Stories of people & places, festivities & traditions from my travels around the world


Tea and karkade in a Cairo café
Egypt, Cairo

Taking a Chance in Cairo

A first trip to Egypt and first experiences of Couchsurfing… This was back in 2010, but the message still holds!


England, Hertfordshire

Hatfield House's Woodland Garden in Spring

Hatfield House is famous for its beautiful formal gardens, but early in the year it is the adjoining Woodland Garden that really stands out.


Making olives into oil: visiting a Greek olive pressing factory

After helping with the olive harvest we visit an olive pressing factory to witness 'our' olives being made into oil.

Greece, Peloponnese

Picking Olives on the Peloponnese, Greece

Taking part in the olive harvest was a real highlight of our out-of-season travels in Greece.


Italy, Campania

10 tips for enjoying Pompeii
(particularly if you are visiting with children)

Pompeii is probably the world's most famous archaeological site. Nevertheless, it's a tricky place to get the best out of...

Italy, Lazio

Tarquinia: the Italian hill town that makes a great excursion from Rome

Tarquinia has some terrific Etruscan archaeology, a beach on its doorstep and is just an hour and a half from Rome.

The most famous of the painted tombs - the beautiful Tomba dei Leopardi.
Italy, Lazio

Tarquinia's Etruscan Tombs: the Necropoli dei Monterozzi

Exploring the Etruscan 'city of the dead' that lies just outside the lovely walled hill town of Tarquinia, an hour and a half from Rome.


Waterlily season at Takamatsu's beautiful Ritsurin Gardens

Takamatsu's Ritsurin Koen is a classic Japanese stroll garden, the highlight of which, in mid-May, is a superb display of waterlilies.

The 1995 Great Kobe Earthquake: a recollection

A visit to the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum on Japan's Awaji Island evokes personal memories of the 17th January 1995.

Japan, Kyoto

Hot Springs and a Holy Mountain: Kyoto's Kurama Temple & Open Air Baths

Tucked away among the cedar forests of Kyoto's northern hills lies the tiny village of Kurama - a superb place to relax after taking in Kyoto's sights.

Japan, Hiroshima

Okunoshima: Japan's secret poison gas island

This tiny island in the Inland Sea has a dark history as Japan's most important poison gas manufacturing facility from 1929 to 1945.

Japan, Hiroshima

Kiyoko Komeyoshi: Hibakusha A-bomb survivor

A hibakusha talks about her experience, aged 13, of 6th August 1945 when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Japan, Hiroshima

The World Friendship Center, Hiroshima

Hiroshima's World Friendship Center is a peace-orientated guesthouse offering hibakusha A-bomb survivor talks & guided tours for interested visitors.

Bunnies everywhere! Japan's Rabbit Island

Hundreds of semi-tame and very hungry rabbits attract bunny lovers from all over the world to the small island of Okunoshima, in Japan's inland sea.

Gorgeous floats & amazing children: Nagahama's Hikiyama Matsuri

Every April the lakeside town of Nagahama comes alive with sumptuous festival floats & virtuoso kabuki drama performances by children as young as five.

South Korea

South Korea, Seoul

The strange environs of Seoul's Guksadang Shamanist Shrine

Close to central Seoul, on the slopes of scared Mount Iwang, lies Korea's most important Shamanist Shrine and ritual landscape.

South Korea, Seoul

Love Lock Paradise on Seoul's Mt. Namsan

At N Seoul Tower love locks are not just permitted but positively encouraged!


Spain, Canary Islands

Cochineal Production on Lanzarote

The cultivation of cochineal insects, which are processed into red food dye E120, is being revitalised in the prickly pear fields of Lanzarote.

Spain, Canary Islands

Carnival Time in a Lanzarote Village

Lanzarote's San Bartolomé village carnival parade is lively, colourful and family-friendly, with hardly a tourist in sight.

A rare snowfall on Gran Canaria
Spain, Canary Islands

Snow Fun on Gran Canaria!

Sightseers cause traffic chaos to make snowmen and have snowball fights after a rare snowfall on Gran Canaria's peaks.

One of two destiladeras at the Casa-Museo del Timple in the centre of Teguise, Lanzarote. They are built into the wall opposite the kitchen, and can be accessed from both sides.
Spain, Canary Islands

Stone water filters on the Canary Islands

Canarian traditional stone destiladera water filters can still be found in museums and older houses across the islands.

Spain, Canary Islands

Fuerteventura's Barbary Ground Squirrels

Despite the damage they do to the island's flora, Fuerteventura's scampering Barbary Ground Squirrels are a big hit with visitors.

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