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Mike Gerrard

Award-winning Travel and Drinks Writer

I'm an award-winning travel and drinks writer. I've written over 40 travel guidebooks, including ones for National Geographic and Insight Guides. I've written for publications worldwide including The Times, Waitrose Drinks and Chilled Magazine. On the drinks side I specialise in spirits and publish two websites of my own, The Vodka Guy and Travel Distilled. I also publish several travel websites, including Greece Travel Secrets, Pacific Coast Highway Travel and The Travel Pages. I spend half the year in Cambridgeshire and the other half in Arizona, near Tucson, from where I travel widely in the USA.

The USA's First Mardi Gras

Mobile is where Mardi Gras originated in the United States, first celebrated in 1703 by French settlers who brought the tradition from Europe. Mardi Gras in New Orleans may be better-known - notorious, even - but Mobile beat them to it by several years. It's also much more of a family occasion than the raucous behaviour you get in New Orleans.
08/11/2017 13:51 GMT

Give Manneken Pis A Chance

No-one really knows where Manneken Pis came from, although there's no shortage of stories. Historically accurate is the fact that this area of Brussels used to be where tanners practiced their trade, and liked to use urine to soften the leather. In Brussels they favoured the urine of small boys, and the statue might first have been put up to honour that fact.
07/11/2017 14:07 GMT

Liege Railway Station: A Work Of Art In 16 Photos

Most times a train station is just somewhere you pass through, without glancing at much more than the departure boards. Not the Liège-Guillemins railway station in Belgium, though, which has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
20/10/2017 14:13 BST

Cocktail Time In Athens

If you look at the economic reports you'd be forgiven for thinking it was still all doom and gloom in Greece, but it's boom in one respect: cocktail bars. Partly fuelled by a steady increase in tourist numbers, Greece is following the world trend for creative cocktails and mad mixologists, especially in Athens.
07/09/2017 15:40 BST

The Cunning Gators Of Mobile Bay

If asked to name the biggest river delta in the Lower 48 US states, most people would probably get it right and say the Mississippi. But the second biggest? It's Mobile Bay in Alabama, which is so aquatically biodiverse it's been called North America's Amazon. You'll find up to 500 species of birds here, and every kind of wildlife from sharks to black bears.
06/07/2017 13:35 BST

Meeting Plyto And Dafni On Crete

The Cretan wine business is booming, a fact that was recognised last year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. It nominated Crete on its shortlist for Wine Region of the Year, along with Champagne, Provence, Sonoma County and the eventual winner, Oregon's Willamette Valley. Illustrious company indeed.
13/03/2017 14:42 GMT

Rambling In Southwest Crete

This southern coast of Crete is far more rugged than the north. In some places the mountains come so close to the Libyan Sea that there's no room for a road inbetween, and a few villages are only accessible by boat or footpath, or by one road in and out.
19/01/2017 13:21 GMT

Hiking The Samaria Gorge On Crete

As we drive higher and higher into the White Mountains of Crete, leaving behind our hotel in the busy resort of Paleohora, I start to realise the immensity of what we're about to do: walking the Samaria Gorge.
09/12/2016 14:10 GMT

The Heineken VIP Experience

Despite many trips to Amsterdam, and several visits to places including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt's House and the Anne Frank House, I'd never been to the Heineken Experience. I decided that if I was going to go then I was going to do it properly, and joined a VIP Tour, which needs booking in advance.
14/11/2016 11:31 GMT

Polishing Diamonds In Amsterdam

Pauline Willemse has been working for Coster Diamonds for 28 years. They are the oldest diamond polishing company still in existence, founded in the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam in 1840 by Moses Elias Coster.
05/09/2016 16:27 BST

Oops, Wrong Birmingham!

When Richella Heekin and her boyfriend Ben Marlowe turned up at Birmingham Airport for their dream holiday flight from the UK to Las Vegas, they were in for a bit of a shock. There was no flight listed.
26/07/2016 10:04 BST

The Best City Parks in the USA

Everyone's heard of Central Park, and you might be forgiven for thinking it's the biggest and best city park in the USA. Not so. 'Best' is subjective, but there are other US urban parks that are bigger, and some that have many more attractions than Central Park.
13/06/2016 12:05 BST

The Best of Birmingham

There are several reasons to believe you may not like Birmingham, Alabama's largest city. When it was founded in 1871 it was named not after somewhere romantic like Florence or Paris but after the English industrial city of Birmingham. That's because Birmingham, Alabama, was a steel town and, at the time, equally industrial.
13/06/2016 12:05 BST

Arty Food in Harrogate

We had the 3-course fixed-price (currently £50) menu, and given the quality of the food and the extras (bread, those <em>amuse-bouches</em> and a few palate-cleansers from the kitchen), it was superb value. For our starter it was that decadent treat, foie gras, intriguingly combined with passion fruit and miso. And what a flavour power-punch that was.
21/03/2016 13:06 GMT