THE ART OF BELFAST’S STREETS

The Cathedral Quarter is becoming almost hip.

The Cathedral Quarter is becoming almost hip.

Few would describe Belfast as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. It does, however, have character.

The Cathedral Quarter, the streets surrounding St Anne’s Cathedral, is working to reinvent itself as a cool cultural hangout. To judge from our little stroll around the area, it’s succeeding. Continue reading

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ULSTER FOLK MUSEUM – Charlie Chaplin and why spades matter

Blacksmiths taking a lot of care making a decorative ram's head fire poker.

Blacksmiths taking a lot of care making a decorative ram’s head fire poker.


We’re stingy, we Dutch tourists. We’re only visiting the Ulster Folk Museum because it’s cheaper than Titanic Belfast and the parking is free.

We expect an hour or so poking around a cheesy open air museum will be plenty, then we’ll go looking for a cafe with affordable coffee and scones and fill in the rest of the day somehow.

It turns out we need a change of plan. We love the folk museum! Continue reading

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PRESERVING THE POINT – Lake St Clair

Is there a better destination anywhere in the world? We'll be staying at Pumphouse Point. Yes, in that little building at the end of the causeway.

Is there a better destination anywhere in the world? We’ll be staying at Pumphouse Point. Yes, in that little building at the end of the causeway.

Backtracking: My article about our recent trip to Tasmania has now been published in mainstream media, so the full story can now be released on the blog…

There was bound to be opposition. The friendly Wilderness Society volunteers we meet at Hobart’s Salamanca Markets don’t like the idea that a few privileged people can fly into remote Tasmanian lakes in a seaplane and ‘spoil things for everybody else’. Continue reading

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ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT COASTAL DRIVES

The Rope Bridge - no, we didn't walk across it ourselves.

The Rope Bridge – no, we didn’t walk across it ourselves.

The Giant’s Causeway must be the most photographed location in Northern Ireland, the more so since it’s been featured as a Game of Thrones location. We’ve been close a couple of times, but this is the first time we’ve had our own transport and could drive along one of the world’s more spectacular routes, world heritage listed as an AONB – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Continue reading

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GOING GREEN IN HONG KONG – Lamma Island

Looking down on Sok Kwu Wan fishing village, where a seafood meal awaits.

Looking down on Sok Kwu Wan fishing village, where a seafood meal awaits.

Yes, it is possible to escape the madding crowd in this town.

For one of the most densely populated parts of the planet, Hong Kong has a surprising amount of green space. Most people live literally on top of each other in high rise apartment towers, concentrated along the shore of Hong Kong Island.

Behind them are forests leading up to the Peak, which absolutely must be scaled, by foot or by cable train, by every visitor. Except for us.

We find our Hong Kong green space on one of the outer islands. Continue reading

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A DAY OUT IN KOWLOON

Picking the best singer.

Picking the best singer.

I find the mere sound of the word ‘Kowloon’ exotic and exciting. It’s up there with ‘Bombay’, ‘Malacca’ and ‘Timbuktu’ – names which to me suggest a far-flung empire on which the sun never sets. So it was a little disappointing when friends advised us against staying on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. ‘Not dangerous or unpleasant, just a bit dull.’ Fortunately, our day trip across the water from Hong Kong turns out to be far more interesting than expected, and that’s not just damning it with faint praise. Continue reading

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TO MARKET, TO MARK-UP IN HONG KONG

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

What am I doing here? I don’t like shopping. I already have too much stuff, I’m not going to cook any food tonight and anything I buy I’ll have to lug around for the next few days.

So why does every visit to a new town start in places where buying and selling is the whole idea? Continue reading

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