Tag Archives: Europe

Art and Soul

Art and Soul

I like to think I know the world. In a pub quiz, my specialist subject would be geography. I pride myself on identifying flags. Capital cities? No problem. Do you know that the currency of Guatemala is the quetzal, named after an elusive, exotic bird? I do. But for all..
Pure Electricity

Pure Electricity

They are underpowered. They have poor range. They are slow to charge. So who cares if refuelling is cheap and the world is being saved from the endless grind of fossil fuels? Purely electric vehicles aren’t anything more than glorified milk floats. They aren’t convenient, they aren’t cool, and they’ll..
The Scran Situation

The Scran Situation

“We fry in bronze deodorised beef dripping,” reads a laminated sign behind the counter at Stonehaven’s Carron Fish Bar. It’s unclear whether this is supposed to deter or encourage more custom, but on a bright Tuesday lunchtime, the place could hardly be busier. About half of the people in this..
Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure

Jim Melville didn’t leave Britain until he was 17 years old, and even then, stuck on a ship that he wasn’t allowed to disembark, he wasn’t doing so to visit a new country. Serving on the HMS London as part of the notorious Arctic Convoys in the Second World War,..
The Train to Spain

The Train to Spain

I’m sitting in the Velasquez Bar in Madrid’s Ritz, listlessly twiddling an olive inside my cocktail. It’s not just the eye-watering price of my drink that’s disappointing but the length of time it took to get here, too. I’m the best-part of 24 hours late, having spent a night in..
Broadly Eking

Broadly Eking

There’s a scene in Austin Powers where the psychedelic spy attempts a quick getaway in a steamroller. “I’m gonna floor it!” He shouts, before setting off at about 5mph, trundling inexorably towards an unfortunate guard trying to block his path. I’m suppressing a smile at the memory of that scene..
The Height of Luxury

The Height of Luxury

Purpose-built resort – is there another phrase in travel that so efficiently lowers expectations? Hasty construction, soulless architecture, forgettable food… when I hear “purpose-built resort” I think of the colour beige and down-trodden labourers and a million balconies offering the same views, hanging out the front of the same bland,..
The Wall

The Wall

I grew up north of the Wall, where we speak with broad accents and it’s often cold. To the south it’s warmer, drier and people tend to speak clearer. So in the Game of Thrones world, that would make me a wildling and York would approximate to Winterfell. King’s Landing,..
G.O.T. Milked

G.O.T. Milked

Molly isn’t a Game of Thrones character, but with one brilliant blue eye and one gloomy brown, she looks like she should be. As she sashays from room to room of the show’s sprawling costume department at Painthall Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she seems largely disinterested by the forest..
Le Greed Michelin

Le Greed Michelin

I’m sitting in Benoit, France’s only Michelin-starred bistro, dipping a profiterole into a primordial tar of dark chocolate when I experience two emotions. They occur simultaneously, as the little globe ruptures against the roof of my mouth forcing thick cream and chocolate through my teeth and into my greedy cheeks...