The top 10 must do meals in Japan.

In Japan it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal. Food is so highly respected – revered even – by most Japanese people, that you can find great food everywhere. Even in convenience stores – we had some incredibly tasty and fresh chicken karaage from a Seven-Eleven. I’ve had lots of different and interesting meals in Japan, but I love discovering the Japanese staples you know so well (sushi, ramen, tempura, etc) that take it up to a whole new level from what you’re used to at home. These are my Top Ten must do Japanese favourites: Read more


Getting whipped and other massages around the world.

I had a lovely relaxing massage this week and while I was lying there in contented bliss I thought about some of the not so relaxing massages that I’ve had in my travels. I do love a massage and in some countries where they are nice and cheap I’ve been known to have one every day. But, they haven’t all been that relaxing – over the years I’ve had everything from being whipped with a bundle of twigs to being pummelled by a beefy, hairy giant and having a blind woman trying to tear my limbs off. Here are some of my most interesting massages that I’ve had in my travels… Read more


A grasshopper walks into a bar…

…and the bartender looks at him in surprise and says, ‘We have a drink named after you!’ The grasshopper looks even more surprised and says, ‘You have a drink named Kevin!’

On my recent trip to New Orleans I had a ‘Grasshopper’ cocktail at the bar that it was invented in. I was in Tujagues Bar in the French Quarter where, in the 1920s, the owner Philbert Guichet threw together equal parts green Crème de menthe, white Crème de cacao and cream to create the now famous cocktail. Philbert entered the drink to a recipe contest in New York in 1928 and was awarded second place, but it didn’t become popular until the 1950s when the sweet drink became the housewife’s favourite at cocktail parties. Read more


The Top 10 graveyards in the world.

I’m not a taphophile (someone with a love of funerals, graves and cemeteries), but I do like visiting a good cemetery or graveyard when I travel. I’ve just recently come back from a trip to the States where a spent a few days in New Orleans and while I was there I went to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It’s the oldest cemetery (1833) in the city, but that wasn’t the motivation for my visit – I’d seen it in a movie. The movie was ‘Double Jeopardy’ and in a big scene from the film Ashleigh Judd ran all around the cemetery before she got locked in one of the large above-ground tombs (the tombs are above ground because the locals learnt the hard way that the dearly departed had the annoying habit of floating up to the surface during heavy rain). And there were certainly enough bodies to float around – the cemetery houses over 100,000 bodies in just one square block. Read more


The 10 most exotic places to get married.

This weekend I’m going to a wedding in a zoo in Wisconsin. That’s a sentence I’ll probably never say again. I love a ‘destination’ wedding and what’s not to like about celebrating nuptials with an African pygmy hedgehog and a striped skunk on the shores of Lake Michigan (oh, and it’s not the hedgehog and skunk getting married). I’ve had quite a few friends who have got married overseas (I’ve even had two myself – Switzerland and Minnesota). They’ve tied the knot from everywhere to a beach in Bali, a park in Paris and an Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas. There are certainly some stunning spots around the globe to get hitched, but if you want to really impress your friends these ten places will get lots of bragging rights (and some mightily impressive wedding photos)… Read more


Curling and other extreme après ski fun.

Last week I had an après ski drink at the Frying Pan Inn at Falls Creek. It brought back fond (and I have to admit – somewhat hazy) memories, because it was at the Frying Pan where I had my first ever après ski drink – after my first ever day on the slopes. It was so exciting to walk down through the snow to the pub then drink like crazy and dance like crazy then stagger and slip your way back to the lodge through the snow. You really feel like you have earned a drink after a big day of skiing – and it seems everyone else thinks the same and is out to celebrate. Aprés-ski endurance is almost as impressive as your ability on the slopes.

I would have had over 600 days of skiing in my life – and almost as many nights of après ski fun (I have snuck in a few quiet nights here and there). Admittedly I can’t quite remember a few of them, but here are my 10 favourite après ski experiences: Read more


War tourism.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Somme. It was the biggest battle of World War I and 485,000 allied (mostly British and French) and 630,000 German troops were killed. It also makes it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. After four months of fighting the Allied forces penetrated a mere 10 kilometres into German-occupied territory. I went to Somme (no, not during the war, I’m not that old) a few years back to visit the Australian cemetery, the Trenches Museum and (what’s left of) a few of the trenches. It’s actually quite amazing how many war related ‘tourist’ sites there are to visit in the world (possibly because the world has had too many wars). I’ve been to quite a few. Some are moving beyond words while others demonstrate the futility of war. Here are the 10 most interesting and poignant sites that I have been to: Read more


Top 10 religious monuments.

I’m not a religious man, but oh my gosh do those religious folks make some damn fine monuments. And not only are these often spectacular monuments to a higher being a must-see part of many an itinerary, I have even gone totally out of my way to visit them – from Bagan in Burma to Borobudur in Indonesia. Here are my 10 favourite tributes to the Gods – divided up by religion: Read more


The 10 best markets in the world

When I visit a new city or town one of the first places I hunt down is the local market. And it’s not because I’m on a hunt for great bargains, but because they are often a great insight into the people and culture of the place. Some markets are major tourist attractions like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or Melbourne’s own Queen Victoria Market, but some of my favourite travel experiences have been wandering around ‘local’ markets without a tourist in sight. I have been to hundreds of markets around the world from Irkutsk in Siberia to Port-au-Prince in Haiti and whether the market is full of food, trinkets, clothes or even camels I can spend hours wandering around. It wasn’t easy choosing, but these are my Top 10 markets that I have toddled around: Read more