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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

Montenegro makes it on the map

Montenegro makes it on the map

Montenegro has the attraction of being a sunny Mediterranean destination that lots of people would find hard to find on the map. But it won’t stay like that for long – and it certainly didn’t use to be the case. Hollywood stars used to take their luxurious breaks on the stunning coast of what is now one of Europe’s youngest and smallest nations when it was still part of Yugoslavia. While there is much, much more to this country of just 600,000…

Read More Read More

Washing away your sins in Bhutan

Washing away your sins in Bhutan

FEW people have heard of the country of Bhutan and fewer still could point to it on a world map. In some respects it would be best for Bhutan and in turn for the small number of visitors to the Himalayan kingdom if it stayed that way. Bhutan is indeed a very special country, deeply traditional, devoutly Buddhist but also at first seemingly paradoxically progressive. When I asked our delightful guide what it would be like to live in Bhutan if…

Read More Read More

KOLKATA has had a bad press

KOLKATA has had a bad press

KOLKATA has had a bad press. Think of Kolkata – or Calcutta as most of us still know it – and you instantly see images of Mother Theresa, slum dwellers, squalor and beggars. In reality this is a fabulous city with some of the most glorious colonial buildings in Asia, smiling faces, superb cuisine, luxury hotels, vast green spaces and fun. Kolkata is also more relaxed and less intimidating than the other big cities of India. It is also virtually tourist free….

Read More Read More

Tea time on the right tracks in India

Tea time on the right tracks in India

Darjeeling conjures up images of women in colourful saris delicately hand picking the finest tips of the tea plants. It is also where the British Raj fled to escape the heat of the Indian plains and sweltering Calcutta. The town itself is precariously spread down a steep mountain ridge in the foothills of the snow-capped Himalayas amid tea “factories” on sprawling plantations. While it has lost the charm of other colonial hill towns such as Strawberry Hill in Malaya’s Cameron Heights or…

Read More Read More

Rust in time: Rhur industrial heritage trail

Rust in time: Rhur industrial heritage trail

  WHO would have thought a rusting closed down steelworks, coal mine or gasometer in Germany’s Ruhr would be on the tourist trail as we increasingly value industrial architecture? The former heavy industry powerhouse has preserved some of the best examples of it economic heritage and saved them from the bulldozer to be replaced by retail parks. The Ruhr region has been transformed from slag heaps and smoke-belching ugliness to a green, leisure-based landscape that include the vibrant cities and towns…

Read More Read More

Discovering our coast on a Celtic Cruise

Discovering our coast on a Celtic Cruise

What better way can there be to discover the Irish and Scottish coast than by sea with your hotel doing the travelling, particularly when you are asleep? So we headed for Dover to join board the Fred. Olsen ship Braemar for a packed and varied cruise taking in such varied destinations as the cities of Dublin and Belfast and the rugged beauty of Scotland’s Western Isles and the Orkneys. It is hard to imagine an easier holiday. All you have to…

Read More Read More

Shining role of Leipzig in fall of East Germany

Shining role of Leipzig in fall of East Germany

The shadow of the Wall was lifted from Berlin  more than a quarter of a century ago yet the spark of freedom that finally took flame across the German Democratic Republic in 1989 started in Leipzig, just 70 miles away. It was away from the glare of Western media and politicians in Leipzig that a peaceful protest on October 9, 1989 after prayers for peace in the city’s St Nicholas Church and three other cities across the city that around…

Read More Read More

Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall

East Side Gallery, Berlin   He might have said he was a Berliner but the days have gone since anyone in the German capital could tell you where they were when John F Kennedy was assassinated. Rather, everyone will tell you where they were on November 9, 1989. The night the Wall came down. More that 25 years have passed since the “Die Berliner Mauer” opened and every year the city and country have seen staggering growth in tourism numbers….

Read More Read More