Category

Europe

Drifting Through Heroic Time

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Standing atop the citadel, it was easy to see how the rulers of Mycenae could command the surrounding Argive plain, a self-contained world of rich agriculture and high pasturelands, walled off by mountains and easily defended passes. Their city dominated the overland routes from the southern Peloponnese to the Isthmus of Corinth and the rest of the Greek mainland. Well-fortified dependencies of...

Nighttime in the Vatican Museum

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I was in Rome a few weeks ago playing tour guide. Now, I won’t play tour guide for very many people, but one of my oldest friends was visiting. It was her first trip to Europe, and Rome was the city at the top of her list. We did the usual rounds, paying our respects at the Colosseum and Forum, and all those essential buildings, shops and squares that crowd into the ancient centre. But I’d been...

Adrift in Europe’s Capital of Cool

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A group of four shirtless guys sat on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in slow listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, was pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad driver smacked him with the reigns and urged him to trot faster. At first, I took a small group of people sitting together on the ground to be a...

Getting the Drift in London

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I’d only been in London for a few hours, and I was already thinking I’d have to scrap a year’s work. We were at the British Museum, sitting one row away from Michael Palin and Sara Wheeler. The topic of their sold out talk was, “What Makes Great Travel Writing.” I’m finishing up a new book about Malta, and I expected to nod knowingly along with the speakers, patting myself on the back for a draft...

Adrift in Berlin

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The latest issue of Outpost hit newsstands across Canada a few weeks ago. This time in my Adrift on the Continent column, I’m taking you to Berlin. Well, I suppose I should say “bringing you to Berlin”, since I live here. But you won’t find any of the usual stuff in this story. No Berlin Wall or Brandenburg Gate, and definitely no tedious tales of yet another all night excursion to a techno club...

A Shift in My Trajectory

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<= UPDATE: You can read all of my columns for The Shift here => I’ve started writing a series of articles for an independent Maltese news site called The Shift. One of the paper’s founders contacted me at the beginning of November to ask if I would comment on things that appear completely bizarre to an outsider, but which are accepted as normal in Malta. Some of the topics I’m writing about...

Just Another Berlin Sunday

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Sunday afternoon in the Tiergarten. A group of four shirtless guys sit on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, is pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad woman in the cart smacks him with the reigns and urges him to trot faster. At first, I took a small group of people...

Overshadowed by Nuremberg’s Dark Past

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Nuremberg was once one of the wealthiest and most important trading centres in medieval Europe. And between 1050 and 1571, it was the closest thing to a capital under the Holy Roman Empire, seat of the imperial Diet. Despite this rich and multilayered past, the city is most persistently remembered for its close association with the Nazi party. It was Nuremberg that hosted the NSDAP rallies of the...

Exploring Bamberg’s Unique Beer Culture

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My friends called Bamberg “biertown”, and I would soon discover why. We took the high speed ICE train down to this beautiful town in northern Franconia a couple weeks ago. It’s less than four hours from Berlin-Südkreuz to Bamberg, but I’d never been to Bavaria before. My good friend Coach Helder Gomes was giving a seminar that weekend, which gave me an excuse to spend a few days exploring the...

Coasting With Jonathan Raban

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In 1982, Jonathan Raban bought a wooden two-masted sailing boat and circumnavigated England in a slow, wandering, unhurried way. He called this manner of travel “coasting”: moving along with the tide, letting the wind decide the direction of travel, and living “on the shifting frontier where the land meets the water and the water shades into the land.” According to his childhood schoolmaster...

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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