London: World Centre

The official center of London is at Trafalgar Square, marked by a small brass plaque in the pavement beneath a statue of Charles I on horseback. “Stand here and you will eventually see everyone you know in the world,” they say. And it’s true I once bumped into someone I worked with a decade before inContinue reading “London: World Centre”

St Petersburg: Tsarry-eyed Wonder

VISITORS TO FLORENCE will be familiar with Stendhal’s Syndrome, a kind of panic or ecstasy brought about by seeing too many wonders in too short a time, named after the impressionable young 19th-century French novelist. I’m sure the Russians have a parallel name for those overcome by the arguably even greater wonders of St PetersburgContinue reading “St Petersburg: Tsarry-eyed Wonder”

Lower Saxony: High Living

This is an extract from my article in the October issue of Food & Travel magazine: AMERICAN Michael Boyer (pictured) has the glorious title of “Rattenfanger’ in the town of Hameln (better known to us as Hamelin). It means ‘Rat-Catcher’ but he is, of course, the brightly arrayed Pied Piper who famously led the town’sContinue reading “Lower Saxony: High Living”

Kiev: Beyond the Orthodox

IT’S the statues. Kiev looks like many a European city while the people in designer clothes, ever so slightly out of London style time, and the shops featuring labels such as Louis Vuitton or Nike could be anywhere. But the statues of heroic people straining their every sinew to serve the Motherland could only beContinue reading “Kiev: Beyond the Orthodox”

Lisbon: Looking out for No.1

AS any Sharpe fan will know, and hopefully most of the rest of us, too, Portugal is Britain’s oldest ally. Visiting Lisbon, I was reminded of the link between the countries by one iconic image: the bright red pillar box. Lisbon’s post boxes are the old British Victorian design, given a local makeover with aContinue reading “Lisbon: Looking out for No.1”