Archive | December, 2011

Lest we forget

Just two weeks after I visited World War I’s Western Front, I travelled almost three thousand kilometres to the Eastern Front. The plains and farmhouses of Flanders were replaced with hills and beaches. If you weren’t already told, it would be hard to believe that these two areas were the major stages of the Great [...]

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Turkish delights

We always swear that we would never do it again. Yet we do, and constantly end up disappointed. We all do it, even though we scoff at others who do. And we know it won’t be worth it. I’m talking about following guidebook restaurant recommendations. Istanbul is widely known as one of the most picturesque [...]

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The land of the giant flag

I’ve been to some countries which are quite proud of themselves. I actually live in one at the moment; one of my favourite sayings Paul says repeatedly is “As a finishing touch, God created the Dutch.” But I had never been to a country with so many flags until I visited Turkey. And not little [...]

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In Flanders Fields

Belgium is known for a lot of things. A diverse lot of things, you might say. It’s known for its chocolate, beers, waffles, lace, and to some, like me, dodgy trains. It’s also known for another important thing. When Europeans decide to have a good old war, they tend to choose to do it in [...]

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On the docks

I had a preconceived notion of Hamburg. For some reason, probably because of its harbour and associated docks, I thought it would be rough around the edges. Back in 2007, I spent a whopping total of one night here, an overnight stop to break up the journey between Copenhagen and Amsterdam. My only memory is [...]

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Retail therapy, German Christmas markets style

I have long been intrigued by German Christmas markets. The very idea of them sounds inviting to an Australian who grew up singing ‘Surfy Surfy Santa’ at her school’s annual Christmas pageant. They embody everything Christmas seems to be on the other side of the world; full of snow, traditional toys and carollers in the [...]

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Welkom, welkom, welkom Sinterklaas

I originally put together my top ten lists because I thought I wouldn’t have much to blog about in November, as it was to be my designated detox, get fit and rest month. Well, I’ve definitely detoxed, so good on me there. Have I gotten fit? Well, it’s now winter and the other day I [...]

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The politics of travel

Politics and travel. You wouldn’t necessarily think that they go together, but as I lay in bed wide awake last night refreshing my Twitter feed to stay on top of Labor’s marriage equality debate, my mind thought otherwise. Here I was, in perhaps the most liberal country in the world, but I wouldn’t know it. [...]

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Once while travelling: travel’s worst experiences

When you read travelogues, travel blogs, look at photos, and generally hear about people’s recent trips, everything seems amazing. Nothing went wrong, everything worked out, nobody got injured, lost or found themselves in an awkward situation. But it does happen, and with surprising frequency. I’ve been extremely lucky, never having to file a travel insurance [...]

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Let’s play ball: ten best sports experiences

My all time favourite thing to do when travelling is to take in some local sports action. It helps if its an indigenous game, but any tell you a lot about the country you’re visiting. It’s best expressed in the excellent book ‘Race Around the Sports World’. I interviewed the author for an essay back [...]

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