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What would Lenin say now?

Our journey from Tampere in Finland to Vilnius in Lithuania followed the journey of the Soviet Union, from the early plans for revolution to its grim consequences Lenin first met Stalin in 1905 in the Tampere Workers’ Hall in Finland, the same building which now holds one of the world’s few remaining museums dedicated to the […]

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A Day Out in Portsmouth

Portsmouth has enjoyed plenty of media attention in the last year or so since the opening of the new Mary Rose museum at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. We decided to have a day out in Portsmouth recently to see the Mary Rose as well as to explore one of the few large towns in the UK which […]

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Faroe Islands and the thorny issue of whaling

When I mentioned that I was going to the Faroe Islands last week, several people immediately asked me: “Isn’t that the place where they kill whales?”. Others directly asked whether I would be reporting on the whale hunts. These tiny islands in the North Atlantic, blessed with stunning scenery and an incredible number of sea […]

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2014 – A Year of Birds

  It wasn’t meant to be like this. Neither of us have ever been particularly excited by bird watching, apart from the thrill of a rare and fleeting blue flash of a kingfisher on a walk in the country. And yet our travels in the first half of 2014 have been almost exclusively dominated by […]

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Japanese Winter Festivals – in photos

It’s been a few months since we visited Japan to experience the winter festivals, but I thought I’d share a few of our photos from our time on Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. We spent a week in the main city of Sapporo, where the annual festival attracts around 2 million people. We then headed north to […]

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Travelling close to home – why nearer can be better

I can’t help but feel that there’s something unadventurous about taking a trip in our own country. People speaking the same language, familiar food and even the reassuringly boring shops when we need to pick up something we’ve inevitably forgotten to pack. And yet there are few places that I look forward to visiting as much as I do in […]

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Ouro Preto

Dropping your guard in Brazil

First we saw the handbag with its contents clearly visible. It was left on the passenger seat of a car, windows open and the owner nowhere in sight. A couple of minutes later we were sitting in the town square and a lady next to me left her fully-laden shopping bags on the floor as […]

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A sleepless night in the Polish Bieszczady Mountains

I can’t remember spending a more uncomfortable night. I fidgeted constantly in my rigid lower bunk bed, sleeping in short, unsatisfying 20-minute bursts and, worst of all, running at least once an hour, often more frequently, to the loo. By the end of the night I knew every loose floor board in the building; I knew exactly when […]

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Sea eagles, Owls and Cranes – Japanese winter birds

  Japan has several claims to fame as a travel destination, but relatively few people think of the country as a wildlife destination. Fewer still choose to brave the bone-chilling temperatures on the northern island of Hokkaido to see the birdlife which is drawn to this harsh winter climate. Yet there we were, certainly not […]

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Dunwich – an English town lost to the sea

The main street through the village looks pretty but unremarkable. A pub on the corner giving off the tempting smell of freshly-fried chips; a row of old cottages with a rusty bench in a modest front garden; a stone church with a sleepy, slightly overgrown graveyard. But Dunwich in Suffolk is no ordinary village. Despite […]

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