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

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,…

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…

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…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/ Set

This week’s challenge asks us to post our favourite sunrise or sunset. Needless to say, the most iconic sunrise I have ever experienced was near Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I’m amazed that it has been more than four years since I travelled to Siem Reap. I’d like to go back to Cambodia one of these…

Water, water, everywhere- a paean to Roman aqueducts

The excerpt below is taken from the book “Rome in Africa” by Susan Raven in the chapter titled “Conquest of a Country”. “There is a legend that a Roman soldier fell in love with a native (Carthaginian) princess, who as proud as Dido, would have nothing to do with him; she would never marry him,…

The Wander

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘2312’ humans have colonised a bevy of planets and satellites in the solar system. Even Mercury, despite its proximity to the sun, has a satellite city on wheels that slowly moves in pace with the rotation of the planet so that it is always out of the brunt of direct sunlight….

Where in the empire have I been?

At the height of its power, the ancient Roman empire stretched for an area of nearly five million square kilometres all around the Mediterranean sea and in the UK. The common thread that connected all these diverse places was Roman imperial rule. The first ancient Roman monument I visited were the Roman baths at Bath,…

Baths of Caracalla- Some facts, photos and statistics

Way back in 2012, I wrote about the Baths of Caracalla following my first visit to one of the most monumental ancient Roman ruins in Italy. I learnt a lot more about the monument during a recent re-visit and I thought it would be interesting to share some of these facts with you. Baths (called…

But Marcus Agrippa didn’t fecit

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most iconic buildings. It’s visually impressive and architecturally innovative. Considering it was built in the early 2nd Century CE, it was quite a revolutionary building. The inscription on the outside of the building says Marcus Agrippa built it during his third term as consul but this was another pantheon….