velvet | cultural holidays

Shifting capitals

As a kid, I would spend hours studying my geographic encyclopedias. I memorised all the data I could find, like the size of each country, its population and its capital city and used this to challenge my friends at school to a game of “Name The Capital”. There was one guy at school, Raymond, whom […]

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Image courtesy of El Tito

History and art on the Sunshine Coast

Málaga is in Andalusia, on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, a ferry’s journey north of Morocco. Owing to its location, it has a warm climate and some of the warmest winters in Europe. For those intending to visit Málaga, consider booking between April and November when the average daily temperature is above 20 […]

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Culinary Journey: Cal Sastre in Santa Pau

What: Fine-dining at a small medieval village in the Garrotxa region of Catalonia. Where: Cal Sastre restaurant, Santa Pau. Notes: Santa Pau is a sleepy medieval village in the Garrotxa Volcanic region of Catalonia, north of Barcelona. The village is tiny but there are a variety of reasons that make a visit absolutely worthwhile: its […]

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Westminter Abbey (image courtesy of slurm)

A guided tour of Westminster Abbey

A guest post by Andrea Kirkby. Westminster Abbey is one of the London landmarks that I always think takes an entire day to itself. I know some people ‘do’ it in an hour and a bit, but it is the sort of place that richly repays a more leisurely, lingering visit. And there’s far more […]

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Featured destination: Jordan

Jordan – the name itself conjures images of breathtaking desert landscapes, ancient cities and Biblical scenes. Located in the heart of the Middle East, this desert kingdom has a history that dates back to the times when the prophets walked the earth, and ancient empires ruled vast swathes of Asia, Europe and northern Africa. Present-day […]

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Tuscany’s gifts to the world

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Tuscany, or Italy for that matter! My love affair with Tuscany began more than two decades ago. I think it started the moment I had my first meal at a cosy trattoria in Florence. The food was absolutely divine. Simple, fresh and cooked with a passion […]

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Unravelling the mysteries of theatrical Covent Garden

A guest post by Andrea Kirkby. Covent Garden wasn’t quite in at the start of London’s theatrical tradition – Shakespeare’s Globe for instance was south of the river and other early playhouses clustered in the East End – but it’s been the centre of London’s theatreland since the time of Charles II. Nell Gwyn acted […]

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Explore the temples of London

A guest post by Andrea Kirkby. Sometimes you know when you step into a place that it is holy. You feel the weight of the years, the atmosphere charged with silence and veneration; the air seems colder and thinner than in the street outside and there’s a sense of something invisible being there. I never […]

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Ten things to do in Petra

You may have seen images of Petra – or its most famous structure, the Treasury – in magazines, documentaries, movies (‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ is a good example) or even this blog – but it’s not till you’re there that you begin to feel a real sense of awe for the place. Imagine […]

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Relax in the hammock

Mas Perafita: a lovely retreat in the Cap de Creus

The Cap de Creus is a rugged wind-swept peninsula in the far northeastern corner of Catalonia, not far from the border with France. A large part of the peninsula is a designated national park and is famous for its nature trails and secluded coves and inlets. There is also a variety of picturesque fishing villages […]

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