Category Archives: art

Vienna. City of Mozart. And waltzes. And that other Strauss: Richard – known for his operas, and familiar to my generation thanks to his fanfare from Thus Spake Zarathustra that was used in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. But when I think of Vienna, I always think of Billy Joel, or of Leonard Cohen’s melancholy three-quarter time […]

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The Swiss city of Bern is indelibly associated with bears. The bear has featured on the city seal and coat of arms since at least the 1220s. Stories relating to the keeping of live bears in a Bärengraben (bear pit) in the centre of the city – in what is still called Bärenplatz (Bear Plaza) –  date back to the 1440s (or 1513 – depending on your […]

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“What are water puppets?” asked one of our travel companions from Argentina. We were on a small bus from Hanoi to Halong, and had stopped in Yen Duc Village for a show and an early lunch. “Ahhh, they are a unique local entertainment; you have to see them once.” I replied. “But only once?” he responded, with […]

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If you start typing “Reykjavík” into a Google search, the second thing that comes up – after “Reykjavík” itself – is “Reykjavík weather.” No surprise, really. When I visited Iceland’s compact coastal capital city at the tail end of the nordic winter mid-March last year, the things that stood out to me most were the feeling of open landscape, the extraordinary light, and the constant […]

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“Good morning,” said the little prince. “Good morning,” said the merchant. This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink. “Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince. “Because they save […]

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