Portugal by pousada

Travel & Indulgence – The Australian February 2011

Driving into the Middle Ages was never going to be easy. Medieval masons probably didn’t conceive of anything beyond horse and cart or, at best, a phalanx of knights on horseback. Negotiating the narrow dogleg entry in the ancient wall surrounding the Portuguese town of Obidos required pinpoint precision to avoid leaving hire-car paint on centuries-old stonework.

Having gingerly threaded our way through we met a swarm of jesters and jugglers, troubadours and court dandies. Impudent strumpets pressed their gaudy faces against the windscreen, leaving streaks of rouge. We’d arrived during the annual mercado medieval, a three-week fair of period-costume mayhem. Continue Reading »

Cardiff makes cricket history

Sport & Style Magazine June 2009

The Ashes are heading to Wales and Europe’s youngest capital is relishing this historic moment. A city immersed in rugby tradition will, instead, become the centre of the cricket world when England and Australia meet beside the River Taff for the first Ashes Test of 2009 from 8th-12th July. It’s the first Ashes Test ever to be played outside of England or Australia and also the first Ashes Test held at a new venue in more than a century. Continue Reading »

Greatest show off Earth!

Virgin Galactic has yet to lift off from Earth but Sir Richard Branson has already come up with the ultimate space tourism psychedelic add-on! He intends launching flights from Lapland in Sweden, blasting tourists into sub-orbital space though the dazzling celestial lights of the Aurora Borealis, the greatest light show on Earth. Continue Reading »

Ice cool overnight

The original IceHotel is the coolest by far. Believe me, I’ve slept there! Imitations are now found in various suitably chilly locations elsewhere, but the first of its kind, located 200 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle and originally created in 1990, is definitely the real deal. In comparison, all subsequent ice hotels have been pretenders, merely commercial clones. Continue Reading »

When in Rome …

When in Rome, do as Romans do. So I occupy an apartment in the beating heart of the Eternal City and, for a week, live like a local in a fabulous location within walking distance of almost everything I hope to see and experience. I doubt that I could have chosen a better way of sampling life in Italy’s glorious capital. Continue Reading »

Spanish extremes

The name Extremadura derives from the Spanish extremo, meaning “extreme”. So you can expect this remarkable region of western Spain to express full frontier flavours. Continue Reading »

Sex in the city, Spanish style

Seville smoulders each April when the annual feria hits town. For a week there’s “sex in the city, Spanish style” as the people of this historic Andaluz town don their traditional glad rags and sashay down to the barrio of Los Remedios for the biggest, most colourful, flamenco fiesta of the year.
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Going with the flow

” … tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.” – Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)

The adventures of Mole, Ratty and their riverbank mates, Toad, Badger and Otter, have entranced generations of readers and inspired a delight for messing about in boats. River cruising is the ideal method of unravelling a river’s story. Each tells it’s own fables, mostly concerned with human settlement. Consider, for example, the Nile’s role in ancient Egypt, or the Rhine and the Danube’s association with the rise of great European cities. Contact me for complete article