Italian Travel in the Time of Earthquakes

On August 24th, the world looked on in horror as images came in from central Italy in the aftermath of a dreadful earthquake. It was the second major seismic shock to hit the region in the last decade, and repair and recovery efforts have been hindered by ongoing aftershocks. The damage to the region has been immense.

Tourist authorities in the region also fear longer-term consequences, as nervous tourists stay away. Whilst this is an understandable sentiment, as long as you follow the guidance of the UK Foreign Office, there is no reason to avoid this remarkable area, and countless reasons to do the opposite, and make a point of going there. That way you will both be aiding the quake-hit regions and simultaneously enjoying some of the finest art, architecture, nature and gastronomy that Italy has to offer anywhere.

In case you’re not familiar with the area, allow me to help. Here are six places you should write into your travel plans for 2017.
Continue reading “Italian Travel in the Time of Earthquakes”

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Points of View: 7 Stunning Panoramas in Israel

From the (occasionally) snow-capped mountains and green hills of the north, to the Red Sea coastal resort of Eilat in the south, with any number of landscapes in between, including forests, beaches, desert landscapes and black basalt rock, Israel is blessed with a biodiversity that outdoes many countries ten times its size. Israel is also stuffed full of vantage points to enjoy the aforementioned biodiversity, and so I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you. On each one I’ve provided a few things to look out for on the map. Enjoy:

Continue reading “Points of View: 7 Stunning Panoramas in Israel”

Doing Things the West Highland Way

This summer’s big adventure, the equivalent of last year’s two-month-long hike, was a one week hiking/camping expedition along the West Highland Way in Scotland. The distance was significantly down on last year’s 1100km, but the addition of camping/cooking gear and time constraints meant that pace and pack weight was up, producing its own set of twists and challenges. This is less a story of the experience, although there is some of that, but more a review of the trail. Continue reading “Doing Things the West Highland Way”

Feverish Dreams

I’ve been lying in bed for the last three days with tonsillitis, slowly going out of my mind and wishing I was anywhere else. Unusually, I don’t get homesick in these moments (although I do in plenty of others). I’m uncomfortable being made a fuss of and I don’t usually care what’s wrong with me, as whatever it is, sleep and paracetamol are usually the solution anyway. I don’t even own a thermometer, because seriously, what’s the point? In pain = paracetamol, not in pain = no paracetamol. It’s only morbid curiousity and bragging rights that make us care what temperature our body is at (“Yeah? Well I had 39.3 one time, I nearly went to hospital!”).

Anyway, I digress. I don’t miss home in these moments, but I do miss being outdoors. Nothing makes me want to be out in nature, walking on some quiet, lonely trail, as much as not being able to. Continue reading “Feverish Dreams”