Haiku No. 5

Its 5 months since I last posted Haiku, and 1 month since I last posted anything here. I am so sorry! This is not how I planned it. I returned form Armenia and Georgia with a notebook and a card full of pictures. Every day I planned to finally go through them after work. And every time, something else seemed more important. I started a second job – not that the first one in the practice isn’t paying or fulfilling, but we are planning some changes to...

Athens without the Crowds: 10 Tips to enjoy the Classic City

Athens is great: almost year-round sunshine, close to the Mediterranean Sea, safe, brimming with ancient history and museums full of artefacts, the food is excellent, and many people speak English. But this means it is extremely popular, and do not let the recent Greek economy crisis years fool you: tourism is what works well in Greece, and in the summer, the path up to the Acropolis is closer to a stampede than an intense dialogue with ancient history. So, here are my tips for that relaxed Athens...

Research Post: Japan Traditional Ceramics Dream Trip ( WARNING: a rather wordy post)

I love Japan, and I love beautiful things. So it comes as a surprise that I have never been deeply into the Japanese art of ceramics. I was lucky enough to visit Japan three times, and every time I would go to one of the small shops in or near Tsukiji fish market and pick up some pretty but inexpensive bowls, sake cups and rectangular plates, or a bento box.  I bought a small vase in a flea market in Himeji and marvelled at its perfectly imperfect...

Aegina Island, the Sleeping Beauty

If you’re in Athens and want to spend some time at the beach, you could take a tram down to Glyfada – it’s a decent option. Better though, take a ferry from Piraeus to Aegina. Aegina is a decent sized island in the Saronic gulf offering  many “typically Greek” attractions: a small traditional port, beautiful sea for swimming and nice beaches, and some ancient culture (Classic and Byzantine in this case). From the centre of Athens, the Metro takes less than 30 minutes to Piraeus, then there...

An Ode to the Atlanta Hotel, Bangkok

The Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok is one of the oldest hotels and one of the quirkiest places to stay in this thriving and expanding city. Set deeply back in the 1950’s, lacking the ultramodern comforts that have become standards in city hotels, and applying a moral policy that some find not just obsolete but offending, it wouldn’t be an obvious choice for the independent traveller. So why stay there? Just check this out: A cat concierge. That alone would be a reason to visit, right? In fact,...

An Ode to the Atlanta Hotel Restaurant

The Atlanta Hotel is a special case. So, after writing my ode about that one, I felt serving up a huge extra portion about the equally special  restaurant in the same post would be a bit too much. Especially since I appear to have eaten there quite a lot (and have taken enough photos to fill an extra post), so here is a taste of things to come. But first, let me take you for breakfast at the AH! Restaurant. I really wish you will go and...

Haiku No.3

      * This is not a very traditional Haiku (the second line has eight syllables) but since I already butchered Line One and Three. Also, I wondered for some time whether I can love a place that belongs to a country that has such a poor animal welfare record and demands animal testing on cosmetics. However… Hongkong actually has, with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), a strong animal welfare advocacy, and recognises international cosmetic safety standards and does not require additional...

Where to go in Greece if you love Animals

I like animals. Especially cats. The site of a stray cat evokes strong wishes to pet, feed and water them and if I had my will, humans would be totally outnumbered by cats in our household. But when you travel to Southern Europe (or, in fact, many countries around the Mediterranean Sea), you will find many stray animals, usually cats and dogs, looking at you with those big hungry eyes. I always feel so sorry for them, and I wish I could do something there and then, but...

Greece in Autumn? Yes, please!

Greece is a wonderful place to visit out of season.  You know, that time when for us Northern European it is time to dig out the winter coats, boots and moan that it is already dark by the time you leave work, is the time to go to Greece, even for a short break. Fill any available  space with UV light,  your brain with a good mood, and put on  3kg of winter fat. I love Greece, and I have only visited a few places, and it...

What to do when the trains leave you stranded

Hallo, I am back at home! And never been more happy to be home! This is a Europe/Germany-specific post, as we have had the second major episode of widespread train disruption (nearly half the country) within four weeks thanks to weather here in Germany, and this time, I was well caught in it. I’ll post this without pictures because I didn’t have a free hand with my case and laptop bag, and coffee and pretzels while winding my way to the end of the platform, and neither...