We arrived in Turkistan on a Thursday. It was our first day in Kazakhstan; after an overnight train journey from Bukhara to Tashkent, we took a private bus to the border. Kazakhstan was a shock to the system right away; very different from Uzbekistan, less Islamic and less developed, the wide open spaces and long distances were immediately striking.… Keep readingRead more
The historic city of Ely lies just north of Cambridge, and within easy reach of London and the Norfolk coast. It makes for a great day out, but why should you visit?
Ely CathedralRead more
Shah Jahan’s mausoleum (and architectural love letter) to his wife Mumtaz Mahal is surely at the top of most people’s must-see list in India. One of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, it has quite the reputation to live up to! But what do you need to know for your Taj Mahal visit?… Keep readingRead more
It’s quarter to ten on a Wednesday night, and I’m standing on a station platform in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
I’m here on a trip-of-a-lifetime, bucket-list kind of adventure – and that’s saying something for someone who travels as much as I do. But for many years now I’ve dreamed of visiting the beautiful squares and madrassahs of Uzbekistan, with their towering turquoise domes and exquisite mosaic façades.… Keep readingRead more
Something that’s really important to me is to learn about everyday life in the countries I visit. It doesn’t matter whether the country is affluent or impoverished, I want to see behind the tourist veneer and get a glimpse into how people live, the reality of normal life. In the past, this has taken me to supermarkets, residential streets and, in India, a multiplex cinema where I had the samosa special and watched modern Bollywood for an afternoon.… Keep readingRead more
The Maldives are simply magical, but one of the most memorable moments of my time there was the day I swam with a manta ray.
We had travelled by wooden dhoni through the islands, stopping off twice a day to snorkel on the spectacular reefs that litter the shores. However, between the shallow waters of the atolls are much deeper channels, and these are when you find the manta rays.… Keep readingRead more
The part of the Northern Irish coast to the west of the Giant’s Causeway is the province’s holiday playground. With white sand beaches, caravan parks and coastal towns, it is a great spot for a family break, but it also has history and stunning scenery to explore. So how could you spend a day or two in Northern Ireland’s northwest?… Keep readingRead more
Ireland is a country divided in two: in the south and west, the nation of Ireland (which I will refer to as the Republic of Ireland to avoid confusion), and in the northeast the province of Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. Both have plenty to do and see, and it would be a crime to make a trip to Ireland and not cross the border.… Keep readingRead more
If you’ve been to Ireland and not visited the north-eastern counties, you have missed something special. Politically part of the United Kingdom and with a chequered history to match, Northern Ireland today is a peaceful place with much to see and do. And top of that list is the beautiful Causeway Coast.… Keep readingRead more