Happy Berlin Anniversary to Me

Surveying my domain from the top of Viktoriapark, behind my flat…

Today marks a small anniversary in my world.

It was exactly one year ago — January 8th — that I moved to Berlin and started a new life-after-Malta.

Christmas in Berlin

The Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace…

The Christmas Market tradition goes all the way back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking areas of Europe. It’s normally held during the four weeks of Advent leading up to December 25th.

Rügen — Adrift on Germany’s Largest Island

Rügen’s chalk cliffs attracted artists and painters…

“Excuse me, do you have a light?”

I looked up to see a naked man towering over me, holding an unlit cigarette. He was smiling politely, but I had to crane my neck at a sharp angle to avoid speaking directly to his genitals. The waves sighed softly in the background as I told him in polite German that I don’t smoke, and he moved along down the beach to ask another bather.

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.

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.

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.

A New Life in a New Town

A new life in a new town…

I learned and experienced many things during my years in Malta, and I wrote around 30 articles about it — most of them were positive, about the places we discovered, from small village streets to the windswept heights of Ras ir-Raheb and the coast of Blata tal-Melh.