I had just turned into the side street from Dublin’s famous Grafton Street to the Westbury when I saw it. I instantly recognised the life size statue of Dublin-bred Phil Lynott. I was still humming “The Boys are Back in town” when I got to the reception desk on the first floor. “A fan of Thin Lizzy are you?” asked Eddie, the concierge in a charming Irish lilt.
When you are alone in a strange town, spending a few nights there can seem a little, lonely. So on a recent budget trip to Worcester, I shied away from the faceless chain hotels, opting instead for a bed and breakfast.
I found one in the village of Ladywood, a few minutes drive from town and noisy local pubs. At the every least, I reasoned, I would be in pleasant surroundings.
The Iadera gleams with newness. From the glass lifts, to the radiant white bathtubs, to the burnished sheen on the croissants, everything is polished. For guests at the luxury spa, it’s all about renewal too, settling into fluffy white robes, cleansing in the clear blue sea of the private beach, getting the grime scrubbed off, your tired muscles pummelled and eye bags smoothed away.
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.