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In Scotland, I’m Home: Musings on Edinburgh

By on Nov 11, 2014 in Europe, Travel | 4 comments

As the train pulls out of Berwick-Upon-Tweed and we speed towards the border, my excitement grows. Almost there. The thoughts running through my head take on a Scottish accent. The sun is shining – of course it is. The sun always shines in Scotland. At least, according to family legend, it always shines on women of the Kinloch clan. The men, especially the English ones who’ve married in, only get rain. So we leave them behind when we come. Edinburgh comes into view, and my heart leaps. The smile, which has been inanely on my face since Dunbar, grows even wider. I’m back where I belong. This gothic beauty, with all her refinement and finesse, may not be as cool and as edgy as Glasgow, but I adore her. I walk out of the station with the confidence and pride of someone who lives there. I swish past the tourists with their cameras and dazed expressions, feeling smug, until I catch sight of...

The little joys of Lisbon in three seasons

By on Aug 6, 2014 in Europe, Travel | 4 comments

I could spend ages talking about the things to do in Lisbon – admiring the almost optically-impossible Sé cathedral, touring the castle, taking a literature tour… but we would be here all day, and it’s hardly groundbreaking stuff. It’s funny, but when I think of Lisbon, which is at least several times per day, it is the little experiences, the feather-light moments of magic, which cause my skin to tingle. So these are the little joys of Lisbon, through three seasons of the city.  Winter   Sink your teeth into a warm, smoky chestnut Be lured by the tendrils of smoke emanating from the many stands, and by the shouts of ‘castanhas, quentes e boas!’ (chestnuts, hot and delicious!) Gaze upon the rich, nutty beauties, roasting in the flat pan. Hand over your two euros, and clasp the warm cornet with anticipation. Peel off the first hard shell, licking the...

An Amelie Tour of Paris

By on Jun 27, 2014 in Europe, Films, Travel | 4 comments

Thirteen years ago, an off-beat French film captured the hearts and imaginations of people all over the world and propelled Audrey Tatou to stardom. Le Fableux Destin d’Amelie Poulain remains an iconic Parisian film, with such a sweet story at its heart that you just can’t help but fall in love with Amélie and her city, and there’s no better way to relive the film than with an Amelie tour of Paris.  If you’d like to know more about the film, read the review here. These days, though the Amélie obsession there once was in Paris has quietened, the film is still deeply intertwined into Paris life. Stand long enough in the Gare du Nord, which was one of the locations used in the film, and the tinkling, melodic music of Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack will fill the air, courtesy of an amateur pianist at one of the public pianos. But it is in Montmartre that the film really...

Seduced by Seville

By on Jun 11, 2014 in Europe, Travel | 3 comments

Like the iconic flamenco dancers of this city, Seville is a tantalising temptress made up to perfection. Deep red lipstick, hair tumbling in artful waves, dress swishing beguilingly, she is a flawless beauty. Every street sign here is made and displayed with care and artistry; the buildings are tiled with Moorish designs, much like Portuguese Azulejos. Church exteriors seem to be made up of paintings pinched from the Museo de Bellas Artes. The deep Andalusian sky provides the perfect backdrop for the elegantly-painted buildings – russet and ochre, white and blue, dusky pink. I was worried that Seville was one of those places I had spent too long dreaming about, and that it wouldn’t match up in reality. But in the five minutes it took for me to walk from the bus station to the cathedral, timed serendipitously with the first rays of dawn bathing La Giralda in a pale golden light, Seville...

Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College

By on Dec 12, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

This guest post comes from Dan Perdomo, a blogger who enjoys discovering underrated parts of London. Enjoy!  I was lost in London; and not for the first time. This was my fifth time in London since moving down south and I had decided to wander around Canary Wharf. I was walking along the Thames Path which should have led me to the O2 Arena… but I must have gone in the wrong direction. Ending up in Isle of Dogs (I had no idea where that was in relation to The O2’s location) in a park called Island Gardens, I stumbled upon a view across the river that made my jaw drop. Little did I know I was looking at the Old Royal Naval College. The grand buildings looked enormous, even from across the Thames. I looked up and down the river but couldn’t see a bridge in sight in which I could cross to get a closer look at the palace. Heading for the exit to try and find the nearest tube station,...

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