Showing posts from 2018

Why I Love Melbourne.

A building inside a building.

Is there any reason not to love Melbourne?

Dusk in Halong Bay

It is said Halong Bay was created when the Dragon of the Gods plummeted in to the sea. His tail gouged out the limestone cliffs, and the waters rushed in to fill the desolated land.

Whatever the tale, Halong Bay is a place of mystery. At dawn, and again at dusk, the fantastical cliffs and rocks loom into view and then fade away in the soft light. Caves beckon at the water's edge, and birds circle above the pinnacles of limestone.

And somewhere, hidden amongst the magical shapes, sleeps the Dragon of Halong.

Like my photos? - if you feel like contributing to my coffers, please click the link to buy either myphotos from the micro-stock site 123RF, or products from my store, EnsoCreations. Cheers! 
Otherwise, please click the link if you are inspired to travel, or simply looking for ideas or advice.

Vintage Drawing of a Dragon of Halong Bay, Vietnam
by EnsoCreations

London in 5 photos

Strangely enough, I found a futuristic side to London. The roofline at Kings Cross Station was stunning. After taking my daughter to Platform 93/4, we sat upstairs on a terrace beneath this roof, and watched the world go by - which was largely watching queueing. the English are impressive at queueing.

Then there's the traditional. Coming out of Paddington Station I was greeted by St. Mary's Paddington. It is a huge hospital complex, with Gothic spires reaching to the sky. The main street is filled with cafes and take-aways, yet just around the corner hide those delightful mews so typical of London.

The Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens were delightful (especially as Italy was my next stop). Fountains, ponds, statues, marble from Carrara, flowers everywhere.

St. Dunstan-in-the-East proved an oasis. Not far from Monument Station, this ruined church dates back to the Saxons. Burnt, rebuilt, collapsing rebuilt, bombed; finally it was turned into a public garden in the midst of…

A Bath-tub in Singapore

My first visit to Singapore, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. A bath-tub in a bar was definitely not on the list.

The Gordon Gin Bath sits in pride of place in the hotel's Long Bar. Quite fitting, really, considering this is where the Singapore Sling was invented (which contains a significant amount of gin). The drink rose to fame after featuring in Somerset Maugham's play The Letter.

Time only for one sling; Singapore needed to be explored.

Tak Bat in Luang Prabang

Dawn in Luang Prabang comes with saffron. As the light touches the town, monks leave their wats (or temples) to walk through the town in silent procession, collecting alms.

Tak Bat, or alms-giving, has a long tradition in Laos, surviving even years of Communist rule. Many villagers set up little braziers by the side of the road to cook rice for the monks. Then, before many tourists have risen from their beds, the monks return as silently to their wats, and another day has begun.

Like my photos? - if you feel like contributing to my coffers, please click the link to buy either myphotos from the micro-stock site 123RF, or products from my store, EnsoCreations. Cheers! 
Otherwise, please click the link if you are inspired to travel, or simply looking for ideas or advice.

The Bicycles of Vietnam

Crossing the road in Vietnam can be precarious. Too many motorbikes, optional road rules, lanes which are more guidelines than reality... it can prove daunting. (I usually cross behind a little old lady who knows no fear, for she has it seen it all.)

Then there are the bicycles.

Yes, that is bride. Peddling through the streets of Hoi An. Naturally. When motorbikes are used to transport families (seven on one bike was the most I saw) a bride on a bicycle seems totally natural. And impressive, considering the flowing dress and the heels.

Despite a noticeable lack of gears, bikes are everywhere. In the countryside, in rice paddies, in vegetable plots. They never seem out of place, whether it be on an allotment farm or on a boat. I stepped of a boat somewhere along the Mekong Delta, and there was bike waiting patiently for its owner.

There is such an elegant simplicity about these bicycles, all in tones of grey. They are bikes for everyday use. No one wears in lycra, and everyone peddles…

Discovering Catalan's Castellers

My favourite part of travel (apart from the reading about somewhere before I go, the planning, that first glass of champagne on the plan, discovering a new place, the sights, the food...) is the unexpected. Especially when the unexpected steps out of a fairytale.

Stumbling across Castellers performing at Terassa's main festival, the Festa Major, is one of those times. The sight of human towers stretching to the sky as the crowds cheers dates back to medieval times, and is a unique piece of Catalan culture. I just never expected to see it, nor to be so close that the castellers were only a few metres from me. (Locals not only stepped out of my way but pushed me to the front to let me get a better view.)

Just an hour from Barcelona and I found not only human towers, but also giants, dragons, fireworks, and the occasional pirate.

Like my photos? - if you feel like contributing to my coffers, please click the link to buy either my photos from the micro-stock site 123RF, or products fr…

Milan in Five Photos

I emerged from the underground at the Piazza Duomo, which is the palpable heart of Milan. Being the fourth largest cathedral in Europe, the Duomo dominates the piazza cathedral. It is a stunning piece of architecture, and inside proves a veritable art gallery. Don't miss going up on the roof to walk on the cathedral terraces.

I could spend hours just window shopping in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - the window displays are stunning. With the likes of Gucci and the Milanese Prada dominating, I was content to sit with a coffee and a panini, and watch the world walk by.

Rain started falling as I caught the metro to the Navogli area. Suddenly hawkers appeared selling umbrellas - where do they hide, to suddenly emerge so laden? Many of the canals were covered to build space for trams and roads, but the council is considering digging them up again, to make Milan more like Venice once more (perhaps something to do with the tourist dollar?)

Art is everywhere in Italy. Simply wander …

Geese in a Cathedral Cloister

Geese were the last thing I expected in a cathedral. Barcelona is a city of delightful surprises, so where else would have a cloister full of geese?

Begun in 1298, Barcelona Cathedral is also called the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulàlia, (martyred by the Romans in the 4th C). Beneath the cathedral lie the ruins of a Roman temple and a Morrish mosque. 
What I loved most were the cloisters, complete with a fountain - The Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) - to cool the summer air. The geese number 13, representing the age at which St. Eulàlia was martyred.

Like my photos? - if you feel like contributing to my coffers, please click the link to buy either my photosfrom the micro-stock site 123RF, or products from my store, EnsoCreations. Cheers! 

The Other Spanish Steps - Dubrovnik

In the Old Town of Dubrovnik, tucked away from the Stradun, or main street which runs from the  Pilé Gate with its nearby Franciscan Monastery at one end of the town to the Plôce Gate at the other, stand a set of stairs reminiscent of Rome's Spanish Steps.

I shouldn't have been surprised, for this is a corner of Rome in Dubrovnik. The steps were deigned by the Roman architect Pietro Passalasqua in the 18th C. Fortunately, there are not as many steps as in Rome, and they were far less crowded.

At their top stand the Jesuit Church of St Ignatius, dating from 1658, modelled after the Jesuit mother church in Rome, Chiesa del Gesu. It is a simple, sparse, elegant church, and holds Dubrovnik's oldest bell (1355).

Another point of note: from the top of the stairs, turn left into a lane running along the wall, walk right along the lane, and follow the sign pointing to cold drinks. Climb through a hole in the wall, and you'll be rewarded with a cafe (appropriately named Bûza, …

You Know You're In Hong Kong....

You know you're in Hong Kong, when the street are made of stairs, and stalls fill the narrow lane ways.
When the streets are crowded with shoppers, and signs in Cantonese hang over the footpath.
When mini vans replace buses because the streets are so narrow and steep, and every shop you pass offers a bargain too good to refuse.
Hong Kong. One of my favourite places to visit.