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Nassfeld: Frontier Fantasies

Nassfeld: Frontier Fantasies

I flung open the window to the balcony of my room in the Gartnerkofel hotel, breathed in the icy air, and peered out over a vast forest of heavily snow-laden trees. It was like waking up in Narnia. The hotel is built at an altitude of 1500 m, so for the first time on a […]

Saalbach’s Romantic Mountain Retreat

Saalbach’s Romantic Mountain Retreat

I kicked the new snow off our boots and laid the skis against the dark wood of the Pfefferalm hut. Inside an open fire was crackling in the corner. Some of the wood smoke had escaped the chimney and was spreading a pungent mist across the room. Through the haze I could just make out […]

Tenerife: Eccentricity of Nature

Tenerife: Eccentricity of Nature

The final stretch of single track back to the Tenerife village of La Guancha plunged down steeply over loose rocks. It was a hurtling, stomach-lurching, twisting, arm-jarring descent through the pine trees. Tall flowers lined the path and through the larger gaps between the trees, there were glimpses of the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. My […]

Norway’s Harsh Beauty

Norway’s Harsh Beauty

I teetered apprehensively at the edge of the pebbled beach, still wearing a woollen hat and thick hoodie sweater. Runa, however, a hardy Norwegian, had already stripped down to her swimming costume and was striding into the blue-black water of the Hardangerfjord, a vast lizard’s tongue of water licking its way inland from the North […]

Warsaw, Still Rising

Warsaw, Still Rising

In downtown Warsaw, imposing, sleekly designed towers dot the skyline. Glass and steel towers have sprouted near the Palace of Culture and Science. A sign plastered to a skyscraper in progress, which wouldn’t look out of place in midtown Manhattan, identifies future “cosmopolitan apartments”.  Since we were last here, Warsaw has become exhilaratingly urban, at […]

The Other Budapest Experience

The Other Budapest Experience

The Danube is rising fast as we walk along the gangplank on to the A38, a former Ukrainian coal barge moored in Budapest. “I’ve never seen it like this!” said Lauren Groves, a Brit who has lived in Budapest for four years: “Usually the gangplank slopes steeply downwards from the bank to the boat, meaning […]

Vienna’s Secret Spring Getaways

Vienna’s Secret Spring Getaways

Once again the countryside surrounding Vienna is awash with spring colour. From forested hills with bright green canopies of beech and oak, to romantic gardens adorning majestic castles, there are some charming places for a day’s getaway. And get away I did – with daypack dusted and family enlisted – determined to discover the most […]

Bornholm Holiday: Beaches, Bison and Beer

Bornholm Holiday: Beaches, Bison and Beer

One of the favourite secret vacation localities of the Danes, the little island of Bornholm is a perfect place for discovering true Danish country life, away from fancy Copenhagen tourism. Just three days earlier, we had been in the capital of Denmark, choked by hordes of tourists from all continents, all coming to see the […]

Belgrade: The Late Bloomer of the East

Belgrade: The Late Bloomer of the East

“Traffic here works according to the principle of self-determination,” my friend Oliver tells me. “You wait for a good opportunity to cross. If there isn’t one, you have to create one. Just stare down the cars and hope for the best!” The wide street is feeding more cars into the roundabout on Slavija Square, in […]

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