#FollowMeTo Cap-Ferrat with @Natalyosmann and @fscapferrat We are starting a ser…

#FollowMeTo Cap-Ferrat with @Natalyosmann and @fscapferrat We are starting a series of stories with the most romantic locations in the world. Check our new beautiful brand of Non-conflict diamonds www.followyourlove.com @followyourloveto and stay tuned about new stories. #followyourlove #noconflictdiamonds

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From our Little French Trip we continued on into Italy for a short stop at Portofino, just south of Genoa. This is the Italian Riviera at its most luxurious, way back in 2001 I spent a couple of days on this coast walking the Cinque Terre coastal track. It was wonderful then and it’s equally striking today.

IMG_7774 - Portofino Harbour from Castello Brown - 540IMG_7765 - Church of San Giorgio, Portofino - 270▲ Big money – looking down from Castello Brown, superyachts jostle in Portofino’s picturesque harbour


◄ Coming back down to earth the Church of San Giorgio also looks out on that postcard pretty harbor.


IMG_7784  - Hotel Splendido, Portofino - 540▲ More big money – the Hotel Splendido was part of the Orient Express group, now it’s part of the much less exotically tagged Belmond organization

Wine, Art & a Château

While I was in Aix on my recent France trip we made a little excursion to Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, close to the town. The winery, restaurant and art complex is owned by Belfast-born Paddy McKinnen who had a colourful tussle for control of London’s Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Connaught Hotels. Well colourful for some people, very profitable for the lawyers.

IMG_7739 - Tom Shannon – Drop, Château La Coste - 540▲The sculpture and outdoor art which dots the château grounds includes Tom Shannon’s Drop, with Frank Gehry’s 2008 Serpentine Pavilion in the background. I’ve encountered another ex-Serpentine Pavilion – Smiljan Radić’s 2014 example – recently and I’ll put up a blog on the current pavilion soon.

IMG_7750 - Mac Cóilín – Sunrise, Vietnamese tea house, Château La Coste - 540▲ Mac Cóilín spear-like Sunrise fronts a Vietnamese tea house

IMG_7744 - Tadao Ando – Four Cubes, Château La Coste - 540▲But my favourite was Japanese artist Tadao Ando’s ‘Four cubes to contemplate our environment.’ Inside a wooden building stand four square glass cubes titled Water, CO2, Rubbish and Future? Rubbish featured tightly compressed Japanese beer and soft drink cans.

LP Pathfinders: video of the month, July 2016

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Every month, we curate the best blog posts and Instagrams from our Lonely Planet Pathfinders. Recently we launched a video post series, highlighting the best YouTube and Vimeo content from this community of travel-hungry content creators. 

This month’s feature is a video from Wanderlust Chloe which takes us on a whirlwind tour of what the beautiful island of St Kitts has to offer. (Warning:  rum punch features heavily!)

Adventures in St Kitts – Wanderlust Chloe

St Kitts is a magical island with plenty of things to do. It’s not packed full of Caribbean beach resorts – it’s raw, rugged and relatively untouched. From snorkelling with turtles and exploring old forts and sugar plantations, to checking out the food scene and plenty of rum punch, here’s a snapshot of my adventures!

Hat tip to Chloe for creating this video where she has the perfect balance of informative snippets to camera and inspiring imagery. We definitely feel we’ve been transported to the Caribbean, even if it was for a fleeting moment!

We’d also like to shout out to Lonely Planet Pathfinders, Anne and Jeff, who submitted a great video bursting with personality from their adventures in Iceland. Check it out here.

Find out what else our Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to (or sign up yourself!) by checking out the Pathfinders video playlist and subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Cold War Relics – in both directions

IMG_7378 - Duga-3 early detection array (Russian Woodpecker) - 540En route to the Chernobyl reactor and the ghost town of Pripyat we made a short detour to an amazing Cold War site. Here’s my diary entry: ‘a fascinating diversion to the Duga-3 early detection array (aka Russian Woodpecker), where the Russians watched out for missiles heading towards the Motherland from those untrustworthy Americans or NATO forces. I’m reminded of White Alice, the opposite construction I saw near Nome in Alaska back in July 2009, although this is far larger.

IMG_7388 - Duga-3 early detection array (Russian Woodpecker) - 540IMG_7400 - at the Duga-3 early detection array (Russian Woodpecker) - 270In total it stretches for half a km and if it wasn’t for its immense size it could easily be some bizarre art installation, it does look wonderfully, weirdly good. But of course it never worked, there’s a joke about how it would have been more effective climbing up to the crows-nest-like lookouts at the top and watching for incoming missiles with binoculars.’

◄ fading Soviet-era painting on one of the Woodpecker buildings.

IMG_4007 - 540And here’s my diary entry from my visit to White Alice. I was in Alaska with an LP-TV/National Geographic film crew: ‘As we head back to George’s we decide to divert to White Alice, atop Mt Anvil overlooking Nome, passing a herd of musk oxen en route. It’s a weird cold war relic, four strange corrugated-iron sound reflector structures which used to listen to some sort of Russian activity. From down in the town they look like a bizarre space age Stonehenge, closer up they look like a Victorian-era film set for a shoot of War of the Worlds.

Standing up there I do a piece to camera about this being a would-not-be-dead-for-quids moment, the Bering Straits below, the International Dateline and Russia not far to the west, the Arctic Circle not far to the north, these crazy Cold War structure at our feet, the honky tonk frontier town of Nome below us and damn it, it’s midnight.’