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Driving the Estrada Real in Brazil

The Estrada Real or Royal Road is a series of historic routes in Brazil, spanning the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Built in the 17th/18th centuries by labourers enslaved by the Portuguese colonists, these roads (a total of 1,600km in length) were important to facilitate the transportation of gold, diamonds […]

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Exploring Rio with locals

Rio de Janeiro is one of my favourite cities to visit and I’ll jump on any opportunity to go there. I’ll never tire of its spectacular natural setting, the beaches, the architecture and street art, and its unique vibe. When I received an invitation to speak at a conference in Belo Horizonte (read about my […]

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Inhotim – where art meets nature

“What’s this Imhotep place about?”, I asked my good friends Claudia and Mauricio as we left Belo Horizonte on our road trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Claudia laughed and corrected me: “It’s Inhotim! And it’s a botanical garden and modern art museum in one”. I was intrigued. I enjoy strolls around botanical gardens and […]

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Visiting the Beautiful Horizon

The first settlers in what is now Belo Horizonte (map), Brazil‘s sixth largest city, were so in awe of the horizon, with the peaks of mountains in all directions, that they called the city Belo Horizonte or ‘Beautiful Horizon’. It was the first thing I looked out for when I arrived there: views of the […]

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Ten things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia on the Pacific coast of Canada. Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is popular as a day-trip destination for visitors to (the city of) Vancouver. I’m one of those visitors – prior to my last visit, I’d been to Victoria several times […]

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Cool glitz and a phenomenal view

The doormen opened the doors with a smile and a “Good Afternoon” as I entered the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver. As the doors opened, I found myself in a cavernous lobby with a shining marble floor and an impressive marble wall which ran the length of the lobby. I made my way to […]

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Cool street art in Rio

Rio de Janeiro is best known for its spectacular setting, glorious beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana, the Sugarloaf Mountain, the iconic Christ Statue and the samba, but as you explore the city, one other thing will certainly grab your attention: the city’s stunning street art. I didn’t see much of it during my first trip […]

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A Shangri-La in downtown Vancouver

The Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver is something of an anomaly in this vibrant Canadian city, at least, that’s what I soon discovered. Located in an impressive 62-storey tower of glass and steel, British Columbia’s tallest building, the Shangri-La Hotel may look daunting from afar but once you step through its doors, a completely different experience awaits. […]

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The incredible view from Grouse Mountain

It’s my favourite spot for a panoramic view of one of the most spectacularly-located cities in the world: Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, Canada. I first visited Grouse Mountain during my second visit to Vancouver in the 1990’s. Of all the many things to do in Vancouver, this turned out to be one of my absolute […]

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The diversity of Canada in photos

Canada, the second largest country in the world, is a land of great diversity; from the icy emptiness of the Arctic north to the vibrant metropolises of Toronto and Montréal, and from the vast expanse of the Prairies to the impressive peaks of the Rocky Mountains. I’ve been to six Canadian provinces/territories: Ontario, Quebéc, British […]

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