August 2016

The Douro Valley in Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's picturesque quintas cling to steep valley slopes which meet the Douro river. The microclimate of this mountainous region promotes the cultivation of olives, almonds and the grapes of the famous Port wine.

Africa

Operation Sunshine

Operation Sunshine

February 5, 2010 · 188 Comments 

A mother and daughter from Liteta. Photos © Trevor Claringbold Operation Sunshine BBC RADIO PRESENTER, TREVOR CLARINGBOLD, RECENTLY TRAVELLED TO CENTRAL AFRICA WITH THE CHARITY OPERATION SUNSHINE. IT WAS AN AMAZING, LIFE CHANGING JOURNEY, AS HE NOW EXPLAINS… Ever since Bob Geldof and Midge Ure penned the classic ‘Do They Know Its Christmas’, African aid charities have taken on an almost trendy persona. But as with most good things, the critics are quick to seek fault. Does the aid get through to the people its intended for? How much of what gets donated goes on ‘administration’?... [Read the full story]

Asia Pacific

Hiding At An Indian Wedding

Hiding At An Indian Wedding

February 9, 2010 · Leave a Comment 

The dashing bride and groom. Photos © Jen Carswell Gathering energy for the strenuous journey to come. Riding to the temple, at least part of the way. Natasha and I, pretty in pink and burgundy. Hiding At An Indian Wedding Every little girl likes playing dress-up. I was a fairy queen, a rock star, a Ninja Turtle and the list goes on. But at 27, I have few occasions. An Indian wedding a few weeks ago allowed me such a long-awaited opportunity. Besides the fact that my salwar kameez was extraordinarily hot (to the point of causing dizziness), I thoroughly enjoyed my Indian make-over and the chance... [Read the full story]

Europe

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales

July 14, 2010 · 221 Comments 

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales On March 20 Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted several times in a row and caused major disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe. Our writer Meg Pier went there last May and found out firsthand why the Icelandic people have such a healthy respect for the power of Mother Nature, and how the mystery of the country’s landscape has led to a culture steeped in folk tales. In a 2007 survey conducted by the University of Iceland, 64% of those polled had some belief in huldufolk or hidden people, and alfar, or elves.  Almost two-thirds... [Read the full story]

Middle East

Women In Black

Women In Black

February 5, 2010 · 219 Comments 

Women in Saudi Arabia wear a loose robe called an abaya and a face veil called niqab in public. © Mehmet Salih Guler Women In Black OBSERVATIONS BY A MALE VISITOR TO SAUDI ARABIA ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just entered Saudi airspace, if you need to change into the appropriate clothing, now is a good time to do so.’ I had been told that this announcement would be made on the flight, but I had cast is aside as one of those travel myths; I knew from other places I’d visited that the reality rarely fitted what the media, or other people told you. As several women got up... [Read the full story]

Americas

A Pilgrimage Through New Mexico

A Pilgrimage Through New Mexico

February 9, 2010 · 223 Comments 

A Pilgrimage Through New Mexico “I met him when I was twelve, and the minute I saw him, I knew.” Joan Medina wipes a spare wisp of brown hair away from her face and smiles in the direction of her husband Arthur, or LowLow as he’s better known. His back is turned to us as he reaches into their lowrider for the paintings he’s lining up along the fence, and I can’t be sure whether he’s listening or not. Joan and LowLow have been married for more than twenty years, and she’s telling me now how long before that, she knew he was the one for her. As LowLow... [Read the full story]

Short Stories

On The Coldest Day

On The Coldest Day

February 4, 2010 · 247 Comments 

On The Coldest Day When I first saw you you were eating an ice-cream on the coldest day of the year. Strands of your untamed hair kept getting stuck to it but you didn’t care, you kept eating while those around you sipped coffee from polystyrene cups. You asked me when the next train was due and I said five and you said thanks. I wanted to ask you your name but didn’t know how, you saw me staring and asked me for mine. Andrew. You said your name was Gretchen but you didn’t like it because it didn’t sound like the name an actress would have. I asked you if that’s... [Read the full story]

Europe

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales

Iceland’s Culture of Folk Tales On March 20 Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted several times in a row and caused major disruption... 


Maltese Blue

Maltese Blue

Maltese Blue Colorful Boats Tell the History of an Island Civilization Taking the strong arm offered to me, I was the last to board the small... 


Time Travelling In Gozo

Time Travelling In Gozo

Time Travelling In Gozo “If you do any digging in the Maltese islands, you’re bound to find something—it’s all just one big... 


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Asia Pacific

Hiding At An Indian Wedding

Hiding At An Indian Wedding

The dashing bride and groom. Photos © Jen Carswell Gathering energy for the strenuous journey to come. Riding to the temple, at least part of... 


At the End of the World

At the End of the World

At the End of the World It is the end of June and I have stepped off the plane into the beautiful, heaving, exotic, garbage-ridden streets of... 


Eclipsed

Eclipsed

Eclipsed Lyndhurst, South Australia 4 December 2002 6:30pm The wind whips the orange dust into a constant abrasive stream flowing endlessly and... 


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