24 Hours In Belgrade


  The two nights in Belgrade was at the tail-end of the Balkan summer holiday. Two weeks in Montenegro went quickly, Croatia was only a brief visit and the day on the Bar to Belgrade railway was remarkable. It was my first time in the Bosnian capital. The rented apartment was in a leafy suburb.…

Bar To Belgrade – The Ultimate Balkan Train Journey


“Call me Strawberry” the woman in the cafe said. She piled my plate high with sausages and beans and smiled sweetly     We were having an early breakfast at the cafe in front of the railway station in Bar before catching the morning train to Belgrade. I took a sip of thick black coffee…

Montenegro – Footloose In Bar


They say the only reason to come to Bar is to use the city as a base for visiting the fascinating ruins of Stari Bar (Old Bar) in the mountains behind. For me, the real reason is the celebrated Bar to Belgrade railway, one of Europe’s most spectacular train rides.   Getting There The modern town…

Montenegro – Up & Down Kotor Bay


There can’t be many places as beautiful as Kotor Bay. One sunny summer morning we hired a boat for the day and sailed from Krašići to the top of the bay, stopping to swim in the Blue Cave, explore old Yugoslav navy submarine tunnels and eat a slow lunch at a lovely, isolated cafe in…

The Gathering


…A jeep started to move towards the herd. Baby elephants were quickly surrounded by their mothers and aunts and guided away in a tight bunch from the approaching intruder. One female turned around, lifted her trunk and sounded a warning…     I was watching the “Gathering” at Minneriya National Park in the North Central…

12 Things To Do In Mannar


Jutting out into the Palk Strait and connected to mainland Sri Lanka by a three kilometre long causeway, Mannar is just thirty kilometres from India. The dry, sandy and laid back Mannar Island where donkeys roam the streets, is surrounded by blue seas. It is a great place for a few days stay and here’s…

A Day At Fort Hammenhiel


  Hammenhiel is a 17 century fort on a tiny island between Kayts and Karaitivu islands off Jaffna Peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka. It was built by the Portuguese with coral rock in 1618 to guard the entrance to the Jaffna sea channel. They called it Fortaleza do Caes (Fort Royal). The Dutch captured the fort in 1658 and…

Quick Look At Nagadeepa


  The sea was rough and the little fishing boat rocked from side to side as it made its way to Nainativu Island from Delft. The historic Nagadeepa Buddhist temple and the Nagapooshani Amman Hindu Kovil on the tiny island close to Jaffna attract vast numbers of Sinhalese and Tamil pilgrims throughout the year. Buddha is…

Delft Island – Wild Horses & Baobabs


  The tiny coral island sits way out in the Palk Strait. Locals know it as Neduntheevu.   The Portuguese called it Ilha das Vacas (“Island of the Cows”). The Dutch named it Delft. The flat 8 x 6 km island is home 5000 hardy souls and herds of wild ponies     We went to Delft Island in northern…

Girihandu Seya


  A stupa is a hemispherical pre-Buddhist Indian burial mound or a commemorative monument housing relics associated with the Buddha. It is said that two seafaring merchants called Trapusa and Bahalika from ancient India brought a few strands of the Buddha’s hair to Sri Lanka and enshrined them on top of a small hillock in the village of Thiriyaya near…