From his lofty perch, Napoleon gazes across at what might have been. Back in 1804 more than 100,000 men of his grand army stood alongside him here at Boulogne-Sur-Mer poised to invade England. They even built the column in anticipation of victory.Fortunately, they got distracted by Austria and Russia in the east and abandoned the invasion.
Alone bell tolls from somewhere close by, not an unfamiliar sound when you’re in Italy, but at this moment it’s rather more poignant. I’m inside Ferrara’s ancient shul, still going strong in the heart of the former medieval ghetto, nearly 600 years after it was built.
On any other day it would have been difficult not to notice the charm of the black volcanic landscape and the contrasting low-rise white-washed towns of Lanzarote. But as I drove along hilly roads from Playa Blanca in the south through Arecife, the capital, and on to the hillside village of Nazaret in the north, I hardly noticed the chain of multi-hued mountains that snake from end to end.
Imagine you’re looking at a giant, powdery sand dune that’s over 100 feet high. Now imagine 20 miles of them. You might think you’re in the Sahara, but this is no desert. This is Stockton Beach in the Worimi National Park on Australia’s eastern coast, and these are some of the largest sand dunes in the world.
The ferry docks in the tiny port of Charlestown on the Caribbean island of Nevis and a noisy flurry of meeting and greeting, unloading and unpacking takes place. We have completed the short journey from sister island St Kitts to explore the historical richness of Nevis, named by Columbus when he first sailed past its shores in 1493.
Standing in front of the squalid exterior of the Tacheles building in the heart of Berlin's Mitte district, I pause to ponder the existential question posed on the building's side. "How long is now" the giant mural asks passers-by, while the severe, stylised face spray-painted below suggests the answer is anything but frivolous.
With so many millionaires crammed into its 0.78 square miles, its awesome architecture, improbable number of spotlessly-lush parks and one of the smallest royals-to-commoners ratios in the world, you'd be forgiven for thinking Monaco is something dreamt up as a vehicle for a Grace Kelly film.