FINALLY GOT AROUND to calculating my trip costs this weekend. I may have discovered a secret fetish for spreadsheets. A quick glance at the chart below tells the whole story: the later the month, the more expensive the country I travelled. As such, even though the total amount spent per month doesn’t change drastically. (With the exception […]

IT ISN’T RIGHT TO SAY Ben Stiller has created a love letter to ambitious travellers everywhere with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, though he obviously tried very hard to do that. The nearly-two-hour-long kaleidoscope of Central Asian and Arctic Island postcards seems hand-stitched for a modern travel community whose members’ ambitions soar miles over […]

“I BETTER TAKE MY PHONE,” the redheaded farm boy said. “In case we get stuck out there, to call someone to pull us out.” He had done this before. He searchingly patted the pants he’d hung up in the downstairs shed that smells faintly of sheep and dung and eventually found his small cell phone, […]

THE FIRST THING TO GIVE UP in Iceland’s December is the sun, and with it the loss of humanity’s very conception of time itself. Darkness shrouds the jagged island for 20 hours a day; the sun peeks out only briefly between 11 and 3 o’clock, which forces locals to reconfigure “morning” as a painfully taunting […]

LONDON IS ONE OF the great museum capitals of the world, and whereas the Tate Modern and National Gallery may be obvious choices, there is a surfeit more whose aim is so peculiarly niche that I’m a little surprised anyone sporting only a vague interest would bother to pay the admission fee. Then again it […]

I WROTE A FEW WEEKS AGO that “there is no such thing as small in Budapest.” If that is true, then the opposite must be said of Edinburgh, where everything is small, and cute, and surrounded by a proud air of uniqueness: things are hand-woven or hand-written or hand-made, arts & crafts, one-of-a-kind, organic and […]

1. The Arc de Triomphe A short man bent over in front of me as I was sitting on a bench slathering goat cheese on a piece of brown bread for lunch. The Arc de Triomphe stood brightly in the sun behind him, and I had been enjoying the view, which he interrupted by standing […]

WATCHING PARISIAN WAITERS is watching an angry, anxious modern dance where things break and crash and no one ends up happy. Two young men will determinedly stare ahead and chug towards each other quickly, like rushing into a mirror, and at the last possible moment stomp down hard on the black-and-white tile floors and leap […]

THERE ARE SOMEHOW SIX HOTELS in Berdorf, Luxembourg, a commune with a population of not quite 900. Most of them were closed. I stepped into an open one, the Famille Defive, for a coffee. Everyone knows everyone: this was immediately clear as I made eye contact with the waitress, a hefty woman with spiky red […]

LUXEMBOURG IS, IN EVERY WAY, a mishmash of other countries. Its ads are mostly French; its language sounds German; its radio mostly Luxembourgish. Even the just name “Luxembourg” sounds like a conglomeration of other words smushed together: luxurious, emboldened, smorgasbord. (All of which, strangely, are perfect descriptors of this tiny European nation.) Contrary to what […]