Churches and squares everywhere 

Chinese New Year in Macau – Day 2 – A tour of old colonial Macau If you don’t go to Macau to gamble or shop, you go to Macau for history. I’m not a gambler – and I’d probably be a poor one even if I tried – and I don’t particularly go in for…

Signal lost. Turn right.

Chinese New Year in Macau – Day 1 – Arrival by ferry crossing We were very tired, we were very merry— We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry; And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear, From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere; And the sky went…

The long shadows of war and wall

A German Christmas story – Berlin, Day 4 – Berlin Wall Memorial & Jewish History Museum It was hard to drag myself out of the hotel the next day after staying up half the night watching news footage about the Berlin Christmas market terrorist attack. The hope that it had been only an accident quickly faded away…

From Prussian splendor to post-war gloom

A German Christmas Story – Day 2 in Berlin – Checkpoint Charlie and Schloss Charlottenburg I fell asleep early the night before and did not make it to a Christmas market after all. However, I unashamedly got thirteen hours of sleep after a restless night before leaving for Berlin and almost none on my flight,…

The Forest of Wisdom

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Heyri Artist Valley & Paju Book City  If you tell a bibliophile that there’s such a magical place as a “Book City”, then it had better live up to its moniker. Add in 8 m high bookshelves and something called “The Forest of Wisdom”, and just point me in the…

War, peace, and the surprising beauty of stones

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju Island Tourist Bus Besides meet up with old friends and colleagues who now work in schools on Jeju Island – and having Mexican food and local Korean BBQ for various meals – there were a few looping tourist buses that run around the island to drop people off…

What to do on Jeju

Diary of an Autumn Leafer – Jeju, South Korea  About a three hour flight from Hong Kong is a small Korean island called Jeju. The island made its living from seafood, and now, tourism – mostly of from China at about 85% of the usual tourist trade. October holiday, a blessed week that we get…

I am excessively fond of a cottage

Anglotopia Day 19 – the Cotswolds  “I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a short distance of London, where I might drive myself…

Anywhere with a castle

Anglotopia Day 12 – Kendal & Carlisle  Sunshine greeted me early the next morning, as I had forgotten to pull the sunshade on my rooftop window. With rail pass in tow, I hopped a train to Kendal, only a stop or two away from Windermere, to take a wander around the town and visit the…

The wuthering heights of Yorkshire

Anglotopia Day 7 – Drive from Edinburgh to Haworth to the edge of the Peaks “Come, walk with me” We used to love on winter nights To wander through the snow; Can we not woo back old delights? The clouds rush dark and wild They fleck with shade our mountain heights The same as long…

Accio Train Station! to Platform 9 3/4

London/Edinburgh Day 3 – Morning – Train to Edinburgh It was time to bid farewell to London, at least for now. I made my way to King’s Cross Station via the Tube relatively early in the morning to catch a train up to Edinburgh. And, as any self-respecting Harry Potter fan had to do, I…

Two days at a desert mirage in Abu Dhabi

When others dream of laying on a beach in a postcard perfect tropical location (not that I don’t – sometimes), I dream mostly of crumbling castles, acres of perfectly mowed green lawns, and the homes of my literary favorites – Austen, Brontes, Wordsworth, and Dickens. Yes, I dream of England. It has become an interesting…