Auckland view from Mount Victoria

Aug 17, 2014 in New Zealand 2014

Auckland view from Mount Victoria

Milsons Point

Aug 09, 2014 in Australia 2014

Milsons Point

Xinyi nights

Nov 20, 2013 in Taiwan 2013

Xinyi nights

A view from a rooftop bar

Balcony view

Oct 15, 2011 in Chile

Balcony view

I moved into a new flat yesterday. I was perhaps a bit rash, as it was only the second place I looked at, but it was more or less the kind of thing I was looking for and I didn’t want to spend any longer than necessary in my temporary accommodation.

What really persuaded me was the views from the balcony. London is not a high-rise city, and I’d almost always lived in houses while I was there. The one time I lived in a block of flats I was on the first floor. So this flat, up high on the 15th floor, was something new. And it faces east towards the mountains, so the height is worth having.

Cerro San Cristóbal

Oct 02, 2011 in Chile

Cerro San Cristóbal

Cerro San Cristóbal is the highest point inside Santiago and it’s always nice to go up there and see the views of the city surround by the mountains. I went up again, late on a Sunday evening, taking the lazy route to the top on the funicular railway. The place is always crawling with cyclists, and as soon as my bike arrives from Europe I can’t wait to tackle this hill. It’s about 300m from street level to the peak, a bit more of a challenge than my cycle up Highgate Hill used to be.

I like the atmosphere at the top of San Cristóbal. You can hear the noise of the sprawling city but it feels very calm and tranquil. I sat and watched the sun set and the lights of the city come on, then headed back down to the streets.

Stormy weather

Apr 26, 2011 in Canada 2011

Stormy weather

Rainy day at Dundas Square

Sunday in Toronto

Apr 24, 2011 in Canada 2011

Sunday in Toronto

Toronto Islands

Apr 23, 2011 in Canada 2011

Toronto Islands

A view back to the mainland from Ward’s Island

City Hall

Apr 23, 2011 in Canada 2011

City Hall

CN Tower

Apr 22, 2011 in Canada 2011

CN Tower

After a moment of madness on skyscanner.net, I found myself at the top of the CN Tower less than a day after buying flights from London

Foggy morning

Jan 10, 2011 in Luxembourg 2011

Foggy morning

MUDAM

Jan 09, 2011 in Luxembourg 2011

MUDAM

Contemporary art in Luxembourg

City twilight

Jan 08, 2011 in Luxembourg 2011

City twilight

Luxembourg

Jan 08, 2011 in Luxembourg 2011

Luxembourg

View over the valley of the Alzette river.

La Laguna

Oct 27, 2010 in Tenerife 2010

La Laguna

Terminal 3

Oct 23, 2010 in Tenerife 2010

Terminal 3

Early morning departure from Heathrow

A Coruña

Sep 13, 2010 in Santiago de Compostela 2010

A Coruña

Santiago de Compostela

Sep 10, 2010 in Santiago de Compostela 2010

Santiago de Compostela

By the harbour

Aug 23, 2010 in Microstates 2010

By the harbour

Nearing the end of a lap of the circuit

Monaco

Aug 23, 2010 in Microstates 2010

Monaco

Loewes Hairpin, seen during my obligatory lap of the grand prix circuit.

Danube

Aug 18, 2010 in Vienna 2010

Danube

Vienna

Aug 16, 2010 in Vienna 2010

Vienna

Storsteinen

Jul 11, 2010 in Norway 2010

Storsteinen

Midnight sun in Tromsø

Jul 09, 2010 in Norway 2010

Midnight sun in Tromsø

Back to Norway

Jul 08, 2010 in Norway 2010

Back to Norway

Return to Oslo, eight years after my first trip to Norway

Villette Sonique

May 31, 2010 in Paris 2010

Villette Sonique

Pompidou centre

May 31, 2010 in Paris 2010

Pompidou centre

Notre Dame

May 31, 2010 in Paris 2010

Notre Dame

Bute Hall

Apr 16, 2010 in Scotland 2010

Bute Hall

A sudden return

Apr 11, 2010 in Iceland 2010

A sudden return

Eight months ago, I’d stood outside Keflavík airport and seen the snow-capped cone of Snæfell, 70 miles away across Faxaflói. It was a clear sign, telling me that I would certainly return to Iceland. I felt that very strongly but I never expected to come back so soon. While I was in Belgrade I’d heard that a volcano had started erupting in the Fimmvörðuháls pass, close to where I’d been hiking. It was an impressive and easily accessible eruption. I couldn’t believe it had happened so soon after I was there and I felt annoyed that I wouldn’t see it. But then, the thought occurred to me that there was no reason why I shouldn’t go and see it. One Monday morning, with the eruption still going on, I decided to go back. I booked a flight for the Friday, and then spent an agonising four days hoping that the eruption wouldn’t stop, that the weather would be OK, and that I’d be able to see the eruption.

And so for the third time I got a late flight from Heathrow to Keflavík. I saw the northern lights from the plane window, the first time I’d seen them since my first trip to Iceland, and then I got a sudden, breathtaking glimpse of something red and pulsating far below. It could surely only be the volcano. By the time I’d grabbed my camera it had disappeared from view. I became furiously impatient as we slowly descended into Keflavík.

I got the usual bus into town, and felt an extreme sense of deja vu as I walked towards the city hostel. Last summer it had still been light and warm as I walked in to the city at midnight; this time the bus broke down on the way and we had to transfer to another one in a howling gale in the darkness. I got to the hostel and booked myself some transport to the volcano for the next afternoon.

The next day I walked around the city again. It was grim and rainy, and the signs didn’t look good. My trip for the afternoon was uncertain, and I couldn’t even book a trip for the Sunday. The forecast was for severe weather, and no-one was planning on making any trips. Eventually, I found one company who said they would consider doing a trip and I left them my number. I revisited a few of my favourite Reykjavík sights, and then spent the afternoon in a cafe where I ordered so many espressos that eventually they let me make my own. I was properly blazing when I heard the bad news that the trip to the volcano for the afternoon was cancelled. All my hopes were now on Sunday.

Font Màgica

Apr 02, 2010 in Barcelona 2010

Font Màgica

Parc de la Ciutadella

Apr 01, 2010 in Barcelona 2010

Parc de la Ciutadella

Rammstein

Mar 20, 2010 in Balkans 2010

Rammstein

St. Sava

Mar 20, 2010 in Balkans 2010

St. Sava

Novi Beograd

Mar 20, 2010 in Balkans 2010

Novi Beograd

Zagreb

Mar 18, 2010 in Balkans 2010

Zagreb

Return to Zagreb, seven years after my first visit

Plaza de Armas

Jan 06, 2010 in Chile and Peru 2009

Plaza de Armas

Back in Santiago

Tacna

Jan 04, 2010 in Chile and Peru 2009

Tacna

El Morro

Jan 03, 2010 in Chile and Peru 2009

El Morro

A view over the Pacific from Arica

Iquique

Dec 31, 2009 in Chile and Peru 2009

Iquique

On the beach

Dec 26, 2009 in Chile and Peru 2009

On the beach

Messing around with long exposures on Christmas night

Christmas Day at La Serena

Dec 24, 2009 in Chile and Peru 2009

Christmas Day at La Serena

Santiago

Dec 14, 2009 in Chile and Peru 2009

Santiago

Leuven again

Nov 09, 2009 in Belgium 2009

Leuven again

Back in Belgium for the second time this year

Rammstein II

Nov 08, 2009 in Portugal 2009

Rammstein II

Awesome night at the Pavilhão Atlântico

Belém

Nov 08, 2009 in Portugal 2009

Belém

Lisbon

Nov 08, 2009 in Portugal 2009

Lisbon

Last day

Jul 14, 2009 in Greenland and Iceland 2009

Last day

As my bus rumbled in through the suburbs of the capital I spotted a sign that said the temperature was 28°C. I spent my last day in the city enjoying the incredible heat wave. I walked out to Seltjarnarnes, the tip of the peninsula that Reykjavík sits on. I wanted to go right to the end, but it’s a nesting place for thousands of very aggressive birds. I suddenly found myself in a Hitchcockian nightmare and had to beat a hasty retreat as terns and gulls started swooping at me.

I could see Snæfell across the bay again. The snowy peak rose from the waters and stood out sharply against the deep blue sky. Once I was out of range of the bird attacks I looked across the bay and wondered when I was going to go there.

There was not much left to do. I went to the Hallgrímskirkja and went up its tower, but it was covered in hoardings and the views were poor. I sat by the Tjörn for a while and looked back on another incredible trip. I watched the sun dip below the horizon at 11.30pm. And in the morning I packed up and left.

Back in Reykjavík

Jul 03, 2009 in Greenland and Iceland 2009

Back in Reykjavík

I got up the next morning to find thick fog enshrouding Kulusuk. As I packed up my tent, I heard the plane from Reykjavík approaching, but I couldn’t see it. Then suddenly it passed breathtakingly low over my campsite. I saw the dark shape and heard a huge roar, but not long afterwards, I heard it again much higher.

I packed up and walked across the tundra to the airport. The fog was still thick, the plane had still not landed, and there was an air of slight tension. It had been circling for more than an hour by the time it landed, and there was relief in the airport as it finally pulled up at the terminal. The most relieved people were a huge group of Greenlandic children, who were clearly going on a big trip to Iceland. We all boarded, the Greenlanders were waved off by their families and I looked back at the snowy landscape and bade farewell to this incredible place.

Barely two hours later, we were back in Reykjavík. Coming from London, Iceland feels pretty remote. Coming from Greenland, I had the sense that I’d crossed an enormous but invisible boundary, leaving behind a place where humans lived on the brink, where there were no towns or villages, really, but just houses on a landscape, and returning to somewhere safe, serene and blessed. Greenland is closer to Iceland than London is, in terms of distance, but on a scale of human experience, Iceland is far, far closer to London than it is to Greenland.

In the evening it was sunny and warm. I walked by the harbour. Ten years ago we’d been slapped about by a violent sea wind walking along here, but today it was calm, and people cycled, ran and walked along the bayside path. As I walked, I noticed a dim grey triangle on the horizon to the north where the sun was getting low in the sky. It could only be Snæfell, 75 miles away across the bay. Seeing it from this far away seemed to me to be a good omen for the next part of my trip: to hike the Laugavegur.

Rastro

Mar 29, 2009 in Madrid 2009

Rastro

Madrid’s Sunday morning flea market

ESAC

Mar 26, 2009 in Madrid 2009

ESAC

European Space Agency ground control centre at Villanueva de la Cañada

Plaza de España

Mar 25, 2009 in Madrid 2009

Plaza de España

Madrid

Mar 24, 2009 in Madrid 2009

Madrid

A view of the Gran Via

Sears Tower

Mar 18, 2009 in United States 2009

Sears Tower

Chicago

Mar 18, 2009 in United States 2009

Chicago

Grenoble

Feb 28, 2009 in Grenoble 2009

Grenoble

St. Pancras

Feb 17, 2009 in Belgium 2009

St. Pancras

London’s finest train station

Brussels

Feb 17, 2009 in Belgium 2009

Brussels

Leuven

Feb 16, 2009 in Belgium 2009

Leuven

La Laguna

Jan 22, 2009 in Tenerife 2009

La Laguna

TV Tower

Dec 07, 2008 in Czech Republic 2008

TV Tower

Wenceslas Square

Dec 06, 2008 in Czech Republic 2008

Wenceslas Square

Escaping the crowds

Dec 06, 2008 in Czech Republic 2008

Escaping the crowds

Prague

Dec 06, 2008 in Czech Republic 2008

Prague

Suburbs

Oct 20, 2008 in Estonia 2008

Suburbs

Soviet architecture still obvious in parts of Tallinn

Toompea

Oct 19, 2008 in Estonia 2008

Toompea

Rainy day in Tallinn

Oct 19, 2008 in Estonia 2008

Rainy day in Tallinn

Tallinn

Oct 18, 2008 in Estonia 2008

Tallinn

Slavín

Sep 21, 2008 in Slovakia 2008

Slavín

Castle views

Sep 20, 2008 in Slovakia 2008

Castle views

Bratislava

Sep 19, 2008 in Slovakia 2008

Bratislava

Ioannina

Jul 22, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Ioannina

Gjirokastra

Jul 21, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Gjirokastra

Bus to Gjirokastra

Jul 21, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Bus to Gjirokastra

Somewhere in the south of Albania

Tirana

Jul 20, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Tirana

Train to Skopje

Jul 17, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Train to Skopje

Coming into Skopje on the train from Priština

Prizren

Jul 16, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Prizren

More traces of conflict in Prizren

Peja

Jul 16, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Peja

Looking towards the Accursed Mountains from Peja

Priština

Jul 15, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Priština

Traces of conflict in newly independent Kosovo

Kotor

Jul 12, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Kotor

Mostar

Jul 10, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Mostar

Bobsleigh run

Jul 08, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Bobsleigh run

Built for the 1984 winter olympics, this bobsleigh run was used by snipers during the Bosnian war to terrorise the inhabitants of Sarajevo

Sarajevo

Jul 07, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Sarajevo

Bus to Sarajevo

Jul 07, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Bus to Sarajevo

Somewhere in Bosnia on a bus journey from Belgrade to Sarajevo

Belgrade

Jul 06, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Belgrade

In a park at the Kalemegdan

Train to Belgrade

Jul 05, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Train to Belgrade

Crossing the Danube at Novi Sad on the way from Budapest to Belgrade

Back to Budapest

Jul 04, 2008 in Balkans 2008

Back to Budapest

East Side Gallery

May 26, 2008 in Berlin 2008

East Side Gallery

Historic murals of the East Side Gallery in 2002 (left) and 2008 (right)

Treptow war memorial

May 26, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Treptow war memorial

Hauptbahnhof

May 25, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Hauptbahnhof

Hamburger Bahnhof

May 25, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Hamburger Bahnhof

Holocaust memorial

May 24, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Holocaust memorial

Back in Berlin

May 24, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Back in Berlin

Potsdam

May 19, 2008 in Berlin 2008

Potsdam

Moon river

Apr 21, 2008 in Sevilla 2008

Moon river

A view over the Guadalquivir river at night.

Guadalquivir

Apr 20, 2008 in Sevilla 2008

Guadalquivir

Sevilla vs. Almeria

Apr 19, 2008 in Sevilla 2008

Sevilla vs. Almeria

In which Almeria unexpectedly demolished Sevilla to win 4-1.

Stranraer

Apr 06, 2008 in Northern Ireland 2008

Stranraer

View from a badly delayed Stena ferry from Belfast to Stranraer

Murals on the Falls Road

Apr 04, 2008 in Northern Ireland 2008

Murals on the Falls Road

Belfast

Apr 02, 2008 in Northern Ireland 2008

Belfast