If only buildings could talk

If only buildings could talk. Imagine what the Taj Mahal would say about love. Or Robben Island Prison about one man’s unbreakable spirit and limitless capacity for forgiveness. A discussion with the Binnenhof in the Hague, the world’s oldest parliament building still in use, would surely illuminate on the machinations of democracy through the ages. […]

The pagan strikes back

If you take a photo in Vilnius’ main square from a certain angle, it appears that the bronze statue of Grand Duke Gediminas (1316-1341), Lithuania’s most celebrated medieval ruler, is smiting the Cathedral’s bell tower with his sword. A cheap trick perhaps but one that is apt for one of Europe’s last great pagan rulers, […]

Tallinn 2021

The past oozes out from between the bricks in Tallinn’s ancient city wall; it clacks along with the feet ascending steep cobblestoned streets to viewpoints overlooking the red-tiled roofs and turrets of the old town; and it flutters proudly from watchtowers and palaces, a horizontal triband of blue, black and white. According to the most […]

Photostory: through younger eyes

Village of Tchikala, Angolan Highlands, 2009. This welcome from the village kids was as refreshing as the temperate climate, a welcome respite from the confused furnace of Luanda where we lived and worked behind heavily-guarded Embassy walls, meeting only those Angolans who worked in government or for NGOs. I had come here with my Ambassador […]

Darting back and forth

It took the death of a ninety-nine year old prince to buck a trend here. For Dartmouth is one of those places that features in guidebooks but rarely in the national press, as picturesque and quaint as it is sleepy and remote. The wild beauty of the surrounding Devonshire countryside makes Dartmouth both alluring and […]

Photostory: ship cemetery

Summer 2010. Praia de Santiago, Angola, otherwise known as shipwreck beach for obvious reasons! Over thirty boats lie stricken at varying tilts and states of corrosion, from petrol tankers to cargo vessels, making it the largest ship cemetery in the world by some counts. Some local fishermen told me it was really a giant aquatic […]

Photostory #13

River Douro, Porto. For centuries, these rabelo boats brought barrels of wine to Porto’s cellars from vineyards up the River Douro. In the 1700s, English merchants added brandy to fortify wine for shipping to England, inadvertently inventing the sweeter, stronger Port wine. English brand names like Taylor’s, still emblazoned on Port bottles and riverside cellars, […]

Ground to a halt

The tangled thickets of nettle, blackberry and trumpet-shaped flowers sprawling across the site only heightened a sense of absence. From this vegetal maze, I could discern but a few cryptic clues to what went before: two fluorescent kitesurfing sails billowing above a bank of shingle hinted at an ocean beyond; three arches and a sluice […]

Photostory #12

Cēsis Castle, Latvia, 2016. One of the largest mass suicides in European history took place here in 1577 when 300 defenders blew themselves up to avoid capture by the brutal Muscovite forces of Ivan the Terrible besieging the castle.

Chobe chomper

Should I unpack my case or explore my surroundings first? The view from the chalet over the Chobe River provided a compelling answer to this common holiday dilemma. The cobalt-blue waters sparkled like gemstones in the sun as they continued their eternal struggle with expansionist grasses for dominion over the floodplains of Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, […]