Milan in July: Three days in Italy’s commercial centre

On arrival from Bergamo at Milan central railway station
Inside Milano Centrale
The facade of Milan central railway station. Completed in 1931, the impressive terminus displays a mix of classical, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles
A billboard at night
The Duomo (Cathedral) at night
The 14th-century Gothic cathedral is the third largest church in the world
One of Europe’s most famous shopping arcades, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) in Parco Sempione
Inside the Arena Civica (1807)
Outside the Arena Civica, also known as the Arena Gianni Brera
Sforza castle
Detail of the Duomo from its viewing platform
View of the Porta Nuova business district from the Duomo
The Duomo during the day
Looking up at the central roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Italian ties on sale in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The San Siro stadium. Unfortunately no cameras were allowed inside!
A closer look at the San Siro, the largest stadium in Italy and one of the world’s most iconic football venues
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper
A public sculpture called Needle, Thread and Knot (Ago, Filo e Nodo) near Cadorna railway station. It was installed in 2000
Long-exposure shot on the Milan metro
A concert poster with the Velasca Tower in the background
The modernist Torre Velasca was completed in 1958
The tower’s lower floors are occupied by offices and shops, while those above are residential
The tower’s design is said to be a modern interpretation of an Italian medieval castle
The business district viewed from the top of the Torre Branca
Facing north, with the Arch of Peace in the foreground
The tower was built during Italy’s fascist 1930s. It was closed in 1972, but reopened to the public in 2002
The UniCredit Tower, completed in 2011, is the tallest building in Italy
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Bergamo in July: A day in Milan’s picturesque neighbour

Those who land at Milan Bergamo airport and immediately head 50km west to the Lombard capital miss out on a historic city that is ideal for a day’s sightseeing. This was my first visit to Italy, but Bergamo seemed to be a postcard Italian town, with its tight, cobbled streets and picturesque views over orange Venetian rooftops and the beginnings of the Alps. The city is divided between the old, walled Citta Alta and the more modern lower city. I stayed at a hostel in the north and spent the day gradually making my way south (and downhill) towards the railway station before taking the train to Milan.

The city is divided between the old, walled Citta Alta and the more modern lower city. I stayed at a hostel in the north and spent the day gradually making my way south (and downhill) towards the railway station before taking the train to Milan.

The view of the Citta Alta (upper city) from the Ostello di Bergamo in the north of the city
The badge of Atalanta BC, Bergamo’s football team
The club finished 4th in Serie A (Italy’s top flight) last year
Outside the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, which was built in 1926 and holds 26,500
The main entrance of the Accademia Carrara art gallery
The gallery was established in 1794 by the aristocrat Giacomo Carrara
The gallery is unique in Italy for being made up entirely of private bequests
A couple looking at Van Dyck’s ‘Lamentation over a Dead Christ’ (1650-1670)
Francesco Hayez’s ‘Caterina Cornaro Deposed from the Throne of Cyprus’ (1842)
The view north towards the Alps from the Citta Alta
The highermost part of the Citta Alta from the Civic Tower (Campanone)
Facing east towards the Torre del Gombito from the Civic Tower
The public library on the Piazza Vecchia from the Civic Tower
The view of the lower city from Saint Vigilio
The funicular railway approaching Saint Vigilio
A typical backstreet in the upper city
Tourists at the 16th-century Porta San Giacomo, made of rosewood marble 
Zipwiring near the Venetian walls of the Citta Alta
The lower city in the background is the modern and commercial centre of Bergamo
When in Italy…
Bergamo railway station
The train to Milan

Krakow in June: 72 hours in Poland’s historic second city

The blue and white flags of Krakow in front of St Mary’s Basilica on the Main Market Square
St Mary’s Basilica
The Collegium Novum (New College) of the Jagiellonian University. Established in 1364, it is Poland’s oldest and most-renowned university
Chicken, potatoes and cauliflower at a restaurant in the Old Town
The Town Hall Tower on the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny)
The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) which stands at the centre of the Main Market Square
Inside the Cloth Hall
Błonia Park, a large meadow to the west of the historic centre
A model of Wawel Cathedral in front of the real thing, completed in the 11th century. The cathedral stands next to the Wawel Royal Castle
Pod Wawelem restaurant, near to Wawel Royal Castle. The ideal place for seriously large schnitzel and double pints of Tyskie!
St Andrew’s Church in the Old Town, completed in 1098
The Church of Saints Peter and Paul in the Old Town
Retro cameras on sale at a stall in the Old Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz)
Church of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist in the Old Town
The view of Floriańska Street from the top of St Mary’s Basilica
The view of the Main Market Square from the top of St Mary’s Basilica
The flags of Krakow and the Cloth Hall
More pierogi! This time at Pierogarnia Krakowiacy, on Szewska, just off the Main Square
Artworks for sale in the Old Town
Early evening near St Florian’s Gate

Warsaw, Poland

Football-related artwork on an underpass near the Józef Piłsudski Municipal stadium
Outside the Józef Piłsudski Municipal stadium (also known as the Polish Army stadium), home of Legia Warsaw
The Chopin statue in the Royal Baths Park (Łazienki Park)
Staszic Palace, seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw’s old town
Castle Square in Warsaw’s old town
The Royal Castle on Castle Square in Warsaw’s old town
St. John’s Archcathedral in Warsaw’s old town
Polish cuisine at a restaurant on Warsaw’s old town market square
The ‘energy breakfast’
The Palace of Culture and Science
The view towards the Vistula river (Wisła) and the national stadium from the top of the Palace of Culture and Science
The glass entrance to the Złote Tarasy shopping centre

Gdansk, Poland

Entrance to the Gdansk shipyards, home of the anti-communist Solidarity movement
The European Solidarity Centre
A typical central European meal of schnitzel, potatoes, carrots and peas at a simple canteen
The Museum of the Second World War, which opened in March 2017
The Museum of the Second World War
An abandoned building in the Gdansk shipyards
The Panoramic Wheel in central Gdansk
The traditional facades of buildings rebuild after World War II destroyed much of old Gdansk
The Town Hall in Gdansk old town
St Mary’s Chuch, one of the top three largest brick churches in the world
Gdansk Glowny main railway station at night
Pierogi (dumplings) at Pierogarnia Mandu
The Millenium Cross on the Gradowa Mountain overlooking the Gdansk shipyards
Poppies and a view of Gdansk’s old town

Kosice and Prague, September 2016

Five days spent in Central Europe, starting with a brief visit to Kosice, Slovakia’s second city, before taking the sleeper night train to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Kosice has a central street (Hlavna ulica) running north to south, rather than a main square
State Theatre, Kosice
St Elisabeth Cathedral, Kosice – Slovakia’s biggest church and one of the most easternmost Gothic cathedrals in Europe
In the 14th century Kosice became the first town in Europe to be granted its own coat of arms
Eden Arena, home of Slavia Prague football club
View from Vysehrad towards Prague Castle
Rychtar on the Vltava
Central Prague
An anti-immigration protest of some kind in Wenceslas Square, Prague
Peering into the Generali Arena, home of Sparta Prague football club
Outside the Generali Arena
The Strahov stadium in Prague, built during the inter-war period to host large-scale gymnastic events. With a capacity of more than 200,000 it is largely considered the largest stadium ever built
The Strahov is no longer in use as a stadium, though the pitches are used as a practice facility by Sparta Prague football club
The ventilation tower for the tunnel that runs underneath the Strahov stadium
Strahov stadium concourse
Strahov stadium, east side
Strahov stadium inside
Strahov stadium, west side
‘No entry during training’
Krymska street, a popular place for bars
Typical housing blocks in Stromky
Morning in Prague, the junction at Zelivskeho
Prague metro
Zelivskeho metro station

Ibiza, August 2016

A week spent in Ibiza, the third largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, known worldwide for its influence on nightlife and club music. I stayed in the eastern town of Santa Eularia, but travelled most days into Ibiza Town (Eivissa). Pictured below are Ibiza’s Dalt Vila (Upper Town), hotel resort Destino, and Pacha nightclub.

Berlin, Germany

A short city break to German capital Berlin to see the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz TV tower, Jewish Museum, East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, KaDeWe, Bundestag, and Olympiastadion for Hertha BSC v Schalke 04.

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Fernsehturm, Alexanderplatz
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Brandenburg Gate
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Olympiastadion
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Senefelderplatz
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KaDeWe
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Bratwurst
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Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
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Ostkurve, Olympiastadion
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East Side Gallery
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Besselstraße
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Berlin Cathedral
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Protest at Brandenburg Gate
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East Side Gallery
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Reichstag
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Checkpoint Charlie
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KaDeWe
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Jewish Museum
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Hertha BSC scarves

Hitch-hiking in eastern Europe: Black Sea coast, Sofia and Budapest

Memorable trip hitch-hiking across eastern Europe: from Sunny Beach on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast, to Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

Sunny Beach and Nesebar

Travelling towards Plovdiv and Sofia

Sofia

Travelling through Serbia towards Hungary

Budapest