Archive for April, 2011

Highflying women

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The Red Arrows aerial display teamI think there’s a certain glamour to aerobatics – that world in which elite groups of the world’s finest pilots outdo one another to create the ballet of the skies. This synchronised dance of timing and daring is also one of the most dangerous activities you could sign up for, so there must be an element of madness in the steely nerve of these handpicked men – and women.

I admit it; I was quite surprised to see that two of the world’s oldest and finest aerobatics teams, the Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France, now also have female pilots within their ranks. I know it’s 2011 and that there are now women fighter pilots in the air forces of the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Canada, Australia and even the likes of Pakistan and the Philippines, but it still took me by surprise. (more…)

Bentley Mulsanne

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The super luxurious Bentley MulsanneAfter decades in the shadow of Rolls Royce limousines, the Bentley has now emerged as a magnificent luxury vehicle in its own right. With the Mulsanne, Bentley is reviving the heyday of the marque.

Not since the legendary Continental of the 1950s have Bentleys looked so good. The renaissance of the brand began with the beautifully styled and engineered Continental, no doubt inspired by its famous namesake. It is good to see that Bentley have built upon the success of that model to allow its design style to evolve into something truly special. That something is the Mulsanne, itself the bearer of a name laden with history, tradition and a reputation for motoring excellence. (more…)

Classic safari

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Photography Wilderness Safaris & Caroline Culbert

On safari in NamibiaIt is hard these days to see and experience the Africa of old, as described by the likes of Ernest Hemingway in the days of the classic safari, when wildlife roamed the open African savannah and tom-toms sounded from within hidden villages. Fortunately there are still pockets where Africa lives on in all its glory.

One such pocket, indeed a sizeable one, is Namibia. Situated to the northwest of South Africa, this is a country that stands out for its peace, stability and relative prosperity. Quite in contrast to most of the continent, it is not plagued by coups d’etat, unrest and famine, but has enjoyed many years of growth, building on natural resources such as minerals, its wildlife and scenic beauty, and a population that is small enough in relation to resources to allow a good standard of living. (more…)

Paris, City of many faces

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

The Louvre museum, ParisParis: City of Light, beacon of romantics and capital of fashion and elegance. Yes, this beautiful city is all these things, but much more besides. More profound than the sum of its famous parts, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe or Champs Elysées, Paris is a city of many layers, its history and present intertwined in a rich mosaic of beauty, grandeur, passion and sorrow. To truly discover Paris is as great an endeavour as to tame a wilderness or scale a giant peak.

Like most great cities Paris is a place of clichés. Do the great monuments, sights and romantic aura of cinema, fiction and travel brochures hold true? Yes, Paris is not one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for nothing; go out and marvel at the elegant buildings, walk the broad boulevards, visit the museums, soak in the café society and be seduced by those chic shops. This city has it all to offer; just don’t think you can come to grips with a place as big and fascinating as this in one visit. To unravel the many layers that truly make up Paris takes an understanding borne out of many years of experience – some even say a lifetime. (more…)