Open my heart and you will see/Grav’d inside of it, “Italy.”

What did holidaymakers do in the halcyon days before the internet, Wi-Fi, smartphones and tablets? They sent one another postcards, of course! And before the postcard?? In the 18th/19th century affluent young gentlemen and (rarely) ladies were packed off to do the Grand Tour; sent traipsing around Europe in the fond hope that – rather […]

Santa’s Ludwig’s Grotto. What’s wurst?

Neuschwanstein [see previous post] wasn’t Ludwig’s [Ludwig II of Bavaria] only creation. Apart from the fact that the fairy tale castle wasn’t actually finished when he died (ah, his death, there’s another mystery – suicide? murder?? escape attempt???)  the king generally seemed to prefer living in one of his smaller flights of fancy. Hidden deep […]

Home again

Swansea’s really cool! Don’t worry, I haven’t had a sudden attack of youth culture (do you remember ‘cool’ back in the ’60s and ’70s? — plus ça change!); having hung about for a short while in close(ish) proximity to the equator –‘sometime wet, sometime dry, but ever hot’, our guide explained – I mean it literally. w Still having a […]

The Far East and the unexpected

Greetings from Saigon, where crossing the road’s a seriously life threatening experience (no, really, it’s terrifying – those mopeds take up to four(!) people and don’t stop for anything or anyone!) The food’s interesting, though; curiously spiced and exotically coloured, it’s redolent of Asian mystery and adventure, of fantastic travels in strange lands (Monkey and Tripitaka, […]


Not much outdoor activity; it’s raining  ̶  started this morning and is really quite heavy (Swansea equivalent = ‘perhaps you should take an umbrella, it looks a bit like rain’). Anyway, the good news is that this provided an opportunity to visit the Queen Victoria Market, a large indoor (obviously!) area full of goodies from […]