Archive | Idle musings RSS feed for this section

A Postcard to Dorrigo

Driving from Armidale to Coff’s Harbour with my oldest daughter some years ago, I spot a sign for Dorrigo. The name sounds familiar. But why? We’re at the other end of the world, after all. In Australia. And not Sydney or Melbourne, but inland Australia. Driving along, we pass any number of waterfalls on the […]

9 Comments Continue Reading →

What makes us human? Thoughts on prehistoric cave art.

Last summer, I spent time in Bordeaux and the surrounding wine districts with my mum and sister. A highlight in the area was the ancient cave art in the nearby Vézère Valley. There are many excellent caves to visit in the valley. Having studied archaeology, I have a penchant for prehistory, and if you too […]

15 Comments Continue Reading →

A glimpse of Brunei

Welcome to a very curious place and a lesser-known national capital: Bandar Seri Begawan. We’re in the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, the Abode of Peace. I live in a relatively small oil rich country, so it’s always interesting to see how other oil-nations are similar – or different – from my own. Specifically bearing in mind […]

16 Comments Continue Reading →

Day out London: Kingston-upon-Thames and the fickle king

I’ve long been curious about all the little upon-Thames towns (partly due, no doubt, to having seen one too many episodes of Midsomer Murders, or read one too many Daisy Dalrymple mysteries). There’s an array of them: Henley-on-Thames, Staines-upon-Thames, Richmond-upon-Thames, Kingston-upon-Thames…

6 Comments Continue Reading →

Zanzibar and the senses

Wandering around Zanzibar as I arrived, fresh from the Dar ferry on a tropical March afternoon, my first thought – and my last when I left a week later, as it turned out – was that this enchanted African island speaks to all our five senses. Here’s what I mean: sight : the sun setting […]

18 Comments Continue Reading →
Ostalgie 1

Ostalgie: What is freedom, anyway?

This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’m brought back to my first visit to Berlin, a divided city then. Crossing from West to East Berlin, we had to exchange 25 Mark (about 20 USD) into 25 Ostmark (East Mark). We could not bring East German currency out of the […]

17 Comments Continue Reading →

Berlin, I love you still

In 1983, Berlin was still marked by war, but a grand city still. Today, it’s even grander. And where Rome has beauty and chaos, Berlin has beauty and order.

49 Comments Continue Reading →