Blog archive for Travel

Florence for the Facebook generation: Art and ice cream on a mum-and-daughter trip - June 2011

Struggling through the crowds on an infernally hot August day in Florence, I was reminded of a conversation my nephew overheard in Knightsbridge - also in August. 'if this is the tourist season,' said a Barbour-clad man to his companion, 'then why can't we shoot them?'


Get away to The Gambia: Sun, sand and ceremony in Africa's rising destination - 25 July 2010

It is 45 years since The Gambia became independent, and the celebrations to mark this event coincided with my family's visit to the country. Across the aisle from me on a crammed Monarch Airlines flight from London to the Gambian capital Banjul, incongruously surrounded by bearded and sandalwearing bird-watchers, sat the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, studying her itinerary intently.

I wondered if she was visiting the country to take part in the celebrations, as some relic of the colonial past that The Gambia had left behind.


Fairytale France: swapping hamburgers for frogs in the Languedoc - 1 December 2009

Where to take two children for October half-term? Children who would be absolutely delighted with a week at Disneyland Paris and a diet of hamburgers? The answer is Carcassonne, a medieval fortress town that looks as if it belongs in every fairytale book, situated in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It comes complete with battlements, towers and cobbled streets and, off season, is not in the least bit crowded.


Perfect Petra, wild Wadi Rum and the delightful Dead Sea: How Jordan left me overjoyed - 14 September 2009

It must have been some sixth sense, when packing for my trip to Jordan, that took me into the back of my wardrobe to look for a present that Bob Geldof gave to me when he came to stay for a weekend. At the time, I was slightly mystified by his gift: a silk sleeping bag that folded into a pouch small enough to fit in my pocket.

My days of sleeping rough at rock concerts are long over, but it did prove to be absolutely the ideal thing to sleep in when camping, under scratchy camel-hair blankets, in the Wadi Rum. My husband, Dominic Lawson, was extremely jealous. Thank you Bob.


A perfect Martini in the tantalising Turks (even James Bond would approve) - June 2005

The journey to Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands is very long, particularly if you change flights at Miami, queuing your way through the unbelievably slow American immigration process only to leave again.