On a bicycle through the High Tatra - Slovakia 2013



The Liptau Valley was a bowl filled to the brim with spring: rolling hills, wallpapered with meadows in all shades of green and purple and rape-yellow, lined with bands of spinach-coloured spruce and even darker fields of pine.The waist-deep, fragrant hayfields around us were glowing with poppies, buttercups, nettles and campanulas and quivered with bees and all kinds of other busy insects. A cuckoo called from a lone island of wild shrubs and bushes left in the middle of wide-stretching cornfields and the copse of ash trees below us was over-crowded with garrulous song birds quarrelling for attention. At the bottom of this Cotswold-sized basin was Lake Liptovska Mara, a summer-blue blot surrounded by tiny villages, toy-roads and large ant-sized herds of cattle and sheep. ...Read more

The Emir's Moustache - Qatar 2012



Even in the jostle of Doha's bazaar, with white-robed Bedouins, short-wearing tourists and women in dark, baggy thobes pushing in all directions, I could see my friend Henry. Sitting with crossed legs amidst the throng, at a small marble table of a street cafe, he sipped from a glass of mint tea and bare feet in tassel loafers, mauve shirt, matching tie, beige denims, he exuded happiness. It seemed to create an almost illuminated space around him. "Welcome to Qatar", he beamed at me when he saw me ...Read more

North by Northwest


Ski+board September 2013

From the slender tongue of land I was standing on, one could see Norway’s Lyngen Alps twice. Their granite rock and icescape first rising needle-sharp into a translucent, chintz-blue sky. And then again: the 80km-long peninsula of rugged peaks, glaciers and frozen waterfalls perfectly mirrored in the deep, calm waters of the fjord, a row of immaculately drawn lozenges. From the south, a lone trawler came chug-chugging over the unperturbed surface of the sound, the colour ofbarrel steel. Gulls were shrieking faintly in the distance, and meltwater dripped from wooden racks on the beach used long ago to dry cod in warming spring winds: a picture of utter peace. ...Read more

Pigs might fly down these slopes


Ski+board December 2012

Andreas Hofer trots past some porky slope guardians during an eventful tour in the mountains of Corsica.
The taxi driver thought it the most natural thing that I’d come to Corsica to ski. “You should have been here last week - we had a metre of fresh snow” he said, with the demeanour of an expert skier. “Our mountains re magnificent.” He indicated the landscape through the windscreen with wide-spread
arms, not bothered about the hairpin bend we were fast approaching. Nothing seemed to surprise this Corsican. But then, nothing much surprises the average Corsican anyway. Just read the French
comic book Asterix in Corsica and you’ll see what I mean.. ...Read more

You want to ski Mount Hermon?

LebanonConde Nast Traveller December 2012

'Call me when you land. Angry demonstrations. Airport highway interrupted. Rocks and stunt grenades being thrown at flash point. Road blocks of burning tyres everywhere. Massive military presence in the streets. Contact me urgently.' Nic, my friend from CNN Beirut, was clearly worried. I had come to ski Lebanon but, alas, the country had got out of hand again, and I was in the middle of it.‘Welcome in Lebanon,’ the driver from my hotel, Le Gray, greeted me, unmoved and with a welcoming smile. ‘Did you have a good flight?’ He steered his limousine swiftly through checkpoints, barricades and angry demonstrators to the hotel downtown. Through the tinted windows of his luxury car, the mayhem on the streets outside was dimmed to the mere flicker of a news programme, and deposed prime minister Hariri’s ‘day of rage’ just another Levantine comic opera. ...Read more

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