Welcome to North Korea

North Korea. AKA 'The Hermit Kingdom', or more recently 'The land of ICBMs'. An unusual travel destination, and also one becoming increasingly difficult to visit, particularly if you are an American.  I had planned this trip months in advance, but as my departure day got closer the rhetoric between Trump and Kim reached new levels of abuse, with threats thrown from both sides, and there were murmurings of preemptive strikes on the country. I guessed international diplomacy might cool the hot heads, and if not it could be an even more interesting experience.

The abandoned city of Pripyat

When a nuclear accident destroyed much of Power plant number four at Chernobyl, the resulting radioactive cloud spread across much of western Europe, leading to restrictions on milk and farm animal consumption from affected areas, many of which have only been lifted in the last 5 years. Meanwhile, 5 km's from the reactor was a modern city called Pripyat, housing many of the plants workers and families. It remains uninhabitable for 20,000 years.

The Duga. A Secret Soviet Radar Array in the exclusion zone

On the maps of Ukraine in the 1980's it was marked implausibly as a Young Pioneer camp. In reality the Duga, a mass of interwoven pipes, pylons,and wires, was a top secret experimental Soviet radar installation hidden away in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Top 10 Things to do in Kiev

Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is a mix of Soviet modernist architecture and beautiful medieval buildings. Throw in a city centre dominated by parks, great museums, the Dneiper river flowing through the middle, affordable hotels and cheap and tasty local beer, it has the makings of a great weekend away.

Guest Blog: 5 must-visit countries for the adventurous traveller

If you’re looking for more from your trip than just a simple spot of sightseeing, there’s (perhaps surprisingly) countless potential destinations to consider. For a spot of adventure, here are the five must-visit countries you simply need to add to your bucket list.


The Propaganda Posters of North Korea

We are just back from a trip to North Korea. What with missile testing on the one hand, and promises of "fire and fury" on the other it was, to put it mildly, an interesting time to visit. More entries on North Korea will be added here over time, although the priority is to write more detailed stories for the next Far Flung Places book coming out late 2017. In the meantime, here are a selection of propaganda posters from the country.

The view from inside a Nuclear Power Station

I used to pass by the cooling towers at Didcot on an almost weekly basis on the main rail line between Bristol and London. They dominated the landscape pouring columns of steam in the sky from the coal powered plant, some saw them as a blight on the green country landscape of Oxfordshire. I just though they looked magnificent, symmetrical and a marvel of modern architecture.