central asia heritage 1

Central Asia: rebuilding a heritage

I spent a couple of weeks this summer in Central Asia, visiting the Silk Road nations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

These countries have had a chequered history. From a rich heritage as trading posts, and at the heart of Timur’s vast empire, all three nations have natural beauty but also magnificent historic cities, fortresses, mosques and madrassahs which play a substantial part in their heritage.… Keep reading

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lost in translation

Can’t speak the language? How to survive being lost in translation…

In addition to my love of travel, I have always loved and been fascinated by foreign languages: how we can experience the same world but express it in such different ways and with such a mixture of sounds. If, like me, you are a native English speaker then, like me, you have been handed a gift on a golden platter, because so much of the world uses English as a common or second language.… Keep reading

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The view from the window: Reflections from 35,000 feet…

I’m writing this sitting on a plane at 35,000 ft. And I need to kill the boredom.

This is the decidedly unglamorous side of travel. I remember, growing up, reading my mother’s series of “Shirley Flight: Air Hostess” books – she had the complete set and they are still on the bookshelves in my spare room – which portrayed air travel in the 1950s and 1960s.… Keep reading

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