Shanghai is best explored through its architecture, from the modern high-rises that epitomise its economic boom, to the European-style buildings that serve as reminders of foreign occupation in its recent history…
Shuffling with the crowds along Kuan Zhai Alley, a network of lanes dating from the Qing dynasty, I breathe in deep.
A familiar blend of smoky chilli, toasted Sichuan peppercorns and crushed garlic invades my nostrils; it instantly feels like home.
This is my first visit to Chengdu in three years, and, like each of my previous visits, the city has taken on a new visage. But in a place like this, it doesn’t take long to get reacquainted.
As the list of possible destinations flashed up on my phone screen, I longed for the agony to stop. I just wanted to know where I was headed.
I was already en route to Gatwick but still had no idea where I was flying to. What a way to start a family holiday.
But it wasn’t disorganisation on my part. Rather, it’s the result of booking a mystery break with a new website called Surprise Trips.
There is something irresistibly romantic about a rail holiday. It’s not just the nostalgic glamour long associated with these slow journeys – it’s the sense of adventure that comes with disembarking and exploring at each stop.
And, as I discover while travelling through the Outback on The Ghan, it’s not just an experience reserved for the Old World.
The locomotive, named after the Afghan cameleers who used to cross this remote region of Australia, is one of the most popular ways to travel between the Northern Territory and Adelaide.