St. Francis in Dubrovnik

Franciscan monastery, Dubrovnik

 

The Franciscan Monastery of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a town which rises beyond its reputation. Even when drowning under a sea of summer tourists, as cruise boats arrive by the score and unload their passengers, 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 cafes and restaurants), side streets stretch off in all directions, begging to be explored. There are hidden nooks at every turn, lined with ancient houses and walls of crumbling stone.

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My Walk In A Medieval Sky

The Rooftop of the Duomo, Milan

 

Walking on the Rooftop of the Duomo, Milan

 

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 of a large, rambling city, filled with dirt and pollution, and buildings which have seen better days. Yet scattered through this lie pockets of wonders, such as the Duomo, the area around Sforza Castle, her art galleries – and, of course, Leonardo’s Last Supper.

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A Volcano, A Dinosaur and Clouds.

 

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New Zealand is a land of mountains. Flying into the South Island I saw nothing but an enormous snow-capped range, smothered in white clouds lying trapped on their peaks. Little wonder the Maoris called this land Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud). Not four hours from Sydney (it takes me longer to fly to Perth), yet a completely different land lay below me.

With mountains come volcanoes. Cruising The Bay of Plenty in New Zealand’s North Island, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the boat circled a smoking volcano rising from the sea. Only a small part of White Island is visible; most of the mountain lies beneath the sea.

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Dawn in Hoi An

 

It is autumn, and dawn comes late, and the darkness early, in Hoi An. Autumn by the calender, but not by feel, for it is easily 30C each day, the humidity reaching the 90s.

In the darkness of the pre-dawn, the air felt cool. Once on the water, a sea breeze played around us as we set out over the waves. Around us, were struggling with their nets in the darkness, somehow balancing in their tiny boats. Larger boats circled around them, buying the fresh catch from the fishermen and delivering it to the markets, or straight to the restaurants of Hoi An.
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The Art Deco Imperial Hotel Prague – My Review and Musings

 

It was the trams which did it. I lay in bed, listening to them rattle past; what a delightful way to fall asleep. It had, after all, been a long day; some 26 hours of flying from Australia, then an afternoon spent walking around this magical city.

I’ve yet to find anyone who has not fallen under Prague’s spell. It is simply the most delightful city. Even on a cold day when the wind nips at your face and fog is threatening to blanket the spring day, the place reaches out to delight and entrance with her hidden nooks and cobbled streets; a market place, tulips in bloom, a river winding into a golden distance.

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Walking the Île St Louis, Paris

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For the short while I had in Paris, every day I would venture down to a little supermarket on the Île St Louis. I never left empty-handed: a smoked chicken, some quail, or perhaps some cheese; yoghurt in its own ceramic pot (which I collected and brought home), a bottle of red. Consisting of two aisles barely wide enough for people to pass one another the place could hardly be classified as a supermarket, yet it was not a corner store, for in that small shop lay a wealth of offerings to put any supermarket to shame. The shop was simply the essence of the Île St Louis.

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