Biso Pokuna


  If you are in Sri Lanka and  travelling from Monaragala to Pottuvil, stop at the village of Galabedda to see a small but remarkable archaeological site – Biso Pokuna       The dirt track led uphill through a paddy field. The only noticeable structure was a raised granite bathing pond. Water, probably channeled…

Our Lady Of Matara


  Matara is a quaint seaside town hundred miles south of Colombo. The roadside Shrine of Our Lady of Matara facing the Indian ocean houses a 400 year-old statue of the Virgin which Catholics claim, is miraculous. It was found floating in the sea in a wooden crate by fishermen of Mirissa who handed it…

Road To Pottuvil


  The coach sped along the Southern Expressway. We ate stuffed roti and egg buns from the picnic box and sipped mineral water from glass bottles. It was six thirty in the morning. The motorway service station was packed. The sun was beating down and men and women were eating breakfast in shady corners. There were queues…

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…