Ryan Murdock

Writer, Traveller, Reader of Books

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Paying my respects to Zeus at Dion

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Dion I took a bit longer than normal to haul myself out of bed the day after we climbed Mount Olympus.  My legs had already begun tightening up, and my hip flexors felt like guitar strings. But there was no time for strumming with a three hour drive ahead of us. We had one stop to make on the slopes below the mountain before hitting the highway to Halkidiki. Dion was once the most important...

Hiking to the home of the gods

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At 2,917m (9,570 feet), Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece.  The three-peaked massif broods over the Thermaic Gulf and the three-fingered peninsula of Halkidiki in the Aegean distance, on the border between Thessaly and the province (not the country) of Macedonia. Most choose to climb it in two days, with an overnight stop at one of the mountain huts that sit just above the tree line, but...

Sara Wheeler: Russia, Antarctica and how we shape stories (Episode #5)

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Sara Wheeler (photo by Amit Lennon) Sara Wheeler is one of my favourite writers on place. She’s the author of 10 books, including Mud and Stars, Terra Incognita, and Travels in a Thin Country, as well as biographies of polar explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard and adventurer Denys Finch Hatton. She’s a regular contributor to The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, The Spectator, The Telegraph...

Philip II’s golden hoard

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I’m just back from a short trip to Northern Greece.  Thanks to this seemingly endless pandemic, I hadn’t left Berlin since last summer’s hiking in the Slovakian High Tatras. In fact, I only left my neighbourhood twice since I moved to a new flat at the start of December. It was strange to be on the road again — and strangely tiring after nearly two years of introverted lockdown routine...

Jerry Kobalenko: Searching for ghosts on Ellesmere Island (Episode #4)

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Jerry Kobaleko (Photo found at RMOToday.com) Jerry Kobalenko is one of Canada’s most experienced High Arctic travelers. He’s the author of The Horizontal Everest, and Arctic Eden. His writing and photography have appeared in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Canadian Geographic and Time.  He’s also the editor of ExplorersWeb. He was awarded the Polar Medal in 2018 by Canada’s...

Political Fictions

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I read a collection of long pieces written by Joan Didion in the 1990s called Political Fictions this week. It contained “the first of a number of pieces I eventually did about American politics,” she wrote in the Preface, “most of which had to do, I came to realize, with the ways in which the political process did not reflect but increasingly proceeded from a series of fables about American...

Watching films in palaces and prisons

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Berlinale summer screening at Charlottenburg Palace Covid cancelled Berlinale, but summer brought a week of screenings curated from this year’s films. I watched the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner last week a short bike ride away at Charlottenburg Palace.  Waiting for darkness to fall It was the second-best place I’ve watched an outdoor film. The best was in Malta. We...

Lawrence Millman: the Arctic, technology and saving stories (Episode #3)

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Lawrence Millman serving up arctic tern shit in Iceland… Lawrence Millman is the author of 18 books, including Northern Latitudes, Last Places, An Evening Among Headhunters, and Lost in the Arctic.  His articles have appeared in Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure, The Atlantic Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Islands.  He’s made 30 trips to the Arctic and Subarctic...

Spandau Citadel

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Spandau Citadel by A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, FAL, Berlin is finally emerging from the pandemic lockdown we’ve been in with increasing forms of severity since mid-December. The biergarten are open, so I guess civilization won’t end just yet.  We can go to shops now, too. And barber shops and indoor dining are open to those who show a same...

RORY MACLEAN: Berlin, Bowie and the new Cold War (Episode #2)

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Rory Maclean Rory Maclean is the author of 15 books, including Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries, Stalin’s Nose, and Pravda Ha Ha.  He’s been called “the outstanding, and most indefatigable, traveller-writer of our time” by the novelist John le Carré. Jan Morris described his work as “a new kind of history, in several dimensions and innumerable moods, that adds up to — across...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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