Hiking in the Lake District

We went on an extended weekend-trip (4 full days) to the Lake District in August 2012 and until today we think of the Lake District as our favourite holiday destination in England and the second-best in the UK just after the Ben Nevis/Glencoe area in Scotland.           We stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in Bowness-on-Windermere and undertook daytrips from there to do some serious hiking. Most trips started with a boat ride on Lake Windermere.           We didn’t think that Bowness was impressive, bit of a strange mix of busloads of tourists everywhere but nothing much to do or see, but as soon as you leave town in any direction the nature just blows you away immediately.      We didn’t have a car and didn’t want to spend too much time on busses, so missed out on Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 978m, this time.           On […]

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Amalfi Coast, or: “Hotel, 400m from the Town Centre”

We travelled to Positano on Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast in August 2012 and until today we think it was one of our best trips. It is impossible not to fall in love at first sight with this patch of sea, islands, beaches, and picturesque little medieval villages that cling to the rock walls of the coastline whose highest mountains soar up to 1,425m (that’s a good 75m North of Ben Nevis’s summit cross, 75m higher than the highest mountain on the British Isles, 200m higher than Australia’s Blue Mountains, and just 600m short of the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains).           We arrived via Naples International Airport, spent a day or so in Naples, then went from there by train to Pompeii, from where we then took the bus to Positano, our final destination on the Amalfi Coast.      The bus ride was certainly something. We were half […]

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Iceland: Glaciers, Waterfalls, and a Banana Plantation

In April 2011 we visited Iceland, Europe’s most sparsely populated country, for a long weekend (5 days). Tickets were dirt-cheap because of the financial crisis, and we had always wanted to go there. From Reykjavík International Airport it’s just 10 minutes by taxi to the city centre, where our hotel was located. The city has 120,000 residents (more than one third of the country’s citizens), roughly the size of Cambridge, England, or New Haven, CT, but probably feels slightly smaller. It is the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state and the economic, social, and cultural centre of the country. We had known a little bit about Iceland before we arrived, so weren’t surprised, but it is quite clear from the first moment, that these people are pretty well off, and that’s despite the fact that they had narrowly escaped a complete wipe-out of their economy just a couple of […]

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A Truly Tranquil Winter Wonderland

Stefan here, I’m one half of Berkeley Square Barbarian. I grew up in Bavaria in a small town located at a river. On the other side of the river is Austria. Like everyone in my town I had been to pretty much every Austrian village or town within a hundred mile radius by the time I was twelve. Sometimes we went skiing or hiking for several weekends in a row, never less than a dozen times a year, usually on the Austrian side (even though the Bavarian Alps are magnificent, there’s just more of the Alps on the Austrian side, that’s all), and I thought I had seen it all. It took my wife, who had only been to Austria for a day or two on a bus tour years before, to draw my attention to this little gem: Hallstatt, less than two and a half hours by train or […]

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Island Paradise: Maldives

In May 2010 we found a really good last-minute package to fly out to the Maldives for just one week (9 days, including travel time) and we decided it was time to give it a go. We normally avoid all destinations that have the label ‘luxury travel’ attached, because we find that they’re often over-priced, over-rated, over-crowded places easily outshone by other, lesser-known destinations, but £650 for the two of us, intercontinental and local connecting flights, hotel, and three meals a day, just was too much of a temptation. We liked every bit about the stay. Straight from the international airport in Male we took a tiny seaplane to our final destination, one of the outer islands. You’re being dropped off at a raft surrounded by coral reefs and little islands, then small boats pick up each group of travellers (there were 5 other people and between us we split […]

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