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art and travel journal from a round-the-world art adventure

Trip: Cairo, Barcelona and beyond...

There are [22] stories from my trip: Cairo, Barcelona and beyond...


AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 25 Jul 2009 | Views [541]

The last stage in any journey is, typically, transit. A day spent, or lost, in the maze of airport security queues, check-in counters and passenger lounges. Some of which were curiously free of clocks. As if the no-time of international ... Read more >

Southern Lands

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 18 Jul 2009 | Views [582]

After the fortified, post industrial desert that is California New Zealand seems neat and lush and almost impossibly tidy. The flyovers are discrete, parks numerous, streets clean, and cities mercifully free of homeless people, crackheads and whores.... Read more >

Los Angeles

USA | Saturday, 11 Jul 2009 | Views [497]

Many people, but especially Calvino, have written of the formlessness of Los Angeles; the endless centreless sprawling web of streets and roads and sub suburban housing. And indeed at many levels this is true. There is no single plaza train ... Read more >

Bay City

USA | Saturday, 4 Jul 2009 | Views [464]

In San Francisco you reach finally the Pacific, that vast unquiet ocean whose waves hammer also on my next and then final destinations, New Zealand and Australia. The water is cold, and wreaths the land in layers of fog and mist that separate the ... Read more >

Twin Towers

USA | Saturday, 27 Jun 2009 | Views [1251]

Chicago has two tall buildings. Actually it has many, for its downtown rivals only Manhattan for density, but two stand above the rest in their efforts to thrust up into the sky. One, the Sears Tower, was for many years the tallest in the world.... Read more >


USA | Saturday, 20 Jun 2009 | Views [478]

In the 1950s Philadelphia was one of the largest cities in the USA, and in the previous century had even briefly eclipsed New York as the largest in the country. Then began a slow, catastrophic decline that saw its population contract by 40% from ... Read more >

New York

USA | Saturday, 13 Jun 2009 | Views [616] | Comments [1]

New York, while not infinite, at least aspires to that condition, and the narrow island of Manhattan is filled with regular rectangular iterations of crystalline concrete growth, rhomboid and enormous at the northern and southern ends, and dipping ... Read more >


SPAIN | Saturday, 30 May 2009 | Views [644]

Madrid is an imperial city, built by royal decree when the old capital of Toledo, defensive atop a hill and wrapped on three sides by the Tagus river, was found too polyglot, too constricted, too linked to the centuries old Moorish presence on ... Read more >


SPAIN | Saturday, 23 May 2009 | Views [528]

To reach the Alhambra, that paradise of fortified palaces and gardens, you walk uphill. First along winding streets and twisted lanes, through an arched stone doorway, and then up a broad path that cuts through trees growing with tropical fury. ... Read more >


SPAIN | Saturday, 16 May 2009 | Views [694]

Andres lives just north of the Gothic Quarter in the 19th Century district of Eixample, or enlargement, that surround the old city of Barcelona. The flat he shares with students from Chile and Argentina is on the roof or sixth floor, though because ... Read more >

Museu Picasso

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 9 May 2009 | Views [554] | Comments [1]

There are many remarkable things about the Picasso Museum, Barcelona - a fact that is in itself unremarkable given the central role Picasso played in so much art of the 20th Century. This being Barcelona the museum is full of tourists, but ... Read more >


SPAIN | Saturday, 2 May 2009 | Views [1655]

Barcelona has its share of tourists. Actually it has the share of other cities as well, for the crowds that gather around the main Gaudi monuments – La Pedrera , the Familia Sagrada , Parc Güell – do so in numbers that would seem more appropriate ... Read more >

Can Serrat

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 25 Apr 2009 | Views [1167] | Comments [3]

In the 1970s a group of Norwegian artists bought an abandoned and near derelict farmhouse in the Monserrat region of southern Spain. Over the next four years they restored and repaired and now, 30 years later, it is a thriving community of international ... Read more >


TURKEY | Saturday, 18 Apr 2009 | Views [566] | Comments [1]

There was a rally at the Blue Mosque Istanbul yesterday. It was political – commemorating the death of former Prime Minister Turgut Özal , who died in office in 1993 - with crowds of people, television cameras, stages, and huge, truck mounted ... Read more >


SYRIA | Saturday, 11 Apr 2009 | Views [1002]

Three kilometres from Tartus, the southernmost city of Syria's brief Mediterranean coast, is the island of Arwad. It is small – only 500 metres end to end and even less across – and has been inhabited by Canaanites, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Romans, ... Read more >


SYRIA | Saturday, 4 Apr 2009 | Views [2245]

65 km north-east of Hama, on the road that leads from the fertile valley of the Orontes river to the stony plains beyond, are the bee-hive houses of Sarouj and Twalid Dabaghein. Though few now remain these two villages contain enough of the dwellings, ... Read more >


AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 28 Mar 2009 | Views [555]

My Arabic is mishkweis [1] , but enough words have crept in that aiwa and la have replaced the regular yes and no of English. So it was automatic, one morning while drinking tea in the roof garden of the Dahab [2] ... Read more >

The Blue Mosque

EGYPT | Saturday, 21 Mar 2009 | Views [953]

The Blue Mosque is named for the tiles, imported from Istanbul during the days of Ottoman rule, that decorate its interior walls. Every surface is covered with flowers and floral motifs and the simple but elegant exterior contrasts markedly ... Read more >


EGYPT | Saturday, 14 Mar 2009 | Views [859] | Comments [1]

At the south-eastern edge of the Giza plateau, not exactly in the shadow of the pyramids but certainly close enough for the sky to be dominated by their impossibly massive forms, are the remains of the city that once housed the 60,000 odd workers ... Read more >

Old Cairo

EGYPT | Saturday, 7 Mar 2009 | Views [934] | Comments [1]

Old, or rather historic, or rather Fatimid, or rather Islamic Cairo has changed its name almost as often as rulers have come and gone over the centuries. The most recent of the names [old and historic] are designed to reduce the emphasis on precisely ... Read more >

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