A Freakin’ Adventure

‘The raiding party came at us with the sun behind them, sneaking through the giant palm fronds, while others circled behind the restaurant and began forcing the windows open and climbing inside…’ THERE’D been no shortage of warnings before we went to South Africa and so I blame myself for being so unprepared when the…

Food-fanatical Costa Dorada

It took three days before I had the nerve to take on Shambhala, Europe’s highest roller coaster, towering 249 feet above the vast Catalonian theme park of PortAventura. It wasn’t the screams that scared me so much as the way this 5,131ft-long behemoth suddenly silenced its passengers when it dropped 256 feet down a 77…

Holy s***! They know how to eat in Israel

‘Israel may be known as the Holy Land and famous for its ancient relics, but it’s the food markets and restaurants and the people in them that will make a true believer of the most skeptical. It’s ‘ben zo-naaaah!’ as they say here with a big grin and an extravagant snap of the fingers…’ In the…

Viva Andalusia, Viva Malaga!

This city oozes authenticity. It gets in through your pores and dances a howling flamenco through the senses. It’s the real deal.

Warm welcome in land of cold war chic

Forget everything you thought you knew about the former Soviet Baltic state. It’s not cold, it’s not grim, the food is good and the people of the relatively small university city of Kaunas (population 297,000, Belfast by comparison has 333,000) are bright, young and cheerful, and ready to party.

Recapturing the romance of Dublin

How nice it would be to have the luxury at the end of a day’s shopping or after a show, instead of heading for the bus queue, train or taxi, to be able to nip up a side street past the doorman with his top hat, through a gleaming revolving door and in minutes be stretching out on crisp, clean sheets. It more than changes your perspective of the town in which you live and work, take it from me, it can turn the world on its axis. And the Westbury is the perfect hub.

American Beauty

To paraphrase one of Simon and Garfunkel’s all time greatest and most evocative songs, one about chasing dreams along highways, about junk food and strangers, Greyhound buses, strange new cities and homesick nostalgia for small towns in big states, we had all come to look for America.

Falling in love with Ireland’s west

It is truly gobsmacking. I can’t believe how exhilarated we feel, how rosy cheeked and hungry we are when we get back to our holiday home later and spark up a turf fire before tucking into a bacon joint from the shop around the corner, how our whole family chatters cheerfully together about our day when normally the kids would be at each others’ throats over whose turn it was on the PlayStation.

Saúde, Lisboa – Cheers, Lisbon

LOOKING out over this bustling city of broad squares and narrow streets from the rooftop of the quaint Hotel Lisboa Plaza, tasty petiscos – Portugal’s version of tapas, in hand and head swimming pleasantly from a glass of strong, welcoming Madeira wine, it’s difficult to visualise the apocalyptic horror of it all.