Blue Hostel: Rome

Blue Hostel: Rome

Although the Blue refers to itself as a hostel, many guests prefer to call it a hotel due to the high standard of the facilities. Plus of course, the fact that private rooms are available and not the regular hostel-style dorms. (See examples in the images below)....
Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan

The photograph above typifies Baku as the city is an unusual mix of extremely modern architecture plus ancient buildings. It is one of the quickest-growing cities in the world and has every possible modern amenity along with a huge slice of history and romance. The...
Alcatraz Island, California

Alcatraz Island, California

Imagine. You’re going to stay at a private island in sunny California. It has amazing wildlife and a fascinating history. What’s more, it’s not going to cost you a penny – your stay will be absolutely free of charge and even all your meals will...
Movie Locations: The Lady in the Van

Movie Locations: The Lady in the Van

I can’t even begin to describe to you that wonderful moment when I realised that Maggie Smith was going to play Miss Shepherd in Alan Bennett’s Lady in the Van. And a marvellous film it is too. For those who don’t know, it’s the (largely) true...
Love Locks & Eiffel Tower: New Orleans

Love Locks & Eiffel Tower: New Orleans

They say that writer Guy de Maupassant used to eat lunch every day at the restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower – because it was the only place in Paris that didn’t have a view of the thing. This ‘fact’ is doubted by my family as we once drove...
Locations: Game of Thrones

Locations: Game of Thrones

Dark Hedges is a stunning – and rather magical – parade of beech trees to be found in Northern Ireland and brought to general attention by its use as a location in the TV series Game of Thrones. This dark avenue of gnarled trees was planted in 1775 as the...
Ramones Museum, Berlin

Ramones Museum, Berlin

Way back in 1990, Flo Hayler started collecting Ramones memorabilia. He collected tickets and t-shirts, posters and pants. These were to form the basis of the Ramones Museum in Berlin. Yes, you’re right of course, the Ramones are mostly associated with their...
Ashtrays in the Airplane?

Ashtrays in the Airplane?

It used to be one of those mysteries of life. How old is this plane I’m travelling in?  Smoking on planes was banned in 1988 so why does the loo of the plane I’m in feature an ashtray? The answer is pretty simple, although somewhat bizarre. By law,...
Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori, Italy

Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori, Italy

Here’s another seriously spooky hotel, this time the Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori in the Italian Alps. The hotel was abandoned when tourism declined in the area. Since its abandonment, in the late 1960s, the hotel fell into a ruinous state. Furniture and decor...
What Do People Hate To See In Bathrooms?

What Do People Hate To See In Bathrooms?

Particularly important to travellers and to hosts of properties such as those listed on Airbnb, are the recent statistics that show what seriously turns people off bathrooms. My own huge turn off is seeing a pubic hair of dubious provenance on the toilet seat. But...
Movie Locations: Mountain Lake Lodge

Movie Locations: Mountain Lake Lodge

A cult movie of the 1980s, Dirty Dancing was set at the fictional Kellerman’s Resort in the Catskills. In fact, the filming took place at the Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke, Virginia. The film was set in 1963 and reflected the lifestyle of prosperous New...
The Black Sheep Brewery, Yorkshire

The Black Sheep Brewery, Yorkshire

Paul Theakston was born into the brewing industry and worked at the namesake Theakston’s Brewery in Masham, Yorkshire. That is until business and managerial mayhem made him leave in the 1980s. But – and many a Yorkshireman would say the same – beer...
Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The Hebridean Islands are well-known because of their incredible scenery, wild seas and astonishing wildlife.  The islands are largely unspoiled and the Isle of Lewis is no exception.  And if you want to baffle a friend with a trivia question, who do these three...
Tianducheng: Paris in China

Tianducheng: Paris in China

Paris is a beautiful city. Few people would argue with me there. But what exactly is the deal with reproducing wonderful places? Tianducheng is a suburb of Hangzhou in China and Paris has been reproduced – not very well – in a development that was built in...
Kunsthofpassage, Dresden, Germany

Kunsthofpassage, Dresden, Germany

Kunsthofpassage is a series of alleyways in the student district of Dresden. The area contains quirky bookshops and cafés – and unusually decorated buildings. One of the most famous is the one you see above. A series of drainpipes are displayed not only in an...
Visiting Paris: Musée Édith Piaf

Visiting Paris: Musée Édith Piaf

Even though French iconic singer Edith Piaf died as long ago as 1963, most people would recognise her voice today. Even those who aren’t old enough to remember her will probably know this: And there is a private museum dedicated to her in Paris. It can be...
Bunce Island, Sierra Leone

Bunce Island, Sierra Leone

Bunce Island has a fascinating and rather chilling history. Today the island is deserted but in 1670 a castle was built there by a British slave trading company which became a hub for the slave trade. People from the west coast of Africa were kidnapped and shipped as...
Visiting the UK: The Cats of York

Visiting the UK: The Cats of York

York is a truly amazing place. It’s packed with history, ancient architecture, museums, parks … there are fabulous places to eat, the local scenery is unbeatable and it’s even a great place to shop. Bizarrely, you can also – free of charge...
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