Extravagant public art and a stoned hostel owner: my adventures in Macedonia.

Cities stayed in: Ohrid & Skopje Other places visited: Pristina, Kosovo Stayed at: Hotel Super 8 in Skopje (I won't name the hostel in Ohrid as it was awful, and I'm going to give it a thorough roasting later). Best thing I ate:My favourite meal was in Skopje, in an Italian Restaurant called Bella Vista, … Continue reading Extravagant public art and a stoned hostel owner: my adventures in Macedonia.

Ten things you’ll find in every Balkan supermarket (which you should definitely pack for a picnic)

Snacks: Sunflower seeds, the favoured snack of every man aged over 55, at least in warm countries where you can sit in the sunshine and hull them with your teeth, leaving mounds of shells around park benches, a kind of compostable calling card if you will. There's a technique to opening them which involves cracking … Continue reading Ten things you’ll find in every Balkan supermarket (which you should definitely pack for a picnic)

Tokyo Day 6 – A haunted toilet, a picnic that went wrong, and another boiling hot bath.

My original plan for today had been to go out to Hakone, to see Mt Fuji and do the tourist loop, which includes rinding on a cable car and a faux pirate ship, both of which were hugely appealing to me. However, I realised the night before that I was running out of time to … Continue reading Tokyo Day 6 – A haunted toilet, a picnic that went wrong, and another boiling hot bath.

Day 5 – Your bow is red, your dress is blue, oh Hello Kitty, I really love you! (Valentine’s Day at Sanrio Puroland!)

I've been obsessed with the little white cat with a red bow since I was child, when Sanrio merchandise was far harder to come by. Whenever our parents took us to London, my sister and I would insist on a visit to Harrods or Hamleys, where I'd spend my pocket money on Hello Kitty stationary … Continue reading Day 5 – Your bow is red, your dress is blue, oh Hello Kitty, I really love you! (Valentine’s Day at Sanrio Puroland!)

Tokyo Day 4 – Visiting the Emperor, travelling back in time and window-shopping for plastic food.

After waking up far, far too early, I made the Imperial Palace my first stop of the day. I'd expected just to be able to walk around the surrounding parkland, but when I got to the gate I discovered you could have a free guided tour. The tour is in Japanese, but there's a free … Continue reading Tokyo Day 4 – Visiting the Emperor, travelling back in time and window-shopping for plastic food.