My Golden Ones: the Road to Pamukkale (Turkey)

Please follow the link to read my story “My Golden Ones” – about a bus journey between the towns of Kemer, Antalya, Denizli and Pamukkale in southern Turkey – on the Caravanistan Silk Road travel blog.

Pamukkale, Turkey

> My photographs from Turkey can be found in my photo sets.

Borderland: Impressions of Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv, December 2008

At the end of a haphazard year working in Kyiv I took an overnight train to Lviv, to experience the more relaxed, old-fashioned side to Ukraine. Colleagues had mentioned the tasty food and bright buildings in the west of the country, as well as the European atmosphere that hints at its proximity to Poland. It seemed an ideal place to spend the New Year’s holidays.

I arrived on a beautiful winter morning. A watery December sun hung in the sky; the temperature was ten degrees below zero. As I walked along Svobody Avenue towards the Theatre of Opera and Ballet in the centre of town, the freezing air pinched my cheeks and tickled my lungs.

On Ploshcha Rynok (‘Market Square’), there is an outside market, which was full of people even in the bitter cold. On all of its four sides there are buildings with pretty baroque façades. A Russian Orthodox Church sits in one corner, its golden dome wrapped in snow. Stalls offer woodcrafts, fur valenki boots and oil paintings. The scene would make a fine painting itself.

- Read the full article on Europe Magazine Online.

Also: See more of my photos from Lviv and a photo set Winter in Ukraine.

Kyiv, Ukraine: Eastern Europe’s Best Kept Secret

Please follow the link to read my guide to the city of Kyiv, “Eastern Europe’s Best Kept Secret”, in Travel Addict magazine.

The link will open a new page, from where you can click to read the pdf copy of the magazine.

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The Linguist’s Lot

Kyiv, January 2010

If November is Ukraine’s most melancholy month, January is its toughest. With the lawyers I work for coming back from their winter breaks with all the enthusiasm of “dvoiki” schoolboys returning to class on the first day of term, and European investors waiting for the results of Ukraine’s presidential elections before calling upon the lawyers, I have all the time in the world to indulge in my hobbies. It is an opportunity to start the year creatively and productively, but the month goes to waste. Determined to develop my writing I search on Kyiv’s newsstands, in its online ‘papers and on the lips of its people for a story to turn into an article – and find that there is only one: the arrival of a bitterly cold spell of weather that puts paid to all but the most mundane activities.

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Borderland

Lviv, January 2009

No Ukrainian apartment is complete without an eccentricity or two. The clean, stylish place on vulytsya Fedorova in Lviv, which Ana and I had rented for two days in January, was no exception. It played its first couple of tricks on us even before we had unpacked our suitcases.

There was no hot water when we arrived after a night spent in a stuffy train carriage, so I freshened up in the en suite shower pod by pouring water from a long-since-boiled kettle over my head from a tin saucepan. As I dried myself I realised that the pan had only been half-clean: I had stepped into the bathroom smelling of tea and blankets and emerged reeking of mackerel.

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Winter Routines

Kyiv, November 2009

November is Ukraine’s most melancholic month. The temperature falls below freezing, and the orange and yellow leaves that make October so picturesque fall on to the street and are trodden into dirty puddles (the Ukrainian word for November, Listopad, means “fall of leaves”). The plain, snowless clouds feel low enough to touch. People discard their colourful autumn clothes and clamber into black and dark grey coats. A cold wind blows stern looks onto our faces – autumn forgotten, the country settles in for an attritional winter.

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