Ceramic Ceiling Ornament- Park Guell

This ceiling decoration caught my eye when visiting Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona last month. This is located at the hall with many columns that was once designed to be the community hall. Somehow the decoration is almost emblematic of the designs that Gaudi envisaged. Bold, multi-coloured and fluid.

It’s #worldbookday today

Time to talk about some books I’ve read in the last few weeks methinks. Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson Yes Kim Stanley Robinson, the science fiction author who talks about habitable planets and generational spaceships wrote a story set 30,000 years ago with a cro-magnon as a protagonist. And guess what? I loved it. This…

My audience with an imperial couple in Ravenna, Italy

It must have been 2004 or 2005 when I first read the Sarantine Mosaic series of books by Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay. Set in ‘Sarantium’- a loose parallel fantasy world of Byzantium, the books follow the journey of a mosaicist Caius Crispus from Varenna (Ravenna in real life) as he travels to the imperial…

Bologna and its porticoes

At first you don’t notice it, walking down the Via dell’Independencia. After all you’re just following the herds late on a Saturday afternoon. After about 10 minutes it suddenly hits you. You’ve been walking on what you think is the pavement and yet this pavement has a roof and really the only time you lose…

Moon and the Arch

The Roman Arch and the waxing moon sighted at El Djem Amphitheatre in Tunisia

Temple to Juno Caelestis

When I first came across “Temple of Caelestis” in the map to the ruins of Dougga (Tunisia), I mistook it for a temple to Ceres- the Roman Goddess of Harvest (equivalent of Demeter). It took me quite some time to realise my mistake and to understand that Caelestis was actually the shortened form of ‘Juno…

Mountains of the Mind

“Mountains are only contingencies of geology.” The first work I read by Robert Macfarlane was his essay about walking the Broomway. Reading it, I got the sense that this man could write about dragging a shopping cart from his doorstep to the end of the street and could still have people hooked to every word,…

10 reasons why Trajan deserves your vote as Rome’s best Emperor

Except Augustus of course. Nobody beats Augustus. Augustus is God. If you took a street poll asking people to list names of Roman politicians/ rulers they know, you’re likely to come up with something like Julius Caesar Mark Anthony Augustus Brutus Hadrian Most recall these names either thanks to Shakespeare and a lot of people…

Meanwhile in Dubai

We’ve got a new tourist attraction that opened up earlier this year. Yes, this is the Dubai Frame. When I moved to Dubai in May 2016, the Frame was still in its early stages of construction and I remember thinking it looked at that point like an oil rig. It is an impressive structure meant…

Some recent reads

Truth be said, I read far fewer books in March than I did in January. This is because of a combination of being away from base, being busy at work and simply reading books slower. However, over the last couple of months, I did manage to read a few interesting books. After I finished some…

Sagrada Familia- The monumental church still in construction

It is almost impossible to visit Barcelona and not come across the works of Antoni Gaudi or at least come across his name. I got my first glimpse of the monumental Sagrada Familia as we were descending into Barcelona El Prat airport. Although I could see the monument clearly my phone camera refused to take…