Hidden Holland: the nativity scenes of Liempde

This post may not seem very seasonal, but I was looking back through some old posts and realised I once planned a series on hidden corners of Holland. With a Dutch husband I visit a couple of times a year, but perhaps because it seems so familiar, I rarely write about it. The small village…

Magnum: Contact Sheets at Foam photography museum in Amsterdam

Photo credit – Marco Derksen – Creative Commons It’s been a while since I visited Amsterdam. Despite many visits to the Netherlands over the years, most of those are family-based so I don’t get chance. Plus there seems to be some North-South rivalry going on; ‘above the rivers’ is different to the south, or so…

Culture on a shoestring: a night at the opera in Budapest

Tosca is a drama queen – that was my first impression. Creating problems where there were none, imagining illicit affairs. What would happen if she had a real issue to deal with? Everyone has their comfort zone and maybe places they think aren’t for them. An opera house was the last place I thought I’d…

An unexpected love for Budapest (and 5 tips to make your visit shine)

I’m a contrary type. Tell me I’ll love something and I’ll think, really? Love for a place is so personal, one person’s favourite leaves another cold. I was curious about Budapest, but I didn’t expect to love it. It’s in a land-locked country, the buildings I searched Google images for looked solid but uninspiring, a…

On the trail of Operation Market Garden: 70 years on

It’s 70 years since Operation Market Garden came to an unexpected end in Arnhem; the infamous Bridge Too Far. The events of that time have left a deep impression on the area, commemorated recently with memorial services and reenactments to mark the 70th anniversary. The plan was to take a number of bridges from Eindhoven up…

Hidden Holland: tips and highlights off the tourist track

Despite (maybe because of) being married to a Dutchie, I’ve never written much about the country here. A couple of recent trips have inspired me to put that right, so I’m starting an occasional series on hidden highlights that aren’t on the usual tourist route in Holland. There’s more to life/travel than just Amsterdam and…

Sea lochs and sunsets: a Scottish photoblog

I’ve visited the west coast of Scotland many times in the past ten years, and I never tire of the dramatic scenery. Loch Lomond is a great area to stay, but there are also many lovely villages along the sea lochs. Thanks to the Gulf stream there are hundreds of rhodedendrons blooming in May. The…

World Cycling Championships in Tuscany

Sometimes luck and good timing combine to offer you unexpected opportunities. When we planned a few days in Tuscany, we knew the World Cycling Championship road race would be in Florence the following weekend. As a cycling fan I was a little bit disappointed to be missing it by only a couple of days. As…

Last days of summer in Lucca

When summer had already disappeared from the southern shores of the UK, in Tuscany it held on well into September. It’s no secret that I love the parts of Europe that touch the Mediterranean sea: terracotta roofs, the constant chirp of cicadas and most of all the warmth that allows you to sit out well…

Autumn escapes and future travel plans

September is a great time to travel in Europe. I love the autumn colours and the crowds have thinned out enough to make wandering through a new city enjoyable again. This month I’m off to Tuscany for four days to celebrate my birthday with delicious ice-cream, a stay in a spa town and visits to…