Class Wars

Returning home from a trip is always tough, especially when jetlag is combined with crap weather, or more specifically “freezing cold it can’t possibly by April can it?” weather. I decide to take the tube back to St Pancras from Heathrow airport – on the basis that I’ve paid for a first class train ticket…

Bat City

Just before sunset,hundreds of people line the Congress Bridge over the Colorado River. On the water, several tour boats jostle for position, along with modern-day pedalos, powered by people sitting upright on what looks like an exercise bike. And they’ve all come to see one of Austin’s most unusual sights. Because when it gets dark,…

A Whole Lotta History

The mighty Colarado River – known as the Red River – snakes its way through the middle of Austin. And thanks to some neat design, there’s a good view from the elevator mounted on the outside of the hotel. The sun is beating down on the city today, a welcome relief from the chilly winds…

Austin Powers

On 98.1 KFAT, the emphasis is on country music. And adverts for tractors. And cosmetic dentistry. These guys know how to play to the Texas demographic. Welcome to Austin, which is blessed with clear skies as we approach On the ground, an enormous man takes me to the shuttle van, and turns out to be…

Meet The Neighbours

Stay downtown, meet the tourists. It’s simple enough to work out that if you really want to see what a city has to offer, you should spend some time with the locals. And a chance encounter in the Inner Sunset neighbourhood gives me a real insight into how San Francisco rolls. For starters, there’s a…

From Irish Bar to Streetcar

Before I leave the Big Easy, there’s one last chance to pay homage to arguably it’s biggest local hero. Louis Armstrong Park is a huge tribute of statues, walkways and water features, although the modern art theme doesn’t quite match the traditions of Armstrong itself. The park also houses Congo Square, a place where the…

Go West

It’s Wednesday, and almost time to bid farewell to New Orleans. But first, what did I get up to last night? “It’s all so frickin crazy round here! I’m Glenda. How you doin’? You swinging with both fists?” This isn’t an expression I’m familiar with, and I quickly start to wonder where this is going….

Heavens to Betsy!

Monday night ends with a bar hop across the city. First, the Circle Bar in the shadow of the Robert E Lee statue. Among the modern buildings and plush hotels, the Circle is a ramshackle Victorian style building which would look more in place in a Scooby Doo episode than in downtown New Orleans. It’s…

Happy Mondays

It’s springtime in the States, and boy, do the starlings know it. At around 6am they flock to the courtyard of the hotel for a morning chorus. The low set trees and high walls create a noisy amphitheatre and an early wake up call for the residents. That said, it wasn’t a late night. An…

Full On French Market

Sundays in New Orleans are all about chilling out, although the Big Easy doesn’t do relaxing by halves. In and around the French Market, it’s all about souvenirs, brunch and of course, live music. The French Quarter, where I’m staying, is pretty quiet. That’s Bourbon Street for you on most mornings though. At 10am it’s…

Balcon-easy

“Our entire Airbus 320 operation kinda fell apart today, folks. But we’re gonna be on our way all soon, and we know how to get you to New Orleans fast.” The pilot sounded enthusiastic, but as tired as the 200 or so passengers cramming onto the delayed flight. But at last, we were on the…

Call the (German) Embassy

Many hotels these days have a swimming pool. In warmer climes, these are often accompanied by a few sun loungers and a bar. At Heathrow, the pool is in a glass room in the middle of the bar. It was a fine line in a choice of viewing. Hotel pool or watching England beat San…