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 […]


The City that Rose from the Ashes

The Belarussian capital Minsk has a long history.  It had been on my ‘to visit’ list for a long time, yet mention Minsk and most people ask “Why do you want to go there?” Which is a pity because the city is certainly worth the trip.  Although the legacy of Soviet town planning is still fairly […]

Iraqi Kurdistan

Stunning, Surprising and Safe

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 […]


Of Castles and Commonwealth, Conquest and Cold

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

France's last territory in North America

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) […]


The Caucasus' smallest republic

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, […]


Quintessentially Caucasian

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 […]