Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Here’s a book to pop your eyes. Cloaked in dust and petals it swirls through bedrooms, bazaars, bombings, palaces, shrines, caves and festivals. The pace is insistent and the tensions increasing.

Our guide is journalist Isambard Wilkinson. He takes us to Pakistan (2006 – 2009) and entices us to follow him from Baluchistan to the Khyber Pass, via a couple of pauses for kidney complications.

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Beautiful but exhausted – the little lodge on the lake in Bacoli, by Naples, Italy

We visited this little lodge last August, towards the end of our two years near Naples, Italy. It was evening when we arrived. The heat had gone, the light bounced off the lake, and wedding parties posed on the bridge.

The Phraser

La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy

If I had the money to save a building of all those that I have seen this is the one that I would save.

We saw it for the first time this summer – small, elegant, corroded and propped up; its perfect proportions reflected in the blue green lake as the sun went down.

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A thought on Liverpool as it catches Unesco’s eye

The docks in Liverpool, England

The docks in Liverpool, England

My first real visit to Liverpool was on foot this summer.  I didn’t walk all the way but I did do five miles through the outskirts to the cathedral as part of a fundraising walk on a hot, sunny Sunday.

It was only afterwards that I learned about the tension – that the city’s world heritage status was on the gangplank, and that Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was about to decide whether or not to give Liverpool the final shove.

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Book review: Wild is Life – Reaching out (by Sally Carney)

Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Front cover of Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Wild is Life – Reaching Out is about an animal sanctuary that has grown out of the turmoil that swept through Zimbabwe a few years before the millennium.

It is an inspiring, intimate photographic record of a home-made haven that started small – mongoose size – and then stretched. By the end of the book it is giraffe high … and the elephants have come.

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Italy: Deep into Cilento and back, with a stop in Velia

A new neighbourhood - Cilento, Italy

A new neighbourhood –
Cilento, Italy

The next stage of our journey is from Castellabate to Roccagloriosa in the south of Cilento.

We follow an autostrada that dives through the wilderness in long strides, with off-piste loops for roadworks. The further we travel the more unspoilt the valleys to either side.  Signs, baked by the summer heat, warn us about ice.

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Book review: In Europe, Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak

A well-thumbed copy of In Europe by Geert Mak

A well-thumbed copy of In Europe by Geert Mak

Europe is agitated and restless – it always has been.

In Europe, by the Dutch journalist and historian Geert Mak, gives a century of context to today’s anxieties. It looks at the hundred years before the millennium, and through this window reveals the troubled heart of today’s Europe.

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To Paris, France for the day

The rendezvous outside the Louvre - Paris, France

The rendezvous outside the Louvre – Paris, France

Any chance you can join us?”  A message from an American friend pings into my in-box.  Hmmm?

There’s sensible … and then there’s Paris.  Even if only for a day.

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