Fighting Spanish Bulls in Madrid
Jul07

Fighting Spanish Bulls in Madrid

Last weekend in Madrid, I did the something I never thought I’d do: I attended a bullfight. Despite public outcry in recent years, bullfighting (or, Corrida del Toros, as Spaniards say), is still legal in all provinces of Spain except Catalonia, and quite popular. And so, there I was on a cloudy Saturday, at the last corrida of the Madrid season. I had not planned this outright. Watching a bullfight was never on my list of Spanish...

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How I Spent Six Hours in Versailles
May26

How I Spent Six Hours in Versailles

Versailles – there really aren’t words to describe it. Amazing, magnificent, dazzling, over-the-top, breathtaking just don’t do it. I had to see it for myself. And it is everything I ever imagined. I made a day trip from Paris to Versailles, twelve miles away and easily reached by train. The “RER C” train from the St. Michel/Notre Dame metro stop took me directly to the Rive Gauche station in Versailles and...

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The Oma Painted Forest – Basque Country, Northern Spain
May12

The Oma Painted Forest –
Basque Country, Northern Spain

The Oma Painted Forest Basque Country Northern Spain There is nothing quite like an early morning stroll in a beautiful forest in the clean, fresh air, but this particular site truly took my breath away. The Oma Painted Forest is located in the heart of the UNESCO listed Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, close to the town of Kortezubi in Basque Country, Spain and is a hidden and artistic treasure. I had the pleasure of visiting the site,...

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First Morning in Ireland
Mar17

First Morning in Ireland

Waking up in Ireland I woke up early my first morning in Ireland. The effects of jet lag made it a restless night and, when there was just enough light to see soft shapes in the room, I looked over to the bedside table. There was no bedside clock and, as I had no watch or phone or device of any kind, I could only guess at the time. I decided to end the struggle of going back to sleep and get up. When I looked out the second floor...

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Exploring the “Route of the Faces”  in Spain
Mar10

Exploring the
“Route of the Faces”
in Spain

I live in southern Spain and recently visited a good friend in Madrid – the capital city, right in the heart of the country. While I love the city, its vibe, the shopping and the food, I felt I needed an escape from the crowds and noise, and my friend came up with the perfect solution. It was the weekend and I piled into her car with a small bag, heading off for what was to me, strange and new pastures. She told me nothing about the...

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A Taste of Italy, in Thailand
Mar03

A Taste of Italy, in Thailand

Plans change. Sometimes for the better . On a recent Asian cruise I discovered, upon docking at Thailand’s Laem Chabang, that my selected shore excursion to Pattaya Beach had sold out. Disappointed, I chose an alternative a short drive away, which promised a visit to a winery. Since I wasn’t aware Thailand even had a wine industry, I had visions of a rustic backyard shed and a few straggly vines. I couldn’t have been more wrong....

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Paris: Beyond the Tourist Trail
Jan27

Paris: Beyond the Tourist Trail

Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Champs-Elysee, and the Arc de Triomphe. These are just a few of the major sights that Tourists flock to on a trip to Paris. This is understandable of course, everyone wants to see these major sights that Paris has to offer. I myself spent my first two trips to Paris visiting these major tourist attractions, so who am I to judge. However, I now find that my favourite places to visit or to see are those that...

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The Mayor of Pula, Croatia
Dec16

The Mayor of Pula, Croatia

Getting lost in a foreign town is an inevitable part of travel. It can be exciting, enlightening and incredibly frustrating, but it’s never permanent, as by some mysterious law of the universe a helping hand or friendly face invariably seems to appear. In my case, this helping hand belonged to the self-proclaimed Mayor of Pula. I met him on a sun splashed residential street some way out of the centre of town. I had arrived at...

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A Hidden Concert in a Berlin Warehouse
Nov25

A Hidden Concert
in a Berlin Warehouse

It is a chilly Sunday evening in Berlin. Late October and the trees have shaken off their leaves. I shuffle my feet through piles of golden yellow and approach two steel doors with graffiti scrawled on them. Two smokers huddle in the cold, shifting from one foot to the other, trying to stay warm. I go inside. A man with a white head of hair runs his finger down a list, stops and draws a line through my name. He hands me a chit of...

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Bandits of Barcelona
Oct14

Bandits of Barcelona

Retrospectively my priorities were probably somewhat skewed, but I remember experiencing a strong sense of loss for the chocolate that was in my bag. Admittedly it wasn’t any ordinary chocolate, but a chocolate with the pinnacle percentile of cocoa, which is 78 by the way, as well as the promise of zesty pieces of orange, but the benefit of hindsight has allowed me to see that the theft of my passport, phone and money should...

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