Archive for 20th December 2007

Archive

Istanbul Revisited

There are probably many existing copies of the Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque that I have in my photo database, but I took more yet again, in the hope of getting clear shots during a rare, clear winter day. The weather was for most part, as irritatingly cold and damp as I remembered, and did wonders in exacerbating TC’s cough and foul temper. Istanbul was meant to be our last stop, and a last-minute, relaxing, browsing and shopping one at that – for me at least. Having covered the ‘necessary sights’ the first time around 2 years ago, the game plan was to catch a couple of things that were...

The stop in Lake Bled

We woke the next morning to discover that the ceiling had not caved in on us despite the large strip of paint hanging down from it. As it turned out, the same strip of paint was still hanging from the ceiling the day we left Slovenia. I guess paint in Slovenia must be pretty strong stuff. A quick breakfast, and we were off on our way to the old town, waylaid only by the lure of a large toiletry store. As we soon discovered, Ljubljana is actually very walkable and it is nearly impossible to get lost walking around. In the middle of the old town, we found a Christmas...

The Beloved City

I was grumpy. A four-day head cold will do that to you. Mind you, this was an improved version of me. Two days earlier, saw me reduced to a gibbering idiot, staring owl eyed at the wall. The situation in the train station did not seem very promising. The place appeared to be cast in cold, grey stone. The design of the place seemed functional, but only just so. Only one or two shops were open, one a bar and the other a mobile phone shop of some sort. The coloured signs of the shops seemed almost reluctant in the way they shone, barely adequate in piercing the gloom of...

The Grand Old Dame

So it was then – TC was sick, but we still made it to Venice by the hair’s breadth after waiting foolishly at a bus-stop for several buses that were re-routed in the past 2 days we were in Florence. Just as an old dame’s refusal to acknowledge the decline of her façade and dominance via the painful way of plastic reconstruction, so has Venice has found new life most unfortunately in her status as a tourist sell-out. The atmosphere of elegant decay is nonetheless enjoyable (pleasurable even!) and as far as I know or have read, no one dislikes Venice despite its simulation of its past glory. Venice rides high on...

Under the Tuscan Sun/rain/wind

Day trips to Siena and Fiesole (bundled up with short excursions in town, and an extended amount of walking time) have been overwhelming, rewarding and tiring. In short, they have worn TC and me out. The last I heard, TC was suffering from a mysterious ailment that he terms as ‘the flu’. 24 -48 hours later with a wham-bam headache, sore throat (TC also says that is probably not caused by his snoring) and a fickle head that decides on a whim when to function, we are still awaiting the verdict on his recovery. Fabled for its legendary romantic location, Tuscany is expected to evoke emotions buried deep with the urbanite. TC,...

En Route to Firenze

The day dawned equally dreary and cold on an early Sunday morning in Milan as I made the short trek down to the main train station at the unholy hour of 7am in the morning – made really no difference actually, since I was jet-lagged anyway. And in typical Italian fashion, there was a small traffic melee taking place with some honking, poor driving and bad temper in the Piazza near the train station. “Ah, the Italian temperament,” remarked TC, wondering as well how more drab it could get when the 2.5 hr train journey consisted of misty industrial scenes that seemed to characterise the region of Lombardy. But Florence surprised us. It was very much alive on Sunday, bustling with fake-goods...

Taking the Material Seriously

I wonder if therein lies some sort of irony when a city agrees with you about its drab and rather dire state. Touted as one of the most affluent cities in Italy, Milan’s cityscape does not do any justice to their financial standing in Europe yet undoubtedly remains a haven for fashionistas by fashionistas, where haute couture and looking good reign over opium. Crowds throng a centre that boasts rows and rows of designer brands outlets with their mannequins decked in exorbitantly priced clothes in the window display for moneyed tourists and locals to buy and mediocre ones to envy. I arrived in Milan more dazed than anything after a...