The magic of Matera

Matera and the gorge

For an ancient Italian town perched on the edge of the Murgia National Park, Matera didn’t look promising when we drove into the suburbs. It was poor, dirty and scruffy. But then came the historic centre and one of the most remarkable places I’ve been to in Europe… We’d driven up from the airport on the […]

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 […]

Brittany: The stones of Carnac

Clouds loom over the beach at Carnac

I’m sure the beach at Carnac is one of the best in Brittany. Long and sandy, protected by dunes, overlooked by some handsome homes and towering trees, it promises much. But during our June stay it rained, and rained again. And when it didn’t rain, the wind blew and the clouds blocked out the sun. […]

Zurich: Churches and gardens

Inside the palm houses

It was our final day in Zurich and raining again. But we filled it by exploring chilly churches and tropical palm houses. I slept late so we dispensed with breakfast and got ready to check out of the Hotel Europe – a lovely place with charming hosts but somewhat lacking in very necessary double glazing. A […]

Alcatraz

Approaching Alcatraz Island

Some tourist attractions are a class act, and others that really manage to screw up the experience. Alcatraz in San Francisco may be a tourist trap but it’s a winner from start to finish. It’s deluged with humanity, which is ironic for a place that many tried to flee during its time as a military […]