Tag

europe

Air travel’s collapse in competence [UPDATED]

A

I went back to Canada for a couple weeks in October to visit friends and family. This journey required six flights — three in each direction — every one of which was delayed. I traveled on three airlines: Lufthansa, Air Canada and SwissAir. All failed in multiple ways despite charging me far more money and delivering far less than in the past, with the exception of physical discomfort which...

Edith Durham and the Balkans

E

Edith Durham, Albania’s ‘mountain queen’ When I hiked through the Accursed Mountains in Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania last June, I met older Albanians who still referred to Edith Durham as their “mountain queen” for her staunch advocacy of Albanian independence and her love of its people. I’d stumbled across a copy of her 1909 book High Albania while preparing for my trip, and...

Bayonne

B

Bayonne, where tall half-timbered buildings reflect their greens and reds in the Nive I spent my last Basque days in Bayonne, where tall half-timbered buildings reflect their greens and reds in the Nive and Adour rivers. The riverside has a Middle Ages feel about it. It’s easy to imagine those same narrow buildings gazing down at the water traffic that made the city such an important commercial...

Bygone glory in Biarritz

B

Inspecting bikinis on the Grande Plage Biarritz was once synonymous with glamour. Not just your run-of-the-mill glamour, either, but royal glamour.  It started in 1855, when Napoleon III’s wife Eugenie built a palace on the beach.  Empress Eugenie was born in the Spanish city of Granada, and her husband wanted her to have a home close to the border of her old country so she wouldn’t...

Crashing waves on the Côte d’Argent 

C

Surf’s up on the Silver Coast Winding mountain roads overburdened with speed cameras and toll booths led us over the edge of the Pyrenees and into France, where we’d take a brief detour from Basque country to swim on sparsely populated beaches up the coast. The geography flattened into an unremitting expanse of pine forests sheltered by massive sand dunes, and beyond them, beaches that...

Lazarus in the gossip panopticon

L

I drove back to the barbershop in Zejtun a month after we left the village. The door rattled aside on its warped metal track. The chihuahua behind the counter barked and glared. An old lady reclined in a chair like the sheeted dead.  I smiled and said hello to the receptionist, and she smiled too. But when the barber turned to look at me, he staggered back a step and froze.  The smile...

Along the amber route

A

Along the Amber Route by C.J. Schüler Along the Amber Route traces C.J. Schüler’s journey down one of Europe’s great long distance trading routes.  Like other ancient trade routes, this one had several branches running for some 2,500km from St. Petersburg on the edge of the Baltic Sea to the great trading city-state of Venice on the Adriatic.  The existence of the Amber Route predates...

The ‘Forbidden City’ just outside Berlin

T

The largest Red Army base outside the Soviet Union was a 40 minute drive south of Berlin. It was just beyond where the new airport — and the old Schönefeld SXF — is today. Wünsdorf-Waldstadt was completely off limits to East Germans during those long, dark Iron Curtain years. They called it Die Verbotene Stadt (the Forbidden City). Others called the massive base ‘Little Moscow’, and I guess it...

The abandoned airport down the street

T

I’m moving flats next month and saying goodbye to Tempelhofer Feld, my favourite space in the neighbourhood. But before I pack up my books and lug them across town, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of what was once the world’s largest building. The 1.2 km long complex was built by the Nazis to be the most advanced airport the world had ever seen, but war cut short their plans and they...

The Heavy Load-Bearing Body Down the Street

T

I’m moving flats soon, after four years, leaving this neighbourhood behind for another pre-war altbau in a different part of the city. Imminent departure has prompted me to poke around some of those minor historic sites I’ve passed so often but never gotten around to exploring. One of the largest is just down the block. I biked past that strange concrete mass so many times over the past four...

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