus (burial mound) still stands where the Greek casualties of that famous Battle of Marathon were laid to rest. Roughly 30,000 people call it home.

It is proud of its associations with the running event; unsurprisingly one of the biggest Marathons is the one which recreates the first one over 2,500 years before. The Athens Classic Marathon has been held annually since 1972. It sets off from Marathon town, faithfully following the original route to a grandstand finish at the Panathenaic Stadium in the capital.

The Tomb of the Athenians is in the environs of what is an otherwise unassuming town of Marathon, Greece (ancientgreeceexperience.com)

Taking from the tradition of the Olympic Torch the race features the Marathon Flame, which is lit at the Battle of Marathon Tumulus and carried to the stadium in Marathon before the beginning of each race. 16,500 runners took part in 2019 and the current record was set in 2014 by Felix Kandie with a time of 2:10:37.

Enthusiasts absolutely must visit the Marathon Run Museum if they visit the area; with more than 4000 exhibition pieces this is the no.1 place to discover the history of the modern Marathon Race.

Cheddar, UK

Ubiquitous around the world, nothing beats the original cheese, ‘cheddared’ in the caves of Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England (bbcgoodfood.com)

If you like any cheese at all it will likely be Cheddar cheese; it is the most widely eaten cheese in the world. With a mild taste, inoffensive to even the most trepid palate, it’s popular either sprinkled over a dish like your favourite pizza, stuffed into a ham and cheese sandwich or just eaten by itself.

Officially Cheddar cheese is described as ‘a relatively hard, off-white, sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese made from cow’s milk and to ‘cheddar’ is actually a technical term – referring to the process of cutting up the curds, stacking and then turning them by hand as they drain and firm up under their own weight. Since the 12th Century the cheese’s popularity has grown and now Cheddar cheese has a place on millions of people’s dinner tables.

The town of Cheddar is a modest one of 5000 residents and is nestled at the foot of a stunning gorge on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills in England.

Cheddar Gorge is the town’s centrepiece; with its dramatically steep, craggy walls, and a slaloming road running through, it’s breathtaking for drivers who cannot resist the urge to take their eyes off the road. It is the caves of Cheddar Gorge that provided the ideal humidity and steady temperature for maturing the cheese in the past, and they still do. These caves, alongside the nearby Wookey Hole Caves, are now a popular family day out.

As a popular tourist destination Cheddar boasts plenty of bars and restaurants where you can sit outside and gawp at the rock walls around you. Can you still get the finest Cheddar cheese in the world there? Most definitely!

Cheddar village is nestled in England’s most impressive gorge (cornersoftheworld.co.uk)

The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company is family owned, independent, and has been making award winning cheeses since 2003. Their Cheddar Cheese is still matured in the caves.

Then there is The Original Cheddar Cheese Company which opened its doors to business all the way back in 1870 and their shop and café are located at the same spot at the mouth of Cheddar Gorge. The shop is now world famous and remains family operated today.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: