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Archive for category: The National

Reporter’s diary: behind the scenes at the Geneva peace talks

03 Feb 2014 / in The National

The first-ever meeting between government and opposition may be the reason that hundreds of journalists are camped out at the United Nations in Geneva. But it’s the unexpected encounters away from the negotiating table that are proving far more interesting than the dead-end talks. “Answer me, Mr Minister,” shouted opposition activist Rami Jarrah. He was […]

Meet the German man running the Syrian city in exile

12 Dec 2013 / in Best of, The National

Killian Kleinschmidt is standing at the top of a hill in northern Jordan, 12 kilometres from the Syrian border. He is surrounded by caravans, and, apart from the solar-powered entrance lights on some of these Syrian refugee properties, he and the group of children trying to get his attention are in total darkness. “That’s downtown,” […]

The Turkish Riviera beckons

15 Jun 2012 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI – The black Mercedes SUV speeds around the corner of the narrow mountain road. I spot an odd collection of lights down by the bay: they seem to be deep in the forest, lining this untouched stretch of the Aegean coastline on the north side of Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula. “What’s that village?” I ask […]

Istanbul’s Bosphorus feast boasts an international menu

01 Jun 2012 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI – If proof of a city’s culinary prowess came from its Michelin rating, then Istanbul would be just a minnow. It was only last year that the city earned its first Michelin star. But this Spice Route hub has never needed outsiders to tell it how good it is. Locals have known for centuries […]

Highlights of 2011: our travel writers’ best picks

31 Dec 2011 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI – 2011 has been a year of small cities for me. Riding a rattly old one-car tram into town from Sarajevo airport was like a trip back in time. Just south of the low-rise Ottoman walled old city, the Latin Bridge is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed in 1914, sparking the First World […]

London’s new Arab flavour

24 Dec 2011 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI – London’s Edgware Road has been dubbed the 23rd Arab state, and for good reason. Almost every restaurant, cafe and shop along this long, straight road is Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian or Iraqi. Stretching northwards from Hyde Park, it smells and sounds like no other street in London. There are the street-side shisha cafes, the shawarma […]

Treasures at every step in the buzzing streets of Rome

08 Oct 2011 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI Why Rome? The zip of a Vespa whizzing out of an alley. The trickle of a public fountain in a tiny piazza surrounded by crumbling buildings. The taste of fresh pizza by the slice, hot out of the oven. Rome attacks your senses – there is so much to see, taste and hear […]

Climb into Amman’s artsy heart

24 Sep 2011 / in The National

SAKHR AL-MAKHADHI – Sitting awkwardly next to grandfather Damascus, beautiful sister Beirut and busy brother Cairo, Amman sometimes looks and feels like the Cinderella of the neighbourhood, little more than a stop-off point for the country’s real highlights. But while other Arab cities trade off their history, this newcomer is fast becoming one of the Middle […]