Category Archives: Travel stories

Do I Need Hiking Boots?

This article is for people who are wondering what kind of walking boots they should get.

My last visit to Scotland was transformed because I took my big hiking boots. They added a lot of bulk and weight to my rucksack and this made me determined to use them. Continue reading

How to Write an Article

My friend George is taking a month off to travel to Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia. He recently set up a company in Bucharest making (and selling) the most perfect eclairs. But building up a new company is hard work, George is a perfectionist and he’s exhausted. George said he would like to write articles and I said I’d like to publish them. I also said I would write an article about how to write an article — and here it is. Continue reading

Where’s the Cheapest Place in Europe?

I had always assumed that Romania was the cheapest place in Europe, which is a damn good reason for living there (other reasons are that they’re friendly, honest, loyal, multilingual, flexible, fun-loving and great to work with). Continue reading

Two War Books for Travellers

I’ve only just worked out something that everyone else knew ages ago – this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. Continue reading

Traveller’s Guide to Scottish Independence

What’s the best approach to take when visiting a country like Scotland which is in the grip of a huge debate about independence? I’ve asked a few non-Scottish people what they think about the upcoming independence referendum and their replies were non-committal; saying “it’s up to you”. Continue reading

Prince Charles of Romania

You can also read this article in Romanian, on the Contributors section of Hotnews. I don’t have a TV as I can’t stand the sensationalist nonsense pumped out by ProTV or the endless “analysis” the 24 hour news channels inflict on the public every evening.  But when something interesting does actually happen you get to hear about it (I was in a Romanian village in the early 1990s when a peasant told me the American’s were bombing Iraq. “Nonsense” I replied. But he was right, he’d seen it on his ancient black and white TV). Continue reading

Recycling is Rubbish

upcycling One of the most impressive things about Vienna is the shops – they are varied, stylish and often innovative. But when I went down Schleifmuhlgasse, which is not far from the Opera House, I was stopped in my tracks by the remarkable items in the window and the curious name “Gabarage. Upcycling Design.” The shop window was full of stylish and unusual things made out of waste, like plant pots fashioned from half footballs and lamp shades with strips of old film hanging down like long brown hair. Continue reading

Prince Charles’ New Guest House in Covasna County

zalanpatak1Most people know that the Prince of Wales is fabulously wealthy and will one day become the King of England. But how many of you know that he recently renovated a country cottage in Romania and, in order to generate local employment, is making it available as a guest house? Continue reading

Sighisoara Needs Your Help

img_0078This article was also published in Romanian on Hotnews.

Anyone who knows Romania is aware that Sighisoara is a pretty amazing place. Guidebooks describe is as the only medieval citadel in Europe that is “lived in” and the old centre is one of the “must sees” on the Romanian map.  But I have avoided the place for about 5 years for a number of reasons: I was seriously put-off after visiting a so-called “Medieval Festival” (a grotesque combination of kitsch and heavy metal); and it takes so long to get there by car from Bucharest (over 5 hours) and the train doesn’t exactly hurry. Continue reading

Get on your bike and see Romania

botosani_bike1You can see Rupert Wolfe Murray’s photos of his cycling journey here.

There are certain places in Europe that are known to be great for cycling. Amsterdam has been pro-bike for generations; in Copenhagen they say over three quarters of all journeys are made by bike; in Paris they developed the mass-bike-hire system and even London’s bouffant haired mayor, who cycles to work, is trying to improve that city’s reputation as the worst place to cycle in Europe. Continue reading