New Feature: Is This The Most Popular Destination of 2017…?

Hiking above the valley of Pjófadalir…

This distant northern country might be the most popular tourist destination of 2017.

It’s a place where the wind gusts so strong it will literally tear the door off your car.

It’s a place where the landscape morphs and changes before your eyes such that you can see geological time.

Printing Off Stacks of Words

An afternoon visit to my neighbourhood copy shop…

It’s been pretty quiet on the blog this year, but I’ve got two good reasons for that.

One: I just haven’t been traveling very much. A visit to Japan, a short trip down to Sardinia, and a long overdue visit to Canada — my first trip back home in over 3 years. And that was about it for 2017.

The Killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally murdered on October 16th

Daphne Caruana Galizia was the most dangerous person in Malta.

I probably don’t need to tell you who she is anymore, because her name is making the news worldwide.

Reading to Write: How Much for a Book?

The connection between landscape and character is never far away…

A few readers have asked me how much research goes into the writing of a book.

How much do you have to read in order to write?

Drifting Through a Cold War Haze

We had fallen into a Cold War movie…

I turned up the collar of my black trench coat and thrust my hands deep into my pockets. I didn’t have a semi-automatic pistol to clutch, so I held my phone instead. We had fallen into a Cold War movie, and I was trying to act the part.

Beneath the Sea by Train to Hakodate

The famous night view from Mount Hakodate…

I had a chance to visit Hokkaido this summer, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

My Sunny St. Lawerence Childhood

Of Time and an Island by John Keats

I’d like to tell you about a book I just read. 

It’s about the Thousand Islands.

With Head in the Past and Feet in the Clouds

The magical mountaintop world of San Marino, one of the world’s smallest independent countries…

“Oh come on, ‘I’ for Italy!”

“What’s the problem?” Tomoko asked, buckling her seatbelt and settling in for a drive.

“It looks like my recently updated sat nav has maps for all of continental Europe…except Italy.”

Potsdam: Palaces, Gardens and 18th Century Dreams

Schloss Sanssouci

There’s a smallish town just outside the Berlin city centre that’s completely encrusted with palaces.

It’s only 30 minutes away, at the end of the S7 line, on the River Havel. And it’s the most popular day trip from Berlin.

Amoral Familism and the Med

The island of Malta — my home for 6 years

If you want to understand Malta — and the southern Mediterranean in general — then you’ll want to come to grips with the theory of Amoral Familism.