The world’s most expensive cities for expats 2016

most-expensive-cities-for-expats-featimg-2.jpg

Moving to a new country is one of the most expensive endeavours one can undertake. Enter Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living ranking, a survey of the most expensive cities for expats.

With the UK recently voting in favour of Brexit, we at Atlas & Boots are reassessing our future. Prior to the result, we fully expected to return to France after our next big trip. Now we may have to look further afield. Whatever we decide, one useful way to choose where our future lies is to compare the cost of living in our new city compared to our old, currently London.

Ayasofya: 7 tips for visiting the iconic building

Ayasofia-turkey-featimg-3

Practical tips for visiting Ayasofya, Istanbul’s most iconic structure, including the best time to visit, how to avoid the crowds and things not to miss

Ayasofya (or Hagia Sophia in Greek) is one of Istanbul’s most iconic structures. It graces travel brochures and glossy magazines and has even made a cameo in video game Assassin’s Creed.

The 1,500-year-old structure is considered the most important of the Byzantine era and is one of the world’s great monuments. Completed in 537 AD, Ayasofya was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

Ayasofya and its central dome, a giant 32 metres (105ft) in diameter, stands sentry over Istanbul, offering beguiling views both inside and out. Here’s how to make the most of your time there. 

The Blue Mosque dress code and tips for entry

Blue-mosque-dress-code-and-tips-feat-img

Pictures and advice on what does and doesn’t meet the Blue Mosque dress code. Includes tips on the best time to visit and what happens when you arrive

The third or maybe fourth time I met Peter’s parents, I spent 10 minutes beforehand fretting that my top was too low.

Peter rolled his eyes. “For God’s sake, my mum wears lower-cut tops than that!”

I laughed, flung on a cardigan and readied to leave. His family are thankfully far more liberal than mine.

My neurosis about modesty – a hangover from my Muslim roots – sees me pinning together anything lower than a vicar’s collar any time I visit my Mum. Knowing this, you’ll understand why I was in a tizz over the Blue Mosque dress code and associated etiquette during our recent trip to Istanbul.

Clovelly village: the land that time forgot

Clovelly-village-feat-img

Clovelly village is a picturesque, historic, fishing village on the north Devon coast. It is also a village time seems to have forgotten

Until recently, we hadn’t even heard of Clovelly village, a picturesque cluster of homes on the north coast of Devon. It was during our recent glamping trip that we came across Clovelly on a day trip from camp.

We were utterly charmed by the unique English village defined by the steep, cobbled streets that tumble down past traditional 16th century whitewashed cottages to a tiny harbour below. It is also one of the few car-free places remaining in the UK. 

Visiting the international city of Geneva

city-of-Geneva-feat-img

The city of Geneva is a global city. We discovered more than just banks, jewellers and chocolate shops during our city break

Geneva in Switzerland is the very definition of a global city. With nearly half its population made up of foreign nationals and expats, it seems only right that the city is home to the United Nations headquarters as well as a further 20 international agencies including the Red Cross and World Trade Organization.

It was here that the Geneva Conventions were signed and today the city is a symbol of progress. From a charming and historic city centre to international landmarks and institutions, the city of Geneva is emblematic of modern 21st century Europe.

12 things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay

things to do in montevideo uruguay - 9

Even if your pockets aren’t deep, there are lots of things to do in Montevideo. Here are some of our favourites from our DIY walking tour of the city

When we arrived in Montevideo we had less than two weeks of our round-the-world trip left and very little money. There are plenty of things to do in the city but it’s a relatively expensive destination in an already relatively expensive country.

With just two days and near-empty pockets we made the best of the situation and saw the city by way of a DIY walking tour.

A dire day in Areguá, Paraguay

With its lake view, cobbled streets and colonial homes, Areguá, Paraguay, seemed like the perfect place for a day trip. Oh, how wrong we were…

In Paraguay, we found ourselves in a rare predicament: instead of several weeks to explore the country, we had only days. Time and money were running out and we wanted to get to Brazil before heading home. As such, we could only see one town outside Paraguay’s capital of Asunción.

We considered the UNESCO ruins of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue but at a distance of 400km, they weren’t exactly economic in terms of time. Instead, we decided on Areguá, a small town 28km from the capital.

Punta Arenas: following the Ferdinand Magellan route

Ferdinand-Magellan-route-feat-img.jpg

Punta Arenas overlooks the Strait of Magellan on the Ferdinand Magellan route and is home to the most famous ships in the history of navigation

The sprawling city of Punta Arenas, situated on the historic Ferdinand Magellan route, is not easy to define. It’s possible that the city itself is confused about its identity. Once a penal colony, it is today part roughneck, part modern metropolis, part open-air maritime museum.

The town’s position overlooking the coarse and inhospitable Strait of Magellan – the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – makes it essential to Chile’s maritime trade and provides access to the Antarctic peninsular.

Movies about South America: 10 great films to watch

movies about south america: che guevara

We look at 10 great movies about South America that offer context around the rich and colourful history of this great continent

A British education is one of the most valuable things one can have. It instils a broad knowledge of the world ranging from the sciences to the humanities. Unfortunately, in our pursuit for this breadth of knowledge, we lose much of the depth within individual areas.

The subject of history is a notable example. Pupils are taught about the world wars, the monarchy, the industrial revolution and even the history of irrigation (which is, ironically, rather dry), but learn very little about large swathes of the world, South America being a prime example. Most of us know the names of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, General Pinochet and Hugo Chavez, but can share very little beyond the basics.

6 charmless South American towns we couldn’t avoid

Tourist towns inevitably crop up next to major sights and more often than not, they’re completely charmless. Here are five we failed to avoid

Travellers go to Latin America hoping, expecting, knowing they’ll be wowed. Home to three of the world’s Seven Wonders, the region has a wealth of both manmade and natural attractions.

Travellers also know that their journey through this vast continent won’t always be full of rainbows and kittens. Amid the bright, great wonders will be dreary days in dull towns with nary a redeeming feature.

Visiting Cusco, Peru: 21 dos and don’ts

Peru’s Incan gem is testament to the fact that tourism need not destroy a town’s charm and soul. Here’s what to know before visiting Cusco

Cusco in Peru is one of the prettiest, cleanest and, yes, most consistent towns in which we’ve ever been. The imposing colonial architecture, the trimmed lawns and sweeping views work in flawless harmony to negate the pernicious effects of tourism. Even the ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald’s are coloured an inconspicuous black.

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

world's most urban countries

City life is stressful. It presses on our weary bones, wafts through windows on pungent fumes and boxes up our personal space. It affects our mental health and, according to a 2011 study by neuroscientist Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, increases the risk of mood and anxiety disorders including depression and schizophrenia. The specific causes of city stress are unconfirmed but it’s likely we can safely assume a mix of toxins, pollutants, noise and social behaviours unique to cities.

On every corner: the extraordinary history of London

7 cultural faux pas in London

In London, you can walk past something significant every day and never notice. We list 10 hidden sites that illustrate the extraordinary history of London

London lacks many things: picnic weather in July, a resilience to winter snow, an effective solution to the hipster invasion. What it does have in abundance – more so than almost any other city in the world – is an inexhaustible well of intriguing history. It spills forth from domes and spires, flows amid the currents of the River Thames, and rushes through the veins of our subterranean network.

In fact, so bountiful and broad is the history of London, one could easily walk past something different every day without realising its significance. Here we list 10 extraordinary historical sites hidden beneath a banal facade.

Hello, London

London Bridge at night-time

Seventeen countries, four continents, one international date line, and a complete circumnavigation later, we’re home

We’re home.

We bid farewell in August last year. Seventeen countries, four continents, one international date line, and a complete circumnavigation later, we’re home.

Things are different. Boris bikes are red now. The Tories have a majority. And Robert Peston grew hair.

Rio de Janeiro: the world’s most photogenic city?

Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant, colourful, life-affirming city. Here, we illustrate why it was the perfect way to end our year-long trip around the world

We are ensconced in a small Copacabana hostel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is by far the worst accommodation we’ve had in months. Contrary to the decidedly lovely pictures on the hostel website, our bedroom is tiny, stuffy, smelly and inexplicably noisy.

6 tips for visiting Asunción, Paraguay

We explore Asunción, Paraguay and share six useful tips

‘Paraguay – The Heart of South America’ is how this landlocked country sells itself. We assume they mean geographically because it could just as easily be described as ‘The Nowhere of South America’. In fact, it often is.

Nestled between Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil (and by ‘nestled’, we mean ‘languishing’), Paraguay has no single majestic attraction like Bolivia’s salt flats, Argentina’s Perito Moreno or Brazil’s Iguassu Falls. Paraguay is not only one of the poorest countries on the continent with more than a third of its population below the poverty line, but also one of the most corrupt.