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Free pass

09 Dec 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

I went to the travel section of Foyles on Charing Cross Road and looked at Alain de Botton’s book ‘The Art of Travel’.  The headings, like all journeys, start with ‘Departure’.  The book ends, like some journeys, with a return.  It’s at this point that de Maistre is mentioned. He’s the 18th century French adventurer […]


29 Nov 2008 / 4 Comments / in Journeys

One reason I travelled to Damascus was that it seemed exotic and also it was just there, it was a destination. On the journey I started to look more and more at links and borders – lines of separation. Once I got to Damascus I wasn’t quite sure why I’d come. I found myself wandering […]

die Rückkehr, visszatérés, a reveni, dönüş, al awda, повратак,le retour, return

28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

London, St Pancras malias

Paris, near London

28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

malias There’s something about Paris that makes me not want to avoid cliches. Arriving in Austria I immediately saw a mountain village, in Romania gypsies with a horse and cart, in Turkey a mosque and in Syria a man wearing a red and white checked headscarf.  It felt like I was winning at stereotype bingo. […]

Station decoration

28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

Leaving Strasbourg I look up at the ceiling at the train station and see it is wooden and painted with a flower design, similar to the one in Aleppo. The old part of the station is covered over with a glass structure.  It’s a bit like a glass dish placed over a piece of aged […]

EU Parliament, Strasbourg

28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

francois schnell


28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

I’ve used eight different currencies on this trip; Euros, Hungarian forints, Romanian lei, Turkish lira, Syrian pounds, Serbian dinars and Sterling. It’s been the most difficult thing to keep track of.

Closer to home

28 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

It’s funny being back in an environment where I basically understand everything. It makes observing things much harder.  I’m taking so much more granted and seeing so much less. The bar I go to in Strasbourg is like a pub with wooden chairs and half-curtains.  The barman is tall and skinny with an ironic manner, […]