Jerez and its sherry

Mr Gonzalez, with the cathedral in the background

Jerez is a city built on the riches of sherry. And ‘sherry’ is a corruption of Jerez. This delicious fortified wine was our main reason for visiting and throughout our short stay we’d taken the chance to enjoy a tipple. Back in Britain it may be regarded as the drink of grannies and Christmas but […]

Jerez: A palacio, archaeology and Flamenco

Tabanco el Pasaje

Sunday in Jerez means religion for many locals but for us it meant visits to the Count of the Andes’ palace, a flea market and a museum. But only after breakfast in Plaza Plateros, where we watched those religious types promenading past on their to one or other of the city’s many historic churches. Their […]

Jerez and its Alcazar

Plaza Rafael Rivero

Jerez and Seville are two of Andalucia’s great cities, and they have much in common. Both were born out of civilisations that were at times pagan, Islamic and Christian and those cultures are written all over the streets and the architecture, and reflected in the way locals live their lives. It’s a fascinating muddle. Jerez […]

A week in Malta

St Julian's Bay

After months of stress and aggravation at work we needed an easy week away to relax and recuperate but October’s an iffy month in the Med, and low season can mean storms and rain. But we had nothing but warm sunshine during our week in Malta, the small but perfectly formed island beached between Sicily […]

Valletta: A city in transition

Malta's new Parliament

I look forward to returning to Valletta one day. And perhaps then it will be finished… Because our trip coincided with a huge building and restoration programme, being carried out in preparation for the city’s role as European Capital of Culture in 2018. Quite a few of its popular tourist destinations, such as St John’s […]

Malta: The ancient splendour of Mdina

The historic walls of Mdina

The glorious fortified city of Mdina in the heart of Malta is a must-see and a magical place, but we nearly didn’t make it there at all. We should’ve hired a car but instead we relied on public transport, and never once saw the inside of one of Malta’s buses. Despite Mdina being one of […]

New York’s fascinating Tenement Museum

Inside the Tenement Museum

Our visit to the Chinatown Heritage Centre in Singapore, a museum that revealed much about the lives of the poorest of immigrants to the city state, prompted memories of my favourite museum in New York City. The Tenement Museum on the bustling and traditionally working class Lower East Side, explores the experiences of German, Irish […]

Exploring Singapore’s Chinatown

The busy and colourful streets of Chinatown

I’ve been to good museums and bad, but among the best have been the ones that reveal what life was like for the poorest of the poor back when the Georgian and Victorian rich were living the high life. There’s the excellent Tenement Museum in New York, for example, which offers a compelling account of how poor […]