Keep it In The Family

One thing I’ve ways tried to do when travelling is to get a real sense of a place. To go where the locals go, off the traditional tourist trail. That’s not always simple, because you have to trust a combination of instinct with a random story here, a half told tale there; never fully sure…

Trains, planes and automobiles

A simple enough task, you would think, is to travel from Nottingham to Dublin. But the first challenge is to get to Birmingham. By train, it takes two hours to get to London from home, a distance of 107 miles. Birmingham is 45 miles away – and the journey time is roughly the same. Or…

To the Motherland

Travel should ultimately be about a sense of adventure, delving just a little bit into the unknown. Even if you usually “play it safe”, going to a familiar place, there’s always something new you discover. Both of my parents were Irish, so as a kid I was – eventually – introduced to the wonders of…

Please drink responsibly

For the British traveller, Canada offers relatively good value. At first, prices seem high – but then you look at the exchange rate and they’re comparable to most UK charges. I’ve found eating out here a little cheaper than the US, and while tipping is expected, it’s not forced upon you with every bill, bar…

Water and Guinness

“Toronto’s a bit limited for stuff to do,” says the bar tender at. The Town Crier pub on John Street. And while that may be true in terms of the number of options, there are some big ticket items you have to do while you’re here. And one of them involves a heck of a…

Welcome to the neighbourhoods 

Many Canadian place names are named after places in England, which makes watching the local TV weather forecast a bit confusing. London, for instance, is around 110 miles west of Toronto, sits along the River Thames and has a population of a third of a million people. Brighton, Peterborough and Cambridge all get a mention….

A view, some weed and all that jazz

“So, whaddya think of Chicago traffic, huh?”  There’s silence from the passengers to this and every other comment from our shuttle van driver, Shawn. Personally, I don’t mind a chatty driver – it gives you a chance to get the flavour of what the locals really think about a place. Shawn hates Uber – they undercut…

A pig of a day

It’s Brexit Day. Or rather, the day that was meant to be Brexit Day for the UK but turned out not to be Brexit Day. It may still have not happened by the time you read this – which, given that the Internet is a permanent record lasting for all time is a long time…

A living legend (and the Fonz) 

With a few days to spend in Chicago, it seems like a good idea to explore a little further afield. And about 90 minutes to the north is Milwaukee, affectionately known by some Chicagoans as the “second city’s second  city” – perhaps a reference to “yeah, we know it’s there, we just don’t quite rate…

Towers, cats and chewing gum

American cities are fiercely proud of their skyscrapers. Symbols of wealth and power and – notoriously in New York – prime targets for terrorists. However, it wasn’t New York, but Chicago, which for a long time held the record for the world’s tallest. At 1,450 feet the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) was higher…