Category Archives: Travel

TRAVELLER ZOO – Mappus consultor impetuoso

Mappus consultor impetuoso
These creatures are generally, though not exclusively, male. They can commonly be seen in labyrinthine old cities, guidebook in hand, confidently leading family groups into blind alleys.
Identifying call: ‘No, we don’t need to ask directions. I know exactly where we are.’

* Illustrator Simon Letch and I have been contributing a weekly cartoon to the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age, introducing readers to the curious species we meet on the road. I’m releasing some of them into the wilds of cyberspace…one at a time.

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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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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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INDONESIA’S UNDISCOVERED ISLANDS

Students from Pulau Jang school.

The coolest guys at Pulau Jang school!

I almost feel guilty about sharing this. There is a part of Indonesia that is unspoilt, with beautiful beaches, patches of dense forest, skies in which you can see the stars and friendly local people with a relaxed attitude to the very few tourists that come here.

Would we want it to become the next Bali or Phuket? Despite my raving about it, I don’t think a blog post is likely to make that happen. Continue reading

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THE WORLD’S GREATEST TRAIN TRIP

Welcome aboard, madam.

Welcome aboard, madam.

Fairfax Media recently published my article on our fabulous trip on the train rated the world’s most luxurious. So now here on the blog is the full story on our envy-breeding adventure… Continue reading

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A HEAP OF HOCKNEY – Salt’s Mill, Yorkshire

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Build a smart new museum and someone will complain that it lacks soul. Convert an old industrial site to a cultural facility and it immediately becomes a cool place.

Salt’s Mill was the thriving hub of Bradford’s booming textile industry in the 19th century. Now it’s an art centre, boasting the world’s largest permanent collection of work by Bradford-born and Yorkshire-resident David Hockney.

Thanks to what is turning out to be an inspired home exchange, Mevrouw T and I are spending the Easter break in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Continue reading

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