Adventures of a Pilgrim: Mecca

The two predominant travellers to Saudi Arabia are expats and pilgrims and I fall into the latter category. Although there has been a slight growth in leisure tourism, religious tourism is a thriving industry, bringing in Continue reading


There’s More to Philly Than Cheesesteaks…

Before I travelled to the United States, a family friend told me that I must go to Philadelphia and try a Philly cheesesteak, as it was the best food he had had whilst there. I promised I would as I wanted to go to Philadelphia anyway, given its historical importance in the American Revolution, where the elite white revolutionaries (Founding Fathers) created the liberal political ideals of the newly-created nation of the United States. Yet I wondered how good the Philly cheesesteak would be and whether Philadelphia would be a good tourist destination.

I arrived in Philadelphia on a sunny afternoon, and headed for the tourist district, where I Continue reading


Autumn in the Barossa Valley

To many, the arrival of autumn’s mild days, chilly nights and heightened rainfall is one met with minimal enthusiasm; it is an unwelcome reminder that the even less desirable conditions of winter are just around the corner.

In Australia, autumn begins to unveil itself in March, and folk are forced to bid goodbye to their globally sought-after summers for yet another year. However, Continue reading


Still Feeling the Cold? Count Yourself Lucky you Weren’t in New York for the Big Freeze

Getting off the plane after leaving Europe for the first time, I was met with a cold blast of air like nothing I’d felt before, as temperatures of below -19°C hit New York in February of last year. It was so cold that I now feel grateful for the ‘cold’ temperature of 1°C I might get here in Bristol.

Funnily enough, New York was drastically colder than my visit to Moscow the preceding February, where quite the opposite occurred — a ‘heat wave’, with (wait for it) temperatures of up to 6°C!

If you think weather forecasts in the UK are dramatic, take a look at American TV. Broadcasts of the people of Boston trapped in snowed-in houses, followed by an escaped convict turning himself in. Reports on the risk of the cold to homeless people and general health warnings permeated every television channel and newspaper headline in the country.

Staying in the heart of Midtown, a road away from the Empire State Building, Continue reading


London Tube Etiquette: My First Experience of the London Underground

Participating in a study abroad program and living in London was the highlight of my Bachelor of Arts degree. This series is a record of my adventure to London and Europe with my young family and my sister as the nanny.

Travelling on the London Tube can be daunting for the uninitiated and involves knowledge and skill beyond just ‘how to top up your Oyster card’. It is a skill that includes certain knowledge of Tube etiquette: always stand to the right on the escalators, don’t make eye contact, Continue reading