‘ONCE your plane takes off again, you’re stuck here until Monday,’ says Susanna, the guide who meets me on Friday morning. ‘There are no more flights in or out.’ Welcome to one of the most remote spots on Earth, where the January temperature averages a bracing -27ºC (-16ºF). Kangerlussuaq in Greenland is the former USContinue reading “Greenland: Real life… and certain death”
IT LOOKS quiet in Porvoo Old Town. Too quiet. I’m looking at the cathedral that dominates the skyline of this lovely old village of red-ochred wooden houses sprawling down a hillside to the river. Sadly, it was the target of an arson attack in May 2006, which destroyed its roof and damaged its priceless medievalContinue reading “Finland: Porvoo”
‘ALL A-B-O-A-R-D.’ Who of us has not wanted to climb aboard a big North American train as the guard calls out that iconic warning? OK, there’s no tearful blonde waving on the platform, only the Rocky Mountaineer office staff lined up to send us off from Vancouver (a nice touch, though). But we’re going onContinue reading “Canada: The Rockies theme”
I’M NEARING the end of my second day at Vil Uyana – one of Sri Lanka’s premier new eco-lodges and close to the famous Sigiriya ‘Lion Rock’ in the heart of the country – when it finally clicks. Thatched wooden houses on stilts, set among tropical lagoons – where does it remind me of? ItContinue reading “Sri Lanka: Going eco”
THE SANDS of Libya have seen the coming and going of the Empires of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, Egyptians, Persians, Vandals, Ottomans and Italians, among many others. It is now ready and hoping for an invasion of tourists.
LIKE all of us, I’ve indulged in those ‘What’s your favourite city/holiday destination?’ conversations. I used to know the answers. Now, having been to Vancouver, I’m less sure. Before I went, this Canadian West Coast city didn’t figure on my radar; having been there, it’s shot straight to the top of my favourite cities. SoContinue reading “Vancouver: Birthplace of Green”
HAVE you noticed you never quite get to Shangri-La? I arrived in the pretty town of Lijiang at night and, although it is a Unesco World Heritage site, I was totally unprepared for its charms. Red lanterns lit up narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional Chinese wooden buildings and small stone bridges spanned an intricateContinue reading “China: The road to Shangri-La”
IT’S HARD NOT to go to a country from the former Soviet Bloc without a James Bond moment. I had a perfect one on arrival at Yerevan Airport, a pleasing concrete flying saucer of a building. A police officer kept staring at me. Perhaps I should have been a tad more nervous but, despite theContinue reading “Armenia: Taste of the old order”
TAKE a beautiful, old country house in ancient, rolling Kildare parkland, spend millions on extensions, modernisation, spa facilities and an Arnold Palmer golf course and you’re going to have something pretty special.
THE FIRST time I went camping in Brittany, I found the perfect ice-breaker. Having nearly run out of meths for my camping stove, I went around the various chemists in the tiny fishing port of Camaret, showing them the dregs of purple liquid and asking in my rudimentary French if they had anything like it.