Articles

Crete

Crete

  Rethymno Days   We landed at the seaport of Heraklion, the principle city of Crete, sometime in early April. Gliding in, like a vast white sea bird, to rest next to the sepia arches of the city’s Venetian arsenal. But we leave that city’s charms – and its shabbiness – for later in our […]

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Athens

Athens

  I’ve come to show you the Street of Dreams It doesn’t stand out; it’s just a street like all the others of Athens It is the street where we live Small, insignificant, sad, tyrannical, and yet infinitely kind There is a lot of dirt, a lot of children, a lot of mothers, a lot […]

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Thrace

Thrace

The White Arrivers We arrived in Xanthi as the worst winter storms in over 50 years hit the Balkans. Blizzards, blocked roads, violent slurries of thick snow throughout all northern Greece. A church bell chimed through the darkened sky, splattered with snow, as we entered. And then, from somewhere on the hills over Xanthi, barely […]

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Krakow – Auschwitz

Krakow – Auschwitz

Prague again. Arriving at ten past three. We had slept the sleep of the dead on the train up from Vienna, and now had to bundle our groggy selves back to the Vysočany suburb and up 9 stories of brutal ex-Communist architecture to the warm waiting home of the Greek-Czechs. Despite us crashing in on […]

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Vienna – Bratislava

Vienna – Bratislava

Vienna, sometime before midnight. Out of the train station – burning behind us like a bonfire – and out into the city. And no one would take us in. Walking the dark streets, a sleety drizzle falling, every hotel was booked, everywhere full. I had once known Vienna pretty well. I had stayed in the […]

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Prague

Prague

The train to Prague whirled us full tilt in the direction of the western edge of the Slavic world. I had been given a tip before we boarded the train at Berlin’s Hauptbanhof to sit on the left hand side. “You’ll thank me when you get to the Elba” the passing passenger, a stranger on […]

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Berlin

Berlin

The first view of Germany was a confusion of woods and sparse villages. We had just crossed the border from Holland into Rhineland- Westphalia, surrounded by frozen mud fields and a pale sun, dulled by clouds, at a grim, austere, Bad Bentheim station. Here the Dutch engine on our train was unwanted – removed – […]

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Outward Bound – Amsterdam

Outward Bound – Amsterdam

The gamely cheerful girl took the final boarding pass – ours – and watched as the shuttle bus crossed the wet quay, round the loading trucks, from the railway into the boat. Water falling from the dark, overcast sky. The boat sat huge above the train, riding at anchor. Later, sometime after 11, we stood […]

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Salonica Train – England to Greece: the long way

Salonica Train – England to Greece: the long way

A journey back home from England to Thessaloniki.

Following great swathes of the old Orient Express route on seeper trains, a hint of muder and romance in the air. Stop-overs in the grand European cities of Empires’ past.
Or on rural trains through fields and plains in those mysterious regions between the Vienna Woods and the Black Sea.

A long detour round the back of Europe.

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North By Northwest Greece

North By Northwest Greece

Alexander the Great aimed for the Ends of the World and the Great Outer Sea. As did we. And we reached as far as Halkidiki and the Aegean Sea coast of Central Macedonia. Not bad. But it’s now time for us to turn and head back across the country. Homeward bound. From North to North […]

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