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Christmas markets in viral times

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There’s still something to ho-ho-ho about A lot of friends have asked me if Christmas in Germany has been cancelled again this year. At first I thought the holidays were under assault by the deeply concerned and undoubtedly caring folk who have harnessed the power of online mobs to make the internet a kinder and gentler safe space. Were shock troops from the Diversity & Inclusion...

Dervla Murphy: Reflections on a lifetime of travel

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Dervla Murphy (Photo from ) Dervla Murphy has been described as a ‘travel legend’ and ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’. For five decades she’s travelled the world mostly alone, and mostly on foot.  Her first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965 and over 20 other titles followed on places as wide ranging as Peru, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, India...

Where the hell has the year gone?

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Foggy nighttime views from Berlin’s new palace 2021 has faded into a tedium of unmemorable sameness thanks to endless lockdowns and restrictions, which at this point have come to feel like helicopter parenting by a nanny state in charge of risk-averse populations determined to repress awareness of our own mortality. It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. But there really hasn’t been...

Nigel Barley: The Innocent Anthropologist (Episode #8)

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Nigel Barley Nigel Barley is the author of some 22 books, including White Rajah and A Plague of Caterpillars. He studied Modern Languages at Cambridge before completing a doctorate in Social Anthropology at Oxford. His first book, The Innocent Anthropologist, was based on his fieldwork in west Africa amongst the Dowayo people of North Cameroon. Barley left academia to work as a curator at the...

Byzantine travels in Thessaloniki

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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)

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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...

The Power of Geography

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Geography limits us and defines our possibilities in fundamental ways.  A nation’s physical location — at a vital choke point, like the outlet of the Red Sea; commanding the waves on Europe’s northwest fringe; at the vulnerable end of the wide open North European Plain — does much to dictate its strengths and fears. As does its store of resources, and its location in relation to...

The shameful self-destruction of the West

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I’ve read a lot of quotes from Western leaders claiming the Taliban’s rapid reconquest of Afghanistan came as some sort of surprise to them.  Here in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We misjudged the development.” Her foreign minister Heiko Maas added, “All of us – the federal government, intelligence services, the international community – misjudged the situation.”...

Halkidiki’s picture perfect coves

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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...

John Gimlette: Madagascar, and ‘walking the dead’ (EPISODE #6)

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John Gimlette John Gimlette is the author of five books, including Wild Coast and At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig.  He’s a regular contributor to The Times (London), The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, and Condé Nast Traveller. And he’s won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and the Wanderlust Travel Writing Award. John writes about overlooked places...

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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