Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true

But like a flirtatious mistress, she will drive you to distraction while capturing your soul

Everything you’ve ever heard about Paris is trueEverything you’ve ever heard about Paris is true: Expensive. Unfriendly. Grimy. Noisy. Gaudy. Congested. So why do I ache with longing whenever I hear the name? And why do I spend every cent I can spare to fly there again and again when there are a thousand-and-one other places in the world I’ve yet to…

Our tips for planning your vacation to France

Planning a vacation in France can be a daunting task, but here are some short cuts which can help

Our tips for planning your vacation to FrancePlanning a vacation in France can be a daunting task, but there are some short cuts which can help. First, understand France as a group of very different provinces. For example, the Riviera is a very different kind of place from the Luberon which is again different from Normandy. Read about the regions and link…

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland history

As our minibus pulled to a stop, I felt suddenly that my grandmother’s love of the Highland landscape was surrounding us all

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland historyI count myself lucky to have had a Scottish grandmother. She was a Graham of Montrose, and came from humble beginnings. I remember her describing something called a byre, and explaining that her mother lived in a crofter’s house with the cattle. From the moment I learned this, I have wanted to travel to northern…

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early days

Displaced from their homes, many citizens of the Orkney islands ended up in Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early daysThe Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland, the main Scottish island of Orkney, date back to approximately 3,100 BC. Stonehenge, to put the Orkneys in time perspective as a Neolithic parent to western Europe, was constructed from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. What was it about these outpost islands that attracted the earliest agriculturalists to their…

Decoding Orkney by channelling the subtle Norse air

Part 1: A Scottish contribution to Canada’s Arctic genome can be found in the deep history of these remote islands

Decoding Orkney by channelling the subtle Norse airWhen you hear mention of the Orkney islands, off Scotland’s northeast coast, what do you think of? For me, they conjure up a northern vision of Orkneymen, the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Co. on May 2, 1670 (I still recall this date after wearing hundreds of HBC clothing labels over the decades), the Arctic…

Fado’s heartfelt strains infuse Portuguese life

The wistful working people’s music traces its roots to class struggles, but is now widely embraced – and is a soundtrack for everything, including haircuts

Fado’s heartfelt strains infuse Portuguese lifeLISBON, Portugal - Fado is the essential working people’s music of Portugal. It’s rooted in the class struggles and awareness of the early 1800s, and first celebrated the lives of sailors, agricultural workers, tavern dwellers and ladies of the night. It evolved at the same time as the classic Portuguese guitar, a 12-string instrument crafted…

The Algarve: Portugal’s magnificent beach of a south coast

Imagine golden sand, 25C with a blue sky in May, and the cleanest blue-green ocean you’ve ever seen. Add boardwalks stretching for kilometres and fabulous food

The Algarve: Portugal’s magnificent beach of a south coastImagine golden sand, 25C with a clear blue sky in May, and the cleanest blue-green ocean you’ve ever seen. Add boardwalks that stretch for kilometres across salt marshes and sand dunes. Every so often, include colonies of beach lounge chairs, arrayed under stretched blue canvas canopies. Add swirls of swallows and gulls above, and cue…

5 German cities you must visit on your next Euro trip

Germany’s collection of regional identities gives travellers a peerless wealth of diverse cultural, historic and culinary options to explore

5 German cities you must visit on your next Euro tripWhile Germany is not the first location that comes to most people’s minds when they are planning a Euro trip, for travellers who have already been there before it is usually an absolute must to come back. Germany has been at the heart of Europe for centuries and features some of the richest history and…

Touring the unknown wonders of Europe

Before you go, it’s important that you apply for a European Health Insurance card so you are covered for your trip

While the wonders of the world are very well known, there are a huge number of natural wonders located in Europe that are relatively unknown. With an intoxicating blend of natural beauty and wonders, art, architecture and wilds, you are certain to find a huge number of natural wonders when you explore Europe, that are…