Alcobaça and the Dead Queen

Monastery of Alcobaça

There are two people buried in the monastery of Alcobaça and it was them who first brought me to Portugal. I was fifteen and had just won a writing competition organised by the Portuguese Ministry of Education. My entry was a re-telling of the story of Ines and Pedro, written in diary format from the point of view of Pedro. I called it “The Dead Queen”. Don Pedro and Ines...

Planning a trip to New Zealand without a car

Lake Wakatipu, view from Skyline Gondola summit, Queenstown, New Zealand

When I was planning my trip to New Zealand last year, I was told the only way to see it was by car. Not having driven since I passed my driving test many years ago, I didn’t feel that a solo trip to New Zealand was the best time to start. After doing some research, I concluded that it was feasible to visit many of the places I wanted to...

Notes and Pictures from the Côte d’Azur (5) – Menton

Menton

This series finishes in the last town along the Côte d’Azur, just a few kilometres from the Italian border. Menton is mainly known for its lemons and this can already give you an idea that this is not going to be a party hotspot. So if you’re looking for a quiet place to spend a day or so along the Côte d’Azur and like places that feel like time has...

Notes and Pictures from the Côte d’Azur (4): Antibes

Of all the places I visited while I was in the south of France, Antibes was my favourite. We spent a day there, and the next time I go back to the Côte d’Azur I’ll definitely be staying for at least a few days. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Antibes has a cerain sparkle. Of course it helped that the sun was shining so much, it...

Notes and Pictures from the Côte d’Azur (3) – Clouds over Cannes

Clouds over Cannes

Mid-September is a good time to visit the Côte d’Azur, if you want to avoid the crowds. The downside is that the weather can be quite unstable. It wasn’t exactly beach weather the afternoon we went to Cannes and this definitely coloured my impression of it. As we walked along the Allée des Etoiles and stood at the foot of the Palais de Festival, it was difficult to imagine that...