Showing posts from December, 2017

10 Photos of One Day in Bruges

Bruges, Brugges, Brugge? I saw the town spelt many ways, as many as the languages spoke here. As always when travelling, never enough time - but here are some suggestions of 10 things to see and do, which will at least hopefully inspire a visit.

i) Explore Her Canals

To walk along her canals is to discover the medieval heart of Bruges. The town grew on trade, and her waterways gave her access to trading ports.

Now the canals are lines with gracious houses and picturesque bridges; white swans drifts by, and the sun plays upon the water. Boat tours (with a commentary in multiple languages, naturally) offer an ideal way to see this town from the water.

ii) Visit Sint-Janshospitaal

Dating from the 12th century, Sint-Janshospitaal is Europe’s oldest preserved hospital, and was still being used up until 1978. Now it is a museum of the world of medieval medicine, with even the apothecary and herb garden remaining.

And not to be missed: 6 masterpieces from the most famous of the Flemmish Primitiv…

Umbrellas in Pietrasanta

I knew I would love Pietrasanta as soon as the train pulled into the station. My train was crowded with holiday makers journeying to the Cinque Terra; my daughter and I were the only ones to alight.
One platform, two tracks. The land of Tuscany spreading around us.


I've always equated trains with holidays. I rarely catch trains (or any public transport) when I'm at home, for the service is simply shocking. Much easier to drive. Trains are for finding Assisi, being stranded somewhere unknown in Japan, or speeding away from Paris to find delights such as Bruges or ponder the paradox of time in Mont St. Michel.

Umbrellas, too, seem to be part of my recent travels. I never take one with me, yet I found them in a revolution in Hong Kong, and now hundreds of them hung above the streets of Pietrasanta, giving some welcome shade from the scorching summer sun.

Pietrasanta is a small Tuscan town, hidden from most tourists as the best places usually are. The old town is pedest…

10 Things To See in Hoi An - in Photos

Hoi An, Vietnam - a UNESCO listed city, stunning countryside, gentle people. Fantastic food, a French influence, unique buildings, shopping, rivers, beaches and gentle rice paddies. What is not to love here?
Here are some things I found in a recent visit, beyond those listed in the guidebooks.

The Thu Bon River runs through the centre of Hoi An dividing the Old Town from newer developments. Yet the countryside itself is full of rivers and waterways - they are life blood of this area, which has for centuries used them for trading.

China Beach was a popular retreat for Allied soldiers during the Vietnam War. These large baskets are traditional fishing boats - the shape meant they were not classified as boats, and so the owners avoid paying tax. (As a side note, I found the beaches a bit boring. But then I'm Australian, and incredibly spoilt in that way.)

Escape to the countryside, away from the crowds of tourists. Rice paddies stretch in all directions, fed by the many rivers. Rema…

Some Things Not To Miss In Prague - In Photos

I've yet to meet anyone who didn't enjoy Prague. Not only is the city stunningly beautiful, it's walkable, has fantastic food, and I found something delightful to find at every turn.

Yet I had trouble relating what I read in the guidebook to what I saw around me. I read and walked in two different worlds. Perhaps because there was so much to see; perhaps because I kept getting distracted by things which books and blogs failed to mention.

An important thing to savour in Prague is the food. The food in the first restaurant I tried was delicious (recommendation of the stewardess on the flight); I can't imagine anyone eating badly here. From duck to boar to fish; steins of beer, local wine, street food, soups, desserts, cakes, coffee; enjoy!

The area around the castle is a world of on it's own; simply from reading I never quite appreciated how seperate the castle was to the town. I arrived just on opening - this gave me ample time to see the place before it became clu…