Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Discovering Catalan's Castellers



Castellers in  Terassa


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.


Castellers in  Terassa




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.


Castellers in  Terassa


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Thursday, 25 January 2018

Milan in Five Photos



Milan in Five Photos
Milan Cathedral

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.


Milan in Five Photos
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II


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.


Milan in Five Photos
Evening in the Navogli district


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?)


Milan in Five Photos
Modern art

Art is everywhere in Italy. Simply wander the streets, and you cannot miss it - the buildings, the architecture, statues, even the layout of the streets, vistas opening onto fountains. Even the train station is stunning. A remarkable feat, considering how much of the city was destroyed during WWII. Plus there is always something new. Such as a needle and thread.


Milan in Five Photos
Leonardo's Last Supper
Impossible to visit Milan without seeing Leonardo's Last Supper. For me, it bordered on a spiritual experience. With the number of visitors strictly limited, tickets are notoriously hard to come by. Since I came to Milan on short notice, I managed a visit  by joining a walking tour. However you manage it, it is well worth. A lifetime experience.




The Literary Traveller 

As the centenary of the end of WWI draws nigh, Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms is worth revisiting. It goes beyond the futility, the absurdity and the banality of war to exploring the tragedy of human existence. Much of the tale comes from Hemingway's own experiences as an ambulance driver in Italy during the war. The novel follows the experiences of Lieutenant Frederick Henry; when he is wounded he is sent to Milan to recover, and much of the story takes place here. The novel was banned in Italy until 1948. Many critics cite A Farewell to Arms as Hemingway's best work. 

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

Geese in a Cathedral Cloister



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?

Geese in a Cathedral Cloister

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. 
Geese in a Cathedral Cloister

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.  
Geese in a Cathedral Cloister



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Monday, 1 January 2018

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

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.



My Travels in 2018

I have always loved travel, and am fortunate enough to have done a bit this year - never enough, but there is alway 2019! So, a few memo...

Some of My Photography