Access most areas

There’s no doubt that almost everyone in Budapest – and every building – is finely tuned to the tourist economy. If there are a few Forints to be made on top of admission prices, they’re there for the taking. But it’s also refreshing to see that some public places remain just that, such as the…

Craft and Culture

Eastern Europe used to have a reputation of selling ultra cheap beer – and because of favourable exchange rates, and non-Euro currencies, it made places like Prague, Bratislava and Budapest increasingly attractive to booed up Brits on stag and hen parties. It ruined reputations in both directions. However, many visitors these days have become more…

Round the (Danube) Bend

The glorious Danube (or Duna in these parts) looks less blue than a sort of grey. But its importance in connecting several countries over the centuries can’t be understated. It was first used by Celts, until they were chased out by the Romans in the first century AD – perhaps one reason why Budapest is littered…

A pile of pretty bricks

There are many cures for a hangover, and after a late finish a combination of good weather and Budapest’s stunning buildings are a sight for sore eyes. They know how to do design here, and the winding Danube provides the perfect canvass for the Parliament. When it was created in 1896 – at a time…

A Good Night – Ruined

A return journey to a favourite location is always a good thing in my book. For starters, you don’t feel like a complete tourist, nervously getting the map out at every street junction. And you can explore more parts of the place you’ve had an introduction to. So after a early evening flight into Budapest,…

A chicken, but no eggs

Sunday afternoons are best spent in a laid back manner, maybe combining a few drinks with a chat over dinner. Or, if you’re in Texas, you could bet on exactly where a chicken is going to defecate. For this is Chicken Shit Bingo, where a couple of hundred people gather each weekend to experience a…

Don’t Mess With Texas!

Among the clash of musical styles blaring out of Sixth Street, it’s easy to forget that Austin has much more to offer for an evening’s entertainment. Just a couple of miles south of downtown, at the Broken Spoke, they do both types of music – country and western. And nobody goes home disappointed.  The Spoke…

We Built This City (on food and soul)

“I’m going to show you where I grew up – and a place you should visit.” It’s an offer I can’t refuse, mainly because it’s come from the driver of the Aiport Shuttle bus and he’s taking a detour to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic. Nestling beneath the shiny corporate skyscrapers of downtown Austin is…

Treme-ndous

The Mississippi is arguably the river that can claim more stories than any other in the world. The earliest settlers in America quickly realised its importance for establishing crops, for travel and later for trade. Today, Ol’ Man River is just as impressive – and still a busy place around the port of New Orleans….

I Get Around 

“We opened a water park just a few miles out town,” explains Glen over a drink in the hotel courtyard, casually adding, “about five weeks before Katrina.” Glen was born in New Orleans and moved back with his wife Melissa a few years back. It’s one of the hundreds of ordinary stories about an extraordinary…

History : Past and Present

Louis Armstrong airport is about a twenty minute drive from downtown New Orleans, and the cheapest way to get there is by using the shared van Airport Shuttle service. The driver tells me his family were from England – Exeter to be precise – but that was around 300 years ago. He’s full of facts…

An Easier Way To The Big Easy

Heathrow has its merits. Despite being an awkward hop from Nottingham, it has scale. And when you’re flying with British Airways it also has class in the shape of Terminal 5. In the middle of a Monday it’s also relatively quiet. Except for the jazz band. But this is more than a happy coincidence, because…