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 […]

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 […]

To the bottom of Italy’s heel

One of the sandier beaches of Santa Maria di Leuca

We drove down to Santa Maria di Leuca, the town at the southern tip of Puglia and Italy, at the bottom of the heel that goes by the name of the Salento peninsula. It was a peninsula of solar farms, polytunnels, olive groves and vineyards, orchards and fields of vegetables, derelict farm buildings and scattered […]

The castle at Sintra in Portugal

The Moorish Castle has plenty of atmosphere

Sintra’s an easy day trip on the train from Portugal’s wonderful capital Lisbon. Hilly, with great views and some fairy tale architecture, it’s easy to see why the rich, the famous and royalty built their mansions around the village as an escape from the big city. Sintra itself is touristy and busy but the real […]

Tenerife: A drive to La Laguna   

Casa Salazar

If I learnt anything in Tenerife, it’s never to trust a sat-nav. After the traumas of getting to Teide, this expensive piece of tech managed to land us, somewhat embarassed, in the pedestrianised shopping streets of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Laguna. All we wanted was to park the car but it took […]