Tag Archives | culture

My Quiet London Love Affair

“Shall we walk home through the city?” Beverley and I had been out for lunch on a sunny Sunday in London’s Southbank, treating ourselves to burgers and beers beside a window that curious tourists kept peering into. After wiping up the last of the ketchup with our remaining sweet potato fries we headed outside to […]

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The Spanish Challenge: a Surprise Return to Paracas, Peru

Men scurry along either side of the barrier which divides the congested highway in two. They carry paper-covered boxes of snacks to sell to car drivers through their windows: small biscuits, wafers, hot peanuts. Boys with stacks of newspapers pass women wearing tracksuits and pushing supermarket trolleys, who yawn as they delve inside their bumbags filled with loose change. The […]

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A Case of the Chefchaouen Blues

High up in the Rif mountains of Morocco, past a succession of hairpin bends and steep cliffs dropping down to nothingness, is a town that’s entirely blue. The reasons that led the community of Chefchaouen to paint every one of their buildings in the same colour aren’t entirely known for sure: some say it’s to hold back invading mosquitos, while […]

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Kindness and Community on the Camino

Kindness and Community on the Camino

They say the Camino brings out the best in people. I didn’t believe them at first, but it’s true. Becoming a pilgrim means talking to, befriending and helping out others just for the sake of it. Walking the Camino turns individual people from strangers into a community – and a special one, at that. Where else would you […]

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What Does Travel Mean to You?

What Does Travel Mean to You?

When I was eight years old, I got locked inside a toilet cubicle in a Japanese KFC. I’d been eating fried chicken with my parents mere minutes before; my fingers were greasy, and the lock on the door was little more than a strip of jutting plastic with an indent so shallow that only a […]

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Of Rivers and Oceans: an Ode to the Filipino Boat

I dip my paddle’s curved edge into the still, green water. The banks of the river are bright with thick waxy leaves and colourful pinpricks of budding flowers. I can feel the vegetation radiating tropical heat.  Pulling back on the paddle’s long handle with both hands allows the muscles in my shoulders to take the strain. There’s […]

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A Taste of Scotland’s Culinary History

It was midnight at Euston Station. The rain was pouring outside, slicking its way down the carriage windows of the Caledonian Sleeper train. I opened my compartment door, wheeling a hastily packed suitcase behind me – and then I dropped the handle, surprised by the cardboard hamper sitting smugly in the middle of my little […]

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From Hides to Handbags: Inside a Moroccan Leather Tannery

Whenever I think of Morocco, I think of leather. For some reason, leather has always been my achilles heel of travelling. No matter how many countries I visit, I still can’t walk past a market stall covered in handbags, woven bracelets or pairs of soft shoes without reaching out my hand and running my fingers across the smooth, supple leather. […]

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Women Only: Inside a Moroccan Hammam

On the afternoon of International Women’s Day, I sat on a tiled Moroccan floor in a thick cloud of steam, my bare limbs slippery and wet. An aged woman with an expression of intent concentration sat with her legs outstretched; my body placed firmly in between them, her practiced fingertips vigorously massaging black soap into […]

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A Literary Escape to the Fairytale City of Leuven

The train burst out of its tunnel into the golden light of an early morning. I looked at the frost on the peaks of ploughed field earth; the low roofed farm houses; the copses of trees clustered against the curves of narrow roadways. Squares of bright green vegetation rushed past. Banks of orange leaves and […]

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