A Summer’s Day In Kleinbottwar


Kleinbottwar Kleinbottwar is a small village in the Baden-Württemberg wine region of Germany. It lies halfway between Ludwigsburg and Heilbronn on the Murr river and is an outlying district of the town Steinheim an der Murr. The Summer of 2022 was sunny and hot. In the last week of August, I spent two days at my son’s house…

Summer In Jura – 5. Château Chalon


The hilltop village of Château Chalon on the Premier Plateau with vineyards on the slopes below it is a wine village in the Château-Chalon AOC in Jura, 37 km north of Clairvaux-les-lacs. The AOC, created in 1936, is regarded as the unofficial grand cru for vin jaune of the Jura. The soil is grey marl and there are…

Summer In Jura – 3. Road To Clairvaux


We were up early. The vineyards on the slopes across the road were bathed in sunlight. We had breakfast, said goodbye to Laurence and Charles, and drove south along the tollroad towards Dijon, stopping at a Total for a tank-full of E98 and at an Aire for a picnic lunch. We arrived in Clairvaux-les-lacs in…

Summer In Jura – 1. Beaming Down


After two years of stagnation due to the Pandemic, we are on our first family holiday. Clairvaux-le-Lacs is not an easy place to get to by train. Geneva airport is over an hours drive away and flights this summer are a mess. I decided to drive. “You can’t go to France in a 20 year…

Travels In China – 10: The Hanging Temple


The jaw- dropping Hanging Temple of China is one of the world’s forgotten wonders     The Hanging Temple clings to the side of the mountain in apparent defiance of gravity. Its forty odd rooms and a maze of passageways contain seventy eight religious statues and carvings made of copper, iron, terracotta, and stone. The temple…

Travels In China – 9: The Yungang Grottoes


  Buddhism reached China along the Silk Route during the Han Dynasty in the first century AD. The establishment of Buddhism in China is evident in the many scripture-filled caves and structures surviving from this period. The Mogao Caves near Dunhuang in Gansu province, the Longmen Grottoes near Luoyang in Henan and the Yungang Grottoes…

Travels In China – 8: Road To Datong


    The main reason for going to Datong in northern China is to visit its most famous sight – the Yungang Grottoes. The 53 main caves there contain over 51,000 intricate, ancient Buddhist statues. It takes six and a half hours to get to Datong from Beijing by train. Datong is the former western…

Travels In China -7: Temple Of Heaven


Worshipping Heaven instead of a God may seem strange. But in ancient China, the Zhou Dynasty which reigned between 1050-256 BC, initiated a new social order and religious system, centred around a supreme sky god Tiān (天), a “deity who rules Heaven and Earth.” Under this system, Heaven Worship became a state religion and Tian was considered responsible…

Travels In China – 6: The Summer Palace Of Qing Emperors


Situated just 15 km from Beijing, the 270 year-old Summer Palace of the Qing emperors is the largest and most well preserved royal garden in China. Its 290 ha contain a lake and a hill incorporating the Fengshui notion of ‘Mountain’ and ‘Water’ and over 3000 pavilions, towers, bridges and corridors     When the Palace…

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. The…