Travels

Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan is a land of mountains and rolling hills, forests and farms.  Rivers – some clear turquoise, others torrid grey – rush through the countryside as if eager to escape to flatter lands where they can relax on their way to the sea.  The region is a stark contrast to the dry deserts of […]

Belarus

The Eastern European country of Belarus is perhaps one of Europe’s less well known countries and a bit off the beaten track as regards tourism.  That is a pity because it certainly has much to offer the visitor – especially if, like me, you are interested in history.  There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites […]

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are the last French territories in North America.  France’s North American colonies once covered thousands of square kilometres, with New France – as they were known – stretching from New Orleans in the South, through Louisiana, to Canada in the North.  But after the Seven Years War (1756-63) […]

Ingushetia

Ingushetia lies on the northern slopes of the Caucasus in Russia’s Deep South.  It is sandwiched between the neighbouring republics of North Ossetia-Alania to the west, Chechnya to the east and the country of Georgia to the south.  At just 3,000 square km, Ingushetia is the smallest of Russia’s North Caucasian republics. Like the Chechens, […]

Chechnya

Chechnya is perhaps one of the North Caucasus’ better known republics.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it has been in the news more than the others – sadly, for all the wrong reasons.  Chechnya’s two wars for independence from Russia in […]

North Ossetia-Alania

The North Caucasian Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is one of a series of semi-autonomous Russian republics stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.  Like the other republics and countries in the region, it is steeped in history and has often been at the mercy of successive empires jockeying for power over the mountain […]

Dagestan

The mountainous Republic of Dagestan lies at the eastern reaches of Russia’s North Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea coast.  Sandwiched between Chechnya to the west and Azerbaijan and Georgia to the south, this relatively little-known corner of the world offers the visitor stunning scenery, a wealth of history and some remarkably good wines.  Its […]

The Mosaics of Tunisia

Following on from my previous posting about Tunisia, this post focuses exclusively on the country’s fabulous mosaics.  I do not usually do single issue posts, but the mosaics were so impressive it seemed a pity to only show a couple of pictures of them. Mosaics are images made from putting together small roughly square pieces […]

Tunisia

The North African country of Tunisia is a place I had wanted to visit for some time.  Earlier this year, I finally got myself organised, booked a hotel and hopped on a plane.  I was not disappointed with the experience. Tunisia lies at the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains. Although the Sahara desert reaches […]

Djibouti

Djibouti is one of Africa’s smallest countries.  Located in the Horn of Africa between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland, it has just 850,000 inhabitants.  It used to be a French colony, but in 1977 became independent.  Alongside Arabic, French is still an official language and there’s a clear French influence in the country’s cuisine. Djibouti’s strategic […]