Why the Finns don’t want to be happy

A ballet dancer leaves her purse on a park bench. She walks away, absent-mindedly leaving behind the little bag with her money and belongings in it. Fifteen min..

A nation of introverts

In a comic book produced by the organisation Latvian Literature for the recent London Book Fair, the main character gives a rare smile on realising that the wea..

The odd philosophy Icelanders live by

We were somewhere in the remote Westfjords, a large peninsula in Iceland’s north-west corner, when our campervan first stalled. It was late September, the end o..

Be careful what you say in Mexico

As a Brit living in Mexico, I’ve discovered that many people are intrigued by whether or not I eat spicy food. I once had an entire conversation with a waiter i..

The confounding way Mexicans converse

As a Brit living in Mexico, I’ve discovered that many people are intrigued by whether or not I eat spicy food. I once had an entire conversation with a waiter i..

The oldest song in the world

In Syria, music runs deeper into the fabric of the place than anywhere else in the world. Long before the modern state was formed in 1946, Syria had developed r..

The world’s first song?

In Syria, music runs deeper into the fabric of the place than anywhere else in the world. Long before the modern state was formed in 1946, Syria had developed r..

A language only three women can speak


The tiger shark was having a really bad day. Other sharks and fish were picking on him and he was fed up. After fighting them, he met up with the hammerhead sha..

Spain’s untranslatable secret to lunch

Spain is a country in love with food, renowned for everything from tapas to trailblazing chefs to simple, elegant recipes that have endured for generations. So ..

A mystifying city with 225 names

The historical Oldehoofsterkerkhof square in Leeuwarden, the capital of the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, is a striking muddle of the weird and the ..

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