- Friday, 12 August 2011
No serious-looking insulating or waterproof materials are used to keep out the wind and protect the occupants from arctic cold. Instead, they have pinned patches of tattered plastic on the most exposed walls, nailed crumbling panes of polystyrene or even glued circles of umbrella fabric in different colours.
- Saturday, 16 August 2014
My first afternoon of exploration in Saint Petersburg was fantastic. I fell in love with the city to the point that I couldn't stop admiring new perspectives, and I underrated hours of fatigue just in order to take in as much as possible. Only the evening was going to put an end to my roaming that had encompassed a large part of the historical centre, but on my way back I happened to walk past the Mariinsky Theatre and a surprise was yet forthcoming.
- Thursday, 26 May 2011
I have come here in search of two examples of wooden churches that are a highlight in this region of Romania, but the first building I see down the road baffles me. It is a rather impressive white church with two side bell towers topped by very steep roofs. It’s all white, including the roofs and it stands out in the gloomy morning air under a cloudy sky. Only after a while do I convince myself this isn’t the church I was looking for, renovated, so I walk further on.
- Thursday, 20 February 2014
In the mountain village of Dorze Thursday is market day. The first bus was still slumbering with closed doors when I got to the station, so I begged some students to keep a seat for me while I went away for a quick breakfast. In the meantime, though, the bus woke up, filled and left, leaving a number of passengers still waiting for a second ride, among whom those young people. All were nervous about missing the last chance of reaching Dorze, so when the bus arrived, it was literally assailed by the throng in a tragicomic scene. My disbelieving eyes saw people exasperated by the wait elbowing their way through the narrow door and a woman, whose skirt was caught up between the bodies, climbed the steps regardless of her lower back being revealed to those behind.
- Sunday, 07 August 2011
The town of Litang lies in the middle of extensive grasslands at high altitude. Around it there are no rocky summits to be seen, just the relief of undulating hills covered by grass and no trees. These days of early August are the time when an important horse racing festival is held around the town, calling nomadic people from a large area to take part in, or be a spectator of the sporting events.
While having breakfast accompanied by rich butter tea, a Japanese traveller and I make plans for the day. Yaseku is desperate to know the exact starting time of the races, as if it he was talking of a train expected to depart on the dot, but the contradictory answers he receives are an obvious sign that there is no schedule. I tell him, but he goes on undeterred and becomes all the more frustrated by unaccountable as well as deplorable vagueness. In the end I manage to talk him into finally taking a taxi to the racing grounds, leaving behind schedules and other fetters inherited from a mindset that doesn’t go hand in hand with the local conception of time and plans, maybe of life itself.
- Friday, 14 August 2015
All the walking yesterday exhausted me. I woke up during the night with a dry throat and my body was as heavy as lead. During the night I stayed awake for an hour before I was able to receive more of the sleep I so badly needed. At wake up I slowly ground into gear and soon faced the fact it was a new day and I had to carry on. My goal was Lake Sevan, again not the easiest destination to reach by public transport from Yeghednadzor as there are no route services between the two places. I plodded three kilometres along the road to the junction and there, with all the traffic going the right way, I placed myself at the best spot to hitchhike for a ride.
- Tuesday, 28 June 2016