A wander through Positano’s pretty, pastel streets

The morning we set off for Positano was one of indecision and false starts. In the end, we found ourselves bundling into two separate cars and, with the windows rolled down, carefully hugging the via Nastro Azurro all the way along the coast using bright, white Atrani shining in the distance like a beacon as our waypoint. As we neared Positano we played peekaboo with the town as the road concertinaed in, then out, then in again in line with the deep folds of the cliff face. Then, pulling around the final bend, we commenced mission: find somewhere to park.…

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Embracing hanami and the transience of cherry blossom in Japan

Taking my first tentative steps alone through Tokyo one balmy April evening two years ago, I felt overcome with feelings of bewilderment and awe — but not for the reasons you might suppose. There was no culture shock, Lost In Translation style. Instead I was reeling simply from the surprise of finding myself suddenly and abruptly in Japan. If you’d told me two weeks prior that I would be flying ten hours across the world this dream of a city in a country I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to visit, I would have laughed in your face. Nevertheless,…

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Finding F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Hotel Belles Rives

“With our being back in a nice villa on my beloved Riviera (between Cannes and Nice) I’m happier than I’ve been for years. It’s one of those strange, precious and all too transitory moments when everything in one’s live seems to be going well.” So reads the quotation engraved in marble in the lobby of the Hotel Belles Rives in the Riviera town of Juan-Les-Pins. Its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, rented the hotel when it was still a private villa in the summer of 1925. His time in this part of France served as inspiration for both my favourite novel…

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Hipster places to eat and drink in Portland

Hipster places to eat and drink in Portland? I know what you must be thinking — surely that “hipster” descriptor is redundant, what with Portland being one of the most inherently hipster places on the planet. Still, there isn’t really a more effective way of classifying these places. I was in Portland for a wedding, and wasn’t there very long really — certainly not long enough to say whether or not these are the best places to eat and drink in the city. But nevertheless, I couldn’t let the opportunity to pass to write about the gorgeous things I did…

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Hiking Oregon’s Oneonta Gorge

Last week I told you about nine different Oregon beauty spots. This week I’m picking one of them, the Oneonta Gorge, to tell you more about the wonderful hike I did there. It’s an easy adventure incorporating hiking, scrambling, wild swimming and waterfalls that can be undertaken independently and with minimal preparation and kit. It is quick enough that you can complete it in afternoon, have enormous fun and be home in time for tea. The adventure takes in the Oneonta Gorge, a narrow emerald chasm that slices into the wall of the much bigger Columbia River Gorge. Hike half…

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