Category Archives for Places

17Feb2014

The Unknown Artists of Ravenna

Apostles on the domed ceiling of the Baptistery in Ravenna.

I’ve not always liked my name — one of my first acts on hitting puberty was to rebrand myself from “Theodora” to “Theo”, an innovation I’ve failed to reverse ever since – but I have always liked the story behind it. Why? Because I’m named for a woman who grew up among the bears of […]

22Jan2014

Sun, Sea, Sand, Scuba – Sinai! In Association with HolidayGems

Ein Khodra Oasis, Sinai Desert.

South Sinai is like nowhere else in Egypt: a stark landscape of desert and mountains, lapped by the clear blue waters of the Red Sea. The Sinai is the place where Moses supposedly received the Ten Commandments, home of the Bedouin since time immemorial – and a world away from the chaos of Cairo and […]

19Dec2013

The Van Gogh Museum: Totally Worth It…

Detail of Van Gogh's Irises.

You don’t think of Vincent Van Gogh – well, I don’t, anyway – as the type of chap to make art for a nursery. But he did. And that pretty, delicate pastel painting of almond blossoms is just one of many reasons the Van Gogh Museum, on its own, is totally worth the ferry or […]

20Nov2013

10 Reasons Turkey Rocks – in Association with Cosmos

Turkey - Bluework

On the boundary between Europe and Asia, on the cusp between the Middle East and the West, Turkey is a stellar place to spend a holiday – not least for the weather. Here’s ten reasons, brought to you with the support of bargain holiday specialists Cosmos, why you might want to book Turkey holidays now. […]

16Nov2013

Top Ten Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids

Top Ten Things to Do in Hong Kong With Kids

We’ve spent quite a bit of time in Hong Kong by now – it’s actually a great place to visit with kids — and yet I’ve barely written about it. So, in the spirit of public service, here are my top picks for things to do in Hong Kong with kids. Go to Ocean Park […]

17Aug2013

12 Reasons I Love Mongolia

Clouds reflected in Khovsgol Nuur, Mongolia.

Isolation In the least densely populated country on earth, expect big, empty, silent landscapes, huge skies and a sense of incredible space. Off the beaten track in Mongolia, you can travel for days without seeing a single soul – not (necessarily) because the landscape is uninhabitable, but just because it’s empty. Horses Mongolians descend from […]

07Aug2013

10 Reasons to Visit Thailand – from Trailfinders

Thai beach with blue seas, sand and palm trees via John Lembo.

Looking for somewhere to escape the English winter? Trailfinders specialise in bespoke packages that allow you to discover your own private Thailand. Whether that’s an off-the-beaten track adventure in the Golden Triangle or discovering iconic Bangkok, Trailfinders recommend ten reasons to visit Thailand. BEACHES The Beach was filmed in Thailand – and small wonder. The […]

30Jul2013

The Mongolian State Circus

Contortionists at the Mongolian State Circus.

The Mongolian State Circus in Ulaanbaatar stands empty, most of the time, its golden-tiled big top a monument to the glory days when a Communist state could truly fund a circus. But at special times of year — like Mothers’ and Children’s Day or Naadam — the circus comes to town. And how. There’s the […]

18Jul2013

In Xanadu…

View over the site of Xanadu, Kublai Khan's summer palace.

There are some places on this earth that have a magic in their name. Samarkand. Timbuktu. Xanadu… And, as Xanadu is pretty much on the way from Harbin to Mongolia, it would have been remiss of us not to visit. Well, I think Xanadu has a magic in the name. If you grew up with […]

05Jun2013

Getting the Seasons Wrong in Wudalianchi

Wudalianchi

“Can we see the cranes?” I ask Zhang Wei, in my still resolutely rubbish Chinese. “They’re not here,” he replies, driving at a pace so glacial I wonder whether he’s secretly Australian. Bugger! Spring has come late to this part of China, which means we’ve come to Wudalianchi early. Way too early. The cranes aren’t […]