Gordon McKechnie

Gordon McKechnie

GORDON McKECHNIE (Detroit, 1951) was educated at the International School of Geneva and at the University of Oxford. After a career in banking (working in the then emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe from 1989), he became a Partner of Deloitte and subsequently worked for the UK Treasury. Among his current positions, he is Chairman of the OECD’s Infrastructure and PPP Network and a member of the International Committee of Tearfund.

SOPRON – A TRAVEL ESSAY

First we heard what sounded like gunfire, then came a shrieking sound like a festive rocket being launched. Only then did we see rising in the sky above the vines a great murmuration of starlings, circling and swirling in great arcs, coming together, coming apart, reforming. Thousands of starlings in

PRAGUE REVISITED – PART II

The Battle of White Mountain marked the end of the opening, “Bohemian”, phase of the Thirty Years’ War. The re-imposition of Habsburg rule and of Catholicism was swift. 27 prominent Protestants were executed in New Town Square. All other Protestants had either to convert to Catholicism or leave the country.

PRAGUE REVISITED – PART I

“Historians have taken the 1618 Defenestration of Prague as marking the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, a conflict that raged ferociously, mostly across Bohemia and other parts of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1618 to 1648, drawing in the armies of most of the European powers of the day.

LUZHITSY – A TRAVEL ESSAY

Between St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Neva, stands St Petersburg’s most famous statue – “The Bronze Horseman”. It is a statue of Peter the Great on his horse trampling on a snake (representing Sweden, I am told). The horse rears up onto its hind legs and Peter’s right arm stretches

BREB – A TRAVEL ESSAY

One of the many memorable scenes in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s wonderful Between the Woods and the Water involves a haystack, laughter and “those marvellous girls”. Then without exchanging another word we struck out for the shore [of the river where he and István had been swimming naked] as fast as

TARCAL AND THE WINE OF KINGS – TRAVELLING IN THE TOKAJ REGION

At the hilltop, above the terraces of vines, the Terézia Chapel’s bright white walls and new copper roof shine like a bright beacon against the deep blue of the autumn sky. The leaves on the vines are turning golden with the season. With the sun on our backs the October

CSARODA AND THE HUNGARIAN REFORMATION – A TRAVEL ESSAY – PART II

Towards the end of the 16th century, Ottoman power temporarily waned and, with the Habsburgs in the ascendant, persecution of Protestants in Hungary again gathered strength. The ruthless regime of Giorgio Basta, attempting to Germanise and Catholicise Hungary on behalf of the Habsburgs between 1601 and 1604, is remembered as

CSARODA AND THE HUNGARIAN REFORMATION: A TRAVEL ESSAY – PART I

In 1946, a Hungarian poet stood in front of the Reformation Wall in the Parc des Bastions in Geneva. Gyula Illyés’s poem – Before the Reformation Monument in Geneva – is now regarded as one of the most important Hungarian poems of the 20th century, alongside his better known 1950 poem One Sentence on