Category

Europe

Does a palazzo buy happiness?

D

Looking across the courtyard to the tower – the door of my study straight ahead Nighttime in the palazzo held its own magic. We often took a nightcap in the living room, after the day’s work and reading was done: gin to slake the summer heat, or a winter whiskey to drive the damp from our bones.  I liked to take my glass up to the roof at those times — down that cavernous arched...

That time I lived in a palazzo 

T

That time I lived in a palazzo For several years I lived a secluded life on the island of Malta. The house we took was a sprawling palazzo where the walls had a chalky tang, as yellow as aged cheese. It was the first thing I noticed when I walked in the door, and I noticed it again every time I returned from a trip. It was the dry dusty scent of time. Time passed slowly, and in silence.  An...

A refugee story from Ukraine 

A

Lviv, 2016 The Ukraine war feels close here. Not as close as it must in bordering countries like Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary, but much closer than it would back home.  Berlin is 800km from Ukraine. To put this distance into perspective for friends in Canada, it’d be a bit like living in Ottawa and seeing war break out in Windsor or Sault Ste. Marie. Vladimir Putin’s massive invasion...

Indulging My Bosphorus Obsession

I

Soft afternoon light over the Bosphorus The latter half of my Istanbul trip involved a change of scene: from a hotel in Sultanahmet to a flat on the Bosphorus, from old Constantinople to modern Turkey by way of the T1 tram. The location was great — a short walk from Taksim Square, the pedestrian shopping strip of Istiklal Caddesi, and backstreet restaurants in Cihangir and Çukurcuma — but...

Walking the Theodosian Walls

W

The Theodosian Walls stood impregnable for nearly 1,000 years Christmas passed largely unnoticed while I was in Istanbul. Traditional holidays don’t have the same glow when living far from friends and family. Instead, they’re a reminder of what we give up to live a life abroad.  I tend to spend December 25th walking. I don’t plan to; it just works out that way. On my last Christmas in Malta...

The Palace at the Centre of Ottoman Power

T

In my last blog, we wandered through the echoes of Byzantium in Hagia Sophia, the summit of its civilization embodied in stone.  I’ll have more to share about this most venerable empire in an upcoming article, but first we must visit the world of the Ottomans. What better place to meet their shades than Topkapi Palace, home of Sultans and seat of government for nearly 400 years? Topkapi...

A Dose of Holy Wisdom at Haghia Sophia

A

Haghia Sophia, the pinnacle of Byzantine architecture As Omicron fears swept through the vaccinated and unvaccinated of Berlin, and the government threatened yet another series of lockdowns, I slipped off to our shambles of a new airport and caught a flight to Istanbul, the city that straddles Europe and Asia, both literally and metaphorically. My first stop of this Christmas escape could only be...

Byzantine travels in Thessaloniki

B

Dinner views from the city walls We ended our brief Greek travels back where we’d started: in the second-largest city, with one foot in the Byzantine past. Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedonia (one of those who squabbled over Alexander the Great’s empire). When the Kingdom of Macedon fell in 168 BC, the city was absorbed into the Roman empire. It soon became an...

Jeremy Seal: Modern Turkey and the 1960 coup (Episode #7)

J

Jeremy Seal Jeremy Seal is the author of six books, including A Fez of the Heart and A Coup in Turkey. He also contributes to a wide range of publications as a travel writer, journalist, and book reviewer, including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and the Australian, and runs cultural tours to Turkey.   He’s been described as England’s pre-eminent travel writer on Turkey, a country he’s been...

Halkidiki’s picture perfect coves

H

Early morning swim, with Mount Athos in the distance We’d climbed Mt. Olympus, and paid our respects to Zeus at his sanctuary in Dion. It was time to cross the Thermaic Gulf to the beaches of Halkidiki, whose three peninsulas pierce the Aegean like a trident just below the northern city of Thessaloniki. Our destination was the middle prong. Sithonia is just far enough from the city to avoid being...

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.

NEWSLETTER

Sign up for my entertaining email newsletter


Get in Touch

Donate

Support the Personal Landscapes podcast with a donation

Recent Posts

Archives

WP AutoTerms Legal Pages