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Neil Taylor

Neil Taylor

Neil Taylor studied the then communist world at university in the late 1960s. Since then he has worked in the travel business and had started to visit both parts of Germany from 1961, the year the Berlin Wall was built and also the time when Germany had largely recovered from WWII.  He has visited Germany at least once a year since then, and often several times. His interests there stretch across the centuries from medieval painting through 19th century literature to the current political situation. Who would have guessed 30 years ago that Germany would not only be reunified but would have a President and a Chancellor brought up in the former East? In Prague too, he has witnessed equally dramatic changes.

Neil was fortunate to visit China as early as 1971 and has continued to lead tours to that country.  Nearer at hand he pioneered travel to Albania, the country where communism at its strictest was imposed under the same leader between 1945 and 1985. East Germany was never that strict, but until the early 1970s it was keen to show itself as a new country totally different from all the previous German regimes. We must be grateful for the sudden change in this attitude which led to the restoration of palaces and gardens such as those at Potsdam and Dresden and to the appreciation of what Meissen porcelain really meant. This work of course accelerated after reunification in 1990. Another change from the 1970s was that Luther could again be mentioned, and even be praised as a rebel against feudal practices. We will hear a lot about him as 2017 is the 500th anniversary of his famous declaration in Wittenberg, when he publicly and dramatically broke from the Catholic church. It is a tribute to a re-united Germany that we will rarely be aware of the 45 years our ports of call spent behind the Iron Curtain. They thrive just as much as those on the Rhine and Danube.  The cruise will show us a country now at ease with itself and one where the arts in every shape or form are tastefully and extensively displayed, outdoors and indoors, at concert halls and galleries, just as much as on old town-hall squares and along the banks of its majestic rivers. 

Neil Taylor is on the following tours: