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Casa Loma, Toronto

Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s premier tourist destinations. The site is run by an entertainment conglomerate which must generate considerable tax revenue for the city if the crowds on the day of our visit were anything to go by. Stained glass roof, Conservatory - Casa...

The Road to Toronto

After three days of cooking for family and friends over Christmas, J and I drove to Toronto. Many parts of the United States are quite beautiful but our 480 mile route from Washington DC was not one of them. To be fair, we couldn't see much a lot of the way because of...

Fallingwater, Pennsylvania

In 1934, when Edgar Kauffman Sr., a Pittsburgh department store owner, turned to Frank Lloyd Wright to design a weekend house in the country, it was to cost $35,000. At the time, Frank Lloyd Wright was 67 years old and a world famous architect, but thanks to the...

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC

The genesis of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC - if that is the right word to use here - is 1847 when Pope Pius IX named the Virgin Mary as patroness of the United States, under her title of Immaculate Conception. In...
NC500; Headland of the Cats

NC500; Headland of the Cats

The trees around Forss house are speckled with crows' nests and as we set off down the gravel path towards the car, we noted the sociable and very smart birds cawing and wheeling above the trees. Seconds later things of a more uncharitable nature were observed about...

NC500; Durness to Forss House

NC500; Durness to Forss House

In the Highlands and Islands, unpronounceable place names of many consonants are usually Gaelic. Other names reflect the Viking heritage of the region, not least the county of Sutherland itself which just means 'southland' in Old Norse. Other names are Pictish which...

NC500: Handa Island & Loch Assynt

NC500: Handa Island & Loch Assynt

The zodiac boat to Handa Island runs from Tarbet, which is about a 10 minute drive north of Scourie - which we determined is properly pronounced Scowree and not Scoorie. In season the boat runs frequently, but off-season it runs on the hour, every hour, and naturally...

NC500; Gairloch to Ardvreck

NC500; Gairloch to Ardvreck

We had planned to leave Loch Torridon around 0930 as we had a long-ish drive and lots of things we wanted to see, but there was a bit of a muddle with the two room bills which required the deciphering skills of Alan Turing. By the time we were all satisfied that both...

NC500; Loch Torridon and Applecross

NC500; Loch Torridon and Applecross

The North Coast 500 is a genius bit of marketing. It is the 'Silk Road' of North and North-West Scotland, because while it is essentially a roughly 500-mile coastal route round-trip from Inverness, the NC500 - like the Silk Road - also incorporates any number of tiny...

Last Day in Milan

Last Day in Milan

Aside from the church of skulls, the only place on our itinerary that we did not manage to see was the Basilica di Sant Ambrogio which was founded in the 4th century, so I'm sure it'll hang on a bit longer until my next visit. We did however manage to get back to La...

Another day in Milan

Another day in Milan

We did not set the clock - we are on vacation after all - and this morning we woke up very late. I have noticed that we have a tendency to do this by about day three or four of our mini city vacations which involve lots of walking, because we are absolutely knackered....

Milan; religious art and food shopping

Milan; religious art and food shopping

This morning we had reserved timed entry tickets for 1030 at the Pinoteca di Brera art gallery. A recommended breakfast spot which was advertised as being two blocks away, seemed a good idea until we realized that it was more like eight blocks away. Not wanting to...

Day One in Milan

Day One in Milan

We arrived in Milan around lunchtime and as a friend had told us to eat at Biffi in the Galleria, we obediently did just that. The restaurant was opened in 1852 by Paolo Biffi and moved to its present location in the Galleria when it opened in 1857. It hasn't survived...

Two Duomos and a Certosa

Two Duomos and a Certosa

I took the bus from Cadenabbia to visit the Duomo in Como without having any clear idea of where to get off. In the end it wasn't that complicated; Como is located on the southern end of Lake Como and as I could see the dome as we drove into town from the western side...