Monthly Archives: September 2012


What is Gallipoli?

What is Gallipoli

World War I is ancient history. It passed from living memory with the death of the last veteran this year. It’s not a “good” war like the Second World War, a war that begins so neatly with a single bad guy who had to be stopped. There were no real bad guys in World War […]


50 Things To Do Before You’re Twelve

50 things to do before you're 12-2

Climb inside a pyramid. Hold dinosaur bones. Dive an undersea volcano. Walk on the Great Wall of China. Roll down a sand dune. Surf on the back of a pickup truck. Windsurf. Surf, full stop. Taste insects. Pick fresh spices. Embrace sushi. Love oysters. Eat steak in Paris. Try champagne. Make silver jewellery. Use a […]


Is Troy Worth Seeing?

Is Troy Worth Seeing

I wasn’t, honestly, going to let my spawn leave Turkey without inflicting Troy on him. I’m still in a strop with myself for missing Baalbek in Lebanon (some minor kerfuffle about carjackings and kidnappings…). And to leave Turkey without seeing Troy? Just ain’t gonna happen. When it comes to classics, I’m a complete geek. I […]


It’s All About The Cross-Hatching

Chinese Characters

“Bwahahaha,” I say. “Did you know the Chinese for ‘writer’ is, literally, ‘sit-at-home’?” “No,” says Zac. “NOOB! The ‘zuo’ in ‘zuo-jia’ is a different kind of ‘zuo’ from the ‘zuo’ that means sit.” “Oh,” I say, racking my brains to find out how many Chinese characters for ‘zuo’ I actually know. “Is it the ‘zuo’ […]


The Last Post on Travels With A Nine Year Old


I started this blog back in January 2010. Zac was nine. We were going travelling for a year. And this is what he looked like then: And, well, this is what he looks like now: So… Thank you, to all of you, who’ve been following us for the last two-plus years. For almost a thousand […]


Oh God. Is This How “They” See “Us”?


Dear reader, I’ve just wasted a quarter of an hour of my life watching that video. Yes, that one. And I still cannot believe how truly bad it is. I mean, it’s Ed Wood bad. Worse than Ed Wood bad. Worse than the most execrable product of the most lowest common denominator film school anywhere […]


The Other Side of Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar


One of remarkably few downsides to travelling with my son is, well, markets. I like nothing better than wandering around local markets looking at what’s for sale and buying (typically) whatever new fruit I can find, and veggies should we have a kitchen, plus perhaps some lurid underwear and/or age-inappropriate vest tops. But, for me, […]


Making Ourselves at Home in Cihangir, Istanbul

“I don’t know where that is,” says the guy, poring over the address I’ve hand-copied. “Just walk.” “Walk?!” I say. I mean, I know we’re walking distance from Cihangir, but… “But I don’t know where it is. I’ll take a taxi.” “The taxi driver won’t know it, either,” he says. “Yeah,” I say, trying to […]


Getting Istanbul All Wrong – Again!


Our cunning flat plans don’t go entirely, ahem, to plan – there are any number of reasons why a flat might appear as available on the internet and not be, not least among them that the owner has forgotten to update its availability and/or gone on holiday – and we spend our first night in […]


Cappadocia: It’s a Wrap…


We leave Cappadocia with, as the cliché has it, heavy hearts. But also some excitement. Yes, even with a hellish overnight bus journey ahead of us. Because our next stop is Istanbul, the capital of world empires for around 1500 years, a city bigger than New York or London, and somewhere we pretty much fell […]