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Shopping for the exotic

27 Nov 2008 / 1 Comment / in Journeys

Lovely Strasbourg claims to be the Capital of Christmas 2008. When I arrive I see people waiting for the shopping mall to open its doors for the day. Thinking of Damascus Souk I go in and look around the same way, as if everything were strange and all the details were deeply interesting. We head […]

Strasbourg – Petite France

27 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

on1stsite

Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot et al

27 Nov 2008 / 1 Comment / in Journeys

My journey to Strasbourg will be on the Orient Express. Agatha Christie was a frequent visitor to Syria with her second husband, Max Mallowan.  He was an archaeologist and worked on some of the country’s most famous sites.  He is honoured in the National Museum in Damascus. Murder on the Orient Express was reputedly written […]

Ways of arriving and means of transport

27 Nov 2008 / 1 Comment / in Journeys

Travelling between Istanbul and Serbia I met a German guy who’d cycled out to Turkey and was heading back to Berlin by train. We agree flying to a city leaves you without a real sense of how that place fits into the country geographically and culturally. After passing through regions of landscape on the train […]

St Sava

26 Nov 2008 / 3 Comments / in Journeys

The Serbians are building the biggest Orthodox church in the world. brankkoss St Sava in Belgrade is a huge space made of concrete.  It lacks the peaceful feeling of other holy places I’ve visited, but that could be down to the ongoing building works. A mason is electrically chiselling a white marble capital for one […]

out and back

26 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

The journey out and the journey home are quite different. The trip out is towards the unknown and the anticapted. The trip back takes me ever closer to the known. Thoughts about chores keep appearing in my mind. I am taking a different route back – through two cities I don’t know Belgrade and Strasbourg […]

Belgrade

26 Nov 2008 / 2 Comments / in Journeys

Tito’s mausoleum in Belgrade is known as the House of Flowers -Kuća cvijeća/Kuća cveća. The taxi driver tells me it is also known as the 25th May, the Yugoslav leader’s birthday. ‘ As a child, I took part in these displays’ he tells me, ‘ you see them now in China and North Korea, like […]

Shopping again

25 Nov 2008 / 0 Comments / in Journeys

I keep thinking about the Damascus streets.  It’s true the names don’t really matter.  It matters more what’s sold in any particular place.  So you get the spice street and the animal skins street and the alley where they sell wood burning stoves.  That’s Old Damascus, which is part straightened out old buildings.  Straight Street […]