The Christmas markets of Cologne

A couple of years ago I got into a disagreement with two travel writers on Twitter about Christmas markets. As shopping experiences they were terrible, they said — overpriced and overrated. I argued that if they saw Christmas markets as shopping trips they were totally missing the point. Christmas markets are about food, about ambience and about laughing and talking with friends. The mark of a decent Christmas market is that it leaves you in a gluhwein-addled fug of good cheer and delight. That said, I did have some trepidation about booking a trip to one of Germany’s best-known Christmas…

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This Airbnb is probably the best place to stay in Berlin

Berlin is an annual stop-off for me these days as it’s a regular fixture on the international technology trade show circuit, which looks something like this: Las Vegas–>Barcelona–>Berlin… rinse and repeat. Due to the fact that most of the time I’m in Berlin I’m on business trips, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy some of the fancier digs about town. I’ve stayed in the Wyndham Grand, which is swanky in a business-functional kind of way and had the most enormous bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Seriously, the shower was just the best, and practically bigger than my flat in London. I’ve stayed in the Lux 11,…

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Brecon Beacons: A wild Wales weekend

There was a time when all I knew of Wales was its northernmost reaches. Abersoch, Anglesey and pretty Portmeirion were the places I spent my early childhood; but there is more to Wales than that, and more of Wales than that in me. About a quarter of me comes from the Valleys, the industrialised area of South Wales where my Nana grew up — before she fled to medical school in Cardiff, and then to England. But there is more to Wales even than these places. Plenty more. One of the places I have longed to go is the Brecon Beacons.…

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A taste of Malmö on two wheels

I pedalled with all my might against the wind and coasted around corners at high speed in a way I haven’t since I was a kid. Just in time, I arrived to see the Turning Torso lit up by fading sun before it dropped behind a cloud.

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My brief encounter with Ukraine

I can say with all certainty that being a shy child taught me to be a careful, confident solo traveller once I reached adulthood. Something you will only understand if you have ever been one of those people who is terrified of everything is that the whole of life can sometimes seem like an exercise in calculated risk taking. Every word that passes your lips is an exercise in not stuttering; every set of stairs you walk down is an exercise in not falling; every foray out of your front door comes with the utterance of a prayer that you…

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