• europe

    To Gibralfaro

    Moorish Spain is enchanting. You who have wandered through the grand gardens of the Alhambra and the steep cobbled alleys of Albaicín in Granada, the Alcázar in Seville or even the Aljaferiá in Zaragoza, would know what I am banging on about. For one, the Moors knew how to pick on the best views of the city – for them though it was a matter of survival so they chose the locations of their fortresses for their defensive positions. But I would like to believe that the hedonists in them marvelled at the sight of what they had accomplished. Those great gardens of pleasure, water trickling off pretty fountains wrought…

  • europe

    Chasing Illusions in Gudvangen

    Google Gudvangen. ‘Has she gone crazy?’ you might interject. ‘Here I pop by her post and she asks me to google the name?!’ Humour me for two seconds. Atop the wikipedia page (you do not have to click further) dedicated to the small Viking village in Norway, you find yourself staring at an image of marvellously lofty peaks. The main peak in it has been squished and stretched up to look like a model lengthening her svelte body. Then you notice later, much later, that the topmost peak seems to show you the middle finger. Somebody’s idea of awful humour. The day we reached Els’ cottage in Norheimsund we drove straight up into…

  • Britain

    A Walk in the Cornish Woods

    I am knackered and I have a suspicion. I am on my way to turning into a hefty Cornish cow. A thought fuelled by a steady two-day diet of scones, pasties, tarts, full-fat ice creams, butter biscuits and onion rings. Is it possible that the waistband of the jeans can scream out for temperance within a short span of time? These are grave times. The scoffing has been going especially strong after steep climbs through woods in the heart of Daphne du Maurier country. Our walk started in the fishing village of Bodinnick where the author of Rebecca lived with her mother and sisters – after they had left behind their…

  • Travel

    A Day at Horniman

    Sparkling sunny weekends are a rarity in our part of the world. If the week shall go in a sunny, breezy mode, Friday rolls in and the clouds declare their presence, often not in a I-am-billowy-and-pretty-just-like-that way. The weekend did start on a cracking note and the sun did power its way through Sunday. So the British have declared summer. Over the last two days, men have been spotted in speedos atop caravans, women have been noted to drive in bikinis and others have been sitting in barely-there-shorts in the backyards. On Friday, quite early in the morning I had work in London – which meant I had the whole day to myself after. I made…

  • Travel

    Glass for Princes in Murano

    A mile north off Venice is the cluster of islands called Murano. We crossed in a vaporetto (water taxi) from Venice to Murano on a day that was joyously sunny. The kinds that come wrapped up in a bow only once during a few miserably cold and foggy winter days spent in Venice. When we got off the boat at Murano, the first sight that greeted me was that of a bearded local dragging a sizeable carton on wheels . He looked like a fisherman, the lines of the years marked out on his weather-beaten face. A rustic, atmospheric introduction but what lay after was anything but unassuming. Workshops, boutiques and factories cropped up…