Travel

Passing Time at Père Lachaise Cemetery

Last week, I finally visited  Père Lachaise – the world’s most popular (and, perhaps, most beautiful) necropolis. Stretched across a formidable hundred acres of Parisian hillside with over a million interments and a veritable galaxy of star residents, it’s difficult to believe that this cemetery wasn’t popular in its early days because of its nondenominational status and somewhat remote location. It took a strategic transfer of Moliere’s remains to win the people’s favour back in the 1800s. These days, greeting …

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Green Dominion at Castle Buchanan

Abandoned buildings are poetic monuments to lost histories, the passage of time, the nuances of decay and inevitably, for now, the triumph of nature over all. What left some the deepest impressions from my recent trip to Scotland is its multitude of such spectral ruins. Driving along the west coast, the word “majesty” comes to mind without a trace of irony – the natural splendour is vast, grand, and breathtakingly beautiful. This land is old and born of fire, its colossal …

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Parchment Ghosts at John Rylands Library

Among the world’s architectural wonders built in the name of love, the Victorian neo-Gothic library built by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in her husband’s memory on Deansgate in Manchester stands apart. Looms apart, in fact – and it does loom. Opened in 1900, this dark red construction of Barbary stone was designed to resemble a church with Arts and Crafts flourishes, vaulted stained glass windows, and an entrance echoing a monastery gatehouse. The entrance hall and main staircase are stonework masterpieces, …

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Tangled Oaks and Dithering Green in Wistman’s Wood

One of the most memorable days on our recent holiday was spent in the ancient, mythical Wistman’s Wood – a tangle of gnarled oaks growing against considerable odds on a stony hillside in Dartmoor, Devon. After a half hour’s walk across serene hilltops dotted with rainbow sheep (colour-coded by owners to keep track), approaching this tree maze took my breath away. Branches twisted together into a reptilian canopy stretched over roots gripping giant boulders. Plush moss covered nearly everything, creeping …

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Our Own Personal Castle

Imagine being able to choose between hundreds of unique, historic landmark buildings for your holiday stay, with lighthouses, former catholic schools, old hospitals, castles, and medieval farmhouses available for rent as part of a nationwide conservation initiative. In England, you can, thanks to The Landmark Trust. Availability is scarce, but that’s just more reason to make A Plan, then pile your (well-behaved, responsible) crew into a private castle for a weekend. G and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to give the Landmark …

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Megaliths in Avebury Set to Music in the Trees

I’m back from a glorious expedition across the English countryside, which is as good a reason as any to shake off the blogwebs and share some of the beauty and magic I’ve encountered along the way. There’s nothing like a road trip to reset and fall in love with a place, which is precisely what’s happened over the past two weeks. On July 20th, having just taken down a sizeable exhibition (a fantastic one, at that, read about it here), …

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Reykjavik Blast-off: Hallgrímskirkja

I spent my winter holiday in Iceland – the place I’d been dreaming of for the better part of decade. With new year’s eve approaching, I stocked up on cold-weather gear, packed a minimal photo-configuration, and set off for the frosty shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. We set up base in Reykjavik, where the capital’s crowning jewel is Hallgrímskirkja – a brutalist spaceship of a church that’s visible from miles away. It greeted us everywhere we went, accordion wings peeking around corners, steeple waving …

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Sorbet Spring in Windsor

Someone recently asked me when I moved to London and it made me pause. Though we arrived in late November, it feels like it’s been just a few months. Perhaps it’s because the fist two months were spent touristing around town from our temporary apartment, or because we just built the final piece of furniture for our new semipermanent home two weeks ago – whatever the case, London didn’t really feel like we live in it until we returned from …

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Art, Science and Immortality at the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Last week, I decided to stop by the Morbid Anatomy Museum during a 48-hour trip to NYC. As a long-time reader of the Morbid Anatomy blog –a veritable wunderkammer of antique scientific illustration, among a multitude of macabre treats–, I was elated when the Kickstarter-funded physical museum opened its doors last year. A walk across Brooklyn offered the opportunity to finally have a look around. I didn’t have time to research before my visit, and was surprised to discover no permanent collection, per …

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Disembarking the Torpedo: Goodbye 2015

It’s time to say do svidanja to 2015! If you’ve been here a while, you know I’m something of a Russian traditionalist, in that I take the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve seriously. Resolutions, deep–cleaning wherever home is at the moment, purging whatever is no longer needed – I’m into the lot of it. I love big fluffy holiday ferns and presents, and end-of-ear blog posts, too. The past twelve months have been so intense, writing this was no small feat. Get cozy, comrades, this is …

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Over the Wall

Last week, we packed a couple of suitcases, loaded into a rental, and headed for the hills. It had been a while since my last cross-country road trip, which I remember only vaguely as a breakneck race to Salt Lake City, where I writhed my way through a butoh-inspired performance, then rushed back to LA without seeing much of anything. It was high time for a new Great American Expedition, and G attending a conference in Aspen meant the time …

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Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity, etc.

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Hello, world. I write this from that there chaise, with Micron nestled under my arm and morning California sunshine beaming through the windows. It’s been two weeks since we signed the lease for our American apartment and it’s beginning to feel like home. When we got to northern California, it was a little like the Dublin move (we had no idea where we’d end up), but also very different, because we now know a lot more about what type of …

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Photo Flurry 144: Foggy Lakes and Happy Trees at Plitvice

I have a new Elysium. And this is not mere puffery! Plitvice natural park is so gorgeous, it’s almost obscene in its beauty and deserves every bit of praise below. This 296.85-km² Croatian preserve brazenly flaunts every one of my favorite natural phenomena. Thick fog cloaking everything in a dewy, silver glow: Wet soil bursting with mushrooms, moss and berries: All manner of waterfalls, from burbling to tumultuous: Clear, sprawling lakes and endless walls of foliage: Wandering across meadows, climbing …

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Photo Flurry 142: London Decadence

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After a day spent peacocking along the English coastline it was time to get back to civilization. I was excited to meet Cathy, an internet buddy whose acquaintanceship goes way back to the days of LiveJournal. She generously offered her place, setting up the most adorable little bedroom nest I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, complete with gourmet pillow chocolates and towels. The perfect place to lay down my weary, sun-drained bones. This was my birth month, and I was …

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Breathing Space at 512 hours

This post began as a literal description of 512 Hours, but I changed my mind halfway. I just returned from a weekend in London, where I spent four hours (split between two visits) at 512 Hours – the latest long-form Marina Abramovic performance (/event/experience). I first showed up at Serpentine Gallery on an uncharacteristically hot Saturday afternoon, having made my way past hundreds of swans, flower beds, and cyclists at Hyde Park. The walk to the gallery took almost an …

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