So, I’m back from the all-stops tour of Oz for a week, and just as I’m sorting through my photos and thoughts to write a few words about it here, the place hits the news in an extremely ugly way. (How’s my timing? When I was getting my thoughts on Spain together in 2004, the Madrid bombs went off; now this.)

Read More · 15 December 2005 ·

Spring, Summer

It’s not all Continental architecture. Some day-trips from the past few months.

17 July 2005

Une Semaine en Provence

It was hard to shake the feeling that tourism in the Riviera wasn’t made for the likes of me. The direct line from the grand tours of the 18th century to the cruise tours of the 21st doesn’t stop at my petit bourgeois station. But thanks to the wonders of DodgyJet, anyone can gatecrash this high-rollers’ party. Fly into Nice at bargain prices and you’re ten minutes’ walk from Nice-St-Augustin on the Riviera line, where for the price of an Edinburgh to Glasgow return you can travel past the Italian border and back, getting on and off wherever you like. Thanks to this unexpected bargain we spent two hours in Monaco for a total cost of €0.00, which is exactly the right amount on both counts. Even a hotel in Cannes can be less than a British B&B if you don’t rock up in the middle of the Film Festival.

Which frees you to enjoy all the stuff that attracted the rich to the area in the first place: the azure sea, the houses perched on cliff faces, the pebbly beaches ridiculously unsuited to sunbathing. Most of all, we enjoyed being hot—HOT—for the first time since Vienna. It was 30 degrees and sunny all week, except for the thunderstorms in the evenings that cleared the air. I wore sandals, on principle.

Read More · 11 July 2005 ·


Roasting on the Riviera

Villefranche-sur-Mer, French Riviera, 14 June 2005. More soon.

27 June 2005


The trouble with this travel-blogging lark is that it leads to a ridiculous amount of self-imposed pressure to write something lasting and profound about every place you pop off to for a few days. It’s even worse when you have a couple of trips in short succession: the second becomes the deadline for the first, even if you don’t feel like writing about it yet, the five rolls of film aren’t back from the processors, and you haven’t had time to carefully arrange them into a virtual coffee-table book to accompany your witty prose. It doesn’t help, either, when in a fit of luddite self-loathing you pack away the iMac for a couple of weeks to force yourself to create something that isn’t wrapped in tags, catching up on the endless parade of new links and blog posts in short snatches on your wife’s laptop, until finally you commandeer it and spend three days creating said photo galleries like you should have done two weeks earlier.

Read More · 12 June 2005 ·

Travel in 2004