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Explore Japan's "art" island

The famous Pumpkin installation greets us wharfside (that's the pumpkin themed ferry in the background) Take a nondescript fishing island in Japan's inland Seto Sea, build two world-class art galleries and a sleek art-themed ferry and commission a renowned Japanese artist to create outdoor sculptures. Build it and they will come is the ethos of... Continue Reading →

Cycle the Loire

Timing is everything. For three weeks, sandwiched between the cold mistral winds in May and the June's canicule heatwave, was a grace period. Warm days, clear skies with a light breeze made it a cycling sweet spot in the idyllic (when weather conditions prevail) French countryside. Cycling holidays are the greatest … when the weather's... Continue Reading →

Hike the other Cinque Terre

Italy's once beautiful Cinque Terre has been ruined by mass tourism. The buses and trains are bursting, pickpockets roam the trains, walking tracks are closed due to landslides that haven't been repaired and the charming towns are overrun with tourists. Locals look either bored or grim, tourists look harried and gelato costs a bomb. It's... Continue Reading →

Romania’s last stand

This dot on the map is Sfântu Gheorghe. It’s Romania’s last stand before the Black Sea. To the east is Russia and to the right is Turkey and the architecture reflects that: homes with Ottoman Empire features, Orthodox church and, being Romania, communist era apartment blocks. It doesn’t much feel like Europe here with its... Continue Reading →

Walk the Rim

Everything good in Central Australia happens at dawn. Whether it be walking, hot air ballooning, photography or just admiring the views, dawn in the desert is outstanding. Getting up is hard but once you are up it's worth it. For us it was tackling Kings Canyon, the set piece walk of the vast ochre wonderland... Continue Reading →

Prague’s classical comeback

  Mozart loved Prague and used to visit for months at a time. Beethoven and Vivaldi also loved Prague. The Czech Republic’s premier composers, Dvorak and Smetlana were both proud Praghistas. But when you think of European classical music capitals, Vienna springs first to mind. However, I was surprised to learn that Prague has an... Continue Reading →

The Bella Black Sea

The road to Constanta is unlike most other Romanian roads: smooth with no potholes. It’s the first indication that Constanta is different. Owing to its Black Sea position, it’s more multicultural –  a mélange of Turks, Greeks, Ukrainians, Russians – and the dialect too is a little different – they say merci for thank you... Continue Reading →

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