• Travel

    Torcello

    “Don’t look now,’ said John to his wife, ‘but there are two old girls two tables away, looking at me all the time. I don’t like it. There’s something very strange about their eyes.’ The wife, Laura, turned and saw what she saw and laughed as she commented that they were two men actually. He said: ‘…You mustn’t laugh. Perhaps they’re dangerous. Murderers or something going around Europe, changing their clothes in each place. You know, sisters here in Torcello this morning; brothers tomorrow, or tonight, back in Venice.’ We walked past a trattoria where Daphne du Maurier’s John and Laura might have sat as they demurred about the identity of the two…

  • Travel

    Glass for Princes in Murano

    A mile north off Venice is the cluster of islands called Murano. We crossed in a vaporetto (water taxi) from Venice to Murano on a day that was joyously sunny. The kinds that come wrapped up in a bow only once during a few miserably cold and foggy winter days spent in Venice. When we got off the boat at Murano, the first sight that greeted me was that of a bearded local dragging a sizeable carton on wheels . He looked like a fisherman, the lines of the years marked out on his weather-beaten face. A rustic, atmospheric introduction but what lay after was anything but unassuming. Workshops, boutiques and factories cropped up…

  • europe

    Candy is Dandy in Burano

    I have fallen for bright accents of colour on doors and windows of whitewashed stone cottages in Cornish villages, on the streets of Lisbon with the brilliant (and sometimes faded) blue of the azulejos, colourful house fronts and yellow, green and red vintage trams, in the gaggle of houses that climb up the cliffy villages in the Cinque Terre and then on the astonishingly vivid street in Stavanger where colours pop off wooden houses. But nothing had prepared me for the bursts of colour that greeted us in Burano. The houses on the Venetian lagoon island had emerged out of a bag of M&Ms. The passage of time, I suspect, has faded some into pastel hues, but the lot of the buildings…

  • europe,  Travel

    Even a Shed in Ravello Would Do

    On the other side of Scala, far from the crowds of the Amalfi Coast is Ravello. The town hugs the top of a ridge that looks out onto the Gulf of Salerno. Our very first sight of it and we were irrevocably, irreversibly hooked. If a fairy godmother materialised and swished her wand for me, I would ask for a home in Ravello, on those mountains with a view of the inky Tyrrhenian. We would then be residents of a town with a history that goes back all the way to the 5th century when it was founded as refuge from attacks by barbarians. In time, it became a wool-producing, trading powerhouse in association…

  • Travel

    Tagged!

    Dear virtual friends, Here is a tag that I am taking part in because, well, it is fun to indulge in a bit of trivia at times. And when that trivia happens to be about you, the narcissistic head (come on admit it, we all have a bit of Narcissus in us) rears up. I have been tagged by Malini – she blogs at https://malinispace.com/ – for this 2016/2017 Tag. The tag has been created by David from The Guy Who Said Always No. Describe your 2016 in three words I am cheating on this by including more words because I am a rambler, and well, I like to push boundaries. Fairytale (Early morning…

  • Asia,  Britain,  europe

    In the end is the beginning

    I have always thought that it makes a whole lot of sense. What our good man Eliot wrote. Even though another year is coming to an end, there is always a fresh year to look forward to. Wonder what it holds in store for my husband and me. We have new things creeping around the corner. Moving countries, setting up a new home, a new start. Daunting. Yet we gotta make the best of the hand we are dealt in life, isn’t it? There is a bagful of nostalgia and wistfulness to go with it. The year for my husband and me has been about travel and the accoutrement that comes…

  • Travel

    Of Gondolas, Gelatos and Cicchetti

    Where else would you have the three things mentioned above? But in Venice. That wonderful city on the waters, where water permeates every aspect of life. We met a man from Germany during our lost-in-the-city moments. The German from Frankfurt went out of his way to walk us to our destination, and mentioned that he had been to Venice 20 times. Now that is the kind of charm Venice exudes. Serenading Gondoliers  First, let me take you to a squero. The word is Venetian for a boatyard, where the traditional boats of the city are hand made. Seven of them are still functioning in the city. We made our way to…

  • Travel

    A Spell Called Venice

    A thick fog lay over Venice. We were bemused. Was our time in the city of the ancient Veneti people going to be all about climactic doom n’ gloom? But may I confess this that I was a bit thrilled. I am enchanted by fog. I find my imagination stoked by the very suggestion of mysteriousness and romance that it exudes. As the London lover and English biographer Peter Ackryod captures the phenomenon, “Once more it is a primeval landscape, the landscape of origin, one which arouses a native inspiration.” Also, if you love the Gothic, dark romance of Anne Radcliffe novels, you would get my fascination with fog. Venice, to…