Author Archives: awtytravels

A cosy red dot away from it all.

You feel it’s a different place from the very moment the jetway disgorges you into the main concourse at Changi Airport. It’s a quick walk on the world’s plushiest, softest carpet to immigration, past ornate flowerbeds erupting with tropical plants, … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Singapore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Singapore in technicolour.

Expat life. If there is such a thing, my half-a-week in Singapore, was precisely that. No sybaritic luxury and champagne breakfast; rather, restaurants on the East shore park, coconuts, cab rides even to do one kilometre and the shuffle heat-aircon-heat-aircon-pool … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Singapore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The future smells of pork noodles.

Five hours in the world’s largest city. Twenty-four million inhabitants, three times and change the size of Luxembourg, and all I’ve got is five hours to dip my toe in this behemoth of a pool. I walk out of Pudong … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, China | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Shanghai stopover.

Five hours to kill before boarding for Singapore, one trip into town and the discovery that, out of all my music on the iPad, only one has survived an iOS update, many thanks Tim Cook. Still, it’s from Les Sages … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, China | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Goodbye for now, Italy!

As with most good things (and luckily a fair few bad ones), it all must come to an end. On a nice day in September, the sky akin to Microsoft’s Windows 98 screen saver, we gave the car back to … Continue reading

Posted in Emilia Romagna, Europe, Italy, Toscana, Veneto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Chaos theory applied to abbeys.

Sometimes you don’t make it, sometimes you break it. Ian Malcom explained it in Jurassic Park, circa 1993. A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine.  A single valley, two abbeys, … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, Italy, Toscana | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Of the intrinsic beauty and harmonious forms of Tuscan hills.

I come from a region where the land is alternatively very flat – filled with rice paddies, corn fields and factories – or very mountainous. There’s really not much of an alternative; it’s either flat as a ruler or climbs … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, Italy, Toscana | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Venezia people watching.

I came to Venezia expecting it to be a slightly less polished version of EuroDisney, a Hogwarts-styled theme park caught in a flood, inhabited only by visitors brandishing iPhones and Instagram accounts named “Eat-Pray-Love89”. As it turned out, that wasn’t to be … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, Italy, Veneto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Delirious Venezia.

Thirty-one years, all of which in possess of a passport marked “Repubblica Italiana”, and I had never been to Venezia. I visited Hanoi, Dušanbe and Charlotte, North Carolina, but never made it to the city at the end of the Veneto … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, Italy, Veneto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 3).

I’d expected the whistling undertaker from For a Fistful of Dollars to be appearing at every corner I turned. I was to experience this feeling again, in Central Asia, but Aralsk looked – even smelt, if that was ever possible – … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments