Didem COLLECTIONS

Buenos Aires, an introduction
5 months ago Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is right to be cited among the most beautiful cities in the world: wide avenues, parks, cafés, book stores, the warm people made of mostly Italian and Spanish immigrants with a peculiar Spanish like the sound of a different melody, the tango clubs, its Parisian architecture, the most delicious steak in the world, lots of cultural activities that are free to visit; it is a city that you can walk for hours and stop at corner side cafés and watch the people, then walk again with a...

Read more...
The Museum Hotel of the Immigrants
4 months ago Buenos Aires

In the beginning of the 19th century millions of immigrants came to Argentina to find new job, new home, new country. This building built in Puerto Madero on the port of Buenos aires was used until 1953 as an immigrant hotel where they were given shelter, food, health care during their first months here in this new country until they could find a job. Within the Bienalsur programme we visit it to watch the Brazilian fashion designer Ronaldo Fraga’s show at night and we have the opportunity to...

Read more...
City walks: from San Martin Square to Lavalle Square
5 months ago Lavalle

The best thing to do in Buenos Aires is to walk! The city is made of wide avenues, grid shaped streets, parks, cafés, and it is an endless walking route. Especially at spring time like now at end October, the jacaranda trees with their purple flowers make your head rise to the sky while your feet follow your instincts to get to another corner of this beautiful city. A one and a half kilometre route between San Martin Square and Lavalle Square: at the end of the famous pedestrian street of...

Read more...
Walking in Recoleta: The Architecture Museum, United Nation Square and the Recoletas Cultural Centre
5 months ago Recoleta

Recoleta is known as the most famous and chic neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires; it is due to the famous cemetery where most of the well-know figures, including the presidents, rest in peace. But it is also home to many museums. We had walked from the Japanese Garden to Recoleta Cemetery. This time we start at the Architecture Museum and walk the opposite direction. The Architecture and Design Museum is a nice rectangular tiny building with brown bricks. Continuing on the right hand side we...

Read more...
Miro & Christian Boltanski in The Museum of Fine Arts, Recoleta
5 months ago Recoleta

Buenos Aires’ Recoleta is city’s the most chic neighbourhood; it is also home to many museums such as Malba, Museum of Fine Arts, Architecture Museum. The Museum of Fine Arts is right across the Recoleta Cemetery, this elegant pink building is where the richest art collection from the 19th European painting in South America is found: Rodin, Gauguin, Degas, Van Gogh, Made, Modigliani, also the painters from the 20th century such as Picasso, De Chirico. It is open to public and the entrance is...

Read more...
Singapore, an introduction
5 months ago Singapore

The city-state of Singapore: futuristic, smart, well planned, safe, clean, perfect, cited as one of the top cities to live and work, wealthy, civilised… The other side of the coin: an economy based merely on shopping, malls and restaurants anywhere you go (even when you walk to the subway), a modernity that erases heritage even in this new country. This island country was founded as a trade port by British at the beginning of the 19th century. During the second World War it was invaded by...

Read more...
Transit in Hong Kong
9 months ago Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of those rare places that make you feel you are at the centre of the world. It has such an energy, like New York City, that is like a living being: alive, dynamic, always changing, vibrant… If you are transit in Hong Kong like me you can reach to the centre without even going outside the airport. Take the Airport Express inside the terminal, it has three stops, Kawloon is another centre of the city at the mainland, I now head to Hong Kong station, which is right at the centre...

Read more...
Gallery walk on Hollywood Road: Yan Gallery, Wellington, Opera, Yellow Corner, Connosseur, La Galerie
6 months ago Hollywood Road

The old town of Hong Kong, known as the Central district is not only historically significant for the city as it is founded here as a port trading city in late nineteenth century, but it is also a visiting point for art lovers for its numerous galleries with artists’ works from around the world. It is fun to pop in to check what’s on, go to the next gallery and get inspired from various art worlds from both the East and the West. You can start your walk on the Hollywood Road at the former...

Read more...
The modern Mexico: Vanguard and Pioneer, an exhibition in MALBA
5 months ago MALBA

A wonderful exhibition at the Museum of Latin America in Buenos Aires, Recoleta. It is a symbolical account of the art movements and the great transformation that Mexico went through during the first half of the twentieth century. The heritage of indigenous cultures, the violence of the colonial era, the promise of the revolution, all these stories are told through the art works of the most important painters of the country, a general look at Mexico’s unique history. Dr. Atl, Miguel...

Read more...
Santiago de Chile, an introduction
5 months ago Santiago

As we are coming to the end of our two hours flight from Buenos Aires and prepare to land we are passing by the Andes mountains, the longest continental mountain range in the world. And slowly far ahead appears a city; Santiago de Chile, if it was not hidden behind these mountains it would not give you the sensation that you were arriving to a city at the end of the world. Cities such as Lima or Bogotá that are located at the far West of the South American continent may also be remote cities...

Read more...
The Botanic Gardens, at the centre of the hometown of the orchid

You have a good reason to visit Botanic Gardens, the highlight visit in Singapore, the place declared by Unesco as world heritage. It is the birth place of maybe the most beautiful flower in the world, the orchid. The Botanic Gardens is huge, an area of seventy four hectares it is made of several gardens: the rain forests, the palm valley, the famous orchid garden. You can start your tour at the metro station Botanic Gardens, walk through the park and take the exit to Tanglin where you can...

Read more...
The long journey of coffee
7 months ago Manizales

Welcome to Colombia’a coffee zone where world’s most high quality coffee is grown throughout the year. In Spanish they call it ‘Eje Cafetero’; it is the interior region of Colombia, the State of Armenia made up with mountains and valleys with a suitable climate throughout the year for coffee growing. First let’s have a look at world map: Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, these three countries produce the 56 % of the whole coffee in the world. Yet the Colombian coffee is known as having the best...

Read more...
São Paulo, an introduction
5 months ago São Paulo

When they talk of São Paulo imagine a huge metropole, with more than ten million inhabitants, skyscrapers spread out through the whole city, traffic all the time, different neighborhoods with some of them having a great gap where you will see the most expensive restaurants on the one hand, people sleeping on pavements on the other. You will be surprised to see so many graffitis, on undergrounds, on walls of skyscrapers, some of them look like beautiful paintings, others are just tagging...

Read more...
El Calafate: the city by the turquoise lake of Argentina
5 months ago El Calafate

After a three-hour flight from Buenos Aires it takes another twenty minutes to reach to city centre of el Calafate by car from the airport. It is a small and tranquil city where the main activity is tourism. The main avenue Libertador is lined with hotels, cafés, restaurants, shops where you can find everything necessary for your outdoor activities and souvenirs, a nice book store, chocolate shops. If you look for something typical to eat it is the ‘cordero’, the lamb; indeed Patagonia’s...

Read more...
Museo de Arte Pre-Colombina: Chile before Chile

The Pre-Colombian Art Museum is one of the most important, maybe the most important, museum in Santiago; it gathers thousands of pieces that are clue to understanding of the native people of Chile. 14.000 years before todays modern Chile people were living in these lands. The rich collection of the Museum with ceramic pieces, jewellery, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, the baby mummies, they all are a clue to the cultures, daily lives, beliefs of these people. Even the north of the...

Read more...
Santiago’s museums: Modern Art Museum

As I leave the Museum of Memory, and am back again on the Matucana Avenue, I cross the street take the Parque Quinta Normal on my right and start walking along the avenue. On my right is the Modern Art Museum Parque Normal, one of the two branches (the other one is the Modern Art Museum Parque Forestal just behind the Fine Arts Museum in the centre close to Plaza de las Armas). The entrance is free; whether you may like contemporary art or not you will find interesting works. A colourful big...

Read more...
Santiago’s museums: Fine Arts Museum

Across the Parque Forestal, you will see a building that looks like taken out from Paris; indeed the Petit Palais in Paris was taken as model in the construction of this museum. Built by French-Chilean architect Emile Jéquier in a neo-classical and art-nouveau styles reminds me more of the Orsay Museum in Paris. The museum itself is known as a copy museum, its collection of 3000 pieces were copies of the most famous art works. Here we visit the 13th Media Arts Biennial ‘Temblor’ which we tell...

Read more...
13th Media Arts Biennial in Santiago de Chile

Earthquake is not only the movement of earth, it is also a state of living beings. There are earthquakes below the earth and also inside us, catastrophe that make us die and reborn again. The 13th Media Arts Biennial takes the theme ‘temblor’, earthquake as a reflecting point in world’s current situation where big shits of paradigms are taking place; they say ‘In fact nature has no catastrophe, it is the humans that make the catastrophe. There is no natural disaster, there is the human being...

Read more...
Santiago’s museums: The Museum of Memory and Remembering- Never again

The most memorable moments of my Santiago trip took place here. I am not a citizen of Chile but what is told here is very human; the museum tells you the history of the ’73 military coup in Chile. The entrance is free, you may pay for the audio guides if you like. At the entrance hall we start by reading about the truth commissions; in which countries, when and for what reasons were founded these commissions. Then we pass to the pictures of the commemoration centres of the coup in different...

Read more...
Pablo Neruda’s house and his life story: the roads traversed for poetry
5 months ago La Chascona

Thanks to Pablo Neruda Foundation the three houses of the poet in Santiago, Valparaiso and Isla Negro can be visited today. We are now at one of his houses, ‘La Chascona’ that is located at the Bellavista neighbourhood in Santiago. It was built in 1953 by the poet for his lover Matilde, still secret at that time, and was later used by the couple till the death of the poet a couple of days later to the coup in 1973. It is a nice house built on a hill, filled with eccentric objects, you visit...

Read more...
Santiago’s neighborhoods: Bella Vista, Lastarria, Barrio Italia
6 months ago Barrio Lastarria

At both sides of the Mapuche River you will find colourful, lively, touristic neighbourhoods. The one close to the old town and the Plaza de las Armas is the Lastarria neighbourhood. The cultural centre of Gabriela Mistral is located here, with one entrance on the Libertador Avenue, other looking at to a back street of Lastarria (Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American poet to win the Nobel price, and just like Pablo Neruda she was born in a poor village in Chile and then her verses...

Read more...
Walking the old town: from Plaza de las Armas to La Moneda
5 months ago Plaza de Las Armas

The centre of the old town of Santiago is Plaza de las Armas. A square surrounded by historical buildings, at one side you will see the Cathedral where the archbishop resides. At one side of the square is the post office in a white neoclassic historical building. At the other side is the Museum of National History. Couple of blocks away from the square you can visit the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, which is a must (detailed story). Again if you walk couple of blocks from the square, this time...

Read more...
MAC 100, Voluspa Jarpa, Nuestra pequeña región por acá
6 months ago Matucana 100

On the Matucana Avenue where the Memory Museum and Modern Art Museum are located is a contemporary art space. I was lucky to visit Voluspa Jarpa’s work, Chile’s internationally acclaimed prominent artist. It is called ‘Here at this small land of ours’ referring to Latin America, ironically calling it small. Hundreds of documents are hanging from the ceiling, they look like a copy of A4 papers made in plastic, also iron notebooks on tables where you find the files of official correspondence...

Read more...
Ritoque: the open city of architects and artists, the name of an utopia
6 months ago Ritoque

Before arriving in Valparaiso we stop in Ritoque, an open city by the ocean built in the 1970s by a group of architects and artists aiming to found a collective on a three hundreds hector land. It was actually an experiment to found a city from nowhere; at that time if you think the place without an infrastructure, electricity, water, gas, it must have been quite an adventure. After almost sixty years have passed today it is still a collective place where seven families and forty seven people...

Read more...
A day trip to Valparaíso, the colourful port city on the Pacific
6 months ago Valparaíso

Yes, Santiago is full of museums, cafés, restaurants, vibrant cultural life. But if you want to see the ocean you will need to go to Valparaíso! A port city, it is located about two hours drive from Santiago; with its suburbs it is the second most populated place in Chile. Before the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, at the end of the 19th century, it was an important transit point for ships traveling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific crossing the Magellan Channel. That was the...

Read more...
The Architecture Biennial in Valparaiso: The inevitable dialogues
6 months ago Valparaíso

We were at the opening ceremony of the 20th Architecture Biennial held in Valparaiso between 26 Oct and 10 Nov, organised by the faculties of architecture in Chile. The conceptual frame of the Biennial is ‘Inevitable Dialogues’ The current situation of the world: a population of more than seven billion people, almost half of which live in urban places. The city is increasingly unequal, the poverty line is increasing each day, many people feel excluded and they are actually the ones at margins...

Read more...
Tokyo & Kyoto, an introduction
5 months ago Japan

Do you want to stay on earth but travel to a different planet? You can go to Japan! From the outside it may look like a technologically advanced, rich, modern but traditional Asian country, but everything is hidden in the details. When you are there pay attention to every thing you see, you will then realise that from the salt on the table to the chestnut package you buy on the street everything is in an aesthetic harmony; from the gate keeper on the subway to the cleaner every one moves with...

Read more...
Tokyo: A Walk from Akasaka to the Hills of Roppongi
5 months ago Roppongi

Tokyo is hardly a historical city; most of the city was destroyed during the Second World War. It is a miracle of Japanese discipline and hard-work that it thrived into one of the most developed centers of the world in such a short time. Although some historical sites remain, they are limited to the Asakusa region and Chiyoda region that includes the old palace. I am staying in the Asakusa region; to the south of here is Roppongi which has recently become popular, especially with the art...

Read more...
Singapore’s Museums: The National Gallery

The National Gallery is situated at the civic district of Singapore. The white elegant building is actually made of two buildings, City Hall and the former Supreme Court and today houses the largest art collection in Southeast Asia. Its largest collection is exhibited on different halls in its four floors, it has also a terrace where you can enjoy Singapore’s skyline. When I’m visiting the Gallery there’s the exhibition of 19th century European impressionists but I prioritise the Asian Art...

Read more...
The Arts and Science Museum and Japanese artist Miyazaki & Singapore Art Museum, Cinerama
6 months ago Singapore Art Museum

The most interesting and inspiring experience in Singapore has been the visit to these two museums. The Arts and Science Museum is the building with the shape of a white lotus flower looking at the sky, it’s situated by the river as an annex to Marina Bay Shopping Complex and can be reached by metro (exit Marina Bay). It houses exhibitions with specific themes: future, technology, science. When I’m visiting the Museum I have the chance to watch ‘Tourists & Spectres’, a short movie made by...

Read more...
Singapore Art House and The Asian Civilisations Museum, Victoria Theatre
5 months ago Victoria Theatre

The civic district of Singapore houses not only the famous National Gallery but also two other important museums. One is the Asian Civilisations Museum, it’s aiming to show Singapore’s strategic character being the intersection between China, Southeast Asia and India. Just next to it you will find a space exclusive for contemporary art where Singapore based artist Eng Tow’s ‘Thought Grains’ (taking its shape& name from rice) is exhibited. Right behind the museum there’s another important...

Read more...
The skyline of Singapore, from Gardens by the Bay to Marina Bay and Merlion Park
6 months ago Marina Bay Sands

When we talk about Singapore the first thing that comes to mind is its silhouette: the peculiar examples of futuristic architecture: skyscrapers, iron trees looking at the sky… Maybe the first thing you should do when you come to Singapore is to walk the city to enjoy this silhouette. Here is a walking route for your first day to get to know its iconic places: start your day by reaching to the Marina Bays metro station, you will see two exits, take the one to Gardens by the Bay and walk to...

Read more...
Strolling along the colonial streets of Singapore: Duxton Road, Club Street, Tiong Bahru
5 months ago Tiong Bahru Road

The colonial heritage of Singapore can best be seen at these streets, lined with one floor wooden houses, today renovated, colourful and all converted into offices. Here are some places where you can enjoy walking, have breakfast, visit book stores and boutique shops. Tiong Bahru has lots of bakeries and cafés, yoga studios, a nice book store (Books Actually)… Another neighbourhood is close to Chinatown; it’s where Club Street and Cross Street are located, also full of pubs and cafés. You can...

Read more...
Chinatown, Little India, Arab Street, Haji Lane
5 months ago Chinatown

The main ethnic groups that make the population of Singapore (Chinese, Malays, Indians) have also their own local cultures and some neighbourhoods are especially worth visiting in this sense. The Chinatown is where thousands of Chinese immigrants arrived during the 19th and 20th centuries in order to find jobs and have a better future here in these Southern seas, in Nanyang. Singapore was then founded by British as a trade port. The big neighbourhood of Chinatown is still lively by Chinese...

Read more...
Walking and Dining by the Singapore River: From Fullerton Hotel to Fort Canning, River and Clark Quays
5 months ago Clarke Quay

When it comes to eating it can be said that it is almost the centre of life here in Singapore. Any where you go it is for sure that you will find a shopping mall or a restaurant. Along the Singapore River you will find many options. A pleasant walk of about three kilometres: start your walk at the Fullerton Hotel, cross the Cavenagh Bridge across the hotel and take the river on your left. You will see a statue of Sir Raffles, the British figure who turned Singapore from a fishing village to a...

Read more...
Museu de Som e Imagem: Vivian Maier, Roberto Frankenberg, André Gardenberg

Another museum in Jardins District, one of São Paolo’s most beautiful neighbourhoods is the Sound and Image Museum. I stumbled upon a few great exhibitions here. 'Lambe-Lambes’: the street photographers who witnessed São Paolo’s streets. In the early 20th century, a group of photographers who took photographs of São Paolo’s streets immortalized the city’s cobblestones, bearing testimony to the daily life here. This artistic activity which peaked in the 40’s and 50’s declined and became...

Read more...
An exhibition in Museu de Casa Brasileira, São Paulo: Massacre in Carandiru prison

This mansion, which was built in 1940’s and housed the ex-mayors of São Paulo and their wives is now a museum open to public that holds architecture and design exhibitions. Its restaurant and garden are the main reasons you may be inclined to spend extra hours here after seeing an exhibition. When I visited the museum I also had the chance to get familiar with an episode of the history of Brazil I did not previously know about: ‘Carandiru Prison,’ sobrevivencieas (survival). In 1992 an...

Read more...
Paulista: MASP, Conjunto Nacional, Livraria Cultura
6 months ago Avenida Paulista

São Paulo is a gigantic city and although I have been there several times, I have difficulty locating its center, this is because the city is like a monolith of skyscrapers with multiple centers that cannot be kept from sprawling. I may say that Avenida Paulista is one of those centers; along a narrow and long street, headquarters of big companies are lined up. The financial center of all Brazil, even of all Latin America is São Paulo and São Paulo’s trade and finance center is Paulista.......

Read more...
City Walls: São Paulo
5 months ago São Paulo

One of the features of São Paulo that would interest you the most is that its streets are all covered in graffiti; Underpasses, roads, streets, even buildings. There is one more thing on top of the graffiti in this city: scribbles on buildings that look like coded cryptic writings. They are called ‘pichação.’ They are not colourful paintings like graffiti and many people do not think they add an aesthetic value to the city, nor they are adored by the city’s inhabitants. Actually they are not...

Read more...
Ibirapuera Park & Cinemateca Brasileira
5 months ago Ibirapuera Park

Good news: there is a huge space to breath in the middle of this giant metropole called São Paulo, it is the Ibirapuera Park. Often compared to Central Park of New York City in its size it is a metropolitan park opened at the beginning of twentieth century to celebrate the four hundred years of the foundation of Sao Paulo. Trees of hundred years, banks made of different shapes, an auditorium, a modern art museum, roller skaters, music, graffiti walls, lake, you may spend the entire day here...

Read more...
Centro: walking in the old town of Sao Paulo
5 months ago Teatro Municipal

Yes, São Paulo has an old town! It is where the city was founded five hundred years ago. Neo classical and baroque buildings, art centers, theatres, patisseries, walls with graffitis, it has this air that you may not notice at other parts of the city, let’s say it has a character. At nigh time it may look a little empty and you may need to take care of your belongings but during the day it is quite lively. We start our walk at the Municipal Theatre. A beautiful Opera House with all the...

Read more...
The bohemian neighbourhood of Vila Madalena
6 months ago Vila Madalena

Here is the most entertaining, colourful, bohemian, arty and hippest and coolest neighbourhood of São Paulo. Come to watch a soccer game in one of the bars, or take pictures in Batman’s Alley as every tourist does, but come to Vila Madalena to enjoy some time for yourself. Long before the area was made of farms and one of the daughters of the farmer called Madalena gave name to today’s hip neighborhood. At the 70s students started to live here due its location by the University. Later came...

Read more...
The Cultural Centre of the Brazilian Bank, Basquiat exhibition

The CCBB is the cultural centre of the Bank of Brazil, one of four centres in four cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and the capital Brasilia. The one in Sao Paulo is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built at the beginning of twentieth century it is located right at the centre of the old town, at the corner of two streets, Rua Álvares Penteado and Rua da Quitanda. It was the building of the bank for almost seventy years, was then converted to a public cultural center....

Read more...
National Art Center

There are the National Art Center, Mori Museum and Suntory Museum in the district called Roppongi Art Triangle. National Art Museum is a place mostly devoted to traditional art. We came across two Japanese calligraphy exhibitions here. Japanese calligraphy is an art we are familiar with: writings in ink, on long and narrow pieces of cloth, in the Japanese alphabet, similar to hat, the Turkish calligraphy art. They are very aesthetic visually and not knowing the meaning of writings does not...

Read more...
Takashi Murakami in Mori Modern Art Museum
6 months ago Mori Art Museum

Our next stop is Mori Museum which is in walking distance from the National Art Center. This museum is in an upscale district and located on the top floor of Mori Tower. The person after which it is named, Mori Minoru, was apparently a real estate tycoon and one of the wealthiest businessmen of the world, who played an important part in the construction and development of the Rappongi district into its present state. We visited a very interesting exhibition here: the exhibition of the...

Read more...
Edo Tokyo Museum
5 months ago Edo-Tokyo Museum

Taking the Ginza line from Akasaka Mitsuke station, I am heading to north, and getting off at Ryogoku stop. My destination is Edo Tokyo Museum. Lucky that there are signs starting at the stop which point to it; otherwise it would be a problem to find the way around here. As soon as you enter the museum a childish cheerfulness takes over you, as if you entered into an ancient Tokyo made with toys. A wooden bridge, wooden houses, palaces, and toy figures which are the replicas of the old town...

Read more...
Asakusa, Tokyo
6 months ago Asakusa

Asakusa District is one of the few remaining historical sites of Tokyo. It is hard to see a historical building in Tokyo because the city was re-built after the end of the Second World War. Asakusa is a historical neighbourhood and its main attraction is Senso-ji Temple. The road to the temple is abundant in shops; gift shops, ice cream parlours, candy shops, walnut shops…It feels like a fair here with hundreds of people who came to visit the temple even on a working day. The temple looks...

Read more...
A River Journey from Asakusa to Hamarikyu Gardens
5 months ago Sumida River

I am taking a tourist ferry departing from Asakusa and travelling down the river. It is a sunny day and I like getting some sea air. But it is not a sea but a river, Sumida River which connects the two sides of Tokyo through many bridges. The silhouette of the city is composed by skyscrapers. Tokyo may not have a geography or city silhouette you would admire looking up like Istanbul or Rio de Janeiro, but the things which may pique your curiosity are the details; the shops you enter, its...

Read more...
Hamarikyu Gardens
5 months ago Hamarikyu Gardens

I am getting off the ferry at this spot and walking at Hamarikyu Gardens. Originally the private residence of the Shogun and his family in the 17th century, the Hamarikyu Gardens are today open to the public. It is a green spot for some fresh air in the massive city of Tokyo. There is a tea house over its lake: you enter taking off your shoes, they serve you fluorescent green macha tea in ceramic cups and you start watching the ducks on the lake, ordering one more cup of tea. The several cups...

Read more...
Ginza
6 months ago Ginza

Ginza is one of the most posh neighbourhoods of Tokyo which offers internationally renowned brands and shopping centres. Tokyo is a quiet expensive city and this place is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods. Though funny enough, you can have an amazing meal at a reasonable price at one of the kiosk-like eateries which are located in every corner here. I am coming across a tempura place: noodles boiling in water, with fried prawns on top, which is very cheap. It tastes better with one of...

Read more...
Travelling by Train in Japan: from Tokyo to Kyoto
6 months ago Kyoto Station

Most of you must have heard of the famous speed trains of Japan, those which approach the station like space ships. They are called Shinkansen, the speed trains which travel the around 450 kilometres between Tokyo and Kyoto in 2 to 2.5 hours. These trains which actually operate between Tokyo and Osaka stop in Kyoto. The tickets are hardly cheap, and you pay a lot more if you book a seat but if you don’t just as I didn’t, you can easily find a seat because they depart in every ten minutes....

Read more...
Kyoto Tour by Bicycle: Kennin-ji
6 months ago Kennin-ji Temple

Kyoto is a city of rivers, bicycles and most importantly temples. I rented a bicycle and explored first the east side and then the west side of the city for two days. It is a flat city except for a few sloped roads. There are so many cyclists that they have bicycle roads and bicycle parking slots here. I am riding on one of the bridges over the river and heading east. The first attraction I stop at is obviously a temple. I am parking my bicycle, buying a ticket and walking in the temple. I...

Read more...
Kiyomizudera, Kyoto
6 months ago Kiyomizu-dera

This attraction located in the Higashiyama region of Kyoto is on the UNESCO heritage list: its construction goes as far back as the 8th century and it is a building rising on a wooden platform on the outskirts of a mountain. Its interior is packed with people. Although it is the second week of December, the surrounding mountains are dressed in a thousand hues of red and yellow. Local Japanese tourists in their kimonos are striking a pose many times perhaps to capture both the colours of the...

Read more...
Maruyama Park and Chion-in
6 months ago Maruyama Park

I am riding my bicycle up Kiyomizudera and somewhat towards the west. My destination is Ginkakuji, but I cannot help stopping on my way because there is a temple or a park in every corner on my route. I am arriving at a park: all autumn colours here deserve admiration. This is Maruyama Park, with a pond in the centre and red trees around it. I am coming across a temple at the exit of the park. Again I am parking my bicycle and entering it at once. This is Chion-in, the centre of Jodo-Shu, a...

Read more...
Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto
6 months ago Ginkaku-ji Temple

Today’s last stop is Ginkaku-ji located to the north of the east side of Higashiyama District of Kyoto. It is getting dark and I know that the place closes at five p.m. It takes longer to get there by bicycle than I expected. I am passing over the main roads, stopping to ask people for directions and somehow managing to get there before it closes. This is another temple on the UNESCO heritage list: the Silver Pavilion Temple. It was originally built as a mountain house and was later on...

Read more...
Shimogamo Jinja Temple
5 months ago Shimogamo-Jinja

This is one of the oldest Shinto temples in Japan, built in a forest in the 6th century. I am passing through a park and then the red Shinto doors to enter the temple. Like other Shinto temples, it consists of a few halls where you can make a wish and pray. My curiosity is piqued by families with babies, and groups of brides, grooms and their families who came here to have their pictures taken, probably because it is Sunday. I am watching them for a while. All smart and perfect in their...

Read more...
Kinkakuji (Rokuon-ji), Kyoto
6 months ago Kinkaku-ji

My last stop on the west side of The Hiroshiyama region of Kyoto is Kinkakuji Temple: just like Ginkakuji, this place too was originally built as a Shogun residence and altered into a temple. Its name is taken from the villa facing the west which is covered in gold. The reason why they used gold is, apart from being a precious metal, gold symbolises purging the mind of negative thoughts about death and creates a nice effect with its reflection on the water. There are ten isles in the pond in...

Read more...
Nara: the First Capital City
6 months ago Nara Prefecture

I devoted one of the days I spent in Kyoto to Nara. You can travel to Nara in about 40 minutes, taking a train from Kyoto Station. Just as Kyoto seemed peaceful and quiet compared to Tokyo, even a quieter atmosphere welcomed me in Nara: this small city which has historical importance as the first capitol city is located on the outskirts of a mountain. You can walk to most of the attractions. The park, the deer strolling around and mountain air will do good to you. When you exit the station...

Read more...
Todai-ji, Nara
5 months ago Tōdai-ji

This is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 8th century which accommodates the biggest bronze Buddha statue in the world. The temple building itself held the world record for the biggest wooden building for a long time and it is also the centre of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. After the first entrance, you pass through a courtyard and arrive at another door: if you buy a ticket here and walk in, you will pass through another courtyard and find yourself at the building which houses the famous...

Read more...
Kasuga-Taisha, Nara
6 months ago Kasuga-taisha

Another example, illustrating how Shintoism and Buddhism coexisted as two major religions, is in Nara: After passing by Todai-ji, you would walk through a park and arrive at a Shinto temple. The deer may surround you while walking through the forest: because they are considered to be holy animals, they move around freely in this area. After visiting many Shinto temples, I look around for and spot the big red door at the entrance following the big wooden sign with an up-to-down writing in...

Read more...
Arashiyama, Kyoto
6 months ago Arashiyama

This is my last day in Kyoto and my destination is the west side of the city called Arashiyama District. Because it is farther away from the centre, I decided to take a bus instead of riding my bike. The buses operate perfectly just like the trains here. After stopping at each stop, we arrive at the riverside. It is starting to drizzle and the mountains surrounding the river look more enchanted in the colors of autumn. 

Read more...
Arashiyama and Tenryu-ji Temple
6 months ago Arashiyama

This is my last day in Kyoto and my destination is the west side of the city called Arashiyama District. Because it is farther away from the centre, I decided to take a bus instead of riding my bike. The buses operate perfectly just like the trains here. After stopping at each stop, we arrive at the riverside. It is starting to drizzle and the mountains surrounding the river look more enchanted in the colours of autumn. My first visit is to a zen temple, Tenryu-ji. This is the main temple of...

Read more...
Sagano Bamboo Grove and Okochi Sansou Garden
6 months ago Sagano Bamboo Forest

If you walk up from the northern exit of Tenryu-ji temple you will end up at a path with a canopy of bamboo trees overhead. Long and thin bamboos shoot upward to the sky sporting leaves and form a roof over your head. It is like another planet here. So chilly like a fairy tale land. As I finish the path of bamboos I am coming across another garden at the end of the road surrounded by bamboos to the left. This place was built as the private residence of Denjiro Okochi , the famous film artist...

Read more...
An introduction to Bogotá
5 months ago Bogotá

When you arrive Bogotá you’ll see those similar aspects of every metropole: traffic, a huge urban space with constructions spread throughout the city, endless avenues, endless blocks of buildings.If you are accustomed to living in a city on sea level like me, you will be affected at first from the altitude: 2600 metres above sea level, a capital city founded between the mountains. You will need to walk slowly and drink more water. The city is built in grid plan and it’s divided into Zones (G,...

Read more...
Museo de Oro: endless stories that the gold tell us, the legend of El Dorado
5 months ago Gold Museum

Long before the Spanish came here, today’s Colombia was a land where many clans, with their own culture and social structure used to live: Muiscas in today’s Bogota metropolitan area, Tayronas in the north, many others like Sunis, Quimbayas, San Augustines, Zunus, people whom were later called ‘indians’ by the White Man. The museum has a rich collection of thousands of pieces which give us clues of the daily lives, spiritual practices, social conditions of these people; so it is a real gem!...

Read more...
Portraits of people from the Gold Museum: Shaman, a bird men, the meditating man, the chieftain
5 months ago Gold Museum

The Shaman, an important figure in pre-Columbian cultures. The power of the shaman comes from his ability to transform into other beings such as birds, jaguars, and to possess their qualities: ability to fly, sharp eye view, power, courage. Of course they would not be acting exactly like these animals, they would be entering in a state of trance and passing into an other dimension. One of these animals was the bat. When we see these pieces, the accessories they used to put on their faces and...

Read more...
St Francis Church and the Park of Santander: the places that have witnessed the fight for independence
5 months ago Santander Park

Right in front of the Gold Museum is the Santander Square. It takes its name from the statue in the middle of it, Santander, a prominent figure of the independence movement. Across the street we see the St Francis Church, a brown, rectangular shape wide church, the oldest one in Bogota, built in the 16th century. It witnessed the fight for independence, starting from the 18th century, against the Spanish colonialism. The independence was declared in 1881 in Cartagena, under the leadership of...

Read more...
Poet’s House: Casa de Poesia Asunción Silva, hearing writers and poets read with their own voice
5 months ago Silva Poetry House

A less discovered place in the old town. There was a scene in a novel I read that took place here, which made me curious about it. This red coloured one store house is the house of a famous Colombian poet, Asunción Silva lived for a couple of years before he committed suicide at the age of 30. It is never crowded, a silent place with a ‘patio’, a book store, a room where you find the cassettes of several writers and poets who read their own books with their own voice. We ask for Gabriel...

Read more...
Teatro Colón: a touch of Europe in the new world
5 months ago Teatro Colón Bogotá

It is cited as one of the most beautiful concert halls of the world. When we went there it was a Sunday and it was closed but we could get a sense of its elegance from the exterior. Colombia’s National Theatre was built by the Italian architect Pietro Cantini in a neo-classical style who took the Palais Garnier in Paris as a model. Right in front of it is Simon Bolivar’s residence. According to the story, during a siege he escaped from one of the windows of this building, the house of his...

Read more...
The centre of the old town of La Candelaria, Plaza Bolivar: religion, law and politics
5 months ago Bolivar plaza

We are at the centre of the old town of La Candelaria. This is the Bolivar Square. Right across us is the Cathedral, at the north side stands the Palace of Justice, at the south is the Capitolium, the Parliament. We read the words at the façade of the Palace of Justice: “Colombians, the arms gave you your independence, the laws will give you your freedom’. At this Palace one of the most bloody events of Colombian guerrilla history took place. 06 November 1985, a group of guerillas called 19...

Read more...
La Puerta Falsa: the oldest restaurant of Bogotá
5 months ago La Puerta Falsa

As you walk down the Colon Theatre, before you reach the Bolivar Square, you will find this little place at the right hand side of the street. Always a queue on its door, it’s so tiny you’ll need to wait a bit to taste some of the traditional foods of Colombia. The menu is quite brief: tamal is a rice-chicken meal inside the banana leaves, ajiaco is a big soup with chicken, and finally the full chocolate menu which is hot chocolate served with two butter breads and a slice of cheese, you put...

Read more...
Botero Museum: dimensions determine our perceptions!
5 months ago Museo Botero

The Botero Museums, both in Bogota and in Medellin, are some of the top tourist attractions due to artist’s worldwide fame. His sculptures, from the Park Avenue in New York to Champs Elysée in Paris, are worth millions of dollars. This collection of more than hundred Botero paintings and a hand sculpture at the entrance of the museum, along with some of his personal collection of Picasso, Chagall, Miro, are all donations of the artist to this public museum, which you can visit free of charge....

Read more...
Graffiti: the cry of unheard voices
5 months ago Journalists' Park

It’s more than a street art, it is the unheard voices shouting from the walls, the best way to learn about the sub cultures. All the messages, artistic, conceptual, political, humorous are hidden in these walls. The graffiti tours take place every morning and afternoon starting from the Journalists Park and walking through the streets of la Candelaria and lasts about 2,5 hours, guided by qualified guides who give you all the details about the artists and their works. You are expected to tip...

Read more...
Graffiti: a political tool
5 months ago Bogotá

Graffiti is not only about painting city walls, it is also about giving political messages. Here in Bogotá it is the voice of Latin American people who have always suffered and who are continuing to suffer; a fight for survival from the period of Spanish colonisation to today’s global capitalist era. The lands where the gap between the richest and the poorest is the highest, where even the natural sources like water, air, that belong to the people need to be protected from being exploited by...

Read more...
Photo diary: reading the language of Bogota streets
5 months ago La Candelaria

Graffiti artists seem like vagabonds who travel from one place to another, travellers without home. They wake up at night and paint the walls, each one having a different style, they leave their signature and depart for another city. Some of them are acclaimed and highly paid artists. Kiptoe, Vera, we read the names while we walk and picture them. It is not as easy as it may seem, graffiti artists who were seen once seen as illegal activists and even shot by the police have today a more...

Read more...
Gaitán: a lost hope for Colombians
5 months ago Gaitan

A little wall painting in the old town between the two buildings, the head of a man shouting, or calling people, and looking hopeful for the future. This political figure is an important one in the history of Colombia, he is Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, after starting to work as Mayor he became Minister. When he became a candidate for presidency they started to see him as a threat and he became the victim of a political assassination. A travel story, a man leaves Cuba to travel till Colombia in...

Read more...
Cartagena: a Caribbean town surrounded with walls
5 months ago Cartagena

Its full name is Cartagena de Indias, but everyone calls it Cartagena. Long before it became a post card city Spanish came to this place and decided to found a port city surrounded with walls: year 1533. It reminds me Havana’s Malecón, ocean waves breaking on the shore, the gentle breeze coming from the Caribbean sea gives an air of freedom to this place. These walls, maybe, give me that sensation of ‘being in a movie set’, as if I am inside a story with a beginning and an end; it is like the...

Read more...
The squares of Cartagena: Plaza de la Aduana- the Customs’ Square
5 months ago Plaza de la Aduana

As you enter the old town from the main gate of Clock Tower, you turn left and walk straight and arrive to this square which is called the Customs Square or the Royal Square. This was the place where the goods arriving at the port were checked. The Chamber of Commerce and Customs were also located here, as well as the houses of the Mayor and the Marquis. In the 16th century commerce meant both the commerce of the goods and the commerce of the slaves. Slavery and inquisition (we will visit the...

Read more...
The squares of Cartagena: Plaza de San Pedro Claver
5 months ago Plaza San Pedro Claver

We left the Customs Square behind. We pass the Modern Art Museum on our left and we arrive to another square: this Plaza is dedicated to a Saint. San Pedro Claver’s bones are inside the Convent. The church next to it has such an elegant door I can’t stop myself taking a picture in front of it. The sculpture of San Pedro in front of the Convent shows him with his Slave, probably teaching him the new religion. Other sculptures at the plaza belong to more ‘ordinary people’: a group of people...

Read more...
The squares of Cartagena: The Square and the Park of Bolivar

We left behind the San Pedro Square and started to walk towards the centre of the old town. As we arrive to another square we see on our right the Gold Museum which we will visit soon. At the other side of the square is located the Inquisition Palace (details in the next story). The Square is also a park, with a horse sculpture in the middle and there is always a dance show and percussion music going on. It’s always live and full of people. As we passed through the Customs Square, the Square...

Read more...
Museo del Oro: The Gold Museum and the people of Zenu
5 months ago Museo del Oro Zenú

This Museum is dedicated to the culture and people of Zenu. Around 200 to 1600 B.C. the area of the north of today’s Colombia, at the interior lands of the Caribbean shores, developed the culture of the people of Zenu. The people were farmers, hunters, with an advanced level of civilisation: they built water channels, developed the gold craft and left us many pieces, clue to their life, that are now exhibited in this museum. Unfortunately with the arrival of the Spanish it came to an end. The...

Read more...
Museo de la Inquisición: The Inquisition Museum, a shameful page of colonial history

This Palace is situated at the Plaza de Bolivar, its doors is maybe one of the most beautiful doors of Cartagena and one cannot stop and think how come such an elegant building was used as a place of tortures and executions; it is a real irony! The Inquisition Tribunal was founded in Cartagena in 1610 as the third Tribunal following the ones in Mexico City and Lima. Some numbers: the Tribunal lasted some 211 years, more than 800 people were arrested, 56 of them were executed (some of them...

Read more...
The history of the city of Cartagena: from Calamary to Cartagena de Indias

This part of the Place of Inquisition is dedicated to the history of Cartagena. How did this place called Cartagena de Indias was founded, how did it become this port city? Long before the European white man arrived at this land there was a different life; several tribes with thousands of people, with its own social structure, a belief system, an agricultural organisation, used to live here. Around 3500 yeas B.C., the Tainos and the Karibs are some of them. We actually have a lot of...

Read more...
Museo de Arte Moderna: The Modern Art Museum
5 months ago Arte Moderno

I am walking from the Customs Square to the Square of San Pedro and I see this museum on my left, a one store rock stone building with a high ceiling. I go inside, at the entrance the photographs of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with a note on the wall signed by himself. He is telling the story of this building, with that style of him, as if he’s telling the destiny of a person. When he was a young journalist spending his nights in a state of ‘insomnia’, they used to come here late at night early in...

Read more...
A Caribbean master, sculpture and painter: Enrique Grau
5 months ago Arte Moderno

He is also the founders of this Museum of Modern Art. I am so happy to know him and see these extraordinary sculptures. He was born in Panama (1920-2004), yet he is accepted as an artist from Cartagena. Both in his sculptures and in his paintings you can see the women of Cartagena: strong, yet emotional. A girl listening to gramophone, a woman with her ‘robe de chambre’ holding a phone, a couple dancing valse, a fortune teller holding a tarot card; all real characters and real moments. His...

Read more...
The squares of Cartagena: Plaza Santo Domingo and the Cathedral
5 months ago Plaza Santo Domingo

It takes its name from the church that covers one side of the square. Most of the visitors will remember the Botero sculpture in front of the church, a naked lady in horizontal position with one arm behind her head. The church has a beautiful soft yellow-orange colour that reminds me the churches of Mexican colonial cities, they look as if less darker than the ones in Europe. I go inside and spend some time to enjoy the details of this beautiful architecture. The yellow white corridors, the...

Read more...
City walks: From Santo Domingo Square to Teatro Adolfo Mejía: a pink white pearl
5 months ago Teatro Heredia

Indeed, a city walk in this little old town can be made in one day, but I recommend you to walk slowly and enjoy every detail and take your time. As you leave behind the Santo Domingo Square and take the street Calle de la Factoria and walk towards the sea you, and turn right at the end of the street you fill see a beautiful building. This elegant building which looks like a pink-white pearl here at the corner of Cartagena’s walls was once a church; it was the Church of La Merced. Built in...

Read more...
City walks: From Fernandez de Madrid Square to Gabriel Garcia Marquez house

Every one calls this place Plaza de Madrid. If you read the sign on the corner you learn that it is called Plaza Fernandez de Madrid. Long before it was called the wells square, the women slaves used to come here carrying jugs on their shoulders to take water. It is a big square, a park-square actually, like Plaza de Bolivar. It is surrounded by cafés, restaurants, houses, bars. You need to take the right as you enter the old town from the Clock Tower to reach here. My purpose is to find...

Read more...
More than a coffee break: a café-bookstore in Cartagena

I just left behind the white-pink Theatre of Heredia and walk through the street of Carrera 4, without knowing where I am going to; that’s good! Because I arrive at this corner and see a café looking right at the crossroad, with a little terrace where I see two tables. As I go inside I realise that it’s also a bookstore, with books climbing to the ceiling. A heaven! Before I go inside I start having a talk with another traveler, so I sit and have a coffee with him, then a lady next to us...

Read more...
The ‘rare destiny’ of the doors of Cartagena

So tells Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in his note at the entrance of the Modern Art Museum of Cartagena. The doors, in this little Caribbean town, have a destiny like people do. You see one of them as a gate of a house, a year later, it is the from door of a hair dresser. The one which opens the most elegant palace in Cartagena, for example, the Palace of Inquisition, never tells you that you are going inside a building where people were brutally killed. The doors of the Church, exceptionally...

Read more...
Centre of the Getsemani neighbourhood: Plaza de la Trinidad
5 months ago Getsemani

The first place I saw when I arrived Cartagena, I’m staying in a little street by the square. You’ll always find a row of people sitting in front of the church, maybe a music band playing, or some workers cleaning the streets at 5 a.m. in the morning if you are waiting for your car to Santa Marta like me. Any time of the day the light and the shadow of the palm trees on the façade will get your attention. Plaza de la Trinidad, the Square of Trinity, in Getsemani had a major importance in...

Read more...
Tayrona: a magical trip to Santa Marta’s Tayrona National Park

I have counted days in Cartagena, and have no idea that I will go to the national park of Tayrona. But if something’s going to happen you cannot stop it! I arrive late at night in Cartagena and take a cab to the hotel, as we go along the coast we come close to the old town and turn left towards Getsemani, the streets are lively and though the clock shows 11 p.m. the Trinidad Square is full of people. The cab driver stops and shows me the narrow street on the left, ‘I cannot go into that road,...

Read more...
Peru: an introduction
5 months ago Peru

Yes, it’s worth going to Machu Picchu! Once a place becomes iconic we may start to loose our interest, however, Peru is one of the richest countries in the world with its archeological heritage and you will learn many things both in an archeological site like Machu Picchu or in the corridors of a museum like Larco Museum in Lima or Pre-Colombus Art Museum in Cusco. Peru is one of the seven places in the world where ‘civilisation’ emerged (like Meso-America, Mesopotamia, Indus, China, etc.)....

Read more...
Lima: Pizarro’s New City and Today’s Capital City
5 months ago Lima Region

When the Spanish arrived in Peru in pursuit of the gold they dreamed of, they hoped for two things: that the city named Biru, which was mentioned in the stories told by the first discoverers, actually existed and that they could find gold there. They arrived in this land on the northern shores of the continent and they did not encounter the Inca Empire they did not know about it then. That is because the Incas chose Cuzco as their capital city: The Inca Empire was a vast one, extending from...

Read more...
The old town of Lima, a new administration
5 months ago Main Square of Lima

The Incas had lost the war and Pizarro started to build his new city on the shores of the Pacific. The administrative policy at that time was to colonise the new lands by naming them a Viceroyalty of the Kingdom of Spain. According to official history in 1535 a city with a new name ‘Ciudad de los Reyes’, meaning the city of kings was founded. The name did not survive though. Lima comes from the indigenous word ‘rimaq’ that was the name of the river called by indigenous, meaning ‘that talks’....

Read more...
My Neighborhoods: Barranca and MATE
5 months ago Barranca

If you are not in Miraflores, the city’s most chic, biggest and wealthiest and most touristic region of Lima on the shore, the city may seem to you like a place you would not spend time at except for business, an over-industrialized town which is aesthetically not very pleasing with its labyrinthine streets and commonplace buildings along the roads. However, there are areas which stand in contrast with the general look of the city and Barranca is one of them. I don’t quite remember how I got...

Read more...
Museo Larco, Lima
5 months ago Larco Museum

Peru is one of the seven places in the world where the first civilisations were founded. Most of us are only familiar with the Incas, the great civilisation the Spanish encountered when they came here. Actually the Inca Empire survived in the last 100-150 years of the 10,000 years-long civilisation history in this land. Countless other civilisations had existed here before they reigned, and they left behind perfect examples of pottery which have been preserved in perfect condition until today...

Read more...
Cusco
5 months ago Cusco

If you are used to living in a city at sea level like me, you will be stunned when you arrive in Cuzco. Having difficulty walking, breathing and moving at an elevation of 3500 meters, you will realise everything changes when living conditions change…Cuzco was the capitol city of the Inca civilisation. The Spanish did not know about this city because they shored to the northern beaches of the contemporary Peru; in the course of the invasion, the Spanish travelled to the south and settled in...

Read more...
A day in Cuzco: The Pre-Columbus Art Museum

If you really want to learn things, you need to walk into side alleys. This museum is hidden like a treasure in the side alleys of the old town of Cuzco. It is similar to the Larco Museum in Lima. The ceramic works which tell the story of thousand years are exhibited in the halls devoted to the Nascas, the Mochicas, the Huaris, the Chancay, and the Incas. Could the mystery of old times be hidden inside these ceramic vessels? The jugs with animal heads, bottles in the form of human figurines,...

Read more...
Coricancha Temple and Cusco Cathedral

Two important temples in Cuzco, the first one is the temple built by Incas, the Quri Kancha Temple, the second one is the cathedral right at the square.Quri Kancha temple, or the Into Mancha temple, The Sun Temple, is the temple of the Inkas built before the colonial era. The floors and the ceilings were covered with gold before the Spanish took all of them. For Inkas, gold did not have an exchange value, or a material value, that’s why at first they agreed to give all the gold to the Spanish...

Read more...
The Saqsaywaman Castle: An Empire Defeated by a Few Horsemen
5 months ago Saqsaywaman

A page from history: we are at the Saqsaywaman Castle which is nothing but a pile of big stones in the middle of fields today. It took the Incas a while, but they finally realised that the aim of the Spanish was not simply to grab all the gold and leave, but to stay here and rule the country. First their gold was stolen, then their land, and finally their wives. They were at a loss as to what else they had to give up in order to lead honourable lives when an unexpected member of the dynasty,...

Read more...
Machu Picchu
4 months ago Machu Picchu

This is one of the most visited places in the world, advertised loudly by the words ‘see it before you die.’ A mountain in a forested valley is rising to the sky like a huge tent, with an alpaca in front of it which was probably added on Photoshop. Could it be a place a traveler who avoids clichés want to visit? …Located around 2500 meters above sea level, in the middle of the Andes, it is a city built with perfect masonry; it was hidden for years, and reachable only by foot in an age when...

Read more...
Madrid, practical information
5 months ago Madrid

Travellers who have visited Madrid and Spain often find themselves comparing these two cities. Barcelona, with its location by the sea, compact size, architecture, and atmosphere may receive more visitors than Madrid, but I will say the Capital is my favourite! First of all its old town: city’s most historical places are quite well preserved, the area from the big square Plaza Mayor until Atocha, with its narrow cobblestone streets, little squares, architecture, flamenco studios and tablaos,...

Read more...
Palacio Cristal, The Crystal Palace- Danh Vo's work
5 months ago Palacio de Cristal

There is a crystal palace hidden inside Retiro Park. I have toured the park many times in the past but have never entered the palace. As I am approaching it, the colorful tiles covering the palaces’ walls are arousing my attention. The whole building is made of glass, including its roof. Although it is the middle of January, the trees dressed in autumn colors paint the palace in a red light through its windows. Two rectangles forming a cross. A palace of glass set in an iron framework,...

Read more...
Argentina’s Patagonia: an introduction
5 months ago El Calafate

At the end of my three hours flight from Buenos Aires to el Calafate, from the window of the plane I see the first images of Patagonia: plain brown mountains with no trees, little lakes formed by melting of the snow, empty vast lands that seem endless, closer to our landing a huge turquoise blue lake that is just at the right handside of the airport. Known as the end of the world, Patagonia is a huge territory with mountains, fjords, lakes, glaciers at the end of the South American continent;...

Read more...
Torres del Paine: a last look at the Nordenskjold Lake

When I was looking at the Nordenskjold Lake for the last time I knew that it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life. The lake takes its name from the Swedish geographer Nordenskjold, who did not only come here to Patagonia but also spent two years in Antarctica. The Torres del Paine National Park is open to public for about sixty years. It is cited as the eight wonder of the world. If you are not in Chile and you are traveling from Argentina, you will need to make a four hour...

Read more...
Walking on Perito Moreno; nature is patient
5 months ago Perito Moreno

After Antarctica and Greenland Patagonia is the third place on earth where most of the glaciers are found. They may have been there for thousands of years but the touristic access to them is relatively new. The National Park of Glaciers were founded in 1937. Both Perito Moreno and Upsala, Spagazzini glaciers are inside the frontiers of the park. Most visited one, the Perito Moreno is about 50 kilometres from the city of El Calafate. After an hour drive from the city you reach to the entrance...

Read more...
Hello to the Upsala and Spagazzini glaciers
5 months ago Upsala Glacier

Apart from Perito Moreno there are two other glaciers that are included in organised touristic tours; Upsala and Spagazzini are also located inside the Glacier Park and can be reached by boat. We start the boat trip on the Argentinian Lake, it takes a 4-5 hour trip to go and come back. These are comfortable tourist boats with both open and closed areas. As we pass the Devil’s throat and take the left turn we start seeing the little particles of icebergs on the water, we then reach to the...

Read more...
Panama City: a place identified with a canal
5 months ago Panama City

When you think of Panama what comes to mind is of course the Panama Canal. During your visit you will hear it, see it, visit it, every where, it will almost seem to you that the country is identified with the Canal. Actually until 1903 Panama was a part of Colombia. French started the project in late 19th century and worked on it from 1880 to 1901, however they had to quit the project due to high mortality rates (more than thirty thousand workers died due to yellow fever) and costs. In 1903...

Read more...
Panama Canal: mankind’s most obstinate ambition against nature
5 months ago Miraflores Locks

Let’s talk about the story of the Panama Canal. When you visit the Miraflores Locks you watch the passing of the vessels by the Canal, you also visit the Museum where various information are provided.French started the project in late 19th century and worked on it from 1880 to 1901, however they had to quit the project due to high mortality rates (more than thirty thousand workers died due to yellow fever) and costs. In 1903 the Americans started over again and finished it in eleven years....

Read more...
Biomuseum, museum of biodiversity and the formation of Panama
5 months ago Biomuseo

Biomuseum is mostly known as the architectural piece by the famous Frank Gehry with its colourful appearance from the outside. It has lots of valuable information about how Panama geographically changed the world. I recommend you to buy a combined ticket for Miraflores Locks and Bio Museum and visit the two of them at once. You then will come to think how the millions of geographical formation was challenged by the man kind in only thirty years. Biodiversity Museum gives you well explained...

Read more...
Casco Viejo, walking Panama’s old town
5 months ago San Felipe

The old quarter dates back to 16th century when it was found as a base for expeditions to Inka Empire’s lands in search of gold. You will see many architectural styles: French, Antilles…some of them are being renovated. Two floor houses with colourful doors and wooden windows have balconies on second floor with fer-forge bars and pink bougainvilleas hang down the street. They make the old quarter so picturesque and give the perspective so that you stop every corner and admire it as an artwork...

Read more...
Casco Viejo, Panama’nın eski şehrinde turistik mekanlar
5 months ago San Felipe

Yürürken rastladığımız mekanlardan bazı tavsiyeler… Panama’nın eski şehrinde çok fazla otel yok, olan bir-iki tanesi ise renove edilmiş eski binaların ihtişamını taşıyan oteller; American Ticaret Oteli Herrera meydanına bakan beyaz şık bir bina, içinde ünlü caz müzisyeni Daniel Perez’in bir caz barı var ve neredeyse her akşam canlı performanslar gerçekleşiyor. Bir diğer otel Bağımsızlık Meydanı’ndaki Central otel. Bu otellerde kalmasınız bile lobilerine girip havasını almanız tavsiye edilir…...

Read more...
Angeles Santos at the Museum of Arte Reina Sofia

For me it was a discovery. I was at one of the top floors of the Museum of Arte Reina sofia, famous with its collection, including Guernica. At one of the walls I see this painting where four women who look extremely real but also surreal at the same time, one of them is reading, another one smoking, one of them looks at us right in the eye, they look as if they are in a room or somewhere that can be anywhere, they look strong and lonely at the same time, the painting has something powerful...

Read more...
El Nido: a priceless jewel
4 months ago El Nido

Sublime, indescribably beautiful. Millions of colours, living beings, under and above the waters, colours you cannot even name, a silhouette made of thousands of islands that raise like giant black mountains on the water, a green that you will never see it anywhere else, a gentle breeze of tropical weather, a place you wish the time could be frozen… El Nido is situated at the north of the island of Palawan, one of the thousands of islands in the Philippines. It chosen by travellers as the...

Read more...
Rio de Janeiro, an introduction
5 months ago Rio de Janeiro

The legendary jet-set destination of the 80s, the ‘Marvellous City’ Rio de Janeiro may be far from its virgin state when the Portuguese arrived at Guanabara Bay in 15th century and thinking that they have arrived to a river mouth on a January day and called the city The River of January, but it still is, in my opinion, one of the top three most beautiful cities in the world. During my first visit to the city I remember myself looking with eyes wide open from the Sugar Loaf Mountain and trying...

Read more...
The Museum of Tomorrow: Museu do Amanhã
5 months ago Museum of Tomorrow

We are on the seaside of the old town: a long bridge across connects two continents. This is Praça Mauá, the Mauá Square and the building which looks like a metal ship about to sail away to the sea is the Museum of Tomorrow. It bears the signature of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. While designing the museum, he was inspired by the bromeliad plants in the botanical garden located in the south of the city. Walking in the museum, I feel like I am getting inside a spaceship. A globe...

Read more...
Teatro Municipal, old town

Rio’s old city, ‘Centro’ is the city center. All the historical buildings of the old city are here. The cobblestones of black and white stone along the beaches are the same. The business centers which are packed in the daytime turn into desolate streets where you cannot come across anybody at night. One night I chanced upon a flamenco troop from Spain performing a show called Carmen at Teatro Municipal. If we imagine the cultural life here which was more vibrant in the second half of 19th...

Read more...
More than a coffee break: Confeitaria Colombo
5 months ago Confeitaria Colombo

In a young country like Brazil, one doesn’t run into historical buildings very often so it feels so nice to stop at this café, in the heart of the old town in Rio de Janeiro. With its high ceilings, big mirrors on all walls, you feel the 19th century colonial atmosphere. We enjoy sitting here so much that our short coffee break takes longer. We watch the crowd, mostly tourists having their coffee and the special Portuguese Belem pastels, asking waiters to take a picture of them, we enjoy the...

Read more...
Iguazu Waterfalls: Brazil and Argentina
5 months ago Foz do Iguaçu

Iguazu Waterfalls, located both on Brazilian and Argentina land, is one of the biggest and most magnificent natural formations in the world ensuring that one will spend some time exploring both countries. Since the greatest part of the waterfall lies on Argentina’s soil, the view from the Brazilian side is more beautiful; you can see it from a wider point of view and you can admire most of the waterfalls directly across from them like a painting. Nevertheless you are closer to the water on...

Read more...
The big family of colourful birds in Iguaçu
5 months ago Parque das Aves

Iguazu falls, which are expanded on Argentinian and Brazilian lands have another attraction worth seeing; when you are in the Brazilian side, right across the main entrance you’ll see the big, wonderful bird park. Parquet das Aves hosts hundreds of bird species, here we see some of them: ‘tachãs’, these black and white elegant birds with a  broom like head scream so loud that they can be heard from two kilometers away, therefore called ‘screamer’ in English. They have a special spur on...

Read more...
Paraty and Ilha Grande on Costa Verde
5 months ago Paraty

The Costa Verde Region, which is called the Green Shore, encompasses the parts of the Rio de Janerio State from Itaguai to Santos. The ‘green’ part is named after the forested mountains which run parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. The buses which depart from Rio arrive in Paraty in five hours, taking the shore road and passing through Mangaratiba, Conceição de Jacarei, and Angra dos Reis. One of the old colonial towns, Paraty is an old port city which was built in the 16th century to load onto...

Read more...
Beatriz Milhaez: A Graphic Journey, Paraty
5 months ago Paraty

I have seen the paintings of Beatrix Milhaez for the first time at the Modern Art Malba Museum in Buenos Aires. The family of the painter with Rio origins was from Paraty: I came across this exhibition which is as small as this town. It is called A Graphic Journey. Although the paintings of the artists known in the global art circles are defined as abstract, they are like the tropical paintings of this tropical country: colorful, vivid circles multiplied in different colors and sizes (Are we...

Read more...
Urca neighborhood for another view of the marvelous city
5 months ago Urca

Every first visitor to Rio de Janeiro goes directly to two of its most important places: The Corcovado where stands the famous Jesus who embraces the whole city, and Pão de Açucar, the Sugarloaf mountain, both of them definitely worth visiting. The Sugarloaf Mountain takes its name from its similarity to the sugar forms exported during the colonial era. It is the mountain which you see behind the Copacabana beach, and has become iconic, such as the Corcovado. In front of it the Guanabara bay...

Read more...
City walks Madrid, from Teatro Real to Plaza Mayor
5 months ago Teatro Real

One of the most pleasant ways to spend time in Madrid is to stroll through the streets of the old town. I take one of the side streets from Gran Via and go down to Plaza Puerta del Sol, the Sun Gate Square. I turn right and start my walk to the direction of the Imperial Palace. This street, Calle del Arenal, has been turned into a pedestrian street and it’s lined up with shops on both sides, as street ends I reach to another square which is the Opera Square, the Teatro Real stands there at...

Read more...
City walks: Madrid, part 2
5 months ago Post Office

I start again from Gran Via, walk down to Sol and cross the square, one of the streets, Calle de Carretas, I usually climb that one to reach to Atocha Street, because at the corner there’s a famous ‘churrascaría’, the hot fried pastry that you eat with hot chocolate. If you go right you will reach Plaza Mayor again, so this time I turn left and start walking towards the Atocha Railway station. This street has many hostels, budget but decent rooms for backpackers. One of the streets on the...

Read more...
City walks, part 3: From Chueca to Arte Reina Sofia Museum
5 months ago Instituto Cervantes

Following our self-guided walks in Madrid’s old town which is called ‘casco antigua’ around Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Santa Ana, this time we are at the opposite side of Gran Via. Starting from the street in front of the Gran Via metro station, Calle Hortaleza, we go to the neighbourhood of Chueca. This was a bohemian neighbourhood known with its gay community once, but as the streets are turned into pedestrian shopping attractions it also lost a bit of its hippie atmosphere. It is always...

Read more...
‘The symbolic’ Madrid
5 months ago Plaza de Cibeles

The capital city of Madrid is symbolized with this square, every march would start at this point: The Cibeles Square, with its white marble statues draws a circle. We see the red and orange color Spanish flag. At one side of the square stands the Cibeles Palace, today the Communication Palace, also a public art space. If you enter the building and climb to the terrace you’ll have a wonderful view of the city. It’s nice to see the ‘Refugees Welcome’ poster at the top… The square is where the...

Read more...
The Baroque architecture in Our Preto and the master Aleijadinho
5 months ago Ouro Preto

Antônio Francisco Lisboa, or shortly Aleijadinho, was born in Ouro Preto and lived there all his life. He was a sculptor, architect, and a wooden carver, a master of all these arts. The city of Our Preto, the colonial gem in the state of Minas Gerais, a Unesco world heritage city, hosts many of his works. One of his most famous work is the Church of São Francisco de Assis (though attributed to him, there’s no official document proving that it was made by him, he had somewhat mysterious life)....

Read more...
Human Kind’s Gift to Nature: Inhotim
5 months ago Inhotim Museum

I had never heard of Inhotim. One of the days I watched an interview on CNN International, which was about Brazil’s most affluent citizen’s project of building a large park in a vast wooded area that would house modern art pieces. He was a mining tycoon, Bernardo de Mello Paz. He started to buy lands in the state of Minas Gerais, in Brumadinho where the Institute of Inhotim is located. From mid 1980s to 2000s the dream-idea to build a huge park where several art works belonging to artists...

Read more...
Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro- who was Oscar Niemeyer?
5 months ago Niterói

If you think you have spent enough time in Rio’s old town and on its famous beaches that line up along the shore, you may try travelling to the other side of the city and admiring it from there, which would give you the opportunity to visit one of the marks Oscar Niemeyer, the legendary architect, left behind in his country. Many inhabitants of Rio commute on this route to go to work in the morning and get back home in the evening; we take a ferry that departs from the port in the old town...

Read more...
Adrian Villar Rojas, ‘The most beautiful of all mothers’
5 months ago Büyükada

Leo Trotsky is one of the prominent figures of the Soviet Revolution. He was deported both from the party and the country due to his opposition during the Stalin period. Before his exile years in Mexico, he lived in Istanbul for four years. We are now at his house on Buyukada shore, the house in the photograph with only its walls standing. Passing by the ruined walls, we are taking a path to the seaside, skipping over the thistles that overrun the place. Dazzlingly white statues placed on...

Read more...
'On the verge' Lawrence Weiner
5 months ago Rumelifeneri Mahallesi

One of the exhibition sites of the biennale was Rumelifeneri which is located at the end of the Bosphorus where the Marmara Sea meets the Black Sea. To be honest we did not know what to expect; we were supposed to cross the sea by a boat but we had no idea if we would land on the shore or just view it from a distance. The Bosphorus came to an end and we passed by the third bridge which is under construction when finally the light house appeared to the left on the European side. We are getting...

Read more...
Pursuing the Shadows of History, Nguyen Huy An

Just as with every biennale, in this biennale too they attempted to make a connection between places and art works exhibited there. The work of the Vietnamese artist Nguyen Huy An too has a connection with this place; it is the office of Agos , the weekly newspaper of the Armenian community in Turkey, and also the headquarters of a cultural organization named after the Armenian journalist who was killed recently. The hearts of everybody in Turkey, not only the Armenian community, went out for...

Read more...
Doris Salcedo, Palimpsesto: a silent mourning for refugees
5 months ago Palacio de Cristal

A line of people in front of the Crystal Palace inside the Retiro Park in Madrid, they are waiting to see an installation signed by the Colombian contemporary artist Doris Salcedo ‘Palimpsesto’. As we are approaching the entrance we see people inside the Palace looking down on the ground and wonder what we are going to see, we put the shoe covers and go inside. A floor that look like sand, a yellowish colour with sand particles that have become harder to make a platform, letters that are made...

Read more...
Atocha Train Station and Retiro Park
5 months ago El Retiro Park

When you leave the Arte Reina Sofia Museum behind and walk to the main avenue of Prado Passage, you will see right in from of you the entrance of Atocha Train Station. A nice brown building from the outside it has a tropical botanic garden inside and is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. A tragic event occurred here on March 11, 2004, here, at this beautiful station, in the morning when many people were going to work, ten synchronized bombs exploded and 191 people died. It...

Read more...
Manaus: the gateway to the Amazones
5 months ago Manaus

Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas, one of the twenty seven states of Brazil. It takes its name from the indigenous people of Manus. Its nick name is the ‘Paris of the Tropics’ due to the beautiful Amazones Theatre built at the end of the 19th century during the rubber rush era. It is relatively isolated from other parts of the country, from Sao Paulo it takes a 3,5-4 hours flight to reach here, you can book direct flights from Manaus to Fortaleza and Brasilia but to other...

Read more...
Opera House: A touch of Europe in the middle of the jungle
5 months ago Amazon Theatre

The Amazones Theatre is the symbol of Manaus! It was built in late 19th century during the economic boom, a perfect example of European architecture and the renaissance style in the middle of the jungle! It is cited among the top ten opera houses of the world and celebrated its 120th anniversary last year in 2016. The theatre was built in fifteen years and most of the materials used in the construction were brought from Europe: the marble used in stairs and sculptures and the glass used in...

Read more...
Amazones, the floating forest
5 months ago State of Amazonas

The biggest tropical rain forest on earth, the Amazones have two seasons basically. However, they are not dry and rainy seasons; the rain falls throughout the year. There are two seasons: rainy season and not-so rainy season. From November to May the rainfall is higher, they tell me this year in 2017 it is even higher than the average. While a great number of tourists prefer to visit the region from June to September to enjoy the jungle more, I am here in April and witness heavy rainfalls in...

Read more...
The rare calendar of the Victorian Amazonica flower
5 months ago State of Amazonas

The biggest of the family of the water lilies, they can reach up to two and a half meters in size. They were born here, at the shallow waters of the Amazon rivers; were then taken to other parts of the world such as England, Australia. The British gave the name of the queen Victoria, but the locals name it differently: irupe, aguape,… The leaves remain alive for almost two months, we see the newly born leaves, the ones that are dying. Their roots under the water give way to the ones aho are...

Read more...
MUSA: Museum of the Amazones, in search of the Amazon legends

At the centre of the old town of Manaus, on the corner of the São Sebastian Square, you will see this little museum; it is the Museum of the Amazones, MUSA, a small place with exhibitions, seminars, handicraft made by the locals. When I visited the museum there was an exhibition of Feliciano Lana with his paintings telling an Amazon story ‘The Devil with no ass, the origen of Sarapó’. The indians in the Amazon region may have not left a written culture but many anthropologies coming here for...

Read more...
Flying over the Amazones and landing on the ‘Meeting of the Waters’
5 months ago Manaus

An unforgettable memory! I am at the second terminal of the airport in Manaus, this is a smaller terminal where you find mainly the offices of the Air Taxi companies. The Amazones is so big and expanded on the rivers that to some places it takes hours to reach by boat; so air transportation is highly demanded! As they take me out to the runway I see lots of little commercial airplanes, two pilots introduce themselves to me: ‘Eu sou commandant do vôo’, he says ‘I will be the pilot of this...

Read more...
Manaus: a port city
5 months ago Porto de Manaus

Although the rubber rush lasted only thirty years and the city lost its leading role in rubber commerce at the beginning of the 20th century, Manaus is still an important hub for naval commerce. The port of Manaus connects the city to all places in the Amazones and to the city of Belem in the north, from there to the Atlantic Ocean. Today many multinational companies prefer making business here due to the advantages of a duty free zone. The port of Manaus is a busy place: we see many cargo...

Read more...
Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia in 2 two weeks
5 months ago Indochina

You need at least two weeks to visit these two countries; if you have more time you can include Laos and Thailand as well (Indochina is a big area indeed including Myanmar, Thailand, the Malaysian peninsula, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia). Your first stop in Vietnam will be either Saigon or Hanoi. You may find Hanoi historically more charming and Saigon a little tiring and humid. The ancient city of Hue and the little picturesque town of Hoi An will appeal more to your tastes if you are looking...

Read more...
Hanoi: The Division between the South and the North
5 months ago Hanoi

Hanoi: The Division between the South and the NorthSaigon and Hanoi are two cities in Vietnam that symbolize the division between the south and the north of the country. Vietnam is a well-known country due to the recent war which the superpower U.S.A got involved in and inspired many Hollywood movies. Our imagination is filled with the images of chemical bombs striking down the civilian population, of traumas American soldiers suffered, of soldiers fighting in green fields and native people...

Read more...
A day in Hanoi: Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake
5 months ago Hanoi

The best thing to do in Hanoi is to take a tuktuk and do some sightseeing in slow motion. While the bicycle taxi is pedalling on his own rhythm you can sit and watch the city. We make a tour of the Temple of Literature, the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the streets of old town. Known as the first university of Vietnam, this place is also a temple dedicated to Confucius, academicians, and scholars. It served as a university since the beginning of the 11th century until the...

Read more...
Halong Bay
5 months ago Halong Bay Vietnam

It is hard to describe Halong Bay without the use of clichés. It is so impressive and gorgeous that your admiration never wears off no matter where you look at around here. You need to spend a night at Halong Bay, which is in a 4 hour drive from the capitol city Hanoi. They bay is bigger than we expected; it is speckled by around 5000 limestone isles which took 500 million years to form. Limestone, formed by the tropical wet climate in 20 million years, is the main building block of these...

Read more...
Hue, The Ancient Kingdom of Nguyen’s Hometown
4 months ago Hue

The ancient capital of Vietnam Hue is where you feel the Chinese influence more, especially in the architecture. The old town, the Ancient Palace Complex, with its palaces from the Nguyen period, the tombs, pagodas, temples, are all in the Unesco Heritage List. The main tourist attractions are these palaces where the Nguyen Dynasty lived between the 17th and 19th centuries. The city is a standpoint between the North and the South, and the history tells us that the last king, supported by...

Read more...
Hoi An, the city of oil lamps and the reeds
5 months ago Hội An

Hoi An and Hue attract visitors as two old cities on the shore line in the middle of Vietnam while the country coils up on the world map like a long serpent. An important port city between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An in that period was the meeting point of Southeast Asian trade and an influential settlement due to its strategic significance. Today it is a magic place where one can admire the architecture of the period, walk in its old town which is under protection and closed to...

Read more...
City walks, Saigon
5 months ago Ho Chi Minh City

Though the official name is Ho Chi Minh City, the city is still often called Saigon. The climate is quite different from Hanoi, which we visit later on. Here it’s humid, hot and tiring. The streets are full of thousands of scooters, we cannot figure out how to cross a street, a total chaos it seems at first , but one can sense that there is a set of unwritten set of rules that everybody follows. We are passing through the shopping area, the five star hotels and international brands line up...

Read more...
Angkor Park of Archeology
5 months ago Angkor Wat

For many people Angkor Wat takes the top of the list of the most impressive journeys in a life time. It is hard to describe this experience by dishing out practical information; I think the main reason why it moves you deeply is because the temples are scattered deep in the jungle in numbers that seem never to end and you can be a part of this mystic atmosphere if you a ride a bicycle just as we did. Angkor is the world’s biggest constellation of temples that spreads out in the wilderness. ...

Read more...
While Discovering Angkor: Angkor Wat
5 months ago Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat has become a popular symbol which even made its way onto the Cambodian flag. It is considered to be the biggest temple in the world, and definitely the most well-preserved one among the other temples in the city of Angkor. Its structure was influenced first by the Hindu religion and then Buddhism. It was built as a temple and eventually the final resting place of King Suryavarman the Second. You enter the temple over a bridge spanning the river, and walk through a courtyard...

Read more...
While Discovering Angkor: Angkor Thom and Phimeanakas
5 months ago Angkor Thom

We left behind Angkor Wat. We are keeping pedaling. The series of statues on the bridge we will pass over in a few kilometers herald another ancient settlement. Angkor Thom is the last Khmer Empire city and it has the longest history of settlement. Back in its glorious days it was a city where more than a hundred thousand people lived. It was abandoned in the 16th century. It is the first big edifice you would see when you enter Angkor Thom. After parking our bicycles, we are approaching the...

Read more...
While Discovering Angkor: Bayon
5 months ago Bayon Temple

This temple is one of the places featured most frequently in the visual materials about Angkor. This is because Buddha visages in varying sizes cover the façades of the temple. It is impossible not to notice a Buddha face wherever you look. The temple is darker in color than others and was built in the Baroque style. It was built by the order of the King Jayavarman the Seventh who adopted Mahayana Buddhism in the 13th century and it is the last of the temples built by the king in Angkor. More...

Read more...
Ta Prohm
5 months ago Ta Prohm

The unique atmosphere of the temple is mostly created by the centuries old trees that creep up the walls, with roots that have become one with the walls, gigantic trees that seemingly conquered the temple, looking like exotic living beings. The place is designed both as a temple and a monastery; unlike other temples designed as pyramids or towers that look like trees, Ta Prohm has straight lines. We are passing through one yard after another and it feels like we are walking in a jungle rather...

Read more...
Banteay Srei
5 months ago Banteay Srei

This is a Hindu temple dedicated to the God Shiva, some way outside the city. You need to drive in order to get there. Its details are interesting. We encounter the best of mason crafting here. The temple gets its color from the red sandstone used in its construction. Its original name refers to Shiva, the God of the triple world, but it is called today the Castle of Women or the Castle of Beauty; it received this name on the account of the engravings on the walls which are the expression of...

Read more...
Portugal: an introduction
5 months ago Portugal

Destinations like Spain, Italy or France may be on top of the list, however in Europe we go for Portugal! The main reason is its melancholic beauty; it may sound like a cliché however there’s something sad and reserved about this beauty. First of all, Lisbon is a city that appeals to your aesthetic senses, its being founded on hills gives her a beautiful perspective, the well preserved old city of Alfama, with its cobble stone narrow streets to ceramic walled houses is elegant. You may spend...

Read more...
Fado in Alfama
5 months ago Alfama

Numerous red tile roofs under the sky, roofs large or small, short or tall; trams which go up and down the hill, and the ripple of a river seen through the canopy of these roofs. Alfama, which comes from the word “al hammam” in Arabic, is the name of the old town in Lisbon. It is a medieval place that was built in a valley between São Jorge Castle and the Tejo River. It was the residence of the monarchy until the 16th century and is a city which has existed since the Arabic reign. You may...

Read more...
Statues of Explorers: Explorers Who Head from the Riverside to Unknown Oceans...
5 months ago Belém

Portugal has always had a distinguishing interest in discovery and journeys to the unknown. Underlying the power which this small country attained in the 15th and 16th centuries was this curiosity. This is also why Lisbon is called a melancholic city. People who sailed to undiscovered places departed from here: the city has a melancholic aura due to the numerous stories of those who sailed away, but never returned. The sound of Fado songs echoing in the city expresses the longing for the ones...

Read more...
A day trip to Cabo de Roca and Sintra, the misty town
5 months ago Cabo da Roca

A nice place to visit just about an hour away from Lisbon. Cabo de Roca is the place where the old world ends and the new world begins. Located on top of the hill by the ocean it shouts in your face that Europe, the old continent, now comes to an end and that another world begins onwards with an enormous ocean: herein the Europe ends and we are now in the spot where the Atlantic Ocean begins. We then leave the farthest Western point of Europe and heading to Sintra, this road is like a movie...

Read more...
Evora, where time stands still
5 months ago Evora

We were meant to go to Evora. Our days in Portugal, without plans, schedules or lists ended; we spent them as we liked, without calculating the hours or days and there was no time left to visit Evora which we were planning to see. The day we would check out the hotel, with luggage in our hands, the phone rang; it was the airline calling us to inform that the flight was cancelled due to heavy snow in Istanbul, and we were staying one more night! We went straightly to the bus station and took...

Read more...
Cities of River, Porto
5 months ago Porto

The strategic location of this Portuguese city which was built over the Douro River helped its development. Porto, which means ‘port’ in Portuguese, had played a significant role in trade. In the 14th century, the close relationship between the Portuguese and the British royal families was strengthened by a marriage that led to a military alliance. In the 18th century, the United Kingdom sought to monopolise the wine production in Porto after a disagreement with France. Perhaps winemaking...

Read more...
A day in Porto: Casa da Música and The Park and the Museum of Serralves
5 months ago Serralves

In Porto, this “house of music” in word-for-word translation, is the biggest concert hall which is now a symbol of the city. It was designed by the famous Dutch architect Rem Koolhas: It looks like an enormous diamond gem dropped out of space... When we visited this building that can also be toured with a tourist guide, we saw the orchestra through the sound-proof glass, but we did not hear anything at all. These auditoriums which have perfect acoustics are the home of the orchestras of the...

Read more...
From Trade to Art: Berardo Museum

If you visit Belem to see the famous abbey and the statue of the explorers, you might as well tour the Berardo Museum; you will find a collection there that is mostly dedicated to contemporary art. It is also possible to view American and European pieces of some famous artists like Duchamp and Magritte… The collection belongs to the Portuguese collector José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo who is the namesake of the museum. We find out that as expected, every collector makes a fortune in the mining...

Read more...
From trade to art: Gulbenkian Museum

One of the museums in Lisbon that you can visit has a story which has a connection to our home country. The Gulbenkian Museum is a small cultural center which contains predominantly ancient art works in a building located in a big park. It has auditoriums, a library, and a conference hall. It has an architecture style like those in communist countries. The museum hosts nearly more than 1000 art pieces; from Ancient Greek and Roman pieces, the Near Eastern-Eygptian, Mesopotomian, Armenian, and...

Read more...
Portuguese wall ceramics
5 months ago Porto

Both in Lisbon and Porto in the old town most of the buildings are covered with ceramics, these are painted stones that cover both the exteriors and interiors of the buildings, and apart from decoration purposes, also serve for controlling the temperature. The Portuguese took this technique from the Arabs (the word ‘zellige’ in Arabic is used to define this technique), the Arabs took it from the Romans. In Spain, especially in Andalusia, in places where the Arab heritage is well preserved...

Read more...
Ubud: a green oasis between the mountains
5 months ago Ubud

The island of Bali, one of the more than 18.000 islands that make Indonesia, the most touristic one with its resorts, yoga and retreat centres, surf schools, is quite big actually. It takes more than an hour to get to Ubud from Denpasar Airport. The island population is mostly Hindu, 80 % of the population belong to Hindu religion and it’s widely practiced. You will not feel you’re in a muslim country if you do not travel to other parts of Indonesia. The most beautiful thing about Ubud is the...

Read more...
A long day in Ubud: Tanah Lot and Bedugul
5 months ago Tanah Lot Temple

The rock formation on this beach in Tanah Lot definitely makes the atmosphere of this place; as you walk on black rocks on the beach you feel the water under your feet, a gentle breeze comes from the ocean, the temple just stands on the big rock by the sea. The Hindu temple on the rock was built in the 16th century and was dedicated to the sea gods. According to Balinese mythology it is also protected by the sea snakes under the temple. The Pura Tanah Lot Temple has always visitors, mostly at...

Read more...
A long day in Ubud: Walking along the rice terraces and Bali Bird Park
5 months ago Bali Bird Park

A place taken out from the postcards. In Tegallalang green rice terraces follow one another. It’s raining but we don’t mind getting wet. We then continue to Bali Bird Park in Ubud which hosts more than 250 bird species. My favourite one is the Australian pelican, black and white coloured they are known as the bird with the longest beak, some of them may have a 50cm beak! They are also called the ‘traveler’ bird as they are able to fly for 24 hours, and can travel from one ocean to the other....

Read more...
Meeting Gusti Nyoman Lempad in Puri Lukisan Museum
5 months ago Puri Lukisan Museum

This is Ubud’s first museum: Puri Lukisan Museum is located right at the heart of Ubud centre and is a beautiful place inside a wonderful garden. It has a rich collection of the Balinese art. The real gem is the work of Gusti Nyoman Lempad. He was born in the second half of the 1800s in a village in Bali. Being a multi talented person he becomes a master in painting, wooden carving, architecture and other forms of art. As he meets the Western painting he starts using black ink on paper. His...

Read more...
Ubud, doors and hills: Om Swastiastu and Campuhan Ridge road
5 months ago Campuhan Ridge Walk

While you are walking in the streets of and pass by the little narrow wooden doors of houses, schools, temples, etc. you will often see these two things: 1.‘Om Swastiastu’, this is the greeting word in Balinese culture. 2. the symbol of Swastika similar to gammadion cross. It’s the ancient symbol originated in the Indian subcontinents that is used to bring auspiciousness. It also represents the continuity of the cosmos… There’s a way to run away from the tourist crowds in Ubud, it’s right at...

Read more...
Bali beaches: Balangan beach, a surfer’s paradise
5 months ago Balangan Beach

The island of Bali is quite big; it is geographically impressive in the sense that in the same day you can watch the sunrise on the top of a volcanic mountain, and at the very same day watch the sun set on a beach looking at the horizon while listening to the sound of the ocean; it touches all your senses. The interior part of the island is made of rice fields, volcanic mountains, green valleys; the coasts are both made of beaches where big waves are always at the disposal of surf lovers or...

Read more...
Borobudur Temple
5 months ago Borobudur Temple

It’s three a.m. in the morning and it’s still dark. I am on a bus with other three tourists, one Italian, one Croatian, one American Indian and me, one Turkish; we are laughing ourselves as we feel as if we are inside a joke. We are going to Borobudur Temple to watch the sun rise, although it’s cloudy and we know we will not get a clear view of the sun rise, we are hurrying to get there before the day begins. Borobudur Temple is about an hour drive from Yogyakarta city centre, it is known as...

Read more...
Prambanan Temple
5 months ago Prambanan Temple

After visiting the Buddhist Temple of Borobudur we head to Prambanan Temples. 50 years younger than Borobudur and a Hindu temple, they are dedicated to the trinity of Hindu Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the creator, sustainer and the destroyer. Here, as in Borobudur, three areas circle one another, this time three squares, the third, most sacred one dedicated to gods is where the main temples are located, 16 main temples with 3 main temples dedicated to three gods. The square that surrounds...

Read more...
The Ramayana Legend and the Tree of Life in Prambanan Temples
5 months ago Prambanan Temple

If the Greeks have Odyssey and Iliada, the Indians have Ramayana and Mahabharata.The exterior walls of the main temple in Prambanan are covered with replicas from the epic Ramayana, the story of the Prince of Rama. One of the three main gods in Hinduism, Vishnu is reincarnated in Rama, a god/prince, who is sent exile- such as in Odyssey there’s a story of journey. The journey of Rama, his brother and his fiancée and their exile which lasts years are finalised with a victory. Some of the main...

Read more...
Yogyakarta Streets

Yogyakarta is the centre of the island of Java, the locals call it shortly Yogya. It is known as the cultural capital of Indonesia due to Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Some tips to spend a day in the street: take a bacek, the little transportation bikes similar to tuktuks, where you sit in the front and the driver is at the back, either on motorcycle or bicycle. Go out early in the morning when it’s cooler and watch the Yogya people in their daily routines. As you go along the streets with...

Read more...
Taman Sari, the Palace Complex and the batik handicrafts

Taman Sari is a complex of Palaces with pools from mid-18th century, the era of Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is located very close to Kraton Palace. At the entrance you will meet the tour guides who are dying to offer you their service. Let’s take one and support the economy! Although his explanations are like ‘My dear Sultan used to have fun here at this pool with his third wife, my Sultan used to play at this another pool…’ it’s always good to have a company of a local… The Palace complex...

Read more...
Cuba: an introduction
5 months ago Cuba

In today’s world, even the possibility of a place where one will not see the same brands, the same cafés, the same hotel chains make the traveler curious. So I was one of them who went to Cuba to see it before the wind of change, already started to move things, got stronger. I arrive in Havana on a December morning the first impressions: a hot air without an A/C at the airport, officers who check your passport looking with eyes as if asking ‘What the hell these people come here?’; they look...

Read more...
Plaza de las Armas and Palacio de las Capitanes Generales
5 months ago Plaza de Armas

This is the oldest square of Havana, dating back to the construction of the city in 1520. There used to be a church in this area which is today occupied by Palacio de las Capitanes Generales. The square has a lot of bookstores. Postcards of Che and Castro one can come across everywhere; in the centre of the square, a marble statue of Céspedes, the figure who started the independence movement. The square offers a view of the shore down the road; you can also take a side alley that leads to...

Read more...
Looking over el Capitolio and the City
5 months ago El Capitolio

The Cuban Revolution of 1959: it is a landmark in the history of every place here which has a ‘before’ and ‘after.’ This was the parliament house until the revolution: the place where the government ruled the country until then. But was there a country then after all? Or more precisely, was there a Cuban identity then? This building which was inspired by the Pantheon in Paris is a perfect replica of the one in Washington, but its architecture is even richer. The money from the exploitation of...

Read more...
Museum of the Revolution

After visiting Capitolium, we continue our journey to re-live the grandeur of the pre-revolution Cuba. We are in the Museum of the Revolution which used to be the Presidential Palace. Its construction took 7 years between 1923 and 1930, and its interior decoration was undertaken by Tiffany of New York. Today it is the Museum of the Revolution: the exhibition, starting on the top floor, of Cuban history, from the pre-revolutionary period to the revolution, the blood-stained uniforms Che...

Read more...
Castle of Fortaleza de San Carlos de Cabaña: The Old Town from the Castle on the Other Side
5 months ago La Cabaña

You have strolled through the streets of old town. Would you like to view this city now from the other side? Take a tuk-tuk to travel to the Castle of La Cabaña: from the old town, this place looks like an area enclosed by walls, but when you enter it, you find yourself in an area larger than you expect. It was built by the Spanish in the 18th century, out of the fear and anxiety of the British troops which took over the city briefly. It was ranked the second biggest military fortification...

Read more...
Plaza Vieja: A Coffee and a Few Postcards before Bidding Havana Goodbye
5 months ago Old Town Square

Plaza Vieja, which means ‘Old Square’ in Spanish was originally named ‘New Square’ when it was built, because the city’s oldest square, Plaza de las Armas predates it. Plaza Vieja was used for formal celebrations for a while, and then served as a market place. Today it is still the best-preserved looking among the squares in Havana and it is on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. After the old town changed with a series of renovations, it is now second to none among European squares. The...

Read more...
Plaza de la Catedral
5 months ago Plaza de la Catedral

One of the five squares in the old town of Havana, and the one that was built last is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of them. As soon as you reach there you notice how beautiful and elegant it is and you feel like you want to spend more time there. At one side is the Cathedral, a fine example of 18th century Cuban Baroque. The other three sides of the square are surrounded with houses of the 18th century Cuban aristocracy. One of the most picturesque is the Casa Bayona, a stone two floor...

Read more...
Viñales
5 months ago Vinales

You arrive in the most peaceful place you will ever see two hours distance from Havana. This is the state of Pinar del Rio: the mountain tops here were flattened due to the limestone erosion and there are caves in most of them which you can visit taking a boat tour. These lands are also the place where the best cigar tobacco plant grows due to its climate: it is a part of the tourist package to visit tobacco factories and watch the Cuban girls sitting in a line and rolling cigars. Famous for...

Read more...
Cienfuegos
5 months ago Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is the only city in Cuba built by the French: it is a coastal city where the streets are larger than those in older cities. There are colorful houses along the roads, their terraces facing the road; a Malecón on the seaside, similar to the one in Havana; shabby ships; at the square called the New Town, Thomas Terry Theater with its squealing wooden seats; people forming a queue in front of a cart, which is a shuttle that departs when it is full; peddlers who carry bunches of garlic...

Read more...
Trinidad
5 months ago Trinidad

After Havana Trinidad is the most impressing city in Cuba. Much more smaller and touristic, this is a Spanish colonial city founded in the 16th century: it thrived on the trade of sugar cane and it is one of the best-preserved old cities in the Caribbean area. Its streets are colourful: losing one’s bearing in its stone streets, looking back and watching different reflections of the same places in sunlight, desiring to get lost in here, that is what you experience in Trinidad. As in the rest...

Read more...
California trip: an introduction
5 months ago California


What comes to your mind when they say California? Sunny days, surfers, celebrity houses, people driving fast their big cars with looking attractive with blond hair and blue eyes, shortly  an imaginary place in our heads created by Hollywood movies. So when we were in a fast food restaurant in San Francisco on our first night after a 15 hour flight, surrounded by Asians, we were quite surprised; in fact California is one of the places in the world with the highest number of Asian...

Read more...
Sunset over Pacific: California Coasts by Train

We had no intention to travel by train in America. Given the distance between the cities, the rule of cars over the whole country and cheap and frequent flights, we were so prejudiced in terms of means of transportation that we never imagined a train journey that lasts hours. As a traveler who in her youth slept in train cars and witnessed the crossing of borders at a train stop, I did not think that America was a destination where one travels by train. But we changed our minds in San...

Read more...
Petrópolis: 19th century Royal town
5 months ago Petrópolis

Just about one and a half hour drive from Rio, inside the mountains there’s a nice place to spend the weekend. It also has a significant place in Brazil’s colonial history. The story of Petrópolis’ ‘discovery’: during the reign of Portuguese Kings in Brazil when Rio was still the capitol city, King Pedro II. and his family set out on a journey to the mountains and discovering that this region has high altitude, less humidity, and a cool and relaxing climate, they decided to found a settlement...

Read more...
Life stories from Petrópolis: Santos Dumont and Stefan Zweig
5 months ago Casa de Santos Dumont

In the area 70 kms. from Rio and behind the wooded mountains is an imperial city: Petrópolis, which means Emperor Pedro’s city, captivated the royal family with its great climate and became an imperial city with a summer imperial palace in the 19th century. This city, which later on also attracted artists and intellectuals, still bears the traces of two surprising life stories.Dumont who developed winged airplanes which were the first prototypes of modern light air craft was the son of a...

Read more...
City-walks, Belo Horizonte
5 months ago Belo Horizonte

Before heading to Ouro Preto a morning walk in town. Belo Horizonte, meaning beautiful horizon in Portuguese, is the capital city of the State of Minas Gerais. Its significance comes from the fact that the precious metals, most important of them gold, was founded in their region during the Colonial period. Today, it is the fourth biggest city, in terms of income, after São Paulo, Rio De Janeiro and the capital city of Brasilia. It is also important in the political history of Brazil since the...

Read more...
Northern Shores: Trancoso, Arraial d’Ajuda, Porto Seguro
5 months ago Trancoso

When Portuguese sailors arrived in Porto Seguro in 1500, they probably did not know that it was the first land in Brazil touched by these discoverers, unaware that this place extending as far as the eye can see would be one of their colonies. Yes, Porto Seguro actually means safe port and that is why their ships might have shored up here. Indeed the Atlantic Ocean in this area turns into a long strip of calm water. This area, now in the south corner of Bahia state, is called ‘costa de...

Read more...
Madrid’s ‘Museums Island’: Thyssen Bornemisza

Located at the ‘Prado Walk’ with the other two museums, Prado and Arte Reina Sofia, Thyssen Bornemisza Museum has a large collection from 13th century to the 20th century painting; a personal collection of Thyssen family. As you begin your visit you’ll see first the paintings with religious themes. Here we see the Evangelists one by one: San Mateo, San Marcos, San Lucas, San Juan… We are passing to the hall of Portraits, the two of them that we see in the pictures, one that calls our...

Read more...
An exhibition in Prado Museum: ‘Metapintura: a journey to the idea of art’

Where did art come from? Why does art exist? Prado Museum selects 137 art works in its collection and tells you a story so that you can think about these questions. Beginning from the Middle Ages and finalizing in 1819, the year when the museum was founded, you make a journey through certain themes: religion, mythology, portraits, art collectors… We start with the religious themes, El Greco’s painting named ‘the Veil of Veronica’, the face of Jesus on a cloth, an iconographic motif that...

Read more...
Malecón
5 months ago Malecon

This is the shore line with stone jetties which starts from Old Havana and goes on for 8 kilometres to the modern neighbourhood of Vedado. The city folk come here at dusk to end the day. Although it is an ‘egalitarian’ country, obviously people from the lower strata of the society gather here. The houses on the other side of the road looking over the ocean look shabbier than the buildings in the town which were renovated and look better now. This place has an intrinsic sad and poetic quality...

Read more...
From Santa Barbara to San Diego
5 months ago Santa Barbara

Leaving San Francisco in the morning , after almost eight hours along the Pacific shores the night falls and we arrive in this quiet place which looks like the summer and weekend resort of the upper middle class Americans. It feels like a place where life is always beautiful, with people, devoid of hurry, walking quietly along the shore. And during the entire trip to California we are at our happiest in Santa Barbara. Cycling along the coastline, enjoying the view of town at the terrace of...

Read more...
From San Diego to Los Angeles
5 months ago San Diego

We are heading north this time: The Pacific Ocean is on our left and the sun is setting. The sunset takes so long that we had a chance to watch every hue of red and orange until satisfied. When we arrive in Los Angeles, it is getting dark. We are there in a huge metropolis, at the main train station called Union Square. We are getting off the train just like everybody else to enter the big city but we have no idea what we are going to do next. Everybody told us that Los Angeles is a city...

Read more...
Los Angeles: from Venice Beach to Santa Monica
5 months ago Venice Beach

Los Angeles is always sunny. The surfers who are waiting for waves at the early hours of the morning before anyone wakes up look like tiny penguins in the open waters of Venice Beach. On the way to Santa Monica tattooed street performers, peddlers, skateboarders, cyclists, all people are moving around. We are leaving Venice Beach where subcultures somewhat prevail, and arriving in Santa Monica which is more posh. It reminds me of Rio with its line of apartments along the long shore of the...

Read more...
From Trade to Art: Getty Museum
5 months ago The Getty

Another collector: the lives of collectors could be as interesting as the lives of artists, perhaps because both of them are in a never-ending pursuit; the latter to express herself, and the former to meet those who express themselves. The American millionaire, born on April, 15, 1892, was an oil tycoon who exhibited the art collection he brought together throughout his life at his villa on the Malibu beach and at Getty Museum. Important pieces from ancient Greece, and the Roman and Etruscan...

Read more...
A day in San Francisco: cafés, bookstores, hills
5 months ago Chinatown

One of the features which beautify San Francisco are its hills which are very steep but do not pose a challenge for somebody from Istanbul. The perspective the hills bestow on the city, the joy of looking back, and watching the city from a different point of view… We are staying at the heart of the city, in Union Square which has a great location, it reminds us of Wall Street district of New York, in fact everything seems similar to New York here in San Francisco, in a slower and calmer...

Read more...
A day in San Francisco: Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate park, Sausalito
5 months ago Port Of San Francisco

Long before it was the birth place of the Silicon Valley and tech companies, San Francisco was the place the hippie counter- culture emerged. The influence of ’68 movements, the flower children, the beat culture, today’s modern city still has a bit of bohemian air… You may spend a morning in the Haight-Ashbury area to see the typical two flour Victorian style houses, now converted into boutique stores, record shops, etc. You may then go inside the Golden Gate Park, taking the same with the...

Read more...
Love of Flamenco: Amor de Dios
5 months ago God's Love

What is the best place to learn flamenco? If you exit the Anton Martin subway station in the old town of Madrid, cross the street and enter the side alley, you find yourself in a place which looks like a marketplace. If you walk in the two-storey square building, you will see a group of green groceries, cheese shops, and fish shops where the smells of the food sold here hang in the air. One cannot imagine that people perform art on the second floor of this place. While climbing up the stairs,...

Read more...
Salvador de Bahia-First Capital
5 months ago Salvador

“Salvador de Bahia de todos os Santos,” meaning the saint of all holy saviours in Portuguese, was established in the 16th century as a Portuguese colony and a port city. The city was settled on a hill and its uptown was the administrative and religious centre, was (and still is) connected by an elevator to the lower city, which was the locus of its trade. Salvador de Bahia had the honour of being the first capitol city of Brazil until 1763 when the capitol city was moved to Rio. Pelourinho,...

Read more...
Rio beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon
5 months ago Copacabana

Zona Sul is the southern part of the city of Rio de Janeiro, the most touristic, famous, expensive part of the city since its glorious days of the 80s when the high society made it known to the world as the Marvellous City. Beaches right beneath the wild green mountains follow one another: Leme, Copacabana, Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon… Each one black and white cobble stones, people jogging, cycling, skating day and night, wide yellow sand beaches with soccer, volleyball players all day, a kind...

Read more...
Tat Tvam Asi: ‘I am you, you are me’, a rooted philosophy
4 months ago Ubud Taman Baca

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is the leading literary festival of South East Asia. The 13th of the festival was held in October 2016, with a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, readers, editors, bloggers, activists and during four days people from around the world exchanged ideas, participated in seminars, watched movies, read poems. This year’s theme was ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, ‘I am you, you are me’, a rooted philosophy with its origins back in Upanishads wrote in Sanskrit more...

Read more...
Bienalsur: Ronaldo Fraga’s fashion parade & ’God is the master of time’, Christian Boltanski

This year (2017) from September to December Bienalsur brings 350 artists and curators in 32 cities and 16 countries, taking Buenos Aires as its zero point. It defines itself the Biennial that draws its own cartography. It is the first days of November which is spring time in Buenos Aires, I arrive to the port where the Hotel Museum of the immigrants is located, candle lights line the hallway spreading a delightful aroma to the air and as I climb the stairs to the third floor I hear music and...

Read more...
The May Square & Café Tortoni & Café London City
5 months ago Plaza de Mayo

The capital city is also home to several political manifestations and plays an important role in the bloody history of Latin America. The May Square is the center of all political movements, since 1810 when Argentine gained her independence from Spain. This is where the sound of the people is heard, where the Mothers of the May Square insist to gather to recall their lost ones during the dirty war when the military regime took various people from their homes who never came back. At one side...

Read more...
San Telmo and Bar Plaza Dorrega
5 months ago San Telmo

If we are to talk about sister neighbourhoods San Telmo reminds someone from Istanbul like me the Karakoy district in Istanbul, in terms of its development as an industrial zone then becoming a hip district. An industrial zone close to the port, it was the residence place of the workers, far from the city center. The bohemian bourgeois ‘discovers’ it and little by little, by new art galleries, antique shops, cafés become a popular, stylish, arty place among the middle classes. If you go there...

Read more...
From Japanese Garden to Recoleta Cemetery

This is a great route; the street extends in a straight line and October here is the month jacaranda trees bloom in purple, month that smells like the warm pre-summer happiness. And this route goes through the Soho neighbourhood that has the most elite and cleanest streets and villas, the inside of which one can only imagine. And the Japanese Garden is a replica of those gardens in Japan that has no single unpleasant feature. On the morning that started off with a Japanese Garden tour, you...

Read more...
Malba-Beatriz Milhazes at the Latin American Museum of Art
5 months ago MALBA

One of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires is Palermo; if you walk from the Japanese Garden toward the Recoleta District on the city’s most sought-after upscale street in October, just as I did, you would pass by chic buildings and make your way through trees that bloom in spring with purple flowers-it is another long, wide and straight street just like others that spin around the city. A short distance before the university buildings, you will see a futuristic, modern building...

Read more...
Places Where I Forgot to Check Time: El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookshop

Buenos Aires is one of the most European cities in Latin America. Built by Italian migrants, this city both resembles Paris with its long and wide streets and New York as an example of grid city planning; with its crisscrossing cobblestones and cafés on corners that lure you inside, it is a place where one can walk for hours. One of the places one should stop by while walking around cafés, bookstores, museums and parks with a big smile on one’s face is El Ateneo Bookstore. Having started...

Read more...
La Pola: from the name of a rebel to a beer brand, chichi vs beer
5 months ago Journalists' Park

Walking along the streets of La Candelaria is taking a history class about Colombia. La Pola, or with her full name Policarpa Salavarrieta. She was born in 26 February 1795 in Guaduas, was executed in 14 November 1817 in Bogota. This statue at the corner of a street by the Journalists Square (Plaza de los Periodistas) shows us who was La Palo, a prominent lady of the independence movement. She is one of the heroes of this fight. When she was 14 she joined the cry for independence; took an...

Read more...
Corcovado, Sugarloaf Mountain, Botanical Garden and Santa Teresa hills
5 months ago Jardim Botânico

When we speak of ‘world cities’ such as Rio de Janeiro, suddenly we have an image in our minds: an iconic image of that city, in Rio’s case The Jesus Christ statue on the top of the mountain which opens his arms and embraces the whole city, or even the whole universe. It is a sublime view from Corcovado: the Atlantic Ocean, the hills covered with the greenest trees, the bays, the beaches which follow one another… Even the ‘favelas’, the shanty towns right behind the luxurious skyscrapers,...

Read more...
Pernambuco, Porto de Galinhas
5 months ago Porto de Galinhas

Warm waters, a green-blue colour, natural pools inside the sea, coral reefs and the tide, these are some typical images from the Northeastern shores of Brazil. The capital city of Pernambuco state Recife is located about one hour drive from Porto de Galinhas. When you arrive at Recife airport as soon as you go out you will see travel agencies lined up one another selling tours and transfers, you can buy a shuttle service to reach to Porto de Galinhas. Once a fishing village, today it has...

Read more...
Olinda: the ocean breeze and the carnaval city
5 months ago Olinda

Brazil has many examples of colonial beauty: Our Preto in Minas Gerais state, Salvador, the first capital of the country in the state of Bahia, Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and Olinda in the Northeast, the state of Pernambuco. As beautiful as the name is the old town of Olinda. Founded in 1554 by the Portuguese it is declared a world heritage site by Unesco. Many buildings you’ll see are from the seventeenth century which are built after the Dutch invasion of the city. Two floor...

Read more...
Bogotá, From Modern Art Museum to the National Museum
5 months ago National Museum

The museums are the collective memory of a country/nation, the collective memory of Colombia is exhibited in Bogota’s National Museum. If you have fully visited the most important museum in town, the Gold Museum, the corridors of the National Museum are waiting for you. This time we start our walk at the Modern Art Museum. The entrance of the museum and the little square in front of it is followed by stairs coloured by an art work. French artist Daniel Buren’s work ‘From half circles to full...

Read more...
Bogota: La Candelaria, a day in the old town
5 months ago La Candelaria

The historical centre of Bogota, La Candelaria, is a place that looks like time stands still since the 16th century! Cobble stone streets, one floor houses painted in lively colours, a well preserved place where you’ll find museums, book stores, squares, parks, cafés, street performers, musicians. You may start your walk at the Bolivar Square, a big square surrounded by the Cathedral, the Palace of Justice and the Parliament. If you take the road at the corner that leads to the Presidential...

Read more...
El Chorro: zero point of the city of Bogotá
5 months ago EL CHORRO DE QUEVEDO

This is the place where Bogota was founded, shortly called ‘El Chorro’, the full name is Square of Chorro de Quevedo. From the time of the Muiscas, the people of pre-Colomb era, the city was extended from this point on. The city’s foundation is cited as 1538. The oldest street is right behind this square. The Embudo Street, Callejón del Embudo, a narrow cobblestone street with several graffiti paintings. If you rise your head you’ll also see the sculptures, an acrobat riding a bike on a cable...

Read more...
Montserrate: a birdlook to Bogotá
5 months ago Monserrate

Bogota is a capital city between the mountains, located at 2600 metres above sea level. There’s even a higher point where a Cathedral is built: Montserrate, taking the same name from the mountain in Catalonia, is located at 3150 meters. It is a sacred place from the time of the indigenous people, the Muiscas. When you are at the old town, la Candelaria, you can see it above, you can even walk there if you are fit enough, it is about a 45 minutes climb. You have other two options: the...

Read more...
An escape from the city, the Salt Cathedral: a cross is not only a cross
5 months ago Zipaquirá

The Salt Cathedral is built inside the salt mines in Zipaquira, an hour drive from Bogota. It is built inside the mine, you walk down 200 metres to reach it, a pilgrim destination for Christians, also the the most visited place in Colombia. As you pass the entrance you will feel the salt in your nose until you go out to open air. The biggest part of the visit tells you the story of the ‘way of the cross’, the fifteen steps, with a cross in each one - different from the others- fifteen steps...

Read more...
15th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Good Neighbor’: Adel Abdessemed’s Cri

The story behind this art work. How did the photograph of a little girl running from napalm bombs become a symbol of the war? ‘The Girl in the picture’: a legendary picture taken by a Pulitzer winning photographer; it has become an image in the collective consciousness of the whole world. The story behind it is quite interesting. During the Vietnam war the international agencies which reported the war were based in Saigon. Their foreign representatives were not directly involved in the war as...

Read more...
15th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Good Neighbour’: Pedro Gómez Egaña and Leander Schönweger in Galata Greek Primary School

Two of my favourite works in this Biennial are exhibited at the Galata Greek Primary School. The first one is Pedro Gómez Egaña’s work ‘Underground’. The big hall at the first floor is dark, you are one step above the work, in the middle you see a big installation, a wooden table with iron legs, infact the table is made of several parts separated from each other, but they look like one piece on which a little apartment floor is built: the sleeping room, kitchen, bathroom. After a while you...

Read more...
Colombia’s coffee axis, how to visit?
5 months ago Armenia

The ‘coffee zone’, ‘Eje cafetero’ or the ‘coffee axis’ of Colombia is located in the interior of the country, between the Andes Mountains, in the state of Armenia. Coffee trees spread over the mountains, a scenery of green trees and valleys, a soft and warm climate throughout the year, little villages, jeeps carrying packs of coffee with a latino song on the radio, the sound of birds, thermal waters, colonial towns with colourful streets, this postal card like place of Colombia is also...

Read more...
Florida street and around
5 months ago Florida

Similar to Manhattan island of New York, the grid shape plan in Buenos Aires make it easy to stroll through the city. The centre around Florida is lively during day time: the pedestrian street Florida and the parallel streets Maipu, Esmeralda and Suipacha cross the avenues Paraguay, Córdoba, Viamonte, Tucumán. Many of the buildings are offices, the Florida street is a shopping heaven, from best quality leather shops to bookstores or souvenir shops you can find anything. A chic shopping mall...

Read more...
Meet an artist: Olga Sinclair

Walking in the old town of Panama City someone picks us to visit an exhibition. Olga Sinclair’s retrospective exhibition is inside this beautiful two floor colonial house and we come to learn about this artist: born in Panama City, Olga Sinclair is the daughter of a master of modern art, Alfredo Sinclair. She began her career under the tutelage of her father, she participated in a group exhibition of professional artists at the age of 14. She studied fine arts in Madrid, Spain and continued...

Read more...
Pantheon, the temple of all gods
5 months ago Pantheon

We are at the Piazza de la Rotonda, the Pantheon stands right in front of us. How many times we’ve been here, gone inside, looked at the sky outside the oculus, the big hole in the middle of the dome, or sit outside and counted the pillars in front of it… A Mekka for the students of architecture, an inspirational model for many buildings like the White House, or the mosques in Istanbul with their similar domes, one never gets bored of watching this magnificent building. At the entrance gate...

Read more...
Streets of Rome: from Via Guilia to Borghese Gardens
5 months ago River Tiber

Rome, isn’t it the most beautiful city on earth, worth spending days on its streets, getting lost and lost again. A morning in December, here’s the route I made: I start in Via Guilia , go straight to the river side, walk along the autumn leaves still yellow in early December, across the river is Trastevere, a neighbourhood worth to spend a full afternoon, so I skip it now and keep walking on the left side of the river Tiber. I take one of the side streets that goes to the old historical town...

Read more...
Those Who Travel to Cuba for Hemingway: His Days at Hotel Ambos Mundos
5 months ago Ambos Mundos Hotel

Did Hemingway bestow fame onto Cuba? The American writer travelled to Havana in 1939, when this small island was a small fishing town no one knew about. He had lived in the room number 511 for seven years before he moved into a small ranch outside the town. That house, Finca Vigía is located aprox. ten kilometres from the old town and is open to public as a museum. He spent nearly twenty years in Cuba. Hemingway lived in Paris while he worked as a journalist, went to Spain to fight in the...

Read more...
A surprise in the streets of Havana: Italian political figure Garibaldi
5 months ago Mercaderes

As I’m walking in the old town in Havana from the Plaza Vieja to Plaza de las Armas along the Calle Mercaderes road I see this text on the way written on a stone at the entrance of a building: “In the memory of 130 years of Italy’s liberator Garibaldi’s stay in Havana the city of Rome dedicates this commemoration to José Marti, who encouraged the idea of independence of Cuba.”… Here is an interesting life story…The political leader, Garibaldi Giuseppe, the founder of the Italian Union has an...

Read more...
A name identified with the melancholy of Lisbon: Fernando Pessoa
4 months ago Lisbon

What makes Lisbon so special? What makes its ‘sui generis’ atmosphere, its ‘distant’ mood from other European capitals? Why does it look like it belongs to some other world? What comes to your mind when you think of this small but ‘intense’ place? The slow rhythm of a tram appearing suddenly on a narrow street, the roofs that look as if they stand on top of one another, the reserved mood of the locals sitting in cafés, the bitter colour of the river or the verses of the poet who is...

Read more...
Mexico, an introduction
5 months ago Mexico

Mexico is one of those places that is so rich you cannot grasp it on your first visit. The Maya-Aztec culture, the colonial history, the famous Mexican Revolution… With its architectural heritage, vibrant cultural life- museums, exhibitions, a sophisticated art history- its cinema, it has become a pioneer and the cultural capital for the rest of Latin American countries. Considering this richness a travel to Mexico will ask for a long period of time; so if you have only ten days to two weeks...

Read more...
The Zócalo Square, Mexico City
5 months ago Zócalo

The first morning I opened my eyes in Mexico, I found myself gazing at this gigantic square from the terrace of the hotel where I was having my breakfast. I wondered if it is among the largest squares in the world. This square which looks like a big rectangle, or a soccer field has been a ritual site since the beginning of the Aztec period in the 14th century. The Great Temple next to the square is the place the Aztec believed to be the center of the world. I am at the old town which is...

Read more...
To Fit an Entire Civilization inside a Painting: The National Palace
5 months ago National Palace

The National Palace which extends along one side of the large Zócalo Square in the center of Mexico City houses the murals of Diego Rivera. These murals portray Mexican history, starting from the ancient civilizations, the Spanish invasion, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez and his Mexican wife La Malinche, the Mexican Revolution, the revolutionists, and the pictures of Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo, all mixed together. When you go through the main gate and climb the stairs, you will see a...

Read more...
The Museum of Anthropology

The distinguishing characteristic of human beings is their capacity to think about themselves called “self-reflexivity”…Mexico is one of the most interesting countries with its ancient cultures, its history of colonization and the transformation it underwent after the revolution. One needs to come back here several times and focus on another aspect of this elaborate history. On my first day in Mexico, I am walking into a wonderful and three-dimensional encyclopedic world available here. The...

Read more...
Coyoacán and the Blue House
5 months ago Frida Kahlo Museum

You can reach this quiet and nice neighbourhood by metro from the historical center; you will enjoy walking on its streets lined up with two floor colourful houses, cafés and bookstores and pay a visit to one of the most touristic attractions in town: The Blue House, Calle de Londrés 247. The house in which Frida Kahlo was born and died: she lived in this house with its walls painted blue, together with her family and later with her husband, the famous painter Diego Rivera. The front yard of...

Read more...
San Miguel de Allende
5 months ago San Miguel de Allende

The Mexican people engraved in these cities the names of the heroes who played a major role in the war of independence they won against the Spanish. The places we will visit first as we travel from Mexico City to Northern Mexico: Dolores Hidalgo, the small city where Father Miguel Hidalgo uttered the famous ‘cry for independence’ on September 16, 1810. The army mobilised by this small insurrection later travelled to San Miguel, which was the first city to achieve independence. The word...

Read more...
Guanajuato
5 months ago Guanajuato

Imagine an underworld with roads extending underneath the roads. This is the place where the silver mines are; today active mining still continues in this area. It has the reputation of the most beautiful colonial city of Mexico. Indeed the old town is very well-maintained and beautiful part of the city; it is colorful, animated, historical, with an infrastructure that will satisfy all tourists. The house in which Diego Rivera was born and lived in until the age of 8 is in this city: it is...

Read more...
Zacatecas
5 months ago Zacatecas

This city located in the northern region of Mexico and founded in the second half of the 16th century during the Spanish colonization period (Mexico was then named ‘New Spain’) thrived thanks to its silver mines and the other metals found in the area. But its real reputation goes back to the War of Zacatecas which took place during the Mexican Revolution. There is an equestrian statue of the General Pancho Villa hailing us enthusiastically at the square where the revolutionary troops won the...

Read more...
Guadalajara
5 months ago Guadalajara

A night full of surprises: tonight in the squares of the old town I watched African dances, a theater play which narrated Mexico’s history of independence, and the colorful fireworks which served as a grand finale for it all, though I was thinking I would just have an evening walk. As opposed to other colonial cities’ air of small town quaintness, Guadalajara feels like a big city with its crowd, traffic, and noise. But its old town is nevertheless rich enough to lure you outside this chaos:...

Read more...
Pátzcuaro
5 months ago Pátzcuaro

I spent the most peaceful and magic time here, perhaps because of the mountains and lakes surrounding the city, or because of the walls that enclose the city, and the city’s welcoming small town atmosphere. Maybe by the time I arrived here, I had already made my way into the story, having spent many weeks in Mexico and treading the cobblestones of many towns: my curiosity for an unknown place already turned into a feeling of home, having internalized the places I visited. Just like every...

Read more...
Morelia Cathedral
5 months ago Morelia Cathedral

The churches painted in the colours of Mexico are a reason to visit the country on their own. The empty temples which surpassed the common purpose of the churches in European cities and became places to visit instead of places of worship are the places where people pray day and night. If we suspend the criticism of the history of Christian missionarism during the colonial period and evaluate these churches only in terms of their aesthetic and architectural values, one characteristic you would...

Read more...
Walking in Zócalo, Mexico City

During one of your days in Mexico City throw yourself to the streets of the old town around the Zócalo Square. Here are some places to stop by. The Palace of Fine Arts stands at the historical centre of Mexico City, a beautiful art nouveau style palace built in the beginning of 1900s; still serves as a centre of arts & culture. Inside you can see the wall paintings, the most famous ones, Orozco’s ‘Catharsis’, Diego Rivera’s ‘Man, controller of the universe’, originally ordered by the...

Read more...
Higienópolis
5 months ago Higienópolis

In every new city one travels to, after taking a tour and getting acquainted with the surroundings, one envisages one’s life there, and says to oneself, if I lived here, I would love to be based in this or that neighbourhood. This is one of the comparisons we make, like comparing that city’s main street to the main street of our home town-an internal conversation both inevitable and amusing, as if one would be moving over there tomorrow. In São Paulo where I have been several times for...

Read more...
St Sophia by night: European night of the Museums
5 months ago Hagia Sophia Museum

Your mood is different during the night time, right? So is the city’s mood, its streets’, monuments’, peoples’… A description of St Sophia in 6th century written by Paulos Silentarios* in 563: “Everything glitters- everywhere you cast your eyes, you behold a masterwork. Words are not enough to sing proper praise to this evening awakening. It seems as if a nocturnal sun is illuminating the majestic church.” and it goes on… After 16 centuries, on the night of the Museums 18th of May 2017, we...

Read more...
Road trippin’ the Turkish Riviera: from Kalkan to Kaş
5 months ago Kaş

You may meet somewhere a Turkish citizen who has traveled the world and will still say that even if he/she has seen the South East Asia, Caribbean, Pacific islands, some of the best beaches are located in Turkey. So I came to think about what is it that makes these Turkish bays so splendid? The first thing must be the special geographical location, that the two seas, the Aegean and the Mediterranean meet at the Southwest of Turkey and sharing the same geographical privilege with the Greek...

Read more...
The ‘petit’ neighbour Kastellorizo
3 months ago Kastellorizo

The Greek island Kastellorizo is a small island that can be reached from Kaş in about 20 minutes. It is a beautiful, small, postcard place with clear turquoise waters. Although I have been in Kas before it had never appeared to me to pass to this Greek island and I give it a try this time. The boats depart at 10 A.M. in the morning and you need to advise the Police a day before since they register your passport (and yes Turkish citizens need a Schengen Visa even if it’s a day trip). You can...

Read more...
Dreams Academy in a Mediterranean Village: the door to an alternative life

Located on a hill village in the Mediterranean region in Turkey, namely Cukurbag Village, the Dreams Academy is an open air complex converted from an old primary school. The Academy itself is based in Istanbul, here in Kaş, since 2014 it serves mainly outdoor activities for ‘Alternative Camp’ a programme for disabled and a project for adolescent girls who are socially disadvantaged. I spoke to Alper Akça, the project manager and asked him how his idea come into reality. It is such an...

Read more...
Mardin
5 months ago Mardin

Mosques, churches, terraces, tunnels… What we imagine before traveling to a city and what we remember afterwards, I guess that’s what we talk when we talk about cities. Before my visit to Mardin I had read about the city in the books of the famous Turkish poet/writer Murathan Mungan. In one of his books, ‘The Genies of Money’, he says that ‘in Mardin the use of the stones is very important. The streets are connected to one another by dark tunnels which are called ‘abbara’....

Read more...
Birding in reserva Laguna Nimez, El Calafate
5 months ago Reserva Laguna Nimez

Everything seems lonely here in Patagonia: lakes, mountains, people, even the birds. Here is a sightseeing point at the town centre itself, the Laguna Nimez bird reserve is located in El Calafate, downtown. If you walk on the main avenue Libertador and reach the corner where the park is (Intendencia Parque Nacional los Glaciares), and then take the road towards the lake and continue walking for about fifteen minutes you reach another avenue Calle 2 and there is the gate of the Laguna Nimez...

Read more...
Bosphorus line: Rumelihisarı

This neighbourhood takes its name from the castle built in the 15th century by the Conqueror of the City Fatih as a base before he started the siege of the city of Constantin. First of all just before the neighbourhood of Rumelihisarı you will find the Aşiyan cemetery. All literary souls lie here under the same sky. The cemetery of Aşiyan, located between the neighbourhoods of Bebek and Rumelihisari, looks right at the Bosphorus. Aşiyan means ‘home’ in Persian. It is the eternal home to ones...

Read more...
De Chirico in Pera Museum, ‘The Mystery of the World’
5 months ago Pera Museum

I met De Chirico at an exhibition at the Pera Museum. I found it surprising to find out that his roots are here in Istanbul; they go back to the Ottoman era. His father, born in Greece and originally from Italy, moved to Constantinopolis to work in train construction, and lived in Buyukdere (close to Sarıyer in Bosphorus); his mother is from Izmir, a coastal city in the Southwest. He spent his childhood in Greece, and for the most of his life lived in Italy, a Mediterranean mosaic. One of the...

Read more...
Ai Weiwei exhibition in Sabanci Museum

The Sabanci Museum in Istanbul is hosting China’s internationally known artist Ai Weiwei. His exhibition ‘Ai Weiwei on porcelain’ is shown on three floors of the museum with several porcelain objects like broken plates, little stones, columns,… If you are not informed about his activism, his life story, his stance against the hegemonic power, the things you will see at the exhibition might not make much sense to you. On one of the floors you enter a room surrounded by walls on which you see...

Read more...
Konya: a trip to the 13th century, capital of the Selcuki Empire
5 months ago Mevlana Museum

Most of the visitors come to this city in Central Anatolia to pay a visit to the mausoleum of Rumi. Especially in the last years the story of Rumi and Sems, two mystics who met here in Konya has become widely known. The Mausoleum of Rumi is always full of people. At one of the walls inside the Mausoleum of Rumi you’ll see the waw letter in Arabic alphabet: waw, this time two of the letters are looking at each other. The mystics interpret this as a representation of the fetal position of the...

Read more...
The colour of Rome: Air of Rome
5 months ago Piazza di S. Eustachio

Have you ever thought that cities have their own colours? In one of those days I let myself enjoy every single corner of the gorgeous city, passing by the same streets again and again in order not to miss any details. My friend takes me to a piazza, promising me to show something wonderful. We took one of the streets from the Piazza de la Rotonda where Pantheon is located, she said I should look down on the street until she tells me to raise my head. We arrived in a little square, took the...

Read more...
The 14th Biennial, William Kentridge and Orhan Pamuk at the Splendid Hotel

The 14th Biennial included the biggest of the Princess Islands in its itinerary and made this remote part of the city an exhibition centre within its conceptual framework ‘Salt Water’. The Splendid Hotel (as if it is taken out from the movie Grand Budapest Hotel), The Mizzi Mansion (which served as San Remo Hotel between 1930-40) and Trotsky House (The Yanaros Mansion) were the spaces where the works were exhibited. The South African artist William Kentridge whose works are exhibited in Hotel...

Read more...
Karakoy: Istanbul’s art district
4 months ago Karaköy

In the last period of the Ottoman Empire, towards the end of the 19th century, the place in today’s Karakoy known as Bankalar (Banks) Street, named after the word ‘voyvoda’ in the Slav language which means “lord, landlord,” was the place where the first banks as we know them today appeared; the bankers and money-changers in the old trade centers called ‘han’ used to keep the first samples of printed currency, ‘kaime’ in Ottoman, in safes. Today many art galleries have opened their door for...

Read more...
Ouro Preto: gold is found in Brazil
4 months ago Ouro Preto

The State of Minas Gerais (the Mines state) has some of the best preserved colonial towns of the country: Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, São João del Rei, naming some of them. Ouro Preto, the most visited one is located couple of hours from the capital city of the state Belo Horizonte. Cobble stone streets, colourful houses, the hills make it a postcard town. It mainly lives on tourism and as it is nested in a valley between mountains, in Ouro Preto one takes a step somewhat outside the scorching...

Read more...
Bali and Yogyakarta, an introduction
4 months ago Indonesia

I had my doubts about Bali, was I going to travel all the way to visit a honeymoon destination and sit in a resort to get a massage? Until one day I traveled for a writers and readers festival in Ubud which gathers every year at the end of October various writers, readers, journalists from around the world. The most famous tourist destination in Indonesia the island of Bali is quite big; I would recommend you to divide your stay between the mountain village of Ubud and the sea side like...

Read more...
Bangkok The Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho
4 months ago The Grand Palace

This complex of buildings has been the home of the Siam Kingdom since the 12th century. When you enter it, you start walking under domes and through courtyards that seem to go on forever like doors that open to infinity. It has many ornamental and architectural styles. The golden domes and columns look brighter than they are when they reflect sunlight. It feels like you have travelled to Alice in wonderland. Because they are asymmetrical, it is possible to get a point of view that reveals a...

Read more...
The Road to Huayna Picchu
4 months ago Huayna Picchu

When we arrived in Macchu Picchu, I walked in to the administration office at once to get down to business: “I have official permission to enter Machu Picchu requested from the Turkish Consulate and issued by the Ministry of Culture; what do I need to do?” I showed the document in my mailbox: ‘To whom it concerns, attached is the permission to enter Machu Picchu of Didem Dogan who will visit it on the 2nd of May.’ ‘But it is the 1st of May, today,’ said the attendant. ‘But what does it...

Read more...
Giacometti exhibition in São Paulo's Pinacoteca

Pinacoteca is in São Paulo’s Luz area in the old town, next to República; it stands just across the train station with its red coloured bricks. It’s relatively a ‘historical’ building in this new country, as its history goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. Just next to it there’s a nice big garden. The museum possesses a big collection of the Brazilian art, like this one in the picture, of Almeida Júnior, the painting of a guitar player and a woman next to the window. I saw...

Read more...
Velazquez, Las Meninas in Prado Museum

Prado Museum’s first floor, room number twelve, section Spanish Painting, the walls of the circular room is lined with portraits, right in the middle of the room a painting that differs from others. We see a party of nine people inside a room with a high ceiling surrounded by paintings on the walls, a little girl in the middle and next to her two teenage girls who look like they are taking care of her. On the right a dwarf, next to him a little boy or another dwarf, a dog is lying in front of...

Read more...
Bógota 39, Latin America’s new literary voices
4 months ago Bogotá

The UK based literature festival Hay had recently its Latin American gathering in the city of Cartagenas.Bogota 39 named Latin America’s promising writers under the age of forty who participated many activities within the festival. These writers are writers under the age of forty, with at least one published book, and they are the new voices, the new story-tellers of Latin America.In a country like Colombia or in any other country that witnessed the Latin American ‘boom’ in literature it...

Read more...
Tehran: The Golestan Palace and the National Museum

There are two must-see places in Tehran’s old town: The National Museum and the Golestan Palace. So many treasures are hidden in the silent corridors of this history and archeology museum. If you missed visiting Persepolis like me you may find many clues at the exhibition halls about this magnificent ancient civilisation. We see many valuable pieces brought from the city of Persepolis, which was founded in the 6th century B.C. as the capital city of the Persian Empire. We see the examples of...

Read more...
The Lion and the Sun, Šir o Xoršid and the Faravahar
4 months ago Golestan Palace

This figure that we saw on one of the walls of the Golestan Palace in Tehran is the Šir o Xoršid. It is the lion which bears the Sun on its body: this figure with origins in Babel mythology represents the period of the year that coincides with the Leo sign in astrology when the sunlight is at its strongest. The sunlight is at its strongest between the 20thof July and 20th of August and in this period the Sun moves into the Lion constellation. The same figure was adapted to Shih Islam during...

Read more...
From Tehran to Isfahan
4 months ago Isfahan Province

We are departing from Tehran by bus before sunrise. Since it was the spur of the moment, we could not find a seat on any flight. We are determined to travel for five hours just to spend a single day in Isfahan. Since the sun has not risen yet, travelling on a straight road in the dark feels like we are in a film stage similar to David Lynch movies. As the scenery is lighted up we realise we are going through deserts. The landscape spread before us is an unchanging image to the right and the...

Read more...
Van Gogh’s Starry Nights in Musée d’Orsay
3 months ago Gare Musée d'Orsay

We are in Orsay Museum. Following St Germain neighbourhood we walk along the river Seine, an old train station on the left hand side of the river is turned into a museum, famous with its impressionist painters’ collection, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh… The most significant novelty of the Impressionists was to paint the daily life. The second half of the 19th century, train stations, picnics, theatres… The reason Impressionists became so famous was not only their technical...

Read more...
Young Artists Festival at Samos Island
3 months ago Samos

The night has fallen, on our wooden banks we raise our heads to catch the shooting stars, around us are the olive and pine trees, while we listen to the 17th century Italian music sang by opera singers on the stage everything is just in perfect harmony to make this night special. The concert named Hortus Conclusus takes the 17the century Italian baroque music when a group of musicians asked what was the core of music, the part that was unchangeable and eternal to music art and interprets it...

Read more...
Young Artists Festival at Samos Island
3 months ago Samos

The night has fallen, on our wooden banks we raise our heads to catch the shooting stars, around us are the olive and pine trees, while we listen to the 17th century Italian music sang by opera singers on the stage everything is just in perfect harmony to make this night special. The concert named Hortus Conclusus takes the 17the century Italian baroque music when a group of musicians asked what was the core of music, the part that was unchangeable and eternal to music art and interprets it...

Read more...
Escher Exhibition Chiostro del Bramante
2 months ago Chiostro del Bramante

On one of the narrow streets and little piazzas that head to famous Piazza Navona is located Chiostro del Bramante. It was built in late 15th century as a monastery in Renaissance style, today it serves as a public art space and during my visit was hosting Dutch artist Escher’s exhibition. The traffic artist and graver Escher lived here in this city for twelve years in his youth and traveled through almost the whole country, the Italian country side was one of the main inspirations of his...

Read more...
Paris walks: From St Germain des Pres to Le Marais

A fresh breeze coming from the river as I step outside Rue de Seine in the neighbourhood of St Germain des Pres. It’s a mild December morning and we are having a somehow belated winter with the colours of autumn leaves all around. This neighbourhood has a literary heritage with all the famous characters hanging out at the cafés lined on the boulevard just across this street, today the bookstores are still packed with people and it’s hardly to see people looking at the screen of their mobile...

Read more...
33rd Sao Paulo Biennial

One of the main international contemporary art events in the world the São Paulo Biennial’s 33rd edition is taking place in Biennial Pavillon inside the Iberapuera Park from 7th of September to 9th of December. The pavilion itself, signed by legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer, is iconic; a huge building in rectangular shape from the outside has curved corridors which gives a different dimension to the exhibition. The Iberapuera park has other buildings designed by Niemeyer such as the...

Read more...
CCK: Centro Cultural Kirshner, Democracy at work
one month ago CCK

As you walk along the Puerto Madero district, the harbour district by the river, you come to the pedestrian avenue and turn left where you will see the splendid building that looks like standing in a Parisian postcard. The Cultural Center of Kirshner, taking its name from the former president of Argentina, used to be the main post office of the city and from 2015 on it has become one of the main public culture and art spaces. It has a concert hall, five auditoriums, eighteen halls, forty art...

Read more...
San Telmo, the art district- Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Contemporary Art
one month ago San Telmo

The neighbourhood of San Telmo which is mostly known for its flea and antique market on Sundays is also the art district of the city. Many art galleries are found in this area as well as two museums that are standing next to each other. The Contemporary Art museum of Latin America and the Modern Art Museum of Buenos Aires. As we see the brick wall exterior of the modern art museum we go inside to explore the big collection of the exhibition ‘A Tale of Two Worlds’ spread out into two floors....

Read more...
Paulista Avenue: Japan House, Casa das Rosas, SESC, Itaú Cultural
one month ago Avenida Paulista

A couple of public culture and art spaces on Paulista Avenue. We start by the Japan Houses located on Paulista 52, an art space to promote the Japanese culture (the second biggest Japanese community outside Japan lives in São Paulo). The exterior front is covered with a wooden platform, the building just behind it is covered with a graffiti of Niemeyer’s face. During our visit the exhibition of ‘Aromas and Tastes’ includes Japanese plastic artist Maki Ueda’s work where she hangs little glass...

Read more...
A day trip to Uruguay’s Colonia del Sacramento
one month ago Colonia del Sacramento

Right across the river, an hour ferry trip from Buenos Aires takes you to Colonia del Sacramento, the little town with historical quarter listed in the Unesco world heritage site. And it is worth the trip, once you take the ferry at the Puerto Madero Port in Buenos Aires, you arrive in an hour and a half - check the Buquebus or Colonia Express lines to see the schedule for several ferries per day- at the port of Colonia del Sacramento. The historical quarter is walking distance from the port....

Read more...