Across the Water

It’s Sunday, so I guess I’d better mention Jesus. In Almeda – just across the water from Lisbon – it’s pretty hard to to ignore him since his image is 92 feet high on a 270 foot plinth. The Cristo Rei seems less popular than the city’s other attractions – there’s certainly a much smaller…

A tower, a market and a church

Built on seven hills, each area of Lisbon has its own character, and its own reason for a visit. Perhaps none more so than the district of Belem – more of a town in its own right – and a magnet for millions of tourists. Most of them appear to be on the number 15…

“Obrigado” not “Gracias”

Madrid’s morning rush hour is every bit as chaotic as the evening one, and as any traveller knows, taking the Metro all the way to the airport can save you loads of money, but also involves heavy lifting, swift manoeuvring of luggage through annoyed commuters and ridiculous numbers of stairs to and from platforms. It…

A Walk in the Parque

New York has Central Park, and while a tiny fraction of its size, Madrid’s Retiro is a (sort of) peaceful retreat from the busy city. That said, at lunchtime, the place is bustling with joggers, dog walkers, parents with small children and plenty of tourists. And while many football fans here see the Bernabeu as…

I Hope You Like Jamon Too

After a night of New Orleans style blues at La Coquette, breakfast is on the menu. Actually, one of the few downsides of the hotel is that it doesn’t provide meals. But that’s not a problem, since Madrid is famed for its tapas bars, many of which conveniently open for breakfast. My favourites are those…

I Guess That’s Why They Calle It The Blues

There probably aren’t that many blues singers in Madrid who really ought to be in New Orleans or Memphis. And, on first imprssions, I didn’t put Kiko into that category. But that’s before he started singing, along with Felix Holt and the Rebels in La Coquette. Just a stone’s throw from the Opera, this is…

A Night At The Opera

I don’t mind admitting it- I enjoy a little luxury on holiday. But when booking online you can’t always get the full picture of what your accommodation is going to look like in reality. Four star, central Madrid was my search – and it threw up all manner of corporate names, chains and prices so…

The Great Scanning Scam

Airports can be fairly routine affairs, and these days Heathrow Terminal 5 is starting to lose its initial charm of a glistening, glass encased building of wonder. The once highly personal, attentive service of national airlines like British Airways has gone – replaced by global automation. The latest layer of service to go is bag…

Keeping it Real

I was a late arrival to travel. Or rather, a late departure. Growing up, my parents were never wealthy enough to afford anything further overseas than trips to see our relatives in Dublin. But once I got the bug, boy, was I bitten. And yet, in almost twenty years of exploring new places, I’ve never…