THERE IS SUPPOSEDLY a café somewhere in Paris that offers a ten per cent discount to English tourists who don’t try to order in French. If only the French had the charm of their Canadian cousins in Québec, who are delighted by any attempt to speak the language, and whose nasal North American twang removesContinue reading “Quebéc: Oasis of calm”
THEY promised me millions of stars, here, on the Great Barrier Reef, many miles and an ecosystem away from the light pollution of land. They promised me the experience of a lifetime, spending the night on Reef Sleep, a pontoon moored on the edge of Earth’s biggest living organism. And they weren’t lying.
WHAT struck me during my first visit to Japan was our similarities rather than our differences. A small island, lying off the coast of a large continent which it has alternatively threatened or been threatened by during its history; a population that has developed an elaborate set of manners, much of it a legacy ofContinue reading “Osaka: Yen for life”
MY FIRST reaction is: ‘Why have a I never heard of this place?’ Axum, in the extreme north of Ethiopia, is the country’s oldest city and was its ancient capital. In the heart of Tigray province, the roots of modern Ethiopia lie in the Axumite Empire that was once one of the world’s four greatestContinue reading “Ethiopia: Land of legend”
IT’S BARELY DAWN and I’m cold, tired and hungry. Last night it seemed like a good idea to get up at 5am to see a Sunday service in one of Ethiopia’s famed rock churches, here in Lalibela. This morning, despite the inevitable grumbles, it feels like an even better one. Not that very much isContinue reading “Ethiopia: Rock of ages”