Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Discovering beautiful lakes on our doorstep (Part 2)

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Laghi di Monticchio, Italy In my previous blog you will have read all about our adventures in and around the fair town of Potenza. If not, go right back to start and catch up before reading on…

So having chanced upon the wondrous Laghi di Monticchio after our laborious travails through the hills of Basilicata, we promised ourselves to come back and explore this little hidden paradise properly. This is exactly what we did a few days later, following the much easier route from Calitri along the gently winding valley road en route to Melfi. Well before that town, however, you turn off and upwards towards Rionero in Vulture. (more…)

Málaga, a regional powerhouse in the making

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Malaga's technology parkThis article was written for Essential magazine May 2012 edition

We’ve all noticed it, there’s a recession going on. What’s more, it’s been biting hard and has done so for some time now, but quite apart from worries about the national economy there is a local trend that is far more encouraging. In the midst of recession Málaga is transforming itself into a modern city capable of attracting not only tourists and students but also foreign investment and international corporations. Whilst the beautification of the city’s historic centre continues, its pace is increasingly matched by an infrastructural modernisation aimed at turning Málaga into a centre of business and technology.

The first steps towards this goal have already been taken, in the form of the major new public works that began just as the boom ended and either have or are reaching completion now. Thanks to these, Málaga now boasts an impressive new airport terminal with transit capacity to match, a new ring road that alleviates congestion at former choke points near the city’s periphery and allows for easy routes to surrounding cities, and a high-speed rail link to Madrid that culminates in a brand new purpose-built railway station and commercial centre. In addition, work has begun on the initial part of a future metro network. (more…)

Culinary regions of Spain – Ribera del Duero and Rueda

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Ribero del Duero BodegasRibera del Duero
The Duero is a river inextricably linked to wine. Rising in highlands near another famous Spanish wine region, La Rioja, it trickles its way through the arid, dusty plains of Old Castile en route to Portugal, where it becomes the mighty Douro, whose terraced slopes are cultivated with grapes that give rise to the country’s many varieties of Port Wine. Compared to this landscape not unlike the German Rhineland, the Spanish wine growing region of Ribera del Duero is somewhat of a poor relative, parched and plain in comparison, yet it is here that some of the finest wines in Spain are produced. (more…)

Vanilla, go on a culinary voyage of discovery

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Vanilla can easily be described as one of tVanilla London - Loungehe coolest new eateries in town. Descending steps from street level you have the impression of entering a club, a sensation that is enhanced as you step into the Vanilla Lounge, the bar and lounge area that makes up the ‘vanilla flower’ as it were. Following this theme the tones are soft creams, diffused with coloured lighting that creates a wonderful blend of vodka bar cool and retro futurism. Call me crazy but the latter always gets me a little excited. No dreary standard contemporary décor here then; that interior designer was not hired for the job. (more…)

Royal Siam

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

At once mysterious and welcoming, Thailand is a tropical paradise with hidden depths beyond its beaches, spa resorts and nightlife.

A Thai Buddhist monkTypically South East Asian, Thailand is the confluence of three great cultures. Dominated for centuries by the neighbouring Khmer, the people of Thailand have also been strongly influenced by India and China. From early Hindu influences through to Buddhist conversion, the Thai have borrowed from their Indian and Chinese neighbours to create a distinctive identity of their own. While many of these traditions may have their origins in the India of classical times, and while a large percentage of the population is of Chinese extraction, the resulting mix is a spicy blend that can be rightly labelled as Thai.

The Thai, or Siamese, state was established when the country broke free from the yoke of its Khmer masters and established the first of several dynasties, the Sukhothai, in the 13th century. From then on, the nation became a major power in the region, eventually even wreaking its revenge on the Khmer as the 15th century Kingdom of Ayutthaya invaded modern-day Cambodia and destroyed the old Khmer capital at Angkor. Smaller kingdoms competed for power until the nation was finally unified in the late 18th century and bordering areas incorporated under King Rama I, founder of the Chakri dynasty that rules to this day. (more…)