Lunch with Mr Noon and his family
Of course the main reason to visit Siem Reap is to see the temples of Angkor. But it’s possible to get ‘templed out’ so it’s good that there are alternative activities and places to explore between temple visits.
A walk along the Corniche in Muttrah
On our last morning in Muscat we explored the district known as Muttrah. This is the city’s commercial heart, home to its port and a number of sights. Our walk took us from the bustling fish market at its northern end past the port to the equally busy souk near the far end.
Gallery: Psar Thmei, Phnom Penh’s Central Market
There’s little I enjoy more when travelling than a visit to a local market. Large or small there is always plenty to see, and therefore to photograph. And you can gain great insights into the way of life in the country. What do local people eat? How do they dress? How indeed do they shop?
Day into night in the Jemaa el-Fnaa
Sooner or later it seems, all paths in Marrakesh lead to the Jemaa el-Fnaa. The name (sometimes spelled Djemaa el Fna or Jamaa el Fna) means ‘Assembly of the Dead’ in Arabic; but a visit here suggests life in all its vibrancy. To call this the city’s main square doesn’t begin to do justice to it. This is a meeting place, a shopping centre, a performance space, a happening. It is surrounded by restaurants and cafés, each with a roof terrace to offer a ringside seat from where to observe…
A walk in Seville’s picturesque Triana district
Just to the west of Seville’s city centre, across the Guadalquivir river, lies Triana. This former working class neighbourhood was once home to the Escuela de Mareantes (School of Navigation) which instructed many of the famous sailors of the 15th and 16th centuries. Both Columbus and Magellan studied there before their expeditions in search of new worlds. It is famous too for its tradition of ceramic tile work and its unique style of flamenco.
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.
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.
Gallery: a visit to Takayama’s morning market
Takayama is a mountain town, and the river that runs through it, the Miyagawa, is a clear mountain one. Every morning on its banks stall-holders set out their wares at the town’s famous morning market, in a long-held tradition.
Gallery: a morning at Serekunda Market
Weaving his way expertly between the throngs of sellers and buyers, our driver and new friend Habib led us deep into the heart of the market. The place was so packed it was hard to make progress at times, especially with the occasional car or bush taxi trying to squeeze through the crowds, and the many porters with their wheelbarrows shouting at everyone to make way.
Meeting Maximón, the idol of Santiago Atitlàn
The small boys who meet the boats arriving in Santiago on the shores of Lake Atitlàn know that the visiting tourists are here to see one thing above all others. They want to meet Maximón. It’s a good idea to accept the children’s offer as this intriguing Mayan idol (part saint, part devil) doesn’t have a permanent home in the town. Instead he is hosted by a local family, moving to a new house every few years.