home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

This picture takes me back to the 26 day camping trip I took travelling around southern Africa. Although I lived in South Africa for many years I never had the time, money or opportunity to visit neighbouring countries other than a brief trip to Mozambique and Swaziland in my pre children days. In 2000 I went on this journey of a lifetime recorded as a diary on this blog. If you haven’t read about it then please click on the links below. The picture is of  a Sociable Weaver nest. In the Namib Desert these nests can become so large and heavy that they bring the tree down. They are the largest nest built by any bird and may house over 100 pairs of birds. They sometimes build them on electricity poles causing short circuits in the rainy season and fire in the dry season. One look at it and I remember the dryness and the heat of that region. When the hairs in your nostrils smell as though they are being singed, you know it is hot.

  1. Week One – Cape Town to the Orange River
  2. Week Two – Namibia
  3. Week Three – Christmas in the wet
  4. Week Four – Finding Rhino

home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph(s) that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

La Pagode

Wandering around the 7th arrondissement of Paris I stumbled across this unusual building partially hidden by bamboos and wisteria.  The director of the department store Bon Marché had it constructed  as a gift for his wife in 1896. La Pagode became a cinema in 1931 and has played a big part in presenting cutting edge French cinema to the public. Jean Cocteau held the premiere of Testament d’Orphée here in 1959 and La Pagode Cinema played an important part in promoting the films of Ingmar Bergman and Sergei Eisenstein in France. Now it shows Art-house, foreign, cult and independent new releases. It is not uncommon for the cinema to hold retrospectives for directors such as Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock.

There is a tea house where you can grab a cuppa and chew over the fat in the rather small, but very pretty Japanese garden where you can get a glimpse of La Pagode and the beautiful details of colourful painted flowers,  carved dragons, flowers and birds in jade or ivory and large stained glass windows with geometric panes. It sounds as if it could be quite kitsch, but in reality it is an impressive building. I did not go inside, but apparently it is equally surprising.

I only hope that someone carries out some repairs on this extraordinary building, so that it is not lost.

Located on 57 bis, Rue de Babylon

home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

“Commonly referred to as the “Greenwich Village of Geneva” I had to take a bus out to Carouge crossing over the river l’Arve to see this interesting suburb of Geneva for myself.  It really is a village, designed by Italian architects and modelled on Nice. I got off at the terminus and walked back along the main street absorbing the architecture, the secret courtyards, the shabby shutters, the mix of grocery shops with high price boutiques, workshops and restaurants. Markets and fountains. My most abiding memory is of fountains and flowers and shutters…”

home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

Marsaxlokk, Malta

A bus from Valetta took us out to the village. It was May. We walked down to the harbour to admire the many colourful luzzu with their ‘eye.’ We browsed the market stalls and watched a policeman in conversation with some of the fishermen. I vaguely remember an argument leading to us making our own way back to the bus stop. Sleepless nights due to the heat and uncomfortable mattresses was making us cranky…

home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

“Except Cycles”

Sitting in the square drinking coffee whilst taking the weight off my feet after several hours of exploring the old town of Geneva allowed my  eye to roam noting the little things that instinctively scream out ‘foreign’. Like a bike casually tied to a tourist sign in French. Round roof tiles and open shutters letting out the sound of someone practising the recorder. Badly…