Cosmic Venice

Swish, swoosh — the oar smoothly fends the water. Quite the statement, the Venetian way of rowing: proudly standing up, and facing forward, eyes into the future.  Swish swoosh, the roar rhythmically breaks the green surface of the lagoon. The pungent smell of salt and shallow marshes. An island here, another there, and more as […]

Favourites allowed

After spending a good part of two decades hunting for small (and charming) hotels in Greece, it’s the question I get most often: “Which hotel is your favourite?” It’s not an easy one to answer. It so depends on the circumstances. What the mood is. Who is coming along. The season. The budget. Ask me […]

ISO Piccante

I laughed a little too hard recently when reading Anne Lamott’s words, “By the end I was deteriorating faster than I could lower my standards”. I cannot be the only human whose covid days, home-cooked meals and masked conversations have become excruciatingly banal.  We’re all yearning for discovery, spice and a rollicking time anywhere but […]

Asleep at the wheel: the France trip I’m dreaming of

Comfortably ensconced on my sofa at home in the small Provençal village of Mouriès, I am enjoying the warmth of both my fireplace and a glass of local red wine. I am listening to the radio announcing that the fight against Covid is possibly taking a turn with the discovery of a vaccine. The future […]

Swinos in Lockdown: Cocktail Recipes from the Pigs

Holidays are lurking and with it, more Coronavirus cases and renewed lockdowns. It’s all been enough for anyone to reach for the bottle. As we hunker down for the winter, we asked around our planning team to see who’s got the bartending chops in the Trufflepig farm.  Below are some road-tested recipes that came back […]

The Original Influencer

Twenty something, rebellious, and by all accounts, “randy”. A young English poet named George Gordon Byron (“Lord” to all but those who knew him well) swept through the small enclave of Sintra in 1809, penned a few lines of what would become Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and sent letters home to friends declaring Sintra the most […]

Londontown in Lockdown

One of the main pleasures in my life is jumping on my bike (she’s called “Joyce”) and exploring my beloved London. I am lucky enough to pretend that part of this is for work: I am seeking out cool stuff for our clients to see when they come to the Big Smoke. It’s true that […]

Italy’s Boundless Zest for Citrus

Italy’s food culture is a constellation of countless regional specialties, so place-peculiar that dishes can vary significantly in the span of just a few hundred meters. Such is the case of some mountain valleys, for instance, where the natural landscape has helped keep the local from spreading further. But one aspect that unites all these […]

Unostentatious Comporta is a State of Mind

As we move through the last official days of summer, my thoughts turn to the beach, or rather, the beach vacations I didn’t take this year. I’m actually not much of a beach person. Or to be more specific, lying on a beach and a swim among the waves isn’t so much my thing as simply the […]

Finding My Way North – the Camino de Santiago

I’ve found that the old dictum “hindsight is 20/20” has taken on new meaning this year. My realization has been that for much of my adult life, travel has defined my most significant moments. I don’t want to come off sounding like some Instagram travel influencer racing around the globe to collect passport stamps for the […]

Changes in Burgundy’s Wine Harvest Reflect a Bigger Picture

On the one hand, isn’t it lovely to see an image of such unchanging tradition? Cart horses being used to transport the grapes being picked by hand in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, with the picturesque village of Pommard in the background, under a beautiful August blue sky… Lovely. On the other hand, hang on a […]

Greek music: beyond Zorba

I am trying to recall my first introduction to Greek music. I was a teen when my parents took me on holidays to the island of Corfu. Was it during the taxi ride to the hotel – taxi drivers love their music, and they like it loud – or was it that night we signed […]

Tuscia? Touché

Meet the region of Tuscia [“Two-Sha”] – Tuscany’s rugged cousin. A few weeks ago, once the lockdown was partially lifted in Italy and we could travel within the regions where we live, I decided to escape and so to Tuscia, just a few kilometres outside Rome, did I head. Geographically, Tuscia stretches from the coast […]

Sisters of Fate – A Fado Playlist

As I’ve been writing this post, Portugal has been commemorating a special anniversary: the 100th anniversary of Amália Rodrigues. Her name may not mean much outside Portuguese-speaking circles, but here she is revered as the “Queen of Fado”, and her birthday is an appropriate time for me to confess: I am a die-hard fan of this music. […]

One Step At A Time

After a 7 hour train journey from my home in Provence to Evian-les-Bains on the shore of Lake Geneva, I find myself standing on the side of a road, surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery on one side and the clear waters of the lake on the other. I am holding a piece of cardboard salvaged […]

Aeolian Women – A Real Catch

Here we are in a snow globe of uncertainty. At first, we read every headline. Then we retreated from the media all together for mental well-being. Some wore masks. Some went rogue. We all wonder when we will next travel? How far? Where to? Will the buoyant snow flakes of our current globe settle to the […]