50 Berkeley Square, Haunted London
May26

50 Berkeley Square, Haunted London

Perhaps it is because of the movies and books, but whenever I think about haunted houses — a subject I’m quite fond of — images of desolate landscapes, moors, maybe wind beaten cliffs, spring to mind. I certainly do not think of one of London’s poshest and most elegant areas, residential Mayfair within walking distance of New Bond street’s designer shops and smart restaurants. However, it seems, that Poltergeists also have...

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The Olive Soap Museum in Sidon, Lebanon
Jan22

The Olive Soap Museum in Sidon, Lebanon

I’m currently living in Beirut for a few more weeks and am using the capital as a basis for further trips all around this fascinating country. Last week, before the bad weather and storm hit, I decided to travel south along the coast to the biblical town of Sidon, called Saida in the Lebanon. Sidon has been inhabited since about 5,000 years and therefore is full of history. The first thing that comes into view when approaching from...

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The Mouawad Private Museum in Beirut
Dec13

The Mouawad Private Museum in Beirut

The city of Beirut, capital of the Lebanon, doesn’t have that many museums, but one you definitely should not miss is the Robert Mouawad Private museum. It’s a prime example of the eclectic taste of a private collector who loved art, history and all things beautiful. Some 110 years ago, a prominent Lebanese sportsman, politician and businessman by the name of Henri P. Pharaoun built a fabulous villa in what’s known as downtown Beirut....

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Breathing the Spirit of Delos, Greece
Nov18

Breathing the Spirit of Delos, Greece

They say that there are a few places in the world which exude spirituality and energy , sending positive vibes to any visitor who comes near. Bali is thought to be one such place, as is Baalbeck in the Lebanon and the Greek island of Delos. Unfortunately due to lack of time, I didn’t set foot on Delos itself, but I did have the opportunity to contemplate the mystical island from a very short distance across the water, sitting for...

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Akdamar Island, Turkey
Nov13

Akdamar Island, Turkey

“Oh Tamar”, those were the last words of a drowning lover. According to legend that explains how Akdamar Island, located in Lake Van in eastern Turkey, got its name. It seems that a princess living on the island had a sweetheart in Van. Her father didn’t approve so they had to meet in secret. The ardent lover swam every night across the lake to be with his Tamar and, to guide him in the pitch black dark, she lit an oil lamp. One...

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Ürgüp, a gateway to Cappadoccia
Oct16

Ürgüp, a gateway to Cappadoccia

Believe me, there is a silver lining to just about anything. In this case it was the place where the bus broke down. I was on my way from Van in the extreme east of Turkey near the border with Iran back to Didim on the Aegean coast. As I love to do, I was travelling by coach, a hike of about 27 hours. Turkish coaches are very comfortable and many are the latest model Mercedes. So was this one. What was absolutely exotic however were...

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The Toy Museum in Munich
Sep21

The Toy Museum in Munich

Standing in the historical center of Munich, the Marienplatz, while looking at the massive Rathaus, I got a first impression of toys at play. Every hour, the Glockenspiel chimes and out comes the figurines of Bavarians dressed in traditional clothing, dancing high up in the bell tower. They are mechanical toys of the highest quality and never fail to delight the huge crowd of locals and tourists alike who gather on the Marienplatz to...

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Sidetracked on the Greek Island of Samos
Sep06

Sidetracked on the Greek Island of Samos

The starting point of my recent seven-day island hopping adventure was the Greek Island of Samos. I have visited before, but as this was only an overnight stop to catch the early morning ferry to Mykonos, I decided to not stray further than Vathi, the capital of Samos. I knew that Samos is very famous for its excellent wine, and to my delight there was a wine museum not that far out of town, which also offered tastings. It’s...

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Venetians, Ottomans and Lepers on Kalidon

You can easily spend a week on the Greek island of Crete, go on a different trip each day and still only have scratched the surface because there is so much to do and see. According to Greek mythology, the infant Zeus was raised in a cave in Mount Ida, which is the highest mountain of the island and was sacred to the mother goddess Rhea. With all these gods around it’s not surprising that I think about Crete as ‘divine’ because I...

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Air Travel in Morocco

There are still airlines in this world that care about their passengers. Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Moroc (RAM) is one of them. Here is the story. I was on my way from Marrakesh back to Istanbul via Casablanca where I had to change planes. A few minutes into the flight the captain came on to advise his passengers that the flight to Ouarzazate would take 15 minutes. Ouarzazate? I nearly jumped out of my seat. Had I...

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