West Bank Banksies, Walls and Sweet Child Jesus: a Day in Bethlehem

Bethlehem: I looked everywhere in my 2011 Bradt Guide, but couldn’t find it. No wonder… it’s in the West Bank, one of the three Palestine Territories in Israel. So, it wasn’t even in the guide! (I believe many other guides do cover the Palestine Territories, though). From everywhere, I heard words of caution about travelling to the West Bank, but travelling in relatively stable times (November 2017), I wanted to see the place Jesus was born. Somewhere in a weekend supplement, I’d read about the midnight mass...

Athens without the Crowds: 10 Tips to enjoy the Classic City

Athens is great: almost year-round sunshine, close to the Mediterranean Sea, safe, brimming with ancient history and museums full of artefacts, the food is excellent, and many people speak English. But this means it is extremely popular, and do not let the recent Greek economy crisis years fool you: tourism is what works well in Greece, and in the summer, the path up to the Acropolis is closer to a stampede than an intense dialogue with ancient history. So, here are my tips for that relaxed Athens...

Volcano to Kailua-Kona… back round the other side of Big Island

We’re half round the island, and just another three days until we return hone to very early nights and frost, and yet  we’re just been away from home a week – that’s what happens when you start a new job and move house. We better explore as much as much as possible of this beautiful island, which is possible if you have the right transport – your own car. So, healthy breakfast first, as we tossed half a pineapple and a papaya into the blender, along with...

Greece in Autumn? Yes, please!

Greece is a wonderful place to visit out of season.  You know, that time when for us Northern European it is time to dig out the winter coats, boots and moan that it is already dark by the time you leave work, is the time to go to Greece, even for a short break. Fill any available  space with UV light,  your brain with a good mood, and put on  3kg of winter fat. I love Greece, and I have only visited a few places, and it...

Abydos: Visit an underrated jewel in the Nile Valley

As previously reported, I was lucky to meet a German woman in one of the minor sites on the West Bank, we started talking, and before I knew it I had a neat individual itinerary of Nile Valley sights complete with private taxi. And if I had to do it again, I would travel individually again. We were bound to the convoy times (Egypt operated a convoy system for all road travel involving tourists between 1997 and 2008, with no nighttime travel allowed), but apart from that,...

Abu Simbel in a Day? Tricky but possible

Who isn’t interested in ancient Egypt? Probably very few people could deny any fascination with what remains of the Seven Wonders of the world, hieroglyphs and monumental temples. My earliest memories of them are from trips to my grandparents and the 1930’s history encylopaedia they kept in their living room, then ten years we had to kill a few hours before a friends wedding, got comfy in a  bookshop and browsed a oversized coffee table book of the Valley of the Kings, easily accessible from Luxor. That...

Volcano to Kailua-Kona… back round the other side of Big Island

We’re half round the island, and just another three days until we return hone to very early nights and frost, and yet  we’re just been away from home a week – that’s what happens when you start a new job and move house. We better explore as much as much as possible of this beautiful island, which is possible if you have the right transport – your own car. So, healthy breakfast first, as we tossed half a pineapple and a papaya into the blender, along with...

Big Island of Hawaii: Kona Coast to Volcano – a leisurely road trip

If you make your own itinerary, and want to go off the beaten track, a car is essential on Big Island. We had booked ours online in Germany, picked it up at the airport (and even though you are in America, a small car is rather small on the Big Island), then set off towards Hilo. There are about three routes from the Kona Coast to Hilo, and ours took us up on the picturesque Mamalahoha Highway, then a right turn onto the Saddle Road. Now, much...

Is there public transport on Hawaii?

Imagine you are sitting in your nice resort, and after a few days of lazing by the pool, you somehow get restless – and so you should! the Big Island of Hawaii has 11 of the 13 climate zones in the world, and the scenery is otherworldly beautiful, especially if you are from Western Europe and are not used to the amazing seascapes in close range to bare mountains, and that you have to fly for five (!) hours over water from the nearest mainland to reach...