Eagle hunter: In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan

Eagle hunter: In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan

We pull up by the side of the windswept road in the heart of Kyrgyzstan. And there, by the roadside, is the eagle hunter. Dressed in traditional clothing, tall white felt hat sitting proudly on his head, he smiles as he holds his arm outstretched, a hooded golden eagle perched on the leather gauntlet of his right hand.We have come to watch a demonstration of a hunting style that goes back into the mists of time. Here in the heartland of Central Asia, among the mountains that make up most of Kyrgyzstan, Read more [...]
Traditional dances of the world: Local dance and folk dance to see on your travels

Traditional dances of the world: Local dance and folk dance to see on your travels

One of the joys of travel is to experience the best of cultures the world over. Music and dancing is a huge part of my life at home, and I’ve been lucky enough to watch many international dance genres on my journeys across the globe, sometimes as a display for tourists, sometimes in its most authentic form. Here are my 12 favourite experiences of traditional dance around the world - what are yours? 1. Kathakali dancers, Kerala, India The folk dances of India are as varied as the country Read more [...]
The gentleman in the Stockholm café

The gentleman in the Stockholm café

My first trip to Stockholm was in summer 2003. It wasn't my first trip to Sweden; the summer before I had been to the south of the country, combining a few days in Copenhagen with a few more in its Swedish neighbour across the Öresund Bridge, the city of Malmö in southern Sweden. I immediately took a shine to the country, with its fresh air and sparkling water (for more on my then-burgeoning love affair, see 5 Reasons Why I Love Sweden), so the following summer I headed to its capital to see a Read more [...]
The man in the corner shop: An encounter in old Jerusalem

The man in the corner shop: An encounter in old Jerusalem

I was in Jerusalem, Israel. It was my last day in the city, and I had an afternoon to myself to spend as I pleased. It was inevitable that I would be drawn back to the old city, which had so captivated me on my first visit a few days earlier.The old city is a place of contrasts, with 4 distinct styles. It is divided into quarters: Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian, and all of them sit in stark contrast to one other and provide a fascinating reflection of life in this complicated country. Read more [...]
The coffee seller of Tainan

The coffee seller of Tainan

I arrived in Tainan on a Wednesday. Dropped off by bus in the city centre, I meandered through exotic local streets on the way to my hotel, absorbing the hustle and bustle of this very Chinese city. Taiwan has its own unique culture... Read more [...]