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Lübeck, York and the Baedeker Raids

What links the German city of Lübeck, a well-known guidebook and the several of England’s more attractive cities? Wandering around Lübeck recently I was struck by the way the city has been so comprehensively rebuilt since the end of the war.  As with much of central Europe Lübeck was not spared the ravages of war and […]

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On the trail of the Tatars in Poland

Drive through many of the villages in the north east of Poland and the eerie silence might lead you to believe there is no-one left to tend the miles of flat farmland, stretching beyond the horizon in every direction. A handful of ramshackle wooden homes occupy well-defined plots along either side of the road. An […]

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Knocking on doors in search of a good story

I’m sure many writers will identify with this. Your story gets published and while you might be pleased with the finished article there’s something that the readers will never know: that what you’ve shared with the reader is only half of the story. Indeed the untold back story to an article is often more illuminating […]

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Topless in Montenegro: a convertible calamity

Driving a convertible had never appealed to me. I’m more inclined to cast disparaging glances at those who ‘go topless’ in their otherwise mundane family cars. I smile at the thought of how much extra they’ve paid just to be able to enjoy the wind messing up their hair on the two or three hot […]

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Taken for a ride: the price of top tourist attractions

  People travel thousands of miles to see the world’s top tourist attractions. When they arrive they are hardly likely to be deterred by an overpriced entrance ticket. With this in mind, is it reasonable for tourism chiefs to charge any amount they can get away with, or is there any benefit in providing a […]

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Mezquita by night

Mezquita of Cordoba: a visitor’s guide

As grand buildings in Europe go, the Mezquita of Cordoba is right up there with the best of them. The site on which the building stands was originally home to a pagan temple, which then became a church, then a mosque before being becoming a church again in the 13th century. The fact that it […]

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Postcards from the Alentejo

For long unknown to all but an intrepid few travellers, the Alentejo region of Portugal is getting a lot of media attention in the last couple of years. So it might surprise you that you’re likely to find very few other tourists on a visit to the region, even in the main towns. Whether you’re […]

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Strangers on a train: why it’s not always good to talk

  With barely a soul in the first class carriage I figured the three hour journey would be a good chance to get some work done. I had just spent two days in the rural backwaters of eastern Poland to research a couple of articles and was returning to Warsaw in time to catch an […]

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Postcards from Iceland

I travelled to Iceland in March on a trip to research a couple of stories. While the stories tell of two different but (I think) fascinating sides of Icelandic life, these images perhaps give a better taste of the natural beauty from the sparsely populated north of the country, where neighbours may live a hour […]

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Postcards from San Marino

It is the world’s oldest republic and arguably has the continent’s worst national football team. San Marino is well worth a visit if you are making a visit to Italy’s Adriatic coast. My article about San Marino on the BBC Travel site was published in August (here for UK folks), but I thought I’d share […]

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