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.

Blue Sky Thinking: A Chat with an Aviation Legend

Fred Finn – the world’s most travelled man

London, November 2011

In July 2011 I was asked by Ukraine International Airlines to organise an interview with Fred Finn, the world’s most travelled man, for their in-flight magazine Panorama. Over 52 years of travelling Mr. Finn has flown more than 24 million kilometres, to 139 countries, and took more flights on Concorde than anyone else.

Our interview “Blue Sky Thinking: A Chat with an Aviation Legend” features some exciting locations, famous people, exotic stories and good advice, and can be found in the November 2011 edition of Panorama.

(Please click on the above link to read the interview. A new page will open, on which you can click on another blue “Panorama” link to open it in pdf format.)

- Browse more of my travel writing, articles and short stories on my published writing page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Coffee Table

I travel because I am fascinated by the world – and especially by its people. Our actions can be powerful and far-reaching, but we also create little moments – beautiful songs or poems, special meals, unique atmospheres – that are  not widely-known. Often they say more about a country, and are more rewarding for its visitors to discover, than pop culture.

On this page I will add links to little-known or underappreciated parts of the cultures of every country that I have been to (and many that I haven’t). Use the “Leave a Reply” box below to add recommendations of your own…

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Kseniya Simonova - ‘A requiem in sand’ . An extraordinary Ukrainian artist, who tells stories through animations in sand. She was the winner of ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’ in 2009.

ICA Kiev. An English-speaking church in Kyiv, which serves Ukrainians and the city’s foreign community.

Okean El’zy‘Druh’ and ‘Ledi‘. An excellent group from western Ukraine, lead by singer/songwriter Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, whose songs and concerts are popular within the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada, Germany and Russia.

Yuliya Savicheva‘Malo’.  A Russian singer, with a song from her album ‘Magnit’.

Nanyuki Children’s Home - a children’s charity in Kenya.

Besh O Drom – ‘Meggyujtom a Pipam’. An energetic Hungarian folk music group. 

Eddy van Wesselphotographer, ‘The Chechens, 1994-2005′. A well-compiled, brutal photo essay of Russia’s war in Chechnya.

Musa Dzhalilpoet. A writer from Tatarstan, Russia, who died in a prisoner of war camp in Germany at the end of the Second World War. The poems on this page are in Russian.

Evgeny Grishkovetsauthor and playwright. A Siberian writer of accessible, energetic prose and thoughtful plays.

Russ Avery and Olivia McGregorCool Footprint. Environmental conservation with a focus on ocean life.

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