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 […]

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 […]

Tenerife: The epic Mount Teide   

Cinchado with Teide in the background

When the clouds weren’t hovering threateningly over Tenerife, we couldn’t miss the island’s magnificent volcano – Mount Teide. Descending from 35,000ft in our Airbus on that first day, it stood out powerfully in the sun, dominating the island that it helped to create, its upper slopes covered in snow. And from our hotel grounds in […]

Tenerife: A week in Puerto de la Cruz

Teide cloaked in snow, from our hotel

We’re no strangers to the Canaries. They’re the default, value-for-money option when it comes to escaping the drab, damp days of winter in London. We’d plumped this time for Tenerife rather than Gran Canaria, and the northern resort town of Puerto de la Cruz. It was my first time on the island, Graham’s second. The […]

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 […]