Travelling with Greta Thunberg in mind

Living with your environmental choices and the ones others make for you while on the road

Travelling with Greta Thunberg in mindWe must reckon with the environmental impacts of our personal travel decisions in this time of climate crisis. For us, it was our current trip – to hike in northern Italy with friends, just after my wife’s retirement and, coincidentally, climate activist Greta Thunberg’s trip to New York from Sweden on a sailboat – that…

A fine deception at a fine Paris hotel

It doesn’t do to embarrass oneself in front of the waiter in the lobby bar of the Four Seasons George V hotel

A fine deception at a fine Paris hotelWhen we were dating, my wife-to-be made the mistake of mentioning that it would be nice to stay in the Four Seasons George V hotel with me in Paris. I took this idle chat as a mission. Twenty years went by, but I remembered my assignment. I had some business in Geneva and suggested that…

Five of the best castle stays in Scotland

Five of the best castle stays in ScotlandThere's no more Scottish an image than that of a castle surrounded by swirling mist, and most of Scotland's castles ooze a colourful and turbulent history ... the stuff of swashbucklers, legends and ghost stories. All the classic imagery can be found in abundance: secret passageways, spiral staircases, dungeons, haunted rooms, four-poster beds, old oil…

Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true

But like a flirtatious mistress, she will drive you to distraction while capturing your soul

Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is trueEverything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true: Expensive. Unfriendly. Grimy. Noisy. Gaudy. Congested. So why do I ache with longing whenever I hear the name? And why do I spend every cent I can spare to fly there again and again when there are a thousand-and-one other places in the world I’ve yet to…

Riding in Riccione and the unsurpassable beauty of Tuscany

The beauty and hospitality of Italy soon becomes apparent whether astride a bicycle or driving down its twisting, narrow country roads

Riding in Riccione and the unsurpassable beauty of TuscanyThe Most Serene Republic of San Marino is located in the middle of Italy. At 62 square km, it's one of the smallest nations in the world. Although only a few dozen kilometres from Italy’s Adriatic Coast, San Marino’s summit is almost 800 metres above sea level. And crowning this mountainous micro-state is the medieval…

Overwhelmed in Rome, overfed in Matera

Basking in the splendour, charm and hospitality of southern Italy, particularly when you wander off the beaten track

Overwhelmed in Rome, overfed in MateraOn a lonely country road near Ostuni, in the province of Puglia – the heel of Italy’s boot – I stopped to photograph a field of poppies in an olive grove. After a few happy snaps, I jumped back in the car and motored on. Fifteen minutes later, I reached for my daypack and realized…

Onwards to St. Michael’s Mount, across fields and marsh

We had a destination draped in history and instructions on how to get there offered with a smile and pride of place

Onwards to St. Michael’s Mount, across fields and marshWe were on foot on our first morning in Cornwall, walking from the tiny village of Ludgvan in search of St. Michael’s Mount. At Crowlas, we turned right onto the motorway headed to Penzance. A narrow paved footpath followed the right side of the road, which cut through the green fields on either side of…

Looking for the Pirates of Penzance in Cornwall

With St. Michael’s Mount on the horizon, a grand walking tour awaits

Looking for the Pirates of Penzance in CornwallPenzance! Already associated in our minds with the famous Gilbert and Sullivan 1879 operetta The Pirates of Penzance, it’s also the last town of any size on the southwestern tip of the British isles. I was alerted early on by my Cornish-born grandfather to its magnificent white sand beaches, mild, sunny weather, and a human…

Ireland’s local storytellers spice up the discovery tour

There are plenty of Irish storytellers to guide you through a tapestry of intrigue, battles, and years that were, by turn, lean, hungry and ultimately triumphant.

Ireland’s local storytellers spice up the discovery tourLong tales and reimagined truths create a theme for your journey through Ireland set on a stunning backdrop of rugged coastlines and emerald foliage. There are plenty of Irish storytellers to guide you through a tapestry of intrigue, battles, and years that were, by turn, lean, hungry and ultimately triumphant. Two kings briefly raged a…

Sintra, Portugal, is simply magical

Sintra is one of those places where there is so much packed in that you'll say to yourself: "Wow! How come I never knew about this before?"

Sintra, Portugal, is simply magicalSintra, Portugal, is one of those places where there is so much packed in, so many fairy tale castles and brooding fortresses that you'll say to yourself: "Wow! How come I never knew about this before?" From Lisbon, a trip to  Sintra is a simple day trip, although you could easily spend a couple of…