30th November 1980

Italy – There and back again, early journeys

We consumed delicious calamari in a delightful side street restaurant. Gondolas were ruled out, on the grounds of cost, but the arias that accompanied the tourists with money to burn wafted past us.
22nd November 1990

Germany – Passing Through

A German guy carried my bag onto the boat and gave me some of his bottled beer- Lowenbrau. I didn’t like it much.
23rd February 1999


The exotic scent of stink bombs greets me as I alight from the plane at Reykjavik and accompanies me for most of my stay.
1st May 2000

Spain – Barcelona

Above all, the amazing art - the Miro Foundation, the authenticity of the stone roomed Picasso Museum, the sheer bonkers-ness of Dali’s work, especially the house at Portlligat (a bus ride away) and of course, Antoni Gaudi.
22nd April 2002

Northern Ireland

I was ten when I went to Wales and enormously excited to make my first trip ‘abroad’. The parents of a school friend took me with them on their family holiday. I was very disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any kind of border crossing at Welshpool.
10th February 2004


I’ve chosen an independent hotel on a beautiful stretch of sand just south of the infamous Sandy Lane Hotel. This is the establishment where the likes of Simon Cowell hang out though, of course, we can’t see them from our lowly section, as it’s fenced off.
9th June 2004


The famous beach Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), isn’t quite as relaxing as I had anticipated, as I lie on the white pebbles, huddled under my jacket, but I’m sure it is usually lovely. (Ironically,  these islands are reported to have the most hours of sunshine in Europe – more than 2,800 hours a year.) The little port is pretty, when the sun peeps from behind the clouds..
1st October 2004

Spain – Bilbao

I knew Bilbao was a port, I knew it was the centre of the Basque separatist movement and  latterly I knew about it because of the new Guggenheim Museum. I adore Frank Gehry’s scaley monstrosities, so it was an ideal weekend trip.
1st December 2004

Spain – Lanzarote

This is a singles holiday and I’m making the most of it, so it doesn’t really matter that the south of Lanzarote (Playa Blanca) is a concrete jungle, with a very long paseo maritimo and a sprawl of hotels.