Author: Sara Dobak

Tea Gardens & Tolstoy, at Tuckton in Dorset

Along the river Stour estuary in Dorset, it’s not unusual to see a flurry of activity at any given time. It could be a synchronicity of oars from Christchurch Rowing Club on a Saturday morning, or a chorus of quacks and cackles from a medley of local wildfowl at Stanpit Marsh at sundown. Or perhaps ramblers taking in the views from the Stour Valley Way, the long-distance footpath that runs along almost all the river’s...

Back to the future: 10 places I have to revisit…and why!

As is customary for most people at this time of year, including travel writers, thoughts turn to the year to come and travel wish lists are drawn up. 12 months ago saw me being oh-so-ambitious about my travel plans, only to have most of them scuppered for one reason or another. This got me thinking about travel wishes in a different light. Rather than always hankering after new destinations for the coming year, my thoughts...

Top Winter Solstice Celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere

The December solstice, often misleadingly called just the ‘winter’ solstice, is a phenomenon which marks the point of midwinter in the northern hemisphere (and conversely, midsummer in the southern hemisphere). It occurs around the 21st December (it can vary slightly) on the longest night of the year – or of course, the longest day if you’re in Australia or Patagonia, for example! In simple terms, we experience the solstices because the Earth is tipped at...

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...

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...

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...