Click on the links below the excerpts to read more.


“It was stunning. Literally stunning, as in, my mind went blank and it felt like I’d been clubbed on the head. My entire vocabulary was reduced to two words, and I just said them over and over, out loud because somehow it wasn’t enough to just think them. ‘Beautiful. Gorgeous. Beautiful…’”



“Palermo feels like a real city, a place where people actually live and go about their daily lives as if unaware of the strangers with guidebooks and cameras. There are grocery stores, hardware stores and trattorias that don’t have pictures of the food and menus translated into four languages. Cities such as Venice, while beautiful, sometimes feel like adult theme parks, as though the entire place has been artfully staged to look the way tourists think it should look. Palermo–and this is the mother-of-all understatements–is not like that.”



“I wander into a quirky kind of department store that sells everything from gardening tools to stationary to smoked sardines. Traditional Portuguese products packaged in a way that make design lovers swoon mingle with products so inventive and clever they make you smile. Housed in a gorgeous Art Nouveau building with a vintage wooden staircase, it’s a metaphor for Porto itself—honouring tradition, while blazing the trail forward.”




The GR221 is one of the jewels of European hiking trails. It weaves through pine forests studded by spectacular escarpments and past networks of stone terraces built up by farmers over millennia.”




“Every square is taken over by musical bands, sometimes two or three of them, and they play everything from rockabilly to flamenco. I sit down at one of the bars and have an excellent unfiltered, hoppy ale called Valmiermuiza while listening to a clarinet-bass duo perform a snazzy rendition of the theme song to the Flintstones.”

Riga, Latvia


“The pubs in Dublin where most tourists go are the kind that have neon signs outside saying ‘Authentic Irish Pub,’ the surest way to tell that it’s not an authentic Irish pub. But a few true pubs still survive and I went on a mission to find them. They don’t serve food, or play recorded music or television. They’re places to have a drink, and if you are so inclined, a conversation.”



“It’s my opinion that history is more easily digested on a full stomach, so my first destination in Budapest was the bustling Great Market Hall. Built at the end of the 19th Century, it’s a massive brick building by the banks of the Danube River, with a giant atrium supported by beautiful, classic, iron framework. It’s the kind of food market you imagine when you think of European food markets.”

Budapest to Vienna


“The heat was ferocious and nobody could stand anywhere close to the barrier. As the entire falla was engulfed in huge, hungry flames, thick clouds of black smoke billowed into the air. It was a bizarre sight, this gigantic fire raging in a small plaza on the narrow streets.”