Travel’s golden rule: respect the place and the people

In places across the world, there’s a growing movement to ban or limit tourism.


It took on an extreme manifestation in Barcelona, when local residents spray-painted an anti-tourism slogan on a hop-on-hop-off bus outside FC Barcelona’s Nou Camp Stadium, and slashed its tyres.

Continue reading Travel’s golden rule: respect the place and the people

It takes a village …

The northern Italian village of Bormida has hit the headlines because its council is offering €2,000 to anybody who wants to come and live there.

Savona (Brett Debritz)

The idea is to boost the population of the village, where rents can be as low as €50 a month. I, for one, am tempted — particularly given Bormida’s close proximity to the borders with Monaco and France, and to the beautiful port of Savona, where Costa Cruises has a terminal.

Continue reading It takes a village …

La Spezia in pictures


The day the Costa Diadema sailed into La Spezia, I was feeling decidedly unwell. I went ashore – via a short bus trip through a commercial port that seemed to be trying to out-ugly Genoa’s equivalent – in an attempt to find a pharmacy.

Instead of a shop selling Immodium, I found a circular cathedral (Cattedrale di Cristo Re) concealed by freight containers, and a fun fair. Then I raced back to the boat to make an appointment with the doctor. The less said about the ensuing 24 hours, the better. Continue reading La Spezia in pictures

Genoa? Hardly at all


One bad choice can spoil a whole holiday. Had it been my intention to stay in Genoa (Genova) for a few days, then the hotel I chose would have been a disaster.

But I chose the Best Western Airport Hotel purely because, as its name suggests, it’s close to the airport. I knew I’d be exhausted after flying from Abu Dhabi to Munich, and then taking two more flights across the day (with many hours of waiting time in between) to get to the Italian Riviera. Continue reading Genoa? Hardly at all

Home and away

The wild blue yonder
Coming in for landing at Brisbane airport

I often claim to be a “citizen of the world” — which I am. We all are, and if more of us felt that way, then maybe we’d stop being unkind to each other on the basis of nationality, skin colour or religion.

OK, I won’t hold my breath on that. But maybe if we viewed the Earth as our home, we’d look after the planet a lot better than we do.

Continue reading Home and away