Notes from the field

Our work takes us all over the world. Here we share some of our more personal perspectives on some of the destinations we have visited, filed on location.

08.09.2016

Berlin rides the tech wave

The gentrified neighbourhoods of East Berlin bustle with activity. Cafés, trendy clothes shops and fancy restaurants line the wide boulevards, serving hip young Berliners. Amongst them are a growing number of entrepreneurs who are redefining the capital. more >
28.07.2016

Namibia bucks Africa’s economic downturn

Arriving in Namibia’s capital Windhoek, one almost feels like stepping out of a time machine into 19th century Germany – albeit with a more welcoming climate. Bismarck Street in the wealthy seaside town of Swakopmund boasts shops selling German sausages of a quality that is hard to come by in Germany nowadays, and the fishing town of Lüderitz would not look out of place in Bavaria. Given the abundance of European architecture, traditional German cuisine and what locals proudly call the best beer in all of Africa, visitors might be surprised to learn that Namibia was only a German colony for a mere 30 years. more >
01.07.2016

In Montenegro, it’s all business

Few travellers bound for Montenegro stop in Podgorica. No wonder, Montenegro’s capital is a lacklustre town with barely a cluster of lively restaurants and bars in its centre. All the action is along the coast, where the towns of Budva and Sveti Stefan, as well as Tivat and Kotor further inland, attract hordes of tourists with their beautiful beaches and quaint, medieval architecture. more >
14.06.2016

Angola at the crossroads

Spend any time in Luanda, Angola’s bustling capital, and the first thing that hits you is the sharp disparities in wealth. more >
15.04.2016

From Odessa to Ashdod – a Russian Jewish odyssey

“Why would you go to Ashdod?” The question was frequently raised by friends and colleagues on learning of my intention to visit Israel’s sixth largest city, 20 miles south of Tel Aviv on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. “To have Gefilte fish,” was often my somewhat gnomic response. more >
27.01.2016

Harare revisited

Rather oddly, there is a poem about Shropshire in England that has always put me in mind of Zimbabwe. One of the telling lines is: “What are those blue remembered hills, what spires, what farms are those?” Anyone who has looked across into Mozambique from Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands will appreciate that hills can be blue. And farming remains central to Zimbabwe’s destiny, for better or for worse. more >
22.01.2016

Kathmandu bustles, while Nepal waits for a political solution

Kathmandu could probably at one point have been described as dreaming under quiet hills. These days it is hard to see traces of that past. Despite its river valley location, it is close in feel to the crowded Indo-Gangetic plain cities to its south and west, with its streets constantly masked in dust and traffic fumes. The tourist district, in the area of Thamel in the north of the city, sees a constant bustle of backpackers, travellers and climbers headed for Everest, for whom Kathmandu is the first port of call. more >
07.01.2016

Beirut’s spirit of enterprise

The last time I visited Beirut four years ago, the city’s downtown area was bustling. Rich Gulf Arab visitors thronged this high-class shopping district. But these days, the glitzy fashion stores are struggling. Since the oil price plunged, their clientele have stayed at home. This once vibrant area now seems dead. more >
04.01.2016

Trouble in paradise?

To a first-time visitor, the Seychelles look like a peaceful paradise. Lush green hills give way to white sandy beaches lapped by a warm turquoise ocean. The weather is great, the people are friendly and the local rum’s a treat. But things are not all that they seem. The islands have seen their fair share of foreign threats and new dangers again loom on the horizon. more >
28.10.2015

Slovenia’s capital: more transparent, but still very discreet

If Ljubljana is anything to go by, business in Slovenia is picking up and the unconventional business practices of the past have disappeared. But while transparency is encouraged, business is still largely done behind closed doors. more >

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