Category: Travelling

Calais – a Crisis of Compassion

Let’s just call them people. Not a swarm of people, not migrants, not even refugees. As soon as we label people we objectify them. And if we label a group of people, we make them all the same. At least the word people allows for men and women and children, from different countries, each with…

The Geometry of Germany (12 angles)

The Black Forest nestles in the bottom left hand corner of Germany. A rectangle 50km wide and 150km long, it is the largest German holiday region, with the magnificent Rhine defines the southern and western borders. I first visited here as a child, and can still recall the black battalions of foreboding trees, standing tall…

Maybe its the Lure of the (Scandinavian) Sea

I spend my weeks traveling to and from various Nordic countries. Tired of the procession of planes and nights in formulaic hotels, I decided, for once, to take the big slow boat from Oslo to Copenhagen, only to discover that this was an amorphous mixture of the two. Everyone who boards is staying in the…

Another Unending Oslo Evening

A place and a time where there is no darkness only the all-consuming grey of a damp June evening Never starting, never ending, barely existing in very slow motion without definition or purpose. A dinner where the salmon is tasteless garnished with a disappointingly limp salad – Eating under artificial heating. Will that invisible sun…

To Russia – with memories.

And so, I was about to finally step into Russia. As a kid, of course, it was all part of the USSR. We lived as children in genuine fear of the Cold War between the Soviets and the Americans escalating into Mutually Assured Destruction, wondering what we would do if the apocryphal 4-minute warning sounded…

Three men in St Petersburg

I had three people to find in St Petersburg – Fyodor, Dmitri and Claude. All six-letter names, all artists and all well past their sell by dates. Well, all longtime dead as it happens. So. I would be looking for their faint footprints rather than their living feet. A painter, an author and a composer.…

on a slow boat to St. Petersburg

Today I took a day off from my business trip to Helsinki to embark on an a cheeky visit to St Petersburg – the so-called “Venice” of Russia. A few reasons for this self-indulgence. 1) St Petersburg is, by all accounts, a beautiful and historic city, unblemished by two world wars, with an impressive array…

A little bit of Art in the Heart?

What is art? And what does it do for you? and to you? As we walked through the arty end of Glasgow, along something of a back street, we passed the window of an art studio. We peered inside. We saw a surprisingly large white room containing large bright coloured red cubes arranged across the…