Author Archives: C.C.
Author Archives: C.C.
The rather somber-looking façade of St. John’s Co-Cathedral gives little indication of the exuberance awaiting you within. The Knights of St John filled their conventual church, built between 1573 and 1577, with valuable works of art. Continue reading
Get orientated – Throughout history, many have wanted a piece of Valletta: Romans, Turks, Napoleon. Few got far. Malta’s stubborn capital was even built on the back of its greatest victory: a do-or-die siege in 1565 against 40,000 invading Ottoman Turks. Outmanned four to one, the Knights of St John (a Catholic military order) held fast before creating a fort-city to match their zeal and baroque tastes. Continue reading
Dani, our guide, ducked beneath the threadbare prayer flags nailed over the cave mouth and smiled, pointing at an old mattress slid between two stalagmites: “Hippies!” he chuckled, “I pulled a whole kitchen out of one of these caves”. Continue reading
To say Gdansk’s past was eventful would be understating it; even by Polish standards. If its locals were sportspeople, they’d be tug of war champions. For the 20th century in this port city was very much that. It was annexed as Danzig by the Allies in 1920 following the First World War. Continue reading
The white-sand cove of Little Salmon Bay was all mine until the visitor with the claws arrived. The crab on the rock was as orange as hellfire, as hefty as a house brick and – when l noticed it – a couple of metres away from my toes. I sprang up, scrabbling for my shoes. The crab stayed put, possibly smirking. In Australia, as if I needed telling, nature can put you in your place. Continue reading
“You’re travelling by train?” the stationmaster at Cardenas quizzed, eyeing me suspiciously. “Yes, I’d like to… if there are any,” l bumbled. I was steered into a tiny office through a darkened waiting room with a bench lit only by the light of a radiant half-moon stained glass window. Continue reading
Best for… Really old rocks. The Bergen Railway to Oslo might just be the toughest battle between man and Mother Nature ever to have been fought in the name of train travel. This link between Norway’s capital and its second city, on the west coast, has to cross the cold, high, remote Hardangervidda, the largest eroded plain in Europe, where the tough, engineering-unfriendly metamorphic rock is around 1.5 billion years old. Continue reading
Rail travel in Japan is a joy. It’s about grabbing ekiben boxes chock full of delicious treats from station concourses, smiling as blue-uniformed conductors deliver 45o bows, and then levitating internally to the g-forces of Shinkansen bullet trains that blur rice-fields and maple forests into abstract shades of greenness. It’s about fast, modem trains with timetables you can set your watch to. Continue reading
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia for seeing wildlife. It is also one of the best all-round wildlife destinations in the world thanks to the mix of big game, marine life and varied landscapes. It is a country rich with endemic wildlife packed into a compact area. A very good tourism infrastructure helps too. Continue reading
Water lapped the edge of the pavement with such a steady rhythm I was, temporarily, hypnotised by it. Tiny waves leapt up and down, slow and steady, as though peeking up at me to get a better look. It was only when a water taxi passed by, thrusting its frothy wake towards me, that the spell was broken, and I lifted my eyes to see the camera-wielding passengers inside looking back at me. Continue reading