Travel

In the Den of Asakusa Horikazu

Asakusa Horikazu. This traditional tattoo master is the son of legendary Shodai Horikazu; I had the privilege of spending an afternoon in his private studio to watch and document his work. This method of tattooing repeatedly taps hand-mixed ink into skin with handmade tools: varying numbers of needles bound together at the endpoint of a long handle. It’s hypnotic to watch and, at its best, results in vibrant flesh tableaus akin to embroidered silk. Horikazu works in a traditional Japanese …

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Hot in Paris

I’ve finally been making progress in my protracted skirmish with long Covid, allowing G and I to take a holiday which wouldn’t have been possible a few months ago. G had never been to Paris, so we decided to include well-trodden highlights and new favourites. A trainzoom from London to Gare du Nord, a bus to our hotel, and we were off on a stroll to the Luxembourg gardens. We found refuge from the sizzling sunshine in the shade of …

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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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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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Photo Flurry: Red Planet

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It was already after five in the desert. Approaching Arches national park in the rented Toyota, we were suddenly surrounded by rainbows. Or had the rainbows been following us? I was sure I’d seen two across a great Utah expanse earlier that day. We rushed against advancing night. The late afternoon sun made the sandstone glow fire-red and, out of season, the mostly vacant, blazing sprawl was probably the closest I’d been to seeing Mars. Against bright blue sky, these colossi had little in common with the names people …

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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 143: Dalmatian Holiday

I’m in Ljubljana again, tucked into the corner of an oversize couch next to an oversize Maine Coon. Full of my favorite coffee from Zlati Dukat, messy braid and huge Plitvice Lakes hoodie while three weeks’ worth of laundry are washing upstairs. Fire pit smoke, sand, wet leaves and Adriatic sea salt, sudsin’ off to make room for whatever comes next. We began our holiday in a seaside village on the south-western coast of Istria, with its sorbet skies, ice-clear …

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Photo Flurry 128 – Crumbling Glass Factory in Fažana

This is the gloriously decrepit abandoned building I mentioned in my previous post. It’s a former glass factory that’s now home to skating competitions and other indie events, though probably not for much longer – this place is literally falling apart. You can read a little bit more about it here, at the website of the now-defunct Fažana Skate Film Festival.   (Examining a neat bug.) s

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Photo Flurry 127 – Twenty Four Hours in Croatia

At the end of my first week in Slovenia, Gašper and I packed our swimming gear and headed to Peroj – a seaside village in Istria, Croatia. Since the EU-fication of Slovenia and Croatia, crossing the border means handing your passport to a couple of laid-back guards and getting waved across, without ever leaving your car. Though the driving distance between the center of Ljubljana and the Croatian seaside is about two hours, the difference in the two countries natural surroundings (soil …

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Photo Flurry 126 – Wild Plums and Fluffy Clouds in Slovenia

As a crash course in Slovenian topography, Gašper took me on a driving tour. In one day, we experienced the countryside, castles, mountains, winding forest roads and rivers, further fostering my quickly-multiplying affection for this place. Our first stop, the 13th century Turjak castle: The castle was officially closed to visitors that day, but the charming elderly groundskeeper kindly let us into the courtyard and showered us with trivia all the while. This gigantic linden tree at the castle gates …

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Photo Flurry 125 – Coffee and Castles in Ljubljana

I’m back from the multifarious adventure that was Gašper’s homeland, Slovenia, and would like to take you on a visual tour of my second day in Ljubljana, where we spent much of our vacation. We stayed in a small basement apartment owned by his family, which we found decorated with flowers and fruit. A welcome sight after a night of non-sleep before our very early morning flight, and the first hint of how lovely these people are. And if that …

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