Culture

Japan

Japan

20th February 2016
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Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is one of the busiest cities in the world – all neon lights and skyscrapers – but hop on a bullet train and within a couple of hours you could be relaxing at an onsen (hot spring) in a green tea bath, in the middle of a forest, with nothing for company but the sound of birdsong…

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Presepe

Christmas markets

22nd December 2015
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Listed below (thanks to the Italian Tourist Board) are some of the most interesting Christmas markets in Italy. Naple’s San Gregorio Armeno is one of the best, and is open all year. Via San Gregorio Armeno is an entire street of workshops where you’ll find hand-carved nativity scenes, known as presepe. The wood-carving has been…

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Yoga Be Yourself

‘Be yourself’ – William Ellory Channing

25th August 2015

William Ellory Channing was a Transcendentalist poet, born in 1818 in Boston, Massachussets. Channing wrote about the importance of being true to yourself:   ‘To live content with small means – to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich – to study hard,…

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Skylines

Skylines

24th August 2015
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August 2015 Just over a year ago, my friend, Yolanda, and I were asked if we’d like to write about architectural skylines around the world. Not just any old skylines; these would made out of our chosen buildings to create an imaginary skyline that would hopefully encapsulate the history, culture and heart of the cities…

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Two Temple Place

Cotton to Gold

26th March 2015
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March 2015 From time to time, the charitable foundation, the Bulldog Trust, opens the charming Two Temple Place for excellent exhibitions. This one is no exception. ‘Cotton to Gold’ brings together some of the extraordinary collections of wealthy philanthropists who made their fortunes in the Industrial North West. The collections were generously loaned by the…

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Cremona

14th March 2015
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Cremona was home to three of the most important violin-making families: Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati. The recently opened Museo del Violino tells their story, and offers an insight into five centuries of violin-making.

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Chiara Vigo, Bisso

Chiara Vigo, Maestro di Bisso

7th March 2015
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A recent story about tiny sea snail teeth that were stronger than titanium reminded me of the time I met a Sardinian woman who harvested ‘bisso’, strong silk-like fibres secreted by a marine bivalve mollusc, known as pinna nobilis or ‘fan mussel’. Chiara Vigo is an interesting woman; a descendant of 30 generations of bisso-weavers,…

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Tunisian mother & girls copy

Tunisia

8th February 2015
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Tataouine, in southern Tunisia, is famous for the trogolodyte buildings of the native Berber* population. It’s so other-worldly, that director George Lucas used it as a backdrop for one of his Star Wars films. The buildings are actually ancient grain stores, or ksour, and you can read more in my Time Out article here.

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Venice

Venice

8th February 2015
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Venice was once a water-logged destination for those escaping the plague on mainland Italy. It became one of the most powerful Italian republics, a great maritime power, and centre for the world’s finest art and music. Today the city seems to be drowning under the weight of its success. Each year it’s invaded by tourists…

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Morocco

8th February 2015
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Casablanca  Or Dar El Beida in Arabic, means  ‘white house’ – a reference to the low-rise white-painted buildings that cover the landscape. But it’s a much-changed landscape today. The biggest city in Morocco is the busiest port in North Africa, a techno city decorated with hoardings advertising Samsung, Galaxy, Zara and Uniqlo… Markets in Morocco…

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