Djibouti

Salt Lakes, Deserts and Dying Forests

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 […]

2016 – A Retrospective

2016 was a year full of surprises for many people.  Looking back on it, few people – myself included – were sad to see the year end. But then I began going through my photographs of 2016.  I realised that, beyond the year’s horrible headlines, I can look back on some great moments and trips to fascinating […]

Isfahan

Boulevards and Bridges, Palaces and Parks

Isfahan is a highlight of any visit to Iran.  A city of boulevards and bridges, palaces and parks, mosques and minarets, it retains much of its past glory and is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture.  With a strategic position on the main north–south and east–west routes crossing Iran, the city was once ranked alongside Baghdad […]

Shiraz

Of Nightingales and Roses, Waterways and Wine

Shiraz, in the south of Iran, is known as the city of roses and nightingales.  It’s also renowned for its poets, literature and wine.  Indeed, it’s from Shiraz that the eponymous grape, so beloved of wine drinkers, comes – although under the country’s strict alcohol laws you’d struggle to find any wine on sale here. […]

Yazd

City of Wind Catchers

In my first post about Iran I said that there was much more to the country than tiled domes and minarets, and classical Persian architecture in ancient cities surrounded by desert.  This remains true, but the domes, minarets and classical architecture do, of course, exist. Yazd, Esfahan and Shiraz are three places which feature on […]

Le Château de Versailles et ses Jardins

Vus Autrement

The Palace of Versailles is one of France’s top tourist attractions.  In recent years, internationally renowned artists have been invited to display their works in the palace and its grounds.  In 2016 it was the turn of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, known for his unusual pieces.  Having not been to Versailles for some time, this […]

Åland

An Archipelago in Autumn

Åland is a group of islands at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea, just 38 km from Sweden and 25 minutes from Stockholm in a small propellor plane.  Home to some 29,000 people, Åland is part of Finland but has autonomous status.  It is the only region in Finland where technically Swedish […]

Northern Iran

From the Caspian Sea Coast to the Castles of the Assassins

Mention Iran and many people will think of classical Persian architecture in ancient cities surrounded by desert.  While such places do of course exist, there is much more to Iran than ‘just’ tiled domes and minarets.  Iran is a big country – 54 times the size of Belgium – and its landscapes incredibly diverse.  From […]