travel

Big Trouble In Little China

As we coast through a jigsaw of traffic, my guide points out the sights. “On the left, there’s a new office building. On the right, there’s a government office building. Up ahead, that’s one of the city’s first five-star hotels”. For a country so staunchly proud of its politics, China is overtly obsessed with the superficialities of capitalism. Only here could a bland office block be of any interest, yet there is something forgivably earnest about it. I ask the driver to put some music on, and in the spirit of no-nonsense socialism, he produces a CD simply called ‘Disco’. Welcome to China, where irony just shrivels up and dies….

The Yacht Week – Montenegro

Given the form it takes today, it’s hard to envision that The Yacht Week once started out as a small collection of university friends, bound by their appetite for adventure. It wasn’t conceived as a commercial venture, but as a means of indulging their love of exploring and desire to unite like-minded individuals through the medium of sailing.

Taveuni Palms, Fiji

It’s raining. What’s Plan B, Barry? “There is no Plan B.” Other than ‘the bride’s done a runner’, these are the last words you want to hear on your wedding day. But here we are: Taveuni Palms, north east Fiji, hoary clouds sagging low in the sky, and a tangible unease as we quaff champagne and smoke cigarettes, praying for the sound of patter to dissipate. We’d arrived the day before, landing at Matei Airport, which more closely resembles a wooden shack, where one man sits, glances at your passport and waves you through with a resounding ‘bula’. Colleen, one half of the husband-and-wife team who manage Taveuni Palms, is…

Donnington

I grew up with a generation that drank beer from dimpled glass mugs. Now a well-documented supping receptacle of the hipster elite, the Great British dimpled beer mug is, for me, a relic of a simpler time. Before pop-up bars and men without enough testosterone tried to grow moustaches, we finished work at Manual Labour Ltd and headed for the local. I suppose it helped that my grandfather came from West Hartlepool, served in three branches of the armed services and did, indeed, drink from a P404. That was the factory name given to the humble mug in 1938 at the Ravenhead Glassworks in St Helens, Lancashire. My grandparents’ family…

Postcards From The French Riviera

The glittering coastline of the Côte d’Azur is a region of legend. Famous painters and writers mingled with aristocrats and royalty during winter séjours, the fierce Mistral wind whirls in secluded coves and perched villages with pretty fountains nestled into hillsides, often sprawling with fragrant citrus groves or twisted olive trees. The French Riviera is a destination where tranquil islands turn their back on mass commercialism, where you can find souvenir shops beside haute couture boutiques in Old Town streets and slow travel finds its place on Earth. If you’re looking to recreate your own joie de vivre, here are ‘10 Reasons To Start Your Luxury Journey On The French…

Airbnb – Amsterdam

Many a revolutionary idea has been born out of Maslow’s hierarchy of need. In 2007, Joe Gebbia emailed his roommate, Brian Chesky with a quick scheme to make an easy buck. “I thought of a way to make a few bucks – turning our place into a “designers bed and breakfast”. If you don’t know the story of Silicon Valley’s newest member of the unicorn club then you really need to pick up a copy of the FT more often. Airbnb made waves, 100ft, see it from the beach and start running grade waves. I can’t really say I had any reservations about modern day sofa surfing, after all, the…