I love this photo I took while window shopping in the Lan Kwai Fong area in Hong Kong. Firstly, it’s one of my favourite areas to wander on the Island, a maze of ladder-steep streets where I’m never quite sure what I’ll find next.

There’s the nearby antiques (sic!) of Cat Street, the Man Mo Temple, forgotten tenements once condemned due to outbreaks of typhoid and the plague, dog walkers, or the gathering of maids on their day off as they flock together along walkways, chattering away like sparrows — I always find something completely unexpected here.

Then I love…


While watching a watery game of chess

A game of chess in progress © A.Harrison

Budapest is renown for its spas — even the zoo has one, with many animals having their own thermal baths (and, apparently, a very high reproductive rate). On a glorious spring day I stood outside the belle epoch Széchenyi Baths, the phrases ‘taking the waters’ and ‘frequented by royalty’ running through my mind. Even the entrance to the baths was a work of wonder.


A poem

Night lights © A. Harrison

Violins in counterpoint
Falling tones of greens and russet, some gold
Perhaps a waterfall, or a fountain with dancing drops
Drenched from sparkling sunshine and bird song

Until
I open my eyes
To un-darkness
Un-black, yet little to see
Not dry not wet
I drift in still water

Moss-covered poles
Enormous thighs of an aged jetty
A withered dingy tied beneath
I think
Of the River Styx
Should I float
Mindlessly
Or clamber aboard
And drift, safely,
Towards undying days
Unchanging

A lessening of the un-darkness.
Through the pylons I see
A stony shore,
Maybe a path. Rocks. …


Despite the map

A beautiful old text © A. Harrison

I fell in love with Greece a long time ago, without actually ever going. Gerard Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals bewitched me. I read it as a child, and then to my own children. He painted an idyllic countryside of olive groves and woods running down to the sea; of pink houses covered in vines and filled with intellectuals and free spirits who came to lunch and stayed for the summer.

I’ve treated old soldiers who fought in Greece during WWII and the chaos which followed. They spoke of the warmth of the people who kept them alive during…


A quiet moment among the moss and stones

Details of a tomb © A. Harrison

Afternoon was fading by the time I made my way to Tokoji Temple. The old wooden building nestles in a quiet forest on the edge of Hagi, and I soon found myself alone in a graveyard surrounded by trees.

Hagi has changed little with the times; old maps are still pretty accurate when wandering her medieval streets. The Mori Daimyo governed the city the during Edo period (1603–1868), and behind the temple are buried the odd-numbered rulers. (The even-numbered ones are spending their eternal sleep at Daishon Temple. …


King’s Cross roof © A. Harrison

Having been to London before, I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with all things quaint and English.

Things such as quiet mews and the sound of the Queen’s guard trotting over cobble streets in the early hours of the morning, or pubs bedecked in flowers and people sunning themselves in Hyde Park on the one day of summer.

Considering it’s built on an area once called Battle Bridge, rumoured site of Boudica’s final battle with the Romans, I just wasn’t expecting the futuristic architecture of King’s Cross Station. …


Hong Kong’s markets are not just for shopping

Some delicacies for sale © A. Harrison

I first went to Hong Kong some forty years ago, and immediately felt a bond with her vibrancy and way of life, her noise, her chaos, even the smell of the place. Things which often annoy me elsewhere simply enchant me here. Encompassing all of this, her markets are a great place to start when discovering The Fragrant Harbour for the first or twelfth time (as are those in Kowloon, but that’s another blog).

Every visit I discover a new market, maybe only a street or two long, often only a few streets away from my well-trodden route, but I…


Looking doubtful © A. Harrison

Somehow…

I’ve lived in Sydney all my life. I’ve sailed on her harbour, and once upon a time, caught the ferries to uni. Yet this was my first time on a cruise liner sailing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


One of Europe’s most beautiful towns.

Strolling along the river into town © A. Harrison

Strolling along the River Regnitz into Bamberg, the gentle gurgling of the river accompanied my footsteps. Small wooden boats bobbed on their moorings, and the real world seemed so far away. Gorgeous gardens stretched down to the water, each filled with flowers, vegetables, and even smoke-houses. Behind them stood old timber houses, each one lovingly maintained. Wild flowers grew along the verge. Anything could be happening out in the wider world and I’d have no idea, safely ensconced in this peaceful bubble.

This part of Bamberg is called Kleine Venedig (Little Venice), the old fishermen’s houses beautifully restored. It lies…


A hotel bed in a hospital of history

The colours of sunset on Notre Dame © A. Harrison

I lay in bed, staring at the flood-lit towers of Notre Dame. The sky-light in my room looked straight onto the cathedral. Founded by Saint Landry in 651 AD, the Hôtel-Hospitel Dieu was the first hospital in Paris and still cares for ill Parisians. The ghosts of some 1300 years of medical history glide along its marble corridors, whispering in consultation outside the wards, before passing into the old-fashioned lifts to visit the fourteen quiet hotel rooms hidden on the sixth floor.

Hotels can be seen as merely a place to sleep, or they can be another layer in all…

Anne Harrison

At 10 I discovered travel, books and philosophy. Now I pass my days with a camera in one hand, a notebook in the other, looking for the perfect coffee.

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