From Europe

The birthplace of Western civilization

Zürich Botanical Gardens

We reached Zurich from Salzburg by way of a fantastic 5-hour train trip through the Austrian Alps, clipping the corner of Lichtenstein before gliding along the shore of Lake Zürich to the main station. Read more

New Year’s Eve in Salzburg

Upon arrival in Salzburg from Munich, it was overcast and wet so we decided to take it easy at our Airbnb apartment and check out the local supermarket which was actually quite fun given the ample supply of meat and cheese not readily available in Japan. Read more

Neuschwanstein Castle

I spent Christmas 2017 with family in the UK but after the festivities and before the New Year managed to squeeze in a short trip to Munich, Salzburg and Zurich.

It was the first time for me to visit all three places and, after spending the last decade predominantly in Asia, I’d almost forgotten just how exceptional the old European cities are. Read more

Moments de Paris

I’ve had few opportunities to return to Europe, since moving to East Asia over 10 years ago, so was very happy when I got an excuse to spend a week in Paris this past February. My last visit to the French capital was in 2005 at the ripe age of 21 so I was eager to see the city through my slightly older eyes! Read more

Two Weeks in Portugal

You may have noticed that the output of Randomwire has been a bit low this year to date. I have a huge backlog of interesting things and places to write about but, without wanting to make excuses, have been too stressed and busy to put pen to paper (more on this in the next couple of weeks). Read more


I arrived back in London on Tuesday evening after spending a very cold, but enjoyable, three days in Amsterdam – the capital of the Netherlands (amongst other things). Highlights included the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House & a boat trip on the canals, some tasty pancakes as well as many chilly walks!

Whilst I would have loved to have taken more photos it was simply to cold to hold the camera for long without gloves so I only took a few snaps, highlights below:





I’m back at my parents house now for Christmas which means lots of delicious home cooked food and a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep! Apologies anyone who might try to call me – there is no reception here, drop me an email and I’ll send you the landline number.


Here’s the first batch of photos from my holiday. These are the more ‘touristy‘ type ones – I’ll be posting the more ‘arty‘ ones on my photo blog, so be sure to take a look at these also!

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

Hotel Des Invalides
Hotel Des Invalides

Notes on Paris: I’ve been up the Eiffel Tower during the daytime but at night it’s even better, go right to the top and enjoy the spectacular views! Owing to a French idiosyncrasy the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays so plan accordingly. Walking around Paris is undoubtedly the best way to see it but when you want to get somewhere far-away fast use the Metro. For a taste of real French food which won’t break the bank and a trip back in time don’t miss Restaurant Chartier (this is if you can find it!).

Clean Country

After my week long hiatus to sunny Switzerland I’m back! First off a word about the Swiss transport system – WOW, everything runs on time, is amazingly clean and modern. You can literally set your watch by the trains/buses/trams which all have integrated timetables so you can usually step off one directly onto another. It puts all other transport systems I’ve ever used to shame!

Highlights of the trip included eating some rather tasty fondue and going up the amazing Jungfraujoch mountain as well as some nice walks round some small (and not so small) cities. If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in Switzerland I would have no hesitation recommending Pension Marthahus in Bern and Hotel Rugenpark in Interlaken, both of which provided clean and comfortable rooms as well as a decent breakfast (essential in my book)!

Here are a few of my favourite photos, you can find the rest in the gallery:

Lake Geneva from Ouchy (just below Lausanne)

Fribourg: Place Notre-Dame (Left), Fountain with St. George slaying the dragon (Right)

Jungfraujoch: The top of Europe!

Window in Geneva

Old street in Geneva

Herculaneum and Vesuvius

Its been a busy couple of days over here in Italy – yesterday we visited Herculaneum and Vesuvius, today we walked up to an old monastery high up in the mountains and spent the afternoon on the beach.


Herculaneum was particularly impressive – it’s similar to Pompeii but was covered in molten lava rather than ash, hence much less of it has been uncovered.


Going up Vesuvius was also pretty good although it was a little more touristy that I liked and we couldn’t walk around the whole of the craters edge.


We’ve only got one full day left over here and the battery is running low on the Blackberry I’ve borrowed so this may be the last post. Make sure you check back on Sunday at the latest for loads of pictures and a little more explanation!