The medina – a 250-hectare honeycomb of 9,400 streets and alleyways;a warren of dog-leg passages and dead ends; 320 mosques, 5,000 furniture shops and 400,000 people. A map is no help at all. We saw an Italian man trying to scribble his own map at every turning – impossible – so many Mohammeds and Jalils wanting to show you the way, so many souks, shops, … Continue reading Fez Medina – ‘A Thousand Welcomes’.
The farm nestled in a bend on the road – less of a road, more of a lane – narrow, leafy and green. The white-washed stone cottage sat hidden, surrounded by trees, fields, woods and wild flowers. I pushed open the metal gate, and Sally appeared on the doorstep as Merl and Mia, two cocker/springer spaniel crosses bounded towards us. Sally was a stranger, but we were … Continue reading Carmarthenshire – Coast And Castles.
Tokyo could make a (window) shopaholic out of me. I don’t want to buy, but I like looking. Ginza is high-end shopping. Bulgari, Cartier, De Beers, Sony, Nissan, Apple, but it was Ito-Ya stationery store that did it for me – these means to a creative end are artworks in themselves. Ink pens and glass pens. A pen care center. A paper concierge. Paper in … Continue reading Reflections In Ginza.
‘You’ve got to do it, haven’t you?’ We were standing outside Daiwa Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market at 5.30 in the morning. Not only were we standing outside, we were waiting in line, and waiting in line to eat sushi for breakfast. Surreal. It was Jim’s idea and I was just rolling with it. We’d been up since 02.30. Tsukiji requires serious effort. We’d met … Continue reading Tsukiji.
Eye popping shopping in Kappabashi-dori – Tokyo’s kitchen town. We keep getting drawn back to Asakusa time and time again. Not only is it the home of fascinating Senso-ji, there’s a warren of narrow streets, indoor shopping arcades, and great street food. It’s busy, noisy, and sometimes frustrating, but there’s always something to see – traditional weddings, rickshaws, kimonos – and kitchenware. Kappabashi-dori is a … Continue reading I Can’t Believe It’s Not Real.
We wanted to go somewhere typically Tokyo. We choose Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple, thinking it would be calm; hoping it would give us a glimpse into the life of Tokyoites and a gentle intro. to the mega metropolis. Approaching the great Kaminarimom or Thunder Gate we were taken aback by the number of people. Rickshaw drivers touted for custom. Japanese students asked if they … Continue reading Surprising Senso-Ji.
I’ve never researched a place so intensively as Tokyo. I spent hours pouring over the Lonely Planet, and many, many more on the internet. Usually in this planning stage, things stand out for me, hit me in the gut. I know where I want to go, and what feels right for me. Once I have a springboard, I leave the rest to fate. With Tokyo … Continue reading Monkey Mind, Zen Head in Tokyo.
Two pairs of grey slippers on a round green mat. Lined up and waiting for us to step into them and our new life in Kaminoge, Tokyo. We’d been travelling for three days, delayed by fog in Istanbul. The slippers made an impression. ‘Leave the outside behind you’, they seemed to say. ‘Your’e home now. Turn your attention inwards’. We did and collapsed into bed. … Continue reading We’re in Tokyo!
Travelling so much has it’s downsides. Lack of regularity, lack of habit, lack of roots. To compensate we establish our own traditions when we stay a while. In Cape Town, visits to the Oranjezicht City Farm market every Saturday morning became a looked forward to treat. It was (nearly) all about food. And mostly about eating it. Some even took their own plate! The raw stuff looked … Continue reading A Market Within Sight of the Ocean.
After five museum visits in five days, my brain was bursting, and I needed distraction. One thing I never do is shop. My wallet and life-style don’t really allow it. But the French have elevated shopping to an art form. Gorgeous window displays are everywhere, whether it’s haute couture or a bunch of grapes tied to a branch with ribbon. The French term for window-shopping … Continue reading Window Shopping on the Left Bank.