Tag Archives | culture

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 […]

Continue Reading Comments { 14 }

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. […]

Continue Reading Comments { 24 }

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 […]

Continue Reading Comments { 45 }

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 […]

Continue Reading Comments { 16 }

How to Travel the World (Without Leaving London)

“So where are you from?” asks the girl chopping up onions beside me. We’ve been preparing food in the companionable semi-silence of a small hostel kitchen for a good few minutes: it’s time to have the obligatory initial travellers conversation. “Oh, I’m from London, in England. How about you?” I reply – and the girl’s curiosity […]

Continue Reading Comments { 26 }

The Romanian Radiologist who Lives at the Top of the World

At the top of the world sits a little red house. There is a garden just outside the front door, fenced in by a wooden gate, which looks out across a valley of mountains covered in trees. In the house lives a radiologist. For seven days at a time, he spends his days shuffling from room […]

Continue Reading Comments { 17 }

Sexism and Machismo: the Attitude to Women in Latin America

Travelling as a woman will always open up avenues that are unavailable to men. Despite being foreigners and strangers, women often connect with local children, young mothers, and old ladies with an immediacy borne from an innate trust in our gender. We are invited into Indian wedding ceremonies and Thai family kitchens, and given privileges that a […]

Continue Reading Comments { 278 }

Crosses, Skulls and a Thousand Churches: Religion in Romania

Castles, forests, Catholicism. And gypsies. And Dracula. I’m not proud of it, but these have long been the sole buzzwords I’ve always associated with Romania. Along with a lot of countries in Eastern Europe (and the continent in general), it’s been a place I’ve always vaguely wanted to visit but never really made the push to do […]

Continue Reading Comments { 17 }

From Farm to Factory: the Truth Behind Cuban Cigars

The first cigar I ever smoked was when I was studying abroad in Florence. My friend Kath had been given one as a present: we lit it up along with a lot of giggling, took turns with a puff each – and suddenly I felt horribly sick. No one had ever told me not to […]

Continue Reading Comments { 13 }

Still in Love with South America

“So you don’t know when you’re coming back?” I remember the face of my best friend, slightly astonished, as she took in what I was saying to her. Finally making that decision – to not buy a return ticket, to lay myself open to the possibilities of whatever the road had in store for me […]

Continue Reading Comments { 43 }