Iceland’s Purple Fields

  Before I landed in Iceland, I pictured a country of black rock interlaced with green moss, torn by blue-white glaciers and red lava fields.  One colour that I wasn’t expecting to see was purple, in vibrant fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. This beautiful plant is Alaskan lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis) and, after driving…

Three lessons from the Azure Window’s demise

  A few days ago,  when my mobile beeped with the following message, “Oh my god, the Azure Window is gone”, my first reaction was to check my calendar. Surely it was still March, and not April 1st? This denial was rudely cut short when all national and international newspapers started proclaiming the same fact….

Beautiful Rome

  There are times when my body craves beauty. It’s  a slowly spreading itch, which I can sometimes cure by being out in nature, or sitting down with a great book, musical piece or other form of art. But 2016 was a tough year, and I needed a full immersion to detox from the traces…

San Francisco’s sea lions

My terrible sense of direction is a running family joke, so I thought it would be harder to find San Francisco’s famous sea lions. However, all I had to do was follow the overpoweringly musky, stagnant smell wafting through the air at Fisherman’s Wharf,  until I reached Pier 39’s K Dock.  As here I found…

This is not an egg

Somewhere out in the ocean, a turtle may be eating a breakfast that looks remarkably similar to your own. Presenting the Egg Yolk Jelly (Phacellophora camtschatica) – a jellyfish that looks like it would be more at home surrounded by baked beans and bacon. I came across this unexpected creature at the Monterey Bay Aquarium…

Discovering baby dragons in Postojna

Each time I watch a horror movie, scenes tend to remain trapped in my mind for ages, resurfacing when I least expect them. So upon visting Postojna in Slovenia, I couldn’t help but picture The Descent. The film follows six unsuspecting cave explorers who get trapped in an unmapped cave system, where they’re pursued by…

Time travelling into Einstein’s house in Bern

Today, a red plaque on the building’s facade proudly announces ‘Einstein-haus’. But, in 1905, there would have been nothing  to distinguish this tiny flat from all the other similar blocks along Kamgrasse in Bern. Yet, behind the curtains, no ordinary home life was going on. This is the home in which Einstein came up with his theory…

Dwejra – More than the Azure Window

I arrived in Dwejra as the sun was starting to set; the golden rays gently dappling the rocks, highlighting their craggy surface. Dwejra’s claim to fame is its Azure Window, a natural rock arch rising out of the sea, which has become more recognizable since starring in a little TV series called Game of Thrones.  But…

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Glacier hiking in Norway

I’m holding an ice pick, sharp crampons, and a jumble of loops that will somehow turn into a climbing harness; staring up at a wall of ice. I don’t need to formulate the thought as my travel partner turns to me, “What on earth did you sign us up for?” Most people come up with…

Inside an ancient alchemy laboratory

In August 2002, Prague was flooded by heavy rains. The results were catastrophic; billions of Czech korunas’ worth of damage, seventeen dead, and forty thousand people evacuated from their homes. In the aftermath, the resilient residents dusted themselves off and started to pick up the pieces. The owner of house number 1, on Haštalská street…