It took a while for Milan to grow on me. The city lacks the obvious historical romance of a Paris or the vibrancy of a Barcelona. Her charms and delights lie hidden, separated by a sprawling metropolis. Milan is not walkable like Florence, and she lacks the quaintness of a small town such as Assisi.
It’s easy to find the heart of a small town, where locals live and promenade of an evening, and the cafés and restaurants are full of locals and tourists alike. In contrast, the first face Milan presents to the visitor is a large, rambling city…
Dubrovnik is a town which rises beyond its reputation. Even when drowning under a sea of summer tourists, there is much to do here, and places to escape the sunburnt crowds. Aside from the beauty of the Adriatic lapping at her feet, and the wealth of museums and sights within the town (not to mention her cafés and restaurants), side streets stretch off in all directions, lined with ancient houses and walls of crumbling stone.
One of my favorite spots in Dubrovnik is the 14th C Franciscan monastery. This is not far from the Pile Gate, the main entrance to…
As restrictions on travel stretch ever further over the horizon, it will be a while before I venture overseas. Greater Sydney (which covers where I live)is currently under lockdown, all our state borders are shut, and with only 7% of the population vaccinated, I fear it will get worse.
So, instead of ranting about political incompetence, I’ll instead remember Florence and some of my friends there, and dream of when I can return.
Soft drops in the heat herald a deluge
The road steams, and the air fills with that earthy smell
Of a summer storm. Oh look, she says
As we stand, sheltered, on the verandah
As the dogs rest at my feet, waiting,
Even the heavens are crying because he died
She hasn’t quite thought the logic through
Surely Heaven should celebrate death,
A soul returning home, or do the angels weep
For my husband now dwells in Hell? …
“Come on,’ he said, “it’s easy.”
Perhaps for someone raised on these waters. Perhaps for someone who’d been using these boats from the time they could walk. Perhaps, like the gondoliers of Venice, they are born with webbed feet, the better to walk on water. Or so the myth goes.
As I went around in circles, my guide has his boat rocking and rolling across the water.
I knew I would love this place on seeing the sour-faced guards. It was late on a rainy afternoon, and they so obviously wanted to be elsewhere. Somewhere preferably involving beer.
A few humble suggestions
Wandering Her Canals
A canal meandered past my hotel window. Sitting with a morning cup of coffee in hand I watched the first boats of the day boats pass by. Most were filled with visitors taking a tour of the city by water. Across the way, the branches of an ancient willow gently stroked the water. A small stone bridge arched over the canal; medieval buildings with their Flemish roofs zigzagged against the sky. Some swans glided up to my window.
Walking along the canals I found the medieval heart of Bruges. The town grew wealthy…
Singapore is a place of eclectic mixes. Doctor fish who left my feet silky smooth; the gate of Hope where many an unwanted child was abandoned. Spectacular orchid gardens; carrot cakes which distinctly lack carrot. Tropical deluges and the Death Houses of Sago Street.
I wasn’t, however, expecting a bathtub in a bar.
The Hendrick’s Gin Bath-tub stands proudly in Raffles’ Long Bar. Quite fitting, really, considering this is where the Singapore Sling was invented in 1915. …
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.