April 2013 update: As you can see, the exciting process of updating this website, giving it a whole new look and much more functionality, continues. We are testing various designs and adding content, so certain sections are down for the moment. The new site will be finished soon.
Fall 2012 update: It’s been quite a busy year. In 2012, I have spent considerable time researching and writing three new editions of Lonely Planet travel guides- Turkey, a new title called Romania and Bulgaria, and the Macedonia section (again) for Eastern Europe. All will be published in 2013. Anyone venturing out to those lands next year and looking for a good companion guide, should wait til these excellent new volumes come out.
Along with several conferences and special events, I have also found time to knock out a couple travel articles. These include a piece on Plovdiv, Bulgaria for The National (Abu Dhabi), and an upcoming (Dec. 2012) article on Sofia street food for the Korean Airlines magazine, Morning Calm.
Spring 2012 update: On April 1, the new Lonely Planet guide to Greece was released- the biggest and best yet, with a whole new look and much more readable maps. We are very proud of the result!
For this book, I contributed chapters on Northern Greece and Hania (Western) Crete. I reprised the latter chapter (plus the History and Minoan Civilization ones) for the new, stand-alone guide to Crete. The same material is also used in the new Greek Islands guide.
As always, researching these books was a great pleasure and honor. Some of the high points included another visit to the monasteries of Mt Athos, swimming in positively tropical waters in Crete, hazarding through late snowfalls in Epiros’ Zagorohoria region and enjoying all manner of food and drink along the way. Compared to 10 years ago, ‘beer culture’ in Greece has taken off and, while not yet quite matching foreign creations, Greek micro-brewers are making some good efforts.
Fall 2011 update: In October and November, Lonely Planet published the new guidebooks to Eastern Europe and Europe on a Shoestring. As in previous editions, I wrote the Macedonia section- though there is little space in these mammoth volumes for new destinations, in the former I was glad to be able to include – for the first time ever in this series – Makedonski Brod and Zrze Monastery.
I will probably create a new page with some more info about the titles and a few things that have changed in Skopje that will be pretty important for many travelers to know. Both of these guides are done in the ‘Relaunch’ style, which is meant to be easier on the eyes, more colorful and better presented. I can say that at very least the maps are much bigger and easier to read, with the off-grey background replaced thankfully by white (as it once was, as with longer memories will note).
Writing news to report includes this fun feature I did on Sofia, Bulgaria, for Oryx Magazine (Qatar Airlines in-flight magazine). I got some great photos of the friendly Iraqi baker flipping the bread up from the kiln but sad to say they are not in the magazine. Maybe I will add to a new page at some point…
In September I was quoted in one of the big Greek papers, Kathimerini, more or less standing up for the country and talking about tourism. That one is here… a little later I wrote a feature for the same paper on my views of the tourism industry/strategies in the country but thus far am only finding the Greek version, here.
Summer 2011 update: With another summer of guidebook research from the Greek isles and Northern Greece in the bag, it’s time to take a short break from writing.
First though I should point out the new Financial Times article with my contribution (no. 5) about the hidden islands of the Fourni Archipelago. Since the exigencies of word count have trimmed down the original version, I am thinking of making a longer one and putting it up with a couple photos to give readers a better view of these immensely attractive isles.
History buffs might put a caveat around one line about the use of Fourni during the Second World War. I originally read about the audacity of Greek small craft harassing the Germans in the fascinating, half-true novel Falconera (Lycabettus Press), by the late Alexis Ladas, himself a captain during the war. This is one of those page-turners, filled with danger and adventure, that makes for great summer reading (especially if you know the geography of the places to which it refers).
The imminent danger to the general integrity of Hellenic history, I am told, involves my juxtaposition of a verb (‘harass’) and plural noun (‘warships’), given that small raiding schooners would have restricted themselves to lesser acts of sabotage, rescue, and so on, rather than taking on the big boys, Quite right.
I guess it just goes to show that when you get into a gripping novel the imagination can make verbs, and even whole situations more generous than they might be, strictly speaking. I mean no harm to the integrity of Hellenic history- though I imagine that since the days of Homer, similar embellishments have contributed to its robustness and bronzed glow.
Spring 2011 update: Time again to get on the road and research another installment of Lonely Planet’s guide to Greece- as well as the Greek isles and Crete. It will be a busy but no doubt enjoyable period.
A new article on just such a topic – the Greek islands – appears in the March/April edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK). To read it, for now you’ll have to subscribe to the magazine, though I hope to get a version up on these pages before too long.
Fall 2010 update:
A quick mention of new articles and publications from me.
The Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL) has recently uploaded the 2007-2010 collected articles from the Balkanalysis.com website I direct. There are plenty of new articles and interviews on the Balkanalysis.com site itself, so please have a look.
For something marking a bit of a departure from the usual, see my recent article in the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, “Memories of Istanbul.” (The piece has also been archived on the Chrisdeliso.com website here).
In September, my article “Seductive Southern Crete” was published by the new BBC Travel website. For some reason unknown to me UK residents cannot access that site, but they can alternatively find the article posted by Lonely Planet here. And for good measure the article has been archived on the Chrisdeliso.com website here.
The same thing applies for another BBC Travel article, “Driving Greece’s Modern Ancient Highway, the Egnatia Odos,” published on September 27. Alternatively, you can find the article posted by Lonely Planet here. Finally, the article has been archived on the Chrisdeliso.com website here.
Another recent text of mine involving Greece’s very best isle is a review of Peter Trudgill’s memoir, In Sfakia: Passing Time in the Wilds of Crete published by Lycabettus Press of Athens. This review, archived here, was originally published by Balkantravellers.com.
In addition, we have not two but three pieces I wrote for the American-Macedonian Chamber of Commerce’s official magazine, Emerging Macedonia. The most recent is “Makedonski Brod: a Mountainside Hamlet Optimistic for the Future,” published in November. Then there is “Thoughts on the Spirit of Hospitality,” and another, slightly earlier one, also in the sphere of Macedonian tourism, “Macedonian Wine Branding: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Also, for good measure I have archived an older piece originally published by BBC History Magazine, on the Bulgarian castle town of Veliko Tarnovo. It has been reposted here.