What Easy Hikers Can Do in Lourdes

Before you travel to a place – any place – for the first time, you should always try to wipe the slate of your memory clean of everything you have ever heard or read about it. Otherwise, why come at all? You can save yourself the money and effort of actually going there by just reading a guide book or by watching a YouTube documentary. Travelling with an open mind, however, is easier

What Easy Hikers Can Do in Lourdes

Who has 1 Unique View, 2 Dynasties and 101 Champions?

If you travel to the extreme southwest of France in bleak midwinter, the Pyrenees – whose distant peaks are distinctly visible throughout much of the region – provide something like a permanent tease: shrouded in clouds and covered with snow, they are clearly not sending out any “come-and-get-me“ signals, but at the same time they hover disdainfully over all your outdoor activities, challenging you to react to their majestic presence in one way

Who has 1 Unique View, 2 Dynasties and 101 Champions?

Hiking Part of Canal du Midi in Toulouse

The Canal du Midi is one of the greatest feats of civil engineering in the history of the world. Its construction stretched the 17th century’s technological knowledge and ingenuity to its very limits, much as the Channel Tunnel project would 300 years later.

For nearly 2000 years, people had been dreaming of a navigable waterway to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea. But where previous rulers – from

Hiking Part of Canal du Midi in Toulouse

Getting Over Our Dutch Midwinter Blues

This is a despatch from the Central European lowlands where winter is neither the season when snowmen freeze to death – as they currently do in North America – nor the right time to sit outside in some balmy sunshine. This, after all, is not the Mediterranean. Not that you would be in danger of mistaking one for the other.

The Habsburg Emperor Charles V is known to have boasted

Getting Over Our Dutch Midwinter Blues

Why Visit Sampierdarena When in Genoa?

As those among you who are blessed with the gift of observation may have noticed, we are quickly approaching the climax of the festive season. And it was in the spirit of Christmas that I, on our last visit to Genoa, decided to fulfil myself a long-held wish, descending from the train in the suburb of Sampierdarena, one stop before the central station.

I had always been intrigued by what

Why Visit Sampierdarena When in Genoa?

In the Footsteps of Great Writers in Menton and Monaco

Granted: not many famous writers have come from the Riviera. Writers, however, have always loved to travel to the southern coast of France, sometimes only to relax and to have fun, but sometimes also to work and – eventually – to write about it, in one form or the other.

The list of visiting writers is long and includes 19th century greats like Chekhov and Dickens as well as modernist authors

In the Footsteps of Great Writers in Menton and Monaco

Fancy Taking a Gentrified London Walk?

One key difference between London and Paris is the pace at which these two largest cities in Europe change their face: in Paris, any such change is slow. Very slow. When I see photos of Parisian street scenes from the years before WWI, more often than not I can recognize the location.

In London, conversely, you turn around for a moment, and when you look again a whole area has disappeared.

Fancy Taking a Gentrified London Walk?

Glimpse the Glory of Manchester Past Along Its Canals

Manchester was the world’s first industrial town, the cradle of the global manufacturing economy. Today‘s Manchester, however, is no museum: busy and forward-looking, it seems prouder of its soccer clubs and its modern-day prosperity – a rare thing in Britain’s troubled north – than of any past glories.

There is little in the streets of the modern city centre that would provide clues about the town’s unique history. One level down,

Glimpse the Glory of Manchester Past Along Its Canals

Architecture Buff? Find Out What Genoa Gives You

The great thing about Genoa is that it keeps on giving. No matter how many times you have visited, there is always something new to discover.

In the Old Town, you never know what you will find when you turn the next corner in its dark and narrow maze: there is the multicultural mix of the harbour quarters, there are hidden gardens nestling on the hillsides and Renaissance palazzi downtown. Genoa has fewer

Architecture Buff? Find Out What Genoa Gives You

What Sets Out Trieste as a Different Italian Town

No country in the world is entirely made of one piece: wherever you go, you will always find differences between individual regions. It is equally clear, however, that some countries are more homogeneous than others, and I have always found that the band of cultural variety is particularly narrow in Italy. There is a certain “Italianness” which is shared by most things that you can find everywhere in this lovely country: food, dress

What Sets Out Trieste as a Different Italian Town