(Baja) California dreaming, with whales and whale sharks

When we are children, we think about certain things with only with the strange combination of vagueness and vividness that characterises dreams - in colours and shapes that seem literally beyond reach. For me, this was the case with the great whales. At once totally otherworldly and eerily familiar, whales are laden with symbolism in … Continue reading (Baja) California dreaming, with whales and whale sharks

Seven fantastic and easy day trips from Cascais, Portugal

The region surrounding the grand port town of Cascais offers many superb day trips, including historic towns, natural scenery and, of course, Lisbon just half an hour away by train. As a relatively small country with high quality roads, Portugal can be explored quite easily by rental car, and good public transport links make it … Continue reading Seven fantastic and easy day trips from Cascais, Portugal

Things to do & see in Cascais, the ‘Portuguese Riviera’

With its grand buildings, cobbled streets and fishing village charm, Cascais is the pretty port town just a short train ride away from Lisbon. There is no shortage of great sights and activities to do here, even if you don't have access to a car. Historically, Cascais served as a sleepy fishing port, but after … Continue reading Things to do & see in Cascais, the ‘Portuguese Riviera’

Insider tip: how to walk along the Lisbon aqueduct

Having resided in Lisbon for over a year now - and with much of that spent under lockdown - I am delighted to make new discoveries on about a weekly basis. Most recently, that was the fact that it is possible to walk along the Lisbon aqueduct, or Águas Livres Aqueduct. This aqueduct is an amazing … Continue reading Insider tip: how to walk along the Lisbon aqueduct

Day trip to Elvas, historic fort citadel on the Portugal-Spain border

Since arriving in Portugal, something I've been somewhat missing is a deeper sense of history. So far, I've mostly focused on trying to gain some understanding of the 48-year dictatorship of Salazar, which ended well within living memory in 1974, with the Carnation Revolution - so called because carnation flowers were inserted into the ends … Continue reading Day trip to Elvas, historic fort citadel on the Portugal-Spain border

My year in books: October 2020-October 2021

Every year since 2018, I've kept a list of every book I read. Read previous versions of this theme here and here. I've fallen behind on my average of one book per week this year, mainly because I wrote a 35,000-word master's thesis in the meantime, which took most of my attention away from pleasure-reading … Continue reading My year in books: October 2020-October 2021

On the hunt for basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Scotland is famous for many things - gorgeous scenery, whiskey, bad weather, Loch Ness, kilts - but less so for its status as a global hotspot for the planet's second-largest fish. The basking shark can grow up to 11 metres long, ceding the gold medal only to the tropical-dwelling, much more famous whale shark. Every … Continue reading On the hunt for basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Surfing in the Algarve: 7 of the best beaches for beginners

As someone who has only learned to surf in the past eight months, I'm not the person to go to for advice about technical skill or the precise curve of a good wave. However, I've taken in a thing or two during my time in the Algarve region of Portugal, in which I packed up … Continue reading Surfing in the Algarve: 7 of the best beaches for beginners

Lisboa is a flâneuse’s city

It's been a long old winter. One positive discovery has been finding that even when everything is shut, this is a city made for walking - albeit with some effort required, since the hills are almost San Francisco-esque in their proportions and frequency. For what else can you really do during a pretty hard lockdown, … Continue reading Lisboa is a flâneuse’s city

Lisboa and lockdowns

Humans should, as the philosopher maintains, be willing to burden themselves in order to be free. If you always choose the path of least resistance, the alternative that offers the fewest challenges will always take priority. Your choices will be predetermined and you will not only live un-freely, but also lead a dull life.Erling Kagge, … Continue reading Lisboa and lockdowns