North Cyprus – in pictures

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Londoner’s eye: you can’t beat a bit of Battersea

The Albert Bridge
The Albert Bridge, which is now strong enough to support an army going over it. (Image | Chris King)

For many people, the mention of Battersea, the suburb of South West London, conjures up two things: the cats and dogs’ home and Clapham Junction, which proudly describes itself as Britain’s busiest railway station.

Beyond this, some might add, there is little of note, especially when compared to the exciting, vibrant and diverse areas to the north, such as Hackney, Islington and Camden. They would be wrong. Continue reading

Tourist Trappist: Try monks’ beer on a Belgian brewery tour

ORDERING a triple at the bar would often spark concern for your wellbeing.

Mechelen lies between Antwerp and Brussels. (Image | Chris King)
Mechelen lies between Antwerp and Brussels. (Image | Chris King)

In a Belgian monastery, it is perfectly normal — they might be hurt if you didn’t.

Westmalle Abbey brews two of Flanders’ most heavenly ales, the blonde Tripel and dark brown Dubbel. Home to 36 monks and their forefathers since 1794, it is an hour’s pilgrimage (by car) from Brussels, starting a trip that will lead me to five breweries, two pubs and a beer festival.

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Serbia: leave your misconceptions behind

It is easy to follow the consensus view on Serbia, particularly when it is considered that not 10 years ago this was Europe’s “pariah state”.

Times change | Serbia is now a modern, vibrant state in Europe that should not be betrayed by its past. (Image | Chris King)
Times change | Serbia is now a modern, vibrant state that should not be betrayed by its past. (Image | Chris King)

Unwelcome on the international stage, and still reeling from the destructive rule of indicted war criminal Slobodan Milošević, Serbia was about as far from the tourism map as it could ever have been.

That does not mean you should, mind. This country has so much to offer to tourists and travellers of all persuasions.

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Balkan you believe how things have changed here

Union beer Slovenia
For lager lovers out there (the decent kind, not anything served within the British Isles), Ljubljana-brewed “Union” was our favourite and is an unmissable tipple if travelling through Slovenia on any sort of Balkan adventure. (Image | Chris King)

The Balkans, for all their beauty, varied landscapes, and wonderfully inviting people, have had a deeply troubled history. No more than 20 years ago, the city of Vukovar in Croatia was being pounded into rubble by the guns of paramilitaries and the tanks of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA), working on behalf of the disintegrating Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which once spanned these scarred lands. Sarajevo, the enchanting capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was on fire and the United Nations’ “protection” it was receiving never once prevented the continual encirclement and besieging of the city.

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