Every year, photo galleries of illuminated ice sculptures in China are emblazoned across news websites. Harbin's International Ice and Snow Festival inspires travellers around the world to marvel and think: “Next year, I'm going there.” Well, I finally did. And I had as surreal – and nose-numbing – experience as I'd hoped. But there are two major things that I learned: #1 – For an international festival, Harbin's ice-travaganza can be mystifying to foreign visitors. #2 – Ther
Heard of Marius the Danish giraffe? Worldwide outrage greeted the news that despite protests, this long-legged inhabitant of Copenhagen Zoo had been killed and fed to the lions. Euthanasia isn't uncommon among zoos but Marius' death and dissection were a PR disaster for the zoo.
And no wonder. Modern revulsion over killing exotic animals is well established. We're conscious of our destructive impact on ecosystems and feel intensely squeamish when reminded of how we've driven
Volcanoes. At their gentlest, they're grumbling, ash-puffing menaces. At their worst, they can rain fiery destruction and bury cities. And yet when I heard you could descend right into the belly of a volcano in Iceland, I couldn't slap on a helmet quickly enough. I admit it. This was no daredevil feat. Thrihnukagigur volcanois dormant and has been for thousands of years. The highest risk factor is probably the humiliation of trying to pronounce 'Thrihnukagigur' (which sounds
Sometimes, you arrive at a darkly disturbing travel site when you least expect it. I had wanted to visit Rila Monastery in Bulgaria for a long time. I saw pictures of its striped columns and enormous domes, a strange and beautiful contrast with the vast Rila Mountains, and wanted to see this dramatic sight for myself. What I didn't expect was how macabre the artwork at Rila would be. The initial impression of most visitors is to be dazzled by the colours in Rila Monastery. Bu
There are gold embossed crests and splashes of colour all over the walls of the Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio. You wouldn't expect anything less than regal scrolls and vaulted corridors from one of Europe's oldest seats of learning, the university of Bologna in Italy. Learning comes at a price, though; and chances are if you were staring at this next exquisitely carved ceiling, you weren't long for this world. Welcome to the Teatro Anatomico, where operations and autopsies we