The Breathtaking Beauty of Bolivia’s Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve

Bolivia is often overlooked in favour of its more accessible neighbours Peru and Chile, but to bypass it is to miss out on one of the most captivating countries on Earth. With Amazonian jungle, Andean plains, colonial cities and the incredible Salar de Uyuni salt flats, the diversity of this landlocked nation deserves to be appreciated. And it was to one of Bolivia’s most striking landscapes that I was most drawn during my South American...

Impressions of India Part 2 – A Brief Stopover in Bangalore

A few months ago, I introduced you to my former colleague David Bader (and his unique way of seeing things), as he visited India on a work familiarisation trip. We now join David on days 3 and 4 of his visit. As with the first article, (I recommend you read it first if you haven’t already done so!) it’s a collection of his thoughts and observations, told as only he can tell them. Here is the second instalment of ‘Impressions of India’.

The Rare Ecosystem and Alien Landscapes of Paracas National Reserve in Peru

With the gold and russet dunes folding into each other in the distance, I stepped straight out onto the arid Martian landscape. Or so it seemed. If it wasn’t for the bold blue of our earthly sky, I could have sworn I’d just set foot on our neighbouring planet. That, and the fact I wasn’t wearing a spacesuit or breathing apparatus! It certainly wasn’t the panorama I was expecting to be met by when I booked...

Memorable Moments from a Round-the-World Trip Bid

The one time I attempted a round-the-world trip, a few years back, I spectacularly failed to complete it. When I say ‘spectacularly failed’, I mean circumstances outside my control forced me to reluctantly head home after just 4 months. And yet, almost every time I talk about that particular trip, I seem to skim past the months of adventure leading up to the moment when it all went wrong, focussing instead on the tale of...

Top 10 reasons to take a stargazing holiday

Imagine yourself on a clear night, away from the city centre, gazing up at a velvety canopy studded with millions of sparkling far-off suns. Well, imagining that scene is often the closest we get to seeing those worlds beyond our own, thanks to an increasingly urban population and hectic lifestyle. Whether it’s lack of time, cloudy skies or an excess of artificial light, our chances of seeing more than a handful of the brightest stars...

From Fishermen to Fine Art – A Walk Around Old Stavanger in Norway

It’s an uncommonly warm and sunny September morning in Stavanger, Norway. The locals go about their daily tasks as visitors stroll around the harbour taking in the picture-postcard prettiness of it all. It’s not somewhere I had thought to explore, to be honest. It stands to reason that when you imagine a cruise around the Norwegian fjords, what first comes to mind is the lavish scenery resulting from eons of glacial activity. I suppose the...

A Warm Welcome at the Star Hotel & Restaurant in Twynholm, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

My host, Linda, greets me as I pull up alongside the pub-restaurant front and apologise for my tardiness. I’m well over an hour later than I first said I’d be, thanks to some traffic along the (mainly) single-carriageway A75. ‘Oh, it’s not a problem at all, I’m only just down the road’ she reassures me. And with that warm welcome, I began my stay with the Star Hotel and Restaurant in the sweet little Scottish...

Impressions of India Part 3 – Mumbai and Home

India’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, but on arranged tours travellers often see only the surface of what this incredible country has to offer. To get right down into the underbelly of a place, you either have to stay a while longer and go for ‘slow’ or ‘experiential’ travel, or approach it from a different perspective altogether. Here, we do just that, as...

When Travel Dreams Fade – The Eclipse That Wouldn’t Wait

I knew I was tempting fate when I published that ‘travel plans’ post in January… I’m sitting here writing this tale of discarded travel plans, wondering whether I should have let it get to me so much. Why is this even an issue? I ask myself. The law of averages tells me it’s N.O.R.M.A.L for a travel blogger, isn’t it? No, scrub that, it’s normal in everyday life. We’ve all been there, having to soak up the...

Summertime Bees and Blooms – A Wildflower Meadow in Hampshire

This month has been a busy one beyond belief for me, for a hotchpotch of reasons, some good and others not so much. I’ve been industriously buzzing around sorting, organising, planning for everything from a likely house move, through a (not-looked-forward-to) operation, to a couple of weddings – one in the glorious setting of Amberly Castle, the other in Sweden. All of which hasn’t left me much time to put hands to keyboard and turn...

BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Neasden Hindu Temple London

Hindu Blessings at London’s Neasden Temple

I’ve been to UK Hindu temples before, those converted community-hall type of temples you find in most urban population centres, where the shrines are modest and the furnishings sometimes a little frayed around the edges. I’d occasionally wondered if all such temples outside of India were the same. Last weekend I discovered that this is categorically not the case, as I accompanied my longest-standing friend and her family to Neasden Temple in north-west London. I knew nothing...