My blog


Living the sweet life in Galicia

In 2007 Lisa Wright left a promising career as a UK ecologist catching protected reptiles and amphibians, and kissing frogs, to move to beautiful green Galicia in northwestern Spain. Her new memoir Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart is an engaging mix of anecdotes, letters, recipes and stories from the stunningly beautiful area she now calls home.

Boiling in Berlin

Berlin, I am led to believe by numerous books and websites, has a temperate climate “characterised by moderately warm summers”. Hell, Hades, blazes, a monkey’s bum, an oven, a Carolina Reaper chilli and a dingo’s sphincter, on the other hand, are all generally considered to be extremely hot, and it has honestly never occurred toContinue reading “Boiling in Berlin”

A cruise among the waterlilies on Lake Skadar

The boat chugs out of Virpazar harbour along a reed-fringed channel backed by stands of willow. Dense thickets line each side, blocking any view. The water is dark, cloudy, murky. Lake Skadar, we’re told, is the largest lake in the Balkans, but as yet there is no actual lake to see.

In Finn’s footsteps on the Giant’s Causeway

Stick a geologist in front of the Giant’s Causeway and this is what they’ll say. Sixty million years ago, give or take a week or two, molten lava erupted through the chalk beds of the Irish Channel and formed a huge, bubbling lava field, hundreds of thousands of square kilometres in size.

How I escaped a murderer at the Grand Canyon

It’s all in the intonation. “May God help you!” – the rising word ‘God’ stretched out across several syllables and the ‘help you’ a dismissive, downbeat ‘help ya’, as the officer waved us through.

Giving away your ebook for free

Originally posted on Trust-Me Travel:
You’ve written a new ebook. Congrats! That’s weeks or months of work, and then days of preparation as you format the manuscript and submit it for publication. It may be your first book, or your hundredth, but it’s still your baby, your life, your pride and joy. So why would…

Trust me, I’m a travel writer

Let’s say you were going to write some new travel books, and design and launch a new travel publishing website to promote them. Would you A) take the current temperature of the world in turmoil and decide not to do any of that or B) . . .?

I’ve gone with B.

A great European journey – Bar to Belgrade by train

Montenegro only has two train lines – to be fair, it’s a small and wildly mountainous country – which makes it all the more remarkable that one of them turns out to be a candidate for Europe’s most thrilling train ride.

The soundtrack to a travel-writing life

I had dinner with Lisa Stansfield once, as it turns out, in London. I saw Oasis play in Adelaide, and Blur in Washington DC. In Las Vegas I once had a front-row table for Engelbert Humperdinck, and THAT is a story my friends, I can tell you.

Titanic Belfast – where the story began

Titanic. It’s a famous story, but the bare facts lose their power over time. The last survivors – babies on the voyage – succumbed to old age and not an icy sea, and the Titanic story has largely become one of myth and legend. Fiction intrudes upon memory, so that Leonardo and Kate speak to us – “I’ll never let go, Jack” – in a way the actual passengers never could.

Uluru – why I never climbed

For decades, visitors – who wouldn’t dream of stripping off to cool down in the chilled waters of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, or lie on the High Altar of St Paul’s Cathedral for a better camera angle – thought little of desecrating an ancient site in the heart of the Australian desert.

Among the ruins in the Lost City of Stari Bar, Montenegro

The Montenegrin Pompeii, some call it – crumbling houses facing streets that go nowhere; sketchy foundations that refuse to give up their mystery; wild flowers spreading through heaped stones; and empty windows framing isolated walls and distant views.

In & out – Zagreb

Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor – 840 miles into the trip Day 6 of my round-Europe train trip – 9 countries in total, from Germany to Switzerland via a very roundabout route – puts me in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. It’s a lazy two-and-a-half hour trundle along the river from Ljubljana, but I saw precious little ofContinue reading “In & out – Zagreb”

In & out – Ljubljana

Ljubljana – 754 miles into the trip Day 5 of the summer train trip = Slovenia, which is a new country for me, which means my ‘been’ app has jumped me up to 57% of Europe visited, though obviously I am still smarting over the break-up of Yugoslavia which has basically required me to visitContinue reading “In & out – Ljubljana”

In & out – Bratislava

Bratislava-Petrzalka – 520 miles into the trip Day 4 – and, frankly, it’s too hot to blog – too hot to breathe – let alone travel to Bratislava, but needs must when you have promised to cover every station en route from Berlin to Milan. And this blog won’t write itself, so here goes. MindContinue reading “In & out – Bratislava”

In & out – Vienna

Vienna Hauptbahnhof – 424 miles into the trip Day 3 of my round-Europe trip by train puts me slap-bang in the middle of Vienna, also in the middle of something else – a record-breaking heatwave. Still, I am staying in a hotel obligingly called AllYouNeedVienna, which only costs €49 a night but, given its name,Continue reading “In & out – Vienna”

In & out – Prague

Praha Hvalni Nadrazi – 217 miles into the trip Day 2 of my round-Europe summer train trip and it’s Prague, capital of the Czech Republic – half of what used to be Czechoslovakia if you’re reading this in black and white and smoking Soviet-era roll-ups, also Stag Party capital of Europe and purveyor of devilishlyContinue reading “In & out – Prague”

In & out – Berlin

Berlin Hauptbahnhof – 0 miles into the trip Day 1 of In & Out Europe – my Big Summer Train Trip around 9 countries in 9 days – finds me in Berlin and I cannot tell a lie. Believe me, I’d like to. I could distract and dissemble; I could embellish and embroider; I couldContinue reading “In & out – Berlin”

In praise of The Man in Seat 61

The Man in Seat 61 makes it easy to arrange train trips, and shows you how it’s done, step by step, but what he really does is package dreams. Here’s the world, he says. You don’t have to fly. Take the train. It’s romantic.

How to get your new book noticed and reviewed

It’s easier than it’s ever been to write a book and get it published. First, you write a book. And then second, you publish it on Amazon or another platform of your choice, with a minimal amount of formatting work and couple of clicks. It’s that easy. Even I did it, with Takoradi to the stars (via Huddersfield).

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