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JC

JC

Germany

Is trepid a word? Because JC couldn’t be described as the most intrepid traveler, rarely choosing a jungle if there’s a museum as an alternative. Nonetheless he’s covered a lot of ground, his favorite travel experiences the first glimpse of the Alhambra, poking around backstage at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater and a horse show in the Moroccan desert. He enjoys nothing more than picking through strangers’ cast-offs in flea markets around the world, dragging the spoils back to his Berlin base.

Sep282012

Travel Recommendation

Suez National Museum

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

The city of Suez is located where the canal of the same name enters the gulf. While this city of nearly half a million inhabitants has never been a huge tourist draw, there is now an extra enticement for visitors to make the two-hour (or so) journey from Cairo.

Sep122012

Travel Recommendation

Train Travel in Germany

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Train travel is where German attention to infrastructure and passion for punctuality really come into their own.

Sep102012

Travel Recommendation

Wine Tasting in the Western Cape

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Although classed as a “New World” producer, South Africa can look back at a wine-making tradition of some three and a half centuries, with the first vintage rolling out a few years after the first European settlement.

Sep062012

Travel Recommendation

Berlin's Mauerpark

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Mauerpark (“Wall Park”) runs along a stretch of the old Berlin Wall, a section of which still stands, and much of its terrain was recovered from no-man’s-land. As well as providing a welcome expanse of green in a built-up area of central Berlin, on Sundays a section of the park is transformed into a sprawling flea market.

Aug012012

Travel Recommendation

Free Things to Do in Frankfurt

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

Frankfurt am Main may be the spiritual home of the euro, but even here you’ll find diversions which will leave your travel budget unburdened.

St Bartholomäus: Frankfurt’s main house of worship is a Gothic structure which was once the setting for coronation of the Holy Roman Emperors

Jul262012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting the Reichstag

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Berlin’s Reichstag dates from the late 19th century, although its function as a seat of parliament ended in 1933 with the rise of the Nazis, and a fire which gutted the building and served as a pretext for the suspension of civil liberties. The building retained its symbolic power as demonstrated by the famous photo of a soldier planting the Soviet flag on its roof at the end of World War II (and you can still see Russian graffiti left by his comrades).

Jul062012

Travel Recommendation

Camel Trekking in Egypt

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

Camels, with their legendary ability to survive on a minimum amount of water, are used as beasts of burden in desert terrain from Morocco to Australia.

Jun272012

Travel Recommendation

Munich Zoo

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

On the banks of the River Isar, south of central Munich, is the city’s zoo: the Tierpark Hellabrunn. Just over a hundred years old, it was the most progressive zoo in the world when it first opened, with an approach that most major zoos the world over would end up emulating. Two things set it apart: firstly, the animals were arranged more or less according to their region of origin. Secondly, they were placed in environments as close as possible to their natural habitats, allowed to wander freely with moats to keep them from the public (and vice versa).

Jun202012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting Germany in the Summer

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

While much of Europe’s mid-year action concentrates on the continent’s Mediterranean edge, that’s no reason to leave Germany out of your summer holiday plans.

Jun182012

Travel Recommendation

The National Arts Festival in South Africa

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

South Africa’s National Arts Festival (June 28th-July 8th) isn’t hosted by Cape Town, Johannesburg or Pretoria as you might expect, but the small Eastern Cape city of Grahamstown, about halfway between East London and Port Elizabeth.

Jun142012

Travel Recommendation

Nefertiti’s 100 Year Anniversary

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

The bust of Nefertiti is one of the best-known ancient artworks, right up there with the Sphinx, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo.

Jun132012

Travel Recommendation

Munich for Food Lovers

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Munich is one of those places which reminds you why belts come with multiple notches.

Jun112012

Travel Recommendation

Where to See Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

The phrase “whirling dervish” – as it is used in English – suggests someone out of control, spinning madly, directionless. In fact, true whirling dervishes practice a very controlled art with roots in Sufi beliefs. Their rituals – ceremonies known as “Sema” – are far from spontaneous, requiring intense training and rigorous discipline. With arms raised and wearing voluminous robes which spread out as they twirl, the dervishes aim for a trance-like state intended to intensify contemplation. In 2005 the Sema ceremony was declared a masterpiece of intangible heritage by UNESCO.

Jun082012

Travel Recommendation

Khan al-Khalili, Cairo’s Biggest Open Air Market

Cairo

My Recommendation Tip

One of the most enduring Western clichés about the “exotic East”—along with the harem and the caravanserai of camels making its stately progress across the desert sands—is that of the souk. A labyrinth laden with goods, teeming with inscrutable faces, seething with mystery and temptation, it has occupied many a traveler’s imagination.

To visit Cairo’s Khan al-Khalili market is to have those elusive impressions come to swarming, noisy, fragrant life.

Jun062012

Travel Recommendation

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

The name may not slip so easily off the tongue of English speakers, but Schloss Neuschwanstein, hugging the Alpine foothills above a broad plain, is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

May312012

Travel Recommendation

Border Stories at the Palace of Tears in Berlin

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

In central Berlin, next to busy Friedrichstrasse station and overlooking the River Spree, is a single-story Modernist building.

May302012

Travel Recommendation

The BMW Museum in Munich

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

The four-cylindered BMW headquarters is one of Munich’s most distinctive landmarks.

May232012

Travel Recommendation

Frankfurt’s Steidel Museum Extension in Germany

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

Frankfurt has one of the busiest skylines in Europe, but its latest architectural marvel doesn’t thrust lewdly into the Hessian sky, rather it burrows modestly into the ground.

May222012

Travel Recommendation

Five Treetop Adventures in South Africa

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Go eye-to-eye with the birds as you glide or stroll the treetops of South Africa’s fascinating forests. Here are five essential low-impact, high-energy adventures.

May222012

Travel Recommendation

Exploring the Desert from Dubai

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

The glass and steel behemoths of Dubai try their hardest to hide the city’s foundations, but any open space not drenched in water will soon betray its desert origins. And Dubai is one of the best places to discover the great empty expanses which cover much of the Arabian Peninsula. Modern transport, expert guides and a broad menu of experiences mean that anyone with at least a couple of days in Dubai should factor in a trip to the sands.

May212012

Travel Recommendation

Five Treetop Adventures in South Africa

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Go eye-to-eye with the birds as you glide or stroll the treetops of South Africa’s fascinating forests.

May172012

Travel Recommendation

Berlin’s Pay What You Want Wine Bars – The Weinerei

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

One of the great things about Berlin is that, for a Western European capital, it’s surprisingly cheap.

May162012

Travel Recommendation

Munich’s Best Market – The Viktualienmarkt

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Throughout Europe, the march of progress and rise in property prices has pushed many city-center produce markets to outlying districts.

May142012

Travel Recommendation

Amasra: A Black Sea Escape

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

Most visitors to Turkey in search of a beach holiday head straight to the brash resorts which line the Aegean or Mediterranean Seas. But Turkey’s verdant Black Sea coast, more or less as long as the Western seaboard of the United States, has some unspoilt gems well worth seeking out.

Amasra is a perfect example.

May112012

Travel Recommendation

The Red Sea Riviera in Egypt

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

It’s not always easy choosing a travel destination, particularly on a limited annual vacation allotment.

May092012

Travel Recommendation

The Höchst Old Town of Frankfurt

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

Things move pretty quickly in Frankfurt am Main, from the passengers rushing through the airport terminals of this major international hub to the money swirling through the desktop terminals of its skyscraper banks.

May032012

Travel Recommendation

Berlin’s Gay Festivals and Parades

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

In the 1920s Berlin was one of the best places in the world to be gay or lesbian, especially in the milieu which flourished in the district of Schöneberg, as celebrated by British writer Christopher Isherwood.

May022012

Travel Recommendation

Things to do in Munich in Spring

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

After a long Bavarian winter, spring in Munich can feel like getting out of prison.

Apr252012

Travel Recommendation

Celebrating The Beatles in Hamburg

Hamburg

My Recommendation Tip

Although at the height of their fame they were associated with their hometown Liverpool, it was another port city where The Beatles first honed their craft, established their look and found Ringo Starr.

Apr242012

Travel Recommendation

How to Get Around in Zurich

Zurich

My Recommendation Tip

One of the added bonuses to visiting Zurich is that on top of being an incredible clean city with a memorable cityscape, it also has a public transportation system to match.

Apr242012

Travel Recommendation

Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Dubai

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

Over the last few years, Dubai has lured many of the world’s top chefs to its restaurants, bringing serious international gourmets in their wake. Prices are high but so are the standards – pick from this list of temples to gastronomy for your big budget blowout and it will be money well spent.

At.mosphere. Start at the top! On the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in fact, where At.mosphere specializes in top quality grill. This is the planet’s highest restaurant; if you can get further from the ground and still enjoy food this good, congratulations on the purchase of your private jet.

Apr232012

Travel Recommendation

Montecasino

Johannesburg

My Recommendation Tip

Europe or Africa?

Apr162012

Travel Recommendation

May Day in Germany

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Those reliable Germans – even their riots are scheduled!

Apr162012

Travel Recommendation

Open Air Festivals in Munich

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Winter is a serious business in Germany’s coldest major city, Munich.

Apr162012

Travel Recommendation

Yildiz Palace

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

By the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was in terminal decline, beset by violence, infighting and constant shrinkage of its domains. Yet every time a chunk of the empire disappeared it seems the sultans cheered themselves up by building a new palace in Istanbul (then Constantinople).

Being sultan was a treacherous business with only so-so odds of survival, and it’s not surprising that some of the titleholders were a little edgy. Even so, Abdul Hamid II, who came to the throne after deposing his even more mentally unstable brother in 1876, stands out as one of history’s most paranoid rulers.

Apr132012

Travel Recommendation

Top Things to See and Do in Alexandria

Cairo

My Recommendation Tip

Egypt’s second city was once the first choice of foreign visitors to the country, its raffish port charm and Mediterranean sophistication giving it a worldly air, now a little faded.

Apr112012

Travel Recommendation

Top Sites Along Germany's Romantic Road

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

For over 60 years the Romantic Road has presented an easy way to access some of the most attractive towns and appealing landscapes of southern Germany.

Apr042012

Travel Recommendation

Breweries in Munich

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

For most visitors to Munich, a couple of days at Oktoberfest or a few hours in the city’s famed beer gardens is enough to satisfy curiosity about the local brewing culture. But for the true beer connoisseur, a tour of Munich’s major breweries is in order. Locals talk about the “big six” breweries, however consolidation and the fact that Augustiner doesn’t offer tours means that you effectively have a choice of visiting three major brewing sites. It will require a bit of planning, so it’s a good idea to book before you get to Munich. Needless to say there are samples at the end of each tour, but remember the minimum age is 16 except for Löwenbräu, where it’s 18.

Apr032012

Attraction

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Cape Town

My Photos

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  • V&A Waterfront
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  • V&A Waterfront

Apr022012

Attraction

Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town

My Photos

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  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Castle of Good Hope

Apr022012

Attraction

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Cape Town

My Photos

  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Apr022012

Attraction

Rhodes Memorial

Cape Town

My Photos

  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial
  • Rhodes Memorial

Apr022012

Attraction

Atlantic Coast

Cape Town

My Photos

  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Boulders Beach Penguins
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • Chapman's Peak Drive
  • View of Sleepy Bay

Apr022012

Travel Recommendation

Cape Town Wineland

Cape Town

My Photos

  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch
  • Stellenbosch

Mar302012

Attraction

Parque del Buen Retiro

Madrid

My Photos

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Mar302012

Attraction

Alcalá Gate (Puerta de Alcalá)

Madrid

My Photos

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Mar262012

Travel Recommendation

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest and best-known game reserve, but there are numerous alternatives, including one right next door.
Of course, “next door” is a relative term in the wide expanses of the savannah, but Sabi Sand Reserve does indeed share an unfenced border with Kruger, in South Africa’s north-east. It’s the oldest private game reserve in the country, prized for its huge range of wildlife, emphasis on sustainability and luxury accommodation.

The reserve covers 153,000 acres, irrigated with numerous waterholes as well as the Sabie and Sand Rivers–from which it derive its name. A protected area since 1934, Sabi Sand has attracted truly impressive stocks of wildlife. You’ll see not just the Big Five–lions, elephants, cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros–but also endangered species like honey badgers and wild dogs, crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys and a huge range of birdlife. Open safari vehicles and experienced guides ensure you can get right up close to these majestic creatures, with numerous opportunities for stunning wildlife and landscape photography.

Mar222012

Travel Recommendation

Potsdam Day Trip

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

If you’re looking for a day-trip from Berlin, Potsdam is a no-brainer: by train the journey takes less than half an hour from Berlin’s main station and costs just three euros. An almost absurd profusion of grandiose buildings and stunning landscaped gardens drenched in history await you. But after you’ve done the obvious highlights of Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci palace and the enormous Neues Palais, why not hire a bicycle and take a two-wheeled tour of some far-flung hidden gems in and around Potsdam?

Start at the Glienicke Bridge, once the front line of the Cold War where spies were exchanged across the Berlin Wall. Travel even further back in history as you circumnavigate the nearby lake, Heiliger See, on whose shores rests Schloss Cecilienhof, site of the post-war Potsdam Conference, the stately Marmorpalais and the small but perfectly-formed Gothic Library. See if you can find the pyramid decked with arcane runes which served as a pre-refrigeration storage unit for ice.

Feb272012

Travel Recommendation

Top 3 Things to do in Lesotho

Durban

My Recommendation Tip

Look at a map of South Africa and you may notice a gap in its eastern half. That gap is the fascinating independent kingdom of Lesotho, whose capital Maseru is over 400 km south of Johannesburg. Although Durban is closer as the crow flies, winding mountain roads mean it takes longer to get to.

Lesotho is both landlocked and mountainous, in fact it’s the only country in which no point is less than 1000 meters above sea level. Its peaks hide some impressive surprises for the intrepid traveler – here are three which represent history, nature and leisure.

Feb232012

Travel Recommendation

Spreewald

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

About halfway along its eventful journey from the Czech border to Berlin, the River Spree suffers a multiple personality disorder, breaking down into innumerable canals and tributaries to form unique wetlands called the Spreewald.

Situated in the state of Brandenburg, this UNESCO biosphere reserve is one of the most stunning natural wonders of Germany. It’s also less than an hour’s train ride from Berlin, making it a hugely popular day trip center in the warmer months. Dozens of long wooden punts glide through the canals past lush green forest and Brothers Grimm cottages, their passengers happily munching on gherkins, the local specialty.

Feb222012

Travel Recommendation

History and Traditions of Fasching

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

We all know the clichés: the Italians are passionate, the French are arrogant, the Germans are orderly. And you can find supporting evidence for all of those broad generalizations, but there is always an equal and opposite reaction lurking somewhere in the national psyche.

Take the Germans. Orderly? Sure. Usually. But if you venture to Munich in the dead of winter you might well catch them doing some very strange things indeed.

Feb172012

Travel Recommendation

Egypt by Train

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

Egypt has the oldest railway network in Africa, dating back more than one and a half centuries and now covering over 5000 kilometers. Generally efficient, safe and reliable, rail is one of the most enjoyable ways of covering the large distances between places of interest in Egypt. Starting out from the capital, you can travel south to reach the great sights of Upper Egypt, or take a quick trip north to the sophistication of Egypt’s second city. Here’s what to expect:

Cairo to Luxor or Aswan. The glories of dynastic Egypt await at the end of a comfortable train journey.

Feb152012

Travel Recommendation

Leipzig's Oldest Traditions

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

The city of Leipzig in eastern Germany celebrates an extraordinary triple anniversary in 2012. The church, choir and school which all bear the name St Thomas reach their 800th birthdays this year.

Feb132012

Travel Recommendation

Yas Island

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

As Abu Dhabi steps up efforts to attract tourists, it has a tough task distinguishing itself from Dubai.

Feb082012

Travel Recommendation

Historic Route from Istanbul to Mecca

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

Turkey has many officially-recognized culture routes that are ideal for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the country’s history, natural wonders and way of life. Signposted, GPS-friendly and usually accompanied by booklets, they cover everything from mountain hikes to walking in the steps of the apostle Paul.

One of the newest and most interesting routes is designed specifically for horseback, following in the path of 17th century writer and adventurer Evliya Çelebi. After a lifetime of wandering that had taken him from sub-Saharan Africa to Russia, Evliya set out from his hometown of Istanbul for one last journey in 1671. His destination: Mecca.

Feb082012

Travel Recommendation

Bavaria's Church of Snow

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Mitterfirmiansreut is a Bavarian village in the mountainous region on the Germany and Czech border. That means it was once on the border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia and thus part of the front line of the Cold War. The war has gone but the cold remains, just as old enmities have died away while traditions endure.

Over 100 years ago, the local bishop denied the villagers of Mitterfirmiansreut permission to build their own church, meaning they had to make the long walk to the next town, some eight kilometers away. It was an especially difficult journey when heavy snow hit the high country. And so in winter 1910, they took matters into their own hands and – using the one material not in short supply – built a church out of snow and ice. The village has recently revived the tradition

Feb012012

Travel Recommendation

A Flying Visit to Frankfurt

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

Frankfurt International Airport is Europe’s third largest, but unlike Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and London’s Heathrow, it’s very close to the center of town, meaning if you have a few hours between flights in this major hub you can sample its compact core.

Jan302012

Travel Recommendation

3 Places to Go in Lesotho

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Lesotho is a little known mountain kingdom in the middle of South Africa.
Look at a map of South Africa and you may notice a gap in its eastern half. That gap is the fascinating independent kingdom of Lesotho, whose capital Maseru is over 400 km south of Johannesburg.

Jan262012

Travel Recommendation

Berilnale Film Festival in February

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Once again in 2012, the Berlin International Film Festival (known universally as Berlinale) is lighting up the grim winter for eleven days. From February 9 to 19, Berlin will host a huge program encompassing screenings of everything from multiplex behemoths to micro-budget independent films.

Jan252012

Travel Recommendation

Tallest Mountain in Germany

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

The town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bavaria’s deep south, is about one and a half hours from Munich. Its unwieldy name was the result of two towns amalgamating so Germany could qualify as host of the 1936 Winter Olympics (the same year of the infamous Nazi propaganda exercise that was the Summer Olympics in Berlin). The resulting town remains an important winter sports center as well as the gateway to Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.

Jan202012

Travel Recommendation

Visit the Southern Temples in Abu Sindel

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

Abu Simbel is about as far south as you can get in Egypt, lying about 20 miles from the Sudanese border. It’s a remote place, most accessible by plane or by boat from Aswan. Abu Simbel rewards those who seek it out with two of the most spectacular temples of Dynastic Egypt, on a scale which can surprise even those who have acclimatized to the vast structures of Aswan and Luxor.

Jan182012

Travel Recommendation

Karneval in Cologne Germany

Cologne

My Recommendation Tip

Like many Catholic regions around the world, Germany’s densely populated Rhineland has a long tradition of marking the lead-up to Lent with wild festivities. Celebrations are centered on the cathedral city of Cologne, where each year winter gloom is temporarily banished by colorful revels.

Jan172012

Travel Recommendation

Dubai's Cultural Oasis and the Farjam Art Collection

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

Dubai’s financial district might appear at first glance to have little to offer the curious visitor but glass and steel and the faint aroma of money with a top-note of oil. But near Emirates Towers, a complex which looks like two robots having an argument, you’ll find Gate Village. This largely pedestrianized precinct hosts a number of galleries...

Jan112012

Travel Recommendation

Top 5 Berlin Flea Markets

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

You can tell a lot about a city by what it throws away. Or, in the case of flea markets, resells. Berlin has a great selection of second-hand markets where you can find everything from worthless junk to valuable antiques, with plenty of quirky gift ideas all along that spectrum.

Jan112012

Travel Recommendation

Aphrodisias

Turkey

My Recommendation Tip

The ruins of Ephesus are justly famous, drawing streams of visitors year round. Far fewer make it to Aphrodisias, the spectacular ruin of a city largely destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century.

Dec302011

Travel Recommendation

Neukölln

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

In an early 90s edition of the Rough Guide to Berlin, the south-eastern district of Neukölln didn’t even merit a mention. How times change. In the last three years or so this traditionally working-class area with a long history of immigration has taken off, a typical pattern of gentrification after seeing the neighborhood discovered by students, artists and other creatives attracted by its low rents (which, just as typically, are now rising).

Dec292011

Travel Recommendation

5 Museums Open on Mondays in Munich

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Travel around Europe long enough and you will soon discover an annoying quirk of many major museums on the continent: they’re usually closed on Mondays. But not all of them. If you want to start off your week with some culture in Munich, here are five places to do it.

Dec212011

Travel Recommendation

The Town of Bad Frankenhausan

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

The church of Our Beloved Lady of the Mountain dates back to the 14th century. A spring has unsettled the ground beneath it and the church tower has been on something of a lean for much of its existence. It’s now further from the vertical than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Dec192011

Travel Recommendation

The Empty Quarter

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

National borders are only sketched in on the map of the Empty Quarter, and the physical space presents no limit to the imagination. In the absence of settlements, landmarks or any permanent sign of human activity, legends and conjecture have rushed to fill the void over the centuries.

Dec152011

Travel Recommendation

Grunewald - Art in the Woods

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Along with its natural attractions, Grunewald is home to two very different art collections which bridge the centuries.

Dec142011

Travel Recommendation

Winter Sports in Turkey

Turkey

My Recommendation Tip

Turkey may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of winter sports, but skiing and snowboarding centers are sprinkled across the country’s mountainous interior. Turkey’s ski culture is still a work in progress so you can find some resorts running well and charging a lot less than their Central European equivalents.

Dec052011

Travel Recommendation

Cape Tastings

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

South Africa is one of the oldest of the New World wine producers, with a century’s head start on California. Along with numerous outstanding restaurants in Cape Town and the surrounding vineyard country, there are numerous specialty events offering pairings of wine with foods both sweet and savory. Here’s a selection:

Dec012011

Travel Recommendation

Top 5 Christmas Markets

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Come December, cool Berlin residents drop the ‘tude and succumb to Yule fever in dozens of Christmas markets across the city, some spanning the entire Advent season, some just a few days. Here’s a hand-picked handful for you: Gendarmenmarkt: Every year, Berlin’s most elegant square hosts an appropriately upscale Christmas market.

Nov212011

Travel Recommendation

Dubai Museum

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

If all you see of Dubai is the airport, the shopping malls, the highways, the skyscraper hotels and the crazy and ambitious off-shore developments, it’s easy to convince yourself that the city is no older than the oil boom. If you knew nothing of the emirate’s history and someone told you it sprang out of the desert one afternoon in 1975 and has kept growing ever since, you might be inclined to believe them.

Nov172011

Travel Recommendation

A Different View of the Berlin Wall

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Coming to Berlin for the first time, most visitors naturally want to see where the Berlin Wall ran and, if possible, see a bit of what’s left. When friends visit Berlin, I always recommend an alternative view of the Wall, and one which gives a deeper insight into the chain of historical events which brought it about.

Nov162011

Travel Recommendation

Amberg from Munich

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

At two hours from Munich by road or rail, Amberg pushes the day-trip envelope and in truth you’re probably better off combining it with nearby Nuremberg in an overnight stay. But however you do it, this beautiful quirky town is well worth seeking out.

Nov092011

Attraction

Paros

Mykonos

My Photos

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  • Paros
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  • Paros
  • Paros

Nov092011

Attraction

Naxos

Mykonos

My Photos

  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos

Nov092011

Travel Recommendation

Muskauer Park

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Around two hours’ drive from Berlin and less from Dresden, Bad Muskau, or Muskauer Park, lies on the Neisse River and thus right on the Polish border of Germany. While it’s a pleasant enough town, the reason that it is very much worth a detour (as they say) is not the modest streets and buildings of the spa town itself but Muskauer Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Europe’s most impressive landscaped gardens.

Nov072011

Travel Recommendation

Prehistoric Sights in South Africa

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

As eventful as South Africa’s recent history has been, it seems its prehistory was no walk in the veldt either. In a series of caves and other sites north-west of Johannesburg, some of the oldest remains of our pre-human ancestors have been found. The “Cradle of Humankind”, as this area is now known, has yielded extensive hominid fossils which have greatly enlarged our understanding of the origins of human life. The Maropeng Visitor Center does its best to dissolve the mists of time which separate us from this almost unimaginably distant past.

Nov032011

Travel Recommendation

Vegetarian Restaurants in Berlin

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

These two conditions become less true each year, and the capital of Germany now offers a healthy choice of distinguished eateries for vegetarians, vegans or those who simply want to take a break from animal-derived food. Here’s a handful.

Nov022011

Travel Recommendation

Hiking Around Neuschwanstein

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

If you want a great view of the Schloss, a vigorous yet achievable hike around the nearby mountain of Tegelberg is in order. This mountain surges up from an alpine field with no foothills as a preamble, to a height of 1,881 meters. The route to the top is well sign-posted from the ticket office for the castles.

Oct282011

Travel Recommendation

Highlights of Aswan

Aswan

My Recommendation Tip

Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt and not coincidentally the driest; rain is a freakishly rare occurrence here, any time of the year. But while we’re on the superlatives it’s also the hottest, which makes the (northern) winter the best time to visit, when daytime temperatures are mild enough to allow for sightseeing.

Oct262011

Travel Recommendation

Frankfurt's Other Museums

Frankfurt

My Recommendation Tip

Frankfurt has some of Germany’s finest museums, many of them proudly lining the Main River. But away from these upstanding institutions, central Frankfurt has some quirky curatorial surprises.

Oct262011

Travel Recommendation

Going Green in Dubai

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

The launch of Dubai Metro rail system in 2009 represented a huge step forward for a city where infrastructure has often struggled to keep pace with development.

Oct202011

Travel Recommendation

Berlin's Secret Corner

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Tucked away in Berlin’s south-east, the district of Köpenick is not exactly high on the average visitor’s agenda. Which is a shame, because with its small but picturesque center, majestic palace and idyllic riverside location, it offers the charm of a historic town without the hassle of packing an overnight bag.

Oct192011

Travel Recommendation

Munich Contemporary Art

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Of course, Berlin is now Germany’s powerhouse for creating, exhibiting and selling contemporary art. But after keeping a low profile for many years, Munich is reasserting itself. Their contemporary art fair (Contempo Munich) is now in its second year, and new museums are joining the venerable art institutions of the Bavarian capital.

Oct182011

Attraction

Santorini (Old) Cruise Port

Greece

My Photos

  • Paros
  • Paros
  • Paros
  • Paros
  • Paros
  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos
  • Naxos

Oct182011

Attraction

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Athens

My Photos

  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Athens
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Athens
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Athens
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Athens
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Athens

Oct172011

Attraction

Plaka

Athens

My Photos

  • Plaka
  • Plaka
  • Plaka
  • Plaka
  • Plaka

Oct172011

Attraction

Roman Forum

Athens

My Photos

  • The Roman Forum in Athens
  • The Roman Forum in Athens
  • The Roman Forum in Athens
  • The Roman Forum in Athens
  • The Roman Forum in Athens

Oct172011

Travel Recommendation

Topkapi's Harem

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

The word “harem” comes to us from Arabic via Turkish, but its original meaning got lost in translation. Whereas we understand it to mean a store of readily available concubines, it actually meant ‘forbidden’ or ‘private’, and was applied to the part of a house or palace closed to outsiders.

Oct122011

Travel Recommendation

Hamburg’s HafenCity

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

HafenCity, Europe’s most extensive inner city development project, has refocused attention on waterfront life in Germany’s second-biggest city and largest port: Hamburg.

Oct102011

Travel Recommendation

A drive around the Cape

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Motoring around Cape Town can be a delight, with awe-inspiring scenery, excellent roads and generally considerate drivers (taxi drivers being a notable exception). Grab a hire car, get used to right-hand driving if necessary, and hit the road!

Oct052011

Travel Recommendation

Royal Recluse

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Everyone knows Neuschwanstein. Part of the building’s ongoing allure is the legend of its owner, the so-called “mad” king, Ludwig II of Bavaria, who commissioned it as an architectural embodiment of his beloved Wagner operas.But here’s an idea: why not head for another of Ludwig’s fantasy creations? Herrenchiemsee, for instance, an island-bound palace set in a lake just an hour south-east of Munich.

Oct032011

Travel Recommendation

The other pyramids of Egypt

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

Mention that you’ve been to the Pyramids in Egypt and most people will understandably assume you mean the Great Pyramid and its neighbors in Giza. But while they form an unarguably jaw-dropping ensemble and just happen to be located at the edge of Cairo, they are by no means the end of the pyramid story.

Sep282011

Travel Recommendation

Oktoberfest: A History Lesson

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Munich is home of Germany’s Oktoberfest, and it has a rich history. The first “Oktoberfest”, or something like it, took place in 1810. That’s when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen – an unusual match in that the bride was Protestant and the groom, like most Bavarians, Catholic.

Sep262011

Travel Recommendation

Subcontinental Dubai

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

One of the most unusual aspects of Dubai is its demographic makeup. Native-born Emiratis make up less than 20% of the population, while the clear majority of Dubai’s inhabitants are actually expatriate workers from South Asia – Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

Sep222011

Travel Recommendation

Park Life in Berlin

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

No less than three of Berlin’s inner city parks have been the subject of feature-length documentaries in the last year, profiling the friendly collision of social groups and subcultures which make them such a great insight into urban life here. Get a taste of the real Berlin in these open spaces.

Sep212011

Travel Recommendation

Turkey’s best shopping: Istanbul and beyond

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

Istanbul is one of the great shopping cities of the world. Shops, arcades and above all the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar offer handcrafts which come from all over the country. But if you want to leave the city behind and combine your sightseeing with shopping at the source, here are a handful of locations around Turkeyto get you started.

Sep212011

Travel Recommendation

Rococo A Go Go

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Minimalism schminimalism: sometimes the eye craves excess and that’s when Rococo comes into its own. Too much was barely enough for this 18th century child of the Baroque, with its gilded lilies, chubby cherubs and overflowing cornucopias in riotous asymmetrical forms. Bavaria is home to some eye-popping feats of Rococo maximalism, and you can see some of the best without leaving Munich

Sep142011

Travel Recommendation

Stargazing on Sylt

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

If you want to see Germany’s A-list at play, head for the North Sea island of Sylt. In summer you can rub shoulders with a spectrum of luminaries ranging from the internationally famous to faces only the keenest German daytime TV viewer will recognize.

Sep132011

Travel Recommendation

Oktoberfest Dos and Don'ts

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Some six million people visit Munich’s Oktoberfest every year. The world’s best-loved beer festival can be a daunting experience for the first-time visitor, but a few pointers can help you make it through the amber haze in one piece.

Sep082011

Travel Recommendation

Jewish Berlin

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

At the dawn of the 20th century, Berlin had the largest Jewish population of any city in the world. One of the most positive developments since German reunification in 1989 has been the resurgence of Jewish life in the city. Synagogues are reopening, Israeli tourists are second only to Americans among non-European visitors to the city, and in September the “Jüdische Kulturtage” (Jewish culture days) celebrates its 25th year with a full program of concerts, exhibitions and other events.

A logical starting point for your exploration of Jewish Berlin is the Jewish Museum, housed in an elegant 18th century building with a spectacular annex designed by Daniel Libeskind, where jagged lines and gaping voids represent the savagery and devastation of the Holocaust.

Sep072011

Travel Recommendation

Bavarian Modern Buildings: Munich’s Top 5 from this Millennium

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Central Munich is one of the most appealing cityscapes in Germany, a layer cake of epochs smothered in neo-classical icing. But the Bavarians didn’t stop building in the 19th century. Here are five of the best buildings from this millennium which keep the city on the architectural map:

1. The Allianz Arena is the stand-out structure of recent years, with sweeping curves and a fancy-schmancy exterior that changes colors; it was designed by Herzog and de Meuron (also responsible for the national stadium in Beijing and the conversion of London’s Tate Modern). Of course it’s not there just to be admired: the Allianz is also the home ground of football team Bayern München.

Aug262011

Travel Recommendation

Coptic Cairo

Egypt

My Recommendation Tip

Recent events in Egypt have highlighted tensions between Coptic Christians and the country’s Muslim majority. The Coptics are a tenacious lot, numbering anywhere between 10-23% of the population (though accurate figures are hard to come by), predating Islam and surviving to the present day. And while it’s easy to concentrate on sectarian conflict, there are also compelling examples of harmonious co-existence and cultural exchange.

Aug242011

Travel Recommendation

The Shores along Lake Constance

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) is Germany’s largest lake, although it also laps against Austria and Switzerland. Despite its size it is ridiculously easy to get around, with trains shuffling along the shore and ferries criss-crossing the lake.

A logical starting point is the town from which the lake derives its (English) name, an enclave on the Swiss shore. Constance’s well-preserved old town includes the partly-timbered Konzil building dating back to the 14th century, but its serene waterfront location belies its history; this was once the scene of tempestuous episodes in the history of the Catholic Church.

The nearby island of Mainau is largely given over to gardens, carpeted in extravagant floral display from the appearance of the first snowdrops in late winter. Working clockwise around the lake, the next major port of call is the medieval town of Meersburg. It rises steeply from the shore and is watched over by not one but two castles, the older of which dates back to the 7th Century.

Aug222011

Travel Recommendation

Up Dubai Creek

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

As temperatures in Dubai climb way past comfort levels, residents and visitors alike crouch in air-conditioned hotels, malls and offices. But sometimes you crave a breeze that doesn’t come out of a box, which is when a jaunt down or across Dubai’s main waterway, Dubai Creek, starts to look enticing.

Unlike Dubai’s palm tree-shaped islands and irrigated parklands, its Creek is much as nature intended (with the occasional touch-ups to make it more shipping-friendly). But whereas the word “creek” suggests something narrow and bucolic, Dubai Creek is actually a busy expanse lined with skyscrapers, winding for 14 kilometers (nearly nine miles) from the wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary to the Gulf. Once a center of fishing and pearl-diving, the Creek is now an important artery for trade and transport.

Aug182011

Travel Recommendation

The Legendary Tempelhof Airport

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Berlin’s centrally located Tempelhof Airport began operations in 1923. It has a place in aviation history as the birthplace of Germany’s national airline, Lufthansa, and the colossal, curved terminal and hangar complex erected during the Nazi era was then the largest building in the world. In the late 1940s the airport was West Berlin’s lifeline, the destination for British and American freight planes after the Soviets blockaded road access to the city.

Aug172011

Travel Recommendation

A Day in Augsburg

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

At just over half an hour away by train, the city of Augsburg makes an easy day trip from Munich. As well as being a must-see destination in its own right, Augsburg is also a major stop on the Romantic Road which takes in some of southern Germany’s most important historic sites on its route from Würzburg to the Austrian border. And while it’s barely a fifth the size of the Bavarian capital, it has over a millennium of seniority, having been founded by the Romans in 15 BC.

Despite wartime bombing the city center is largely unchanged, and the skyline bristles with spires rather than skyscrapers. All roads lead to the Rathausplatz which is dominated by the towering Perlachturm and the enormous Renaissance-era Rathaus, recalling a time when finance and trade made Augsburg one of the largest and most important cities in Europe. At Christmas the square is transformed into a glittering Christmas market.

Aug152011

Travel Recommendation

The Church of Chora

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

The Hagia Sophia is a highlight of any trip to Istanbul; no-one can remain unmoved by its vast scale, timeless artworks and the shafts of light which penetrate its holy gloom.

But if you want to witness a more intimate take on early Christian architecture, head for the church of Chora. It’s a little out of the way, in the Fatih district near Istanbul’s well-preserved Byzantine walls, but it’s well worth the effort. Like Hagia Sophia, Chora was commissioned by the emperor Justinian, and also later refashioned into a mosque. It’s a modestly-sized structure, no taller than the surrounding trees, but its impact rivals that of Hagia Sophia, or indeed other jewels of Byzantine architecture in Venice and Ravenna.

Aug102011

Travel Recommendation

Eastern Germany Delights

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

At Germany’s easternmost point (more or less) you’ll find the Saxon town of Görlitz. Like Dresden, Görlitz is one of the success stories of the former East Germany, luring visitors with an outstanding ensemble of historic buildings which span over five centuries.

The town survived the war relatively intact, and was largely untroubled by the East German passion for urban blah which blighted other civic centers. And now it’s benefited from extensive restoration with few unsympathetic additions, making it an ideal period backdrop for such films as Inglorious Bastards and The Reader.

Aug092011

Travel Recommendation

Munich for free

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Munich is a big money town. Finance, high tech and cars drive this city, and the city’s natives tend to spend lavishly in their leisure time. Where does that leave the not-so-affluent visitor? Thankfully, even if you don’t answer to the name of Gunther von Money-Bags, the Free State of Bavaria’s capital has some free attractions. Here are five to get you started.

1. Get the spirit: Most of the city’s churches, including Munich’s symbol, the twin-spired Frauenkirche, and its oldest place of worship, St Peter’s, are free.

Aug082011

Travel Recommendation

West Coast National Park

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Cape Town is not only blessed with an outstanding natural setting, it is also within reach of numerous wilderness reserves. Many are grouped to the city’s east, but if you head north out of the city you’ll soon come to one of the region’s greatest natural wonders: West Coast National Park.

Don’t expect to see big game; the only thing roaring here is the ocean. The park curves around Langebaan Lagoon, where migratory birds alight in the southern summer. It’s a popular water sport destination, but look out for signs: some areas only allow non-motorized craft while others are off-limits altogether.

Aug042011

Travel Recommendation

Berlin's Green Heart

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

What color do you associate with Berlin? Most people – even longtime residents – would probably answer gray. It’s not just the heavy clouds which blanket the city for much of the year; sometimes life-sapping mid-tones seem to seep upwards into the built environment from the gray, sandy soil on which the city rests.

Jul272011

Travel Recommendation

Top 5 open air destinations in Prague

Prague

My Recommendation Tip

Summertime visitors to Prague often complain about the lack of modern air conditioning. Sure, the nicer hotels and restaurants are equipped to battle the heat, but budget accommodations, taxis, trains, trams, and most businesses and cafes are strangely devoid of Freon. Luckily, the city is teeming with splendid open air spots (largely free) for "Praguers" and tourists to kick back and relax in the shade.

Jul272011

Travel Recommendation

Bonn Voyage

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

It’s over a decade since Bonn ceded capital status to Berlin, and you can forgive this congenial, modestly-sized city of 300,000 or so inhabitants for feeling neglected now that most government departments have gone east. But Bonn still punches above its weight; its prestigious legacy has left it endowed with the kind of attractions you’d expect to find in a much bigger metropolis.

Even the fleamarkets are huge here: every spring, Bonn’s inhabitants crowdsource their storage problems, emptying cellars and attics of surplus stuff to sell in a fleamarket four kilometers long on the banks of the Rhine. This mother of all garage sales falls on 16 April this year. And then Rhein in Flammen, in May, sees the river light up in a spectacular blaze of fireworks accompanied by live music.

Jul262011

Travel Recommendation

Dubai’s Mountain Getaway

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

Many seasoned travelers will draw a blank when you mention the name “Hatta”, which can partly be blamed on its unusual location: you’ll find it in a secluded corner of the patchwork that makes up the UAE’s northern tip. The town is part of an exclave, a small chunk of land belonging to the emirate of Dubai, even though it borders Oman.

Jul262011

Travel Recommendation

Fair travel

South Africa

My Recommendation Tip

Fair trade products have been a staple on supermarket shelves and in coffee shops for over a decade now. They’re an acknowledgement that simply sourcing goods for the lowest price has a hidden cost for producers and the environment – often in the poorest nations. Fair trade organizations ensure that local growers aren’t exploited by ruthless multinationals.

Jul262011

Travel Recommendation

Singular Visions

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Some of the most compelling art collections aren’t put together over decades by committee, but rather express the personal vision of an individual collector: think of such maverick institutions as New York’s Frick, London’s Saatchi or Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection. And over the last three years, Berlin’s cultural landscape has also been enriched by a trio of collections bearing a distinctly individual stamp, spanning everything from Renaissance amber to contemporary video art.

Jul262011

Travel Recommendation

The Trailblazer

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Munich’s Alte Pinakothek isn’t just the city’s foremost cultural institution, it more or less defined the fine arts museum as we know it today. The impressive neo-classical building, with its distinctive high, arched windows, was erected in the early 19th century.

Jun232011

Travel Recommendation

Modern Istanbul

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

The 2004 opening of Istanbul Modern, a contemporary art space plonked audaciously on the Bosphorus, signaled a new mood in Istanbul. It wasn’t just to be a stopover for international exhibitions, rather a catalyst for dialogue between Turkey and the rest of the world.

Jun212011

Travel Recommendation

Bird’s-eye Berlin

Berlin

My Recommendation Tip

Wim Wenders’ 1987 film Wings of Desire is one of the most evocative depictions of Berlin, filmed when the city was still divided and centrally-located Potsdamer Platz was little more than a giant sandbox. In the film, angels look down over the troubled city but these days reunited Berlin offers us mortals all sorts of ways to hit the heights and get a panoramic perspective.

Jun172011

Travel Recommendation

Ironman, iron maiden

Cape Town

My Recommendation Tip

Eastern Cape’s Port Elizabeth is one of South Africa’s most attractive cities, known for its excellent beaches even before it was spruced up as a host city for last year’s World Cup.

Jun102011

Travel Recommendation

Long days, long nights in Dusseldorf

Germany

My Recommendation Tip

Something strange happens as spring starts in Germany: as the days get longer so do the nights. Or, to be a little less cryptic, many major cities hold events where cultural institutions stay open long past their bedtimes, hosting dozens of special events in a festive atmosphere.

My Photos

  • Nacht Der Museeum Dusselforf
  • Nacht der Museeum Dusseldorf

Jun082011

Travel Recommendation

Egypt update

Cairo

My Recommendation Tip

If you’ve been near a TV or newspaper in the last few months you’ll know that these are tumultuous times in the Middle East. Not just the extent but the extraordinary pace of change has caught many unawares. What does this mean for the traveler?

Jun072011

Travel Recommendation

At the (very) top!

Dubai

My Recommendation Tip

Alain Robert, the French “urban climber”, has overcome vertigo and debilitating injuries to scale some of the world’s best-known monuments and skyscrapers using little more than his bare hands. Previous conquests have included the Eiffel Tower, Taipei 101 and Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Jun062011

Travel Recommendation

Spring bock

Munich

My Recommendation Tip

Bock auf ‘n Bock? (“Feel like a bock?”). You might hear this pithy question a lot around Munich at the moment as the annual Starkbierzeit (literally, “strong beer time”) celebrates the feisty German lager known as bock in a festival which launches the city – a little unsteadily – into spring.

Jun032011

Travel Recommendation

Two continents of tulips

Istanbul

My Recommendation Tip

There are few better combinations of time and place than April in Istanbul. The evening air still has an edge, but days are usually bright and mild with the sunlight glinting off the Golden Horn. Perfect weather for exploring the city, in other words.

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