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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
Punta del Diablo, Uruguay, 2020
Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 2004. This photo symbolises my hope that we will soon return to gazing upon wonders and embracing each other across the artificial divides of household or culture. And that even in tragedy we may find inspiration, like Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan who lost his beloved wife but gifted the world this […]
Cattle ranch, Uruguay, 30 April 2020. Señora Vaca what startles you so? Is it the rare sighting of the lesser spotted gringo in the middle of Uruguay’s lockdown? Or perhaps you have just realised how grim your job prospects are in a country that consumes the most beef per capita in the world?
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2013. A land where a dog can be entrusted to sell usnjeni copati (‘leather slippers’) in the street. That may well be a safe bet given Slovenia’s ranking as the 10th most peaceful nation on earth (Global Peace Index), with the 8th lowest crime rate (World Population Review). Apparently language is no obstacle for Slovenian […]