Visiting the cultural, historical, gastronomical, architectural behemoth that is Rome without a plan of attack would be a fool’s errand by any stretch of the imagination. With a blow-by-blow itinerary that included tactical naps, pre-booked, timed tickets, backup bars and restaurants and backups for the backups, there was no way I was going the Eternal City slip through my fingers on my very first trip. I know — I sound like the tourist of nightmares. But I’d like it to be known this is not my preferred approach to a city break. Ideally I’d like to stay for a month,…

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This photo of me with looking out at the Northern Lights makes me so happy every time I look at it. But the story of how we got the shot while we were on holiday in Iceland is not what you might expect… I had a good feeling about Hofn from the start, which is odd given that it is not a place that makes a spectacular first impression.  It turns out that I had great intuition: it was a town full of surprises. First there is its name, which is not pronounced Hoffen, as we’d been calling it before…

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Crunk! Like distant cannon fire, the thunder bounces long and menacing around the rocky rounded inlets due south of where we stand. The sky is split in two as starkly as a half moon cookie, and Porto Selvaggio sits on the dividing line. Just as we settle ourselves on an outcrop to the north of the bay where the sky is still pale, lightning slices through the sky above the squat, square Torre Santa Maria dell’Alto. There is nothing for it, we must turn on our heels and retrace our steps to the car with everyone else on the beach.…

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Is there something fundamentally misguided about what we expect to get out of our holidays? Are we setting trips up to fail by promising ourselves the absolute best time, because it just has to be, because you need it and you’ve dreamed of it? These are things I have been thinking about recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that for many people, myself included, the answer is frequently yes. The good news is that I think I’ve also found a solution that relieves the pressure somewhat and will make us all happier holiday makers as a result. Not all…

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As the pale waters of the lagoon licked the sides of the speeding boat, it was easy to forget that only moments ago I was caught up in the pandemonium of St Mark’s Square. Squinting in the heat of the early afternoon sun, I searched out the right jetty through a rainbow of bobbing, bundled-up umbrellas, held aloft by patient tour guides. I passed underneath the Starwood-emblazoned arch and onto the boat, immediately entering into a more peaceful, more elegant world. Our path to the St Regis was not straightforward and as we zigzagged across the lagoon, I made several…

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