Monthly Archives: November 2012


Anish Kapoor's masterpiece

Anish Kapoor’s masterpiece

I reflected short and hard, trying to think of artworks which have become icons of the city lucky or foresighted enough to have installed them.

Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Statue of Liberty…um…can anyone think of any others? The Christ of the Andes…that’s about it.

I really believe Chicago has cracked the elusive jackpot with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

Since it was unveiled in 2006 ‘The Bean’ has become the city’s most recognisable landmark; something to be included in every tourist brochure and a ‘must be photographed standing next to in a witty pose’ for every visitor to the windy city.

It struck me as a good subject for this Weekly Photo Challenge. Continue reading


Filed under Art, USA


The America’s Cup Experience – now for everyone. Photo courtesy Sailing Sydney.

There are many ways to get out on Sydney Harbour, all of them good. You can take a ferry ride to Manly or (my preferred option) Watson’s Bay. You can scream in a jet-boat, paddle a kayak or cruise on a party boat with DJ and bar.

Or you can do as I just did, and take to the water on a thoroughbred racing yacht designed to win the America’s Cup. Thanks, Sailing Sydney, for having this landlubber aboard. Continue reading


Filed under Travel-Australia


The Keukenhof Gardens – tulips by the million

Few people celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but it coincided with us taking advantage of the cheaper Earlybird flights to Europe.

We booked our tickets back to Amsterdam this week, and will arrive there with the spring 2013. That’s something to be thankful for, and to celebrate with a few shots in this Weekly Photo Challenge.

We’re gratefully looking forward to… Continue reading


Filed under Holland


Photo: Fairfax media – Sahlan Hayes

Australia’s most popular writer died last night.

I had lunch with him once. He was pleasant company and I was flattered by the encouragement of someone so successful. I never met him again. Continue reading


Filed under Writing

WORLD’S WORST HOTEL – and proud of it

Part of Hans Brinker’s advertising campaign.

Bragging about your luxurious stay in a six-star hotel won’t make people jealous; they’ll think you’re crass, unimaginative and richer than you deserve to be.

Brag about your worst hotel experiences and you establish yourself as an intrepid traveller, a courageous citizen of the world.

Amsterdam’s Hans Brinker Budget Hotel is playing up its credentials as the world’s worst accommodation, hoping to attract the brave, the curious and those looking for an impressive traveller’s tale.

Could it really be as bad as the website suggests? Continue reading


Filed under Budget travel, Holland

ALCOHOL ON PLANES – my Huffington Post debut

So tell us, Richard, how did it feel when the guy threw up on you?

Early start this morning. My day began with an invitation to appear on Huff Post Live, in a panel discussion about whether alcohol should be banned on planes. I qualified as an expert witness on this topic, apparently, having once been the recipient of a projectile vomit from across the aisle.

It was my first appearance on an American talk show. I soon discovered that it’s not a hard gig since the Americans do most of the talking, and all you have to do as a panellist is laugh at their jokes.

That was easy too. The discussion between my fellow guests (a flight attendant, a passengers’ rights advocate and the Huffington Post travel editor) was very entertaining and I could comfortably play the straight guy.

Moderator Marc moved us around the topics. From drinking on planes we discussed other bad behaviour by passengers, screaming kids, use of mobile devices and finally, inevitably, Mile High Club adventures. I had little to contribute on that last subject.

Thanks for having me aboard, Huff Post Live. It was fun.

Here’s the link to the segment.

What do you think? Would you prefer alcohol to be banned from flights? Have you had any bad experiences with airborne drunks? Could you manage without the booze or is it all that gets you through the long haul?


Filed under Travel