Gallery: fancy a snack in Spider Town?
About an hour’s drive north of Phnom Penh lies the small market town of Skun. Normally a town like this would attract little attention from passing tourists, eager to reach the wonders of Angkor beyond. But Skun’s market has a treat in store; although that depends perhaps on your appetite for the unusual.
And now for something completely different …
I am not in the habit of sharing other people's blog posts here, although I'll happily link to them and recommend my favourites. But today there is something I just have to share.
Gallery: a traditional Keralan Kathakali performance
In a simple room in old Fort Kochi, Kerala, a young man is gradually transforming himself. In one hand he holds a small mirror; in the other the fine brush with which he applies paint to his face. An audience of tourists watches agog, cameras flashing, phones held aloft.
Using our hands: handicrafts around the world
Travel opens our eyes not only to the differences between various countries and cultures but also their similarities. One thing it seems that we all have in common is the desire to use our hands to craft beauty from simple objects. And what we create says much about our culture and heritage.
Celebrating childhood at the shrines of Japan
Nikko’s Futarasan shrine is only five minutes’ or so walk from its more famous neighbour, Toshogu, but it seemed to us that we were in a different world. The crowds had dissipated, leaving just a handful of tourists and some local families. We strolled around in a much more leisurely way than had been possible at Toshogu, taking photos and soaking up the tranquil atmosphere and the rich colours of the leaves just starting to take on their autumn hues.
Admiral Lord Collingwood, a forgotten hero
What better position for a monument to one of the country’s greatest seamen than this, high above the mouth of the Tyne with a view out to sea? Yet in many ways Collingwood is something of a forgotten hero, barely known outside his native North East.
Gallery: the flamingos of the Salar de Atacama
The only way to properly appreciate the vastness of Chile’s Salar de Atacama would be to fly over it; but a visit at ground level offers a spectacular sight of the varied colours of this unworldly landscape. Before you visit the Atacama you will no doubt read or be told that it is the driest non-polar desert in the world, with no significant rainfall for 400 years. It is surprising then to arrive at the Laguna Chaxa and see so much water!
To market, to market … a morning at Nguéniène Market
Nguéniène would be a fairly unremarkable Senegalese village were it not for the huge scale of its weekly market, which draws people from many miles around. As we drove towards the village with our local guide Cheikh, we could see many others on the roads, mostly in traditional horse carts, all converging on this one spot. The women were colourfully dressed as always here, as were many of the men; and the carts were piled high with produce to sell.
Traditional textiles in San Antonio Palopo
There is something a little bit different about San Antonio Palopo, one of the smaller villages on Lake Atitlàn. Most of the villages in this part of Guatemala are Tz'utujil, where bright reds and embroidered flowers are the preferred shades for huipiles, the traditional embroidered blouses. But the people of this village are Cakchiquel Maya; and almost without exception every woman and girl wears the same lovely shades of blue in narrow vertical stripes.
Following the River Tyne to Ouseburn
In recent years the development that first started around the central part of Newcastle’s Quayside has spread eastwards. And the area around where the smaller Ouseburn flows into the Tyne, in particular, has benefitted from regeneration. It makes a great destination for a stroll along the river, and there’s plenty to see when you get there. It’s only about a 15 minute walk from the Tyne Bridge to the mouth of the Ouseburn, although you’re bound to stop along the way.