Mohamad’s Berlin

Our guide shakes our hands, and introduces himself with a smile. His name is Mohamad, and he is from Syria. He doesn’t disclose his surname, and when I ask if I can take photos of the tour he is about to give, he says, “Of course, but please none of me.” (he doesn’t say why, but … More Mohamad’s Berlin

Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Wine Tourism Spain’s brief: to explore the possible relationship between wine and extraterrestrial life. How would aliens react to wine? Would wine play a role in the way that aliens perceive Earth?  It’s tricky, a little off-piste for me (with a 500 word limit), but here you go … Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine Two aliens observe the Salamanca scene – … More Aliens Take on (Spanish) Wine

Music in Málaga

This was not my small child, but every passerby was charmed by her (and the music). She refused to leave the busker, who played beautifully and almost tenderly for his new biggest fan. Soon they both had an audience. Her parents beckoned her onwards in vain – so eventually her father returned to grab her hand, tugging it … More Music in Málaga

Vanishing into Russia

Charlotte Hobson reminds me of a good friend who hails from the same Cornish corner of England where Hobson lives. They are both tall, have similar mannerisms, and are skilful storytellers – using softly expressive, very well spoken voices (quite posh). Both make you want to listen. I feel tempted to ask if they are acquainted … More Vanishing into Russia

Bis gleich, Berlin

Crikey, today we go. Time to make a plan. Three nights in Berlin with two (too cool for school) 15 year old boys (men?) and my brother. There is much ground to cover – Berlin is a big city (population 3.5m) with a complicated, turbulent history (not just 20th century), and a 21st century reputation for creativity and innovation. David Bowie … More Bis gleich, Berlin

24 hours in London – chat, clues and comedy

By the time we reach the River Thames, No. 2 has taught me everything I need (or want) to know about sharks (we’ve been travelling for just 35 minutes). A chill wind whips up, so I tug my scarf tighter. My son stands at the river’s edge, moving breezily on to the subject of the seals which (apparently) splash in the murky dark depths below us. So start … More 24 hours in London – chat, clues and comedy