Crossing the Arctic Circle

Crossing the Arctic Circle

You can tell there is something really special about sailing into Norway’s impossibly narrow Trollfjord when the Captain leans over the bridge to take his own holiday snaps. We were heading away from the stunningly beautiful Lofoten Islands off Norway’s North Western Coast on MS Boudicca when our excited captain announced that the weather conditions were good enough to take the ship through the 100 metres wide mouth of the Fjord Bear in mind that his ship is just over…

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What a hot geyser – Iceland

What a hot geyser – Iceland

On the first day I went swimming three times and spent 20 minutes on the running machine – well, gently ambling while watching the horizon gently tilting.  By day two, however, my pledge to the bathroom scales that I would not indulge in afternoon tea, show restraint with the wonderful dining and certainly avoid the midnight buffet had been thoroughly broken. As the stunning coast of Iceland appeared there was nothing for it but to accept this was going to a holiday of calories…

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ANTWERP: A WATERSIDE CITY WITH A CAPITAL

ANTWERP: A WATERSIDE CITY WITH A CAPITAL

ANTWERP’S official logo is a capital letter A with three little gold dashes either side. Some people tell you it has the dashes to remind you of the city’s glittering diamond heritage, others that is so you don’t confuse it with Amsterdam in the neighbouring Netherlands. I tend to go for the latter.   Sparkling Antwerp One of the galleries of Golden Age art in the Rubenshuis Antwerp benefits from having had a heyday in the 16th century, lapsing into…

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Coping in Copenhagen

Coping in Copenhagen

IF your idea of Copenhagen is the Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens and probably the best lager in the world, you won’t be disappointed. But scratch a little deeper and you will find one of Europe’s most endearing and unusual cities, that is suited to a long weekend or the basis of a family holiday in Denmark. For families the unmissable attraction is Tivoli, one of the world’s amusement parks and unusually, it is located in the city centre….

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Blooming great time to visit Berlin

Blooming great time to visit Berlin

Looking for some green gifts to take home from Berlin? What about gardening inspirations,  vegetarian food ideas and some vegan condoms? As one of Europe’s “greenest” cities you are never far away from a park, garden, lakeside or riverbank to breath in some fresh air or just sit yourself down after hefty sightseeing in the German capital. Green is no longer alternative in the city but mainstream; so too are sustainable co-operatives, hipster bars and eco-friendly shops. So don’t be…

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Nuremberg is shining the spotlight on its Nazi torchlight rally past

Nuremberg is shining the spotlight on its Nazi torchlight rally past

On my first two visits to Nuremberg you have to take yourself off to find the monumental structures built by Germany in its Nazi period. While the city was keen to show off its magnificent medieval past, castles, walls, churches, the home of its famous son Albert Durer, beer halls and restaurants, the ever lingering shadow of its shameful past was kept just that, a hidden shadow. Now there has been a rethinking of what to do about the structures…

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The wine on the Rhine is all mine, all mine – well, and yours

The wine on the Rhine is all mine, all mine – well, and yours

If, like me, you think most TV wine experts sound as if they have consumed too much rather than telling us anything sensible, imagine my trepidation at listening to actual wine producers. Add to that, the fact that these wine producers are predominantly young, incredibly enthusiastic people in Germany’s most celebrated wine growing area, the flood of fruity, flowery fabulousness would surely be unstoppable. Fortunately, the over-the-top tipple-talk seems to be confined to our shores – or at least the wine…

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Roman holiday in Trier

Roman holiday in Trier

“What are those windows balanced on your nose?” our toga-wearing guide Heidi asked me before embarking on a tour of Trier where 2,000 years of history pass under your feet in an afternoon’s stroll. “I have heard these vehicles have horse power but I am looking and I cannot see the horses”, she continued, staying in role as a Roman citizen of the city that was once known as the second Rome and is so closely linked with the first…

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Malta’s Mediterranean Magnet

Malta’s Mediterranean Magnet

Malta’s Mediterranean location has made it irresistible to outsiders over the centuries. But now the island welcomes the waves of overseas visitors with open arms rather than valiantly trying to repel them. Just three hours’ flying time means Malta is near enough to be a good alternative to the Costas for families looking for an easy-going sunny holiday. Being a Mediterranean country the way of life is relaxed and family friendly. The lion’s share of life revolves around the pools and…

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Cars, culture and cuisine in Stuttgart

Cars, culture and cuisine in Stuttgart

Even if, like me, you see cars purely as a way of getting from A to B you still cannot be impressed with two of Stuttgart’s favourite tourist attractions, two magnificent modern museums and their shiny exhibits, one for Porsche and one for Mercedez-Benz. But don’t get the impression cars are the only attraction to this city with its industrial reputation as the ‘cradle of the automobile‘.  The sixth largest city in Germany, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, is one of the…

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