As a travel writer, Rodney Bolt has crisscrossed the worldcontributing regularly to such publications as Condé Nast Traveller, The Sunday Telegraph and a range of other magazines, newspapers and inflight magazines.

He specialises in art, food and architecture and – as a resident of Amsterdam for more than 25 years – in the Amsterdam scene and Dutch life. Rodney has written a number of guides for Cadogan Books, as well as the immensely popular Xenophobe’s Guide to the Dutch.


With roo in our bellies and a spring in our step, we hopped uphill to Oxford Street, the vortex of Sydney’s gay life and focus of Mardi Gras frolics. The street swarmed with skimpily dressed men who seemed to spend their lives in the gym sculpting muscles. I was beginning to feel distinctly soft and fleshy. Given the ‘gownless strap’ dress ethos, what was I to wear that would be in the spirit of Mardi Gras, yet not shamelessly expose my love of good food?  “You could go as Patty de Foie Gras,” said Richard, unhelpfully… 


“Mon dieu,” breathed the comtesse when she witnessed the first ever tango in Paris. “Is one supposed to dance it standing up?” Late night, as the fever rises in the tiny San Telmo salon, you can see her point. A woman arches backwards to breaking point, her arms almost floating, as if she were dancing the ‘Dying Swan’, one leg wrapped around her partner’s waist. He stands erect, all polished machismo, the inside knuckles of his right hand pressed firmly into the small of her back, as he twists and flips her anticlockwise around the floor… 


Dawn was edging reluctantly into a heavy, monsoon-grey sky. A row of saffron-robed monks stood in the shadows, holding begging bowls. “As soon as they can see the lines on the palms of their hands, they can accept food,” Mr Kai told us. As the light hardened an old jalopy drew up. The occupants tumbled out, slipped off their shoes and began distributing rice from a steaming pot in the boot. Three or four monks at a time queued to accept the alms, careful not to insult the giver by still standing in line when the rice ran out… 


Read more of Rodney Bolt’s travel writing