A Gestapo headquarters in my backyard. Narrabeen, Sydney.

Narrabeen is a beachside suburb of Sydney, perched midway between cosmopolitan Manly and the uber-rich hangout of Palm Beach. Known more for its famous surf breaks, immortalised in the lyrics to the Beach Boys sixties summer hit 'Surfin USA', it has a sleepy feel, which suits me just fine, as this is my favourite part of Sydney, and is where I have chosen to live.

Cannibals, Cults & Corpses

A great new travel book published just in time for Christmas. A selection of travel stories from the more unusual parts of the globe that you can explore from the comfort of your armchair. These are places that you will never see advertised in a travel agent's window.

The Capital of Baklava. Gaziantep

What do you get when you mix fresh newly picked green pistachio nuts, syrup and layers and layers gossamer- thin pastry? Baklava, the wonderful sticky sweet pastry that it is almost impossible to say no to, and Gaziantep, in far southern Turkey, is the world capital of this dessert.

Mosaics from a drowned city. Zeugma

Zeugma was one of the Roman Empire's most important and prosperous cities outside of Europe. Situated by a bridge over the River Euphrates it was a vital hub on the Silk Road linking the empire with Asia. Following an invasion and then a devastating earthquake it was abandoned and forgotten.

Top 10 Things to do in Dhaka

Dhaka is one of the worlds mega-cities, with a population of over 19 million people, and growing by over 5,00 people a week.  Yet with a history going back over two thousand years and being the political and cultural capital of Bangladesh, the densely populated city is one of the best kept secrets in Asia.

Where Ships Go to Die. Chittagong

When I first moved to Sydney I went to a photographic exhibition one Saturday in Paddington. It was by Sebastiao Selgado, part of an exhibition of prints from his book 'Workers'. There were some stunning shots from around the world, but it was the images from the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong that stuck with me.

Top 10 Things to do in Moldova

Moldova is one of Europe's hidden gems. An independent country since the break up of the Soviet Union, it has also been occupied and fought over by the Ottoman Empire, and Romania. The people are friendly, it has some great sights to see, and produces some wonderful, and very cheap, wine.

Driving drinking underground. Moldova

As a regular reader of this blog would know I am partial to the odd glass of wine. While in Moldova I heard of a winery with stocks of over 2 million bottles of wine stored in over 200 km (120 miles). The only way to see the wine is to actually drive through the cellars. 

Top 10 Things to do in Transnistria

Transnistria is one of the more unusual 'countries' in the world to travel to as it's existence is not recognised by any major country. It is well worth a visit, as it will give you a taste of a place that has not removed the traces of its Soviet history, unlike most of its neighbours.

Travelling to a country that does not exist. Transnistria

Well, it is not a virtual country that only exists in a game like Sim City, there is actual land and people there, but only Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabkh and South Ossetia actually recognise Transnistria as a bonafide country. And if you have not heard of those places either it is because they have also only very limited recognition in the world. Even Russia, which has several thousand troops based there, has yet to formally recognise it.

Top 10 Things to do in Pyongyang

Pyongyang may not be your typical 'weekend away' destination, but should you find yourself in the North Korean capital there are plenty of attractions and experiences to keep you busy. Since you are not free to travel around independently you will need to plan a schedule in advance for yourself, your guides and driver.

The DMZ. Looking into the South from North Korea

Maybe not surprisingly, the road south from Pyongyang to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea is one of the best in the country. It is well maintained and smooth, ideal for moving large numbers of troops and tanks quickly, if ever there was a need.

Pyongyang. Shopping, Communists and Beer.

Pyongyang is small city, easy to get around, and has very little traffic or pollution. An ideal place to wander the streets, look at local students marching in uniform and very much in step while having a look into the small shops dotted around. Except that you are not allowed to. Each group of tourists had a set of guides/minders and a driver and a set program which is hard to deviate from.

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.