Travels In China – 3: The Forbidden City


  3.5 kms of citadel walls girdle 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…

Travels In China 2 – 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…

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…

Dimbulagala Rock Temple


Dimbulagala near Polonnaruwa, the 12th century capital of Sri Lanka, has been a Buddhist monastery for well over 2000 years. Meditating monks have lived in caves in the rocky outcrops here since Buddhism was brought to the country in 3rd century BC. Today, the focus is on a flourishing modern temple at the base of…

Wasgamuwa National Park


Wasgamuwa National Park in Sri Lanka was created in 1984 as a refuge for wild animals displaced by the Mahaweli Development Project which was a government scheme for generating hydroelectric power, controlling floods, making irrigation facilities for dry zone cultivation and developing physical and social infrastructure for human habitation using the waters of the Mahaweli River. The…

A Day At Gal Oya


The park gate was locked, the park office was closed and there was nobody in sight. It was six thirty in the morning. Irate telephone calls to the National Parks head office were made and an hour later, a ranger appeared and sheepishly opened the gate We left Hotel Monty in Ampara at 5.30 in…