• 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…

  • Travel

    Higgledy-Piggledy Bibury

    From the pages of Victorian England came the declaration that Bibury is the most beautiful village in England. It was the observation of artist and craftsman William Morris who lived in a manor nearby and loved his saunters through the village. Walk into Bibury and you know why. Most probably you will be walking along the River Coln with hordes of Asian tourists, especially the Japanese, because they have tenuous links with Bibury. Some say that a Japanese artist was inspired by the village during the ’70s and others maintain that Emperor Hirohito, the leader of their country during WWII who had led them into the Sino-Japanese War, had fallen in…

  • Asia

    On the Sand Dunes of Sam

    Chiselled by the winds stand the sand dunes of Sam. They are an overwhelming sight. All those sandy yellow waves and nothing thereafter for miles. It is a sight that can make you feel like a speck in an ocean of sand. Once in a while, a row of camels can be spotted, swaying their lazy behinds and walking off into the horizon with human loads on their humps. I have sat on a camel twice now. Two occasions when I somehow clung on to the camel as it decided to make rude noises and threaten to throw me off its back. I would not blame it on hindsight. We humans…