Up & Down The Great Wall


Is there anything new to say about the Great Wall of China? You already know that many of the 400,000 – give or take the odd soldier and peasant, that died building the 22,000 kms long wall from the seventh century BC to 1878 are buried within the wall, and in 2007 a British couple…

Hutongs Of Beijing


“A square foot of property in Beijing costs 54,000 Yuan” Kathy said. That is about £6500. The average size of an apartment is 100 square feet and a young couples would struggle most of their life to pay the mortgage     Not everybody in Beijing is keen to live in high-rise apartment blocks. Many…

Forbidden City


  3.5 kms of citadel walls girdle a palace complexes with 980 buildings in a 72 hectare royal enclosure where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties governed from a closed-off world until the Republic overthrew the last emperor in 1911. This is the Forbidden City of China   We left Tiananmen Square, crossed…

Tiananmen Square


We were body searched and our bags scanned and in the unblinking gaze of security men and CCTV cameras, we walked on to Tiananmen Square in the centre of Beijing. It’s 106 acres had no shade and the heat was intense.     The name comes from the Tiananmen – The Gate of Heavenly Peace in…

Beijing – Beaming Down & Settling In


I flew to Beijing with Etihad on an 18-day Ancient China Tour arranged by Wendy Wu. It was my first visit to China, first flight with Etihad and the first tour with Wendy Wu.     The Chinese visa application form is the most complicated such document I have ever encountered and an absurd amount…

Summer In Menorca – Footloose In Ciutadella


Ciutadella is a pretty little place. It was founded by the Carthaginians, governed by the Moors for several centuries and was finally recaptured by the Spanish during the reconquista. In 1558, Turks captured the city and the 3000 odd surviving inhabitants were taken to Turkey and sold in the slave markets of Istanbul. Ciutadella remained the capital…

Summer In Menorca – Cami de Cavalls


  Menorca is a great place for easy but interesting hiking. The coastal path Cami de Cavalls circles the island. It is a remarkable path that has existed since 1330 when King James 11 asked settlers to keep at least one war horse ready and to use the path to watch over and defend the island.…

Summer In Menorca – Beaming Down


In the summer of 2019 we holidayed in Menorca for the first time   The morning Jet2 flight from Leeds/Bradford reached  Mahón, the capital of the tiny Balearic island of Menorca in two hours and fifteen minutes. Nick, Renu and Seren arrived fifteen minutes later on a flight from London. Nick drove the rented car…

Fathers Day Weekend – 2019


  The 2019 Fathers Day weekend was spent in London. On Friday, we took the A1 from Harrogate to London, stopping in Blythe for lunch. It was a warm and sunny  in London, a perfect evening to sit on the terrace and drink G&Ts (London No.1), munching long, thin Catalan sausages. Lamb chops, asparagus and…