On being a tourist in Edinburgh

Having spent my university years just 50 miles up the coast in St Andrews I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Edinburgh many times. Rarely, though, did I go as a tourist; shopping, visiting friends, celebrating Hogmanay or catching a Fringe show or two took precedence and I somehow managed to neglect Scotland’s first city’s many … Continue reading On being a tourist in Edinburgh

Exploring Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

Stained-glass windows, ornate wooden effigies, intricately painted ceilings and gilded cornices: these are the images that spring to mind when the word ‘cathedral’ is uttered. What lies fifty kilometres north of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is an altogether different manifestation of the word… Reaching down 200 metres below the earth’s surface is an enormous, subterranean structure … Continue reading Exploring Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

The best floating market in Bangkok

It was our last day in Thailand and I hadn’t visited a floating market. Determined not to miss out on such an iconic outing I had spent our penultimate day in the country scrolling through Trip Advisor, reading blog posts and flicking through our Rough Guide in search of the best floating market in Bangkok. … Continue reading The best floating market in Bangkok

Medellín: a city reborn

I don’t have many pictures of Medellín. As I click through my Colombia photo album I’m surprised and disappointed at how few photos there are of this city – this city which, at the time, made such an impression on me. Thinking back I remember that during my stay in Medellín it rained almost non-stop; perhaps … Continue reading Medellín: a city reborn

Cycling in Viñales Valley, Cuba

We stepped out the front door of our casa particular into the dazzling morning sunshine. Our host, the lovely (if slightly mothering) Basita had arranged for a couple of bikes to be left for us to use for the day. Eager to get going we jumped on and began cycling towards town, past the row … Continue reading Cycling in Viñales Valley, Cuba

Discovering Machu Picchu: The Holy Grail of the Gringo Trail

“Well, that was nice”, said Brittany as the train pulled out of the station. I laughed at how simple, yet true, the summary sounded. We had just visited Machu Picchu, one of the modern wonders of the world, and it really was ‘nice’. So many adjectives are used to describe Machu Picchu: mystical, awe-inspiring, incredible. … Continue reading Discovering Machu Picchu: The Holy Grail of the Gringo Trail

Treasure Trove of Textiles in Cusco, Peru

We were drawn in by the giant fluffy dog lazing at the entrance, and lingered because of the friendly cat circling the counter. A man sat behind a desk reading a book with his spectacles perched on the end of his nose; he glanced up at us and we exchanged a smile as we doted … Continue reading Treasure Trove of Textiles in Cusco, Peru

Indian e-Visa: a flawed system?

Filling out forms is never fun. That’s just a fact. I’m a triple-checker: even on simple forms I take about ten minutes on each question and even then I always worry that I’ve made a catastrophic mistake so I have to check the form multiple times just in case… Does anyone else get this paranoid … Continue reading Indian e-Visa: a flawed system?

Going to market: the sights, sounds, and smells of an Andean marketplace

I don't usually post creative writing pieces on this blog but I thought I'd put one up and see how I feel about mixing different types of travel-related content. The following piece is a fictional passage that evokes the experience of passing through a South American market: The smell repulsed her. The acrid odour of freshly butchered … Continue reading Going to market: the sights, sounds, and smells of an Andean marketplace