South Korea

Land of the Morning Calm, Country of Contrasts

What springs to mind when you think of South Korea?  Top brands such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia?  Korean barbeque?  K-pop with its synthesised music, dance routines and colourful clothes?  Or perhaps Gangnam, the stylish upmarket district of the capital Seoul, which gave its name to the K-pop global hit ‘Gangnam Style’?  These are […]

Discovering the Dominican Republic

Caribbean Culture and Happy Horse Riding

The Dominican Republic is renowned for its white sandy beaches, palm trees and sparkling blue seas.  For visitors from North America and Europe it can offer the quintessential Caribbean experience. Yet, as I discovered, there is much to see and do beyond the confines of the all-inclusive resorts for which the country is renowned. My […]


A rich heritage in science, arts and commerce

The Dutch city of Leiden is only 180km away from Brussels, where I live, but it took me many years to finally get round to visiting the picturesque city.  Even then, it took a proposal from a group of friends in the UK to go to see an exhibition on the ancient Persian city of […]


Europe's last surviving primeval forest

Once upon a time I visited a magical, snow-covered forest.  It is the sort of forest one imagines in fairy tales and that could easily be mistaken for the Lantern Wood that features in the Chronicles of Narnia. In fact the forest is in eastern Poland.  Its name is Białowieża. I am a forest fan, […]


Holy Mountain Village of the Yazidis

One of the highlights of my latest trip to Iraq was the opportunity to visit Lalish, the holiest village of the Yazidis some 60km northeast of Mosul. The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking group.  Most live in Iraq, though there are also populations in Syria, Armenia, Georgia and Russia.  The Iraqi Yazidis live in the north […]

Egypt on Horseback

From the Nile to the Red Sea

Think of Egypt and images of pharaohs and pyramids probably spring to mind.  Like many people, as a child I was fascinated by Ancient Egypt, an interest spurred by the 1972 Tutankhamun exhibition at the British Museum in London. (Scroll down to see the photos) I never got to see the exhibition and in fact […]


Rugged Island with a Warm Welcome

Newfoundland is a large island off the eastern coast of Canada.  Covering 108,000 square kilometres, it is almost three times the size of Belgium yet has just over half a million inhabitants.  Newfoundland is big and – compared to the country of Tintin – Newfoundland is empty! Scroll down for the photos! The fact that […]


Ukraine's Cultural Jewel, Steeped in History

L’viv, Lwów, Lemberg, Leopolis – four names for a single city, the largest one in Western Ukraine.  L’viv – the name its inhabitants currently call it – has a long and rich history.  Yet it is not on most people’s A-list of European cities to visit, which is a pity because this colourful and welcoming […]