Tag: travel and tourism

Monkey Sanctuary

I’ll leave it to Rob to write about burst pipes in the deep freeze of a Toronto winter, and the generosity and kindness of neighbours and friends (Andrew, Jackie, Boyd, you know who you are). Instead, a word simply to note our brief escape from the city, here on the other side of the planet, for a night away, with dinner and breakfast, at The Cradle Hotel and Restaurant in the Magaliesberg. Accommodations, in a beautifully designed and modern, minimalist log cabin, were excellent; dinner gained mixed reviews (we suspect it was a skeleton staff for the holidays, and whoever […]

Drakensberg Wrap

In previous posts I’ve shared a few images of the Drakensberg landscape, in the area around the Amphitheatre and the Royal Natal Park, both in colour and in black and white. This final post on our holiday last month focuses, instead, on what we did, and where we were. We stayed, as I might have mentioned, at Berg View Cottages, high on a hill overlooking the distant Amphitheatre. The owners keep miniature horses, a source of infinite entertainment and delight to the children of a Dutch couple who were visiting. In the evening, hares came down from the hills and […]

Ardmore Ceramic Art, Midlands Meander

Ok, so you’ve meandered through the Natal Midlands, you’ve stopped off for a coffee, or a glass of wine at Ardington Winery, you’ve pulled over to take photos of hills, of valleys, of dairy cows contentedly doing whatever it is that dairy cows do on an August morning or afternoon, and then you turn down a winding dirt road, and swing off into a driveway, and there – across a placid pond and beneath the bucolic hills in the distance – what do you find? You find the wildest, craziest, most lunatically imaginative art at Ardmore Ceramics. Now, if you […]

Hillfold Pottery, Midlands Meander

You reach Lindsay Scott’s Hillfold Pottery in Lidgetton in the Natal Midlands by following a dirt road into the hills, climbing through forest, then turning off down a narrow rutted track that makes you wonder why, oh why, do you no longer have the Landy, until suddenly the woodland opens and you are in a sunny clearing where a low bungalow awaits, and the studio beckons. The man himself was there, reserved but gracious, and while he might have been of few words the work spoke volumes. We bought a piece for ourselves, and one or two smaller pieces for […]

O, Pretoria!

These days I work, not in downtown Toronto, but in Pretoria, Gauteng – administrative capital of South Africa, a small city with Boer Republic roots and an African feel, a place of substantial Anglo-Dutch architecture from the nineteenth century commingled with brutalist Afrikaner buildings from the 1970s, and the litter, taxi mayhem and crumbling sidewalks of Maputo or (who knows, since I haven’t been there) Nairobi. I go there, most days, by Gautrain, the gleaming Bombardier-built high-speed commuter train that links Johannesburg with Pretoria and the O.R. Tambo International Airport. Most days, since I try to travel outside of rush […]

Habana Vieja: two murals

Cuba’s history, of course – by which I mean only its modern history, which we can date back to the first Spanish warships, sailing off the island in the late 1400s – long predates the Revolution. As Richard Gott explains, in his dry but absorbing Cuba, A New History (published in 2004) there has always been trouble: privateers, conquistadores, slavery, wars and coups, poverty and excess, rebellions and the mafia pock-mark the narrative like bullet-holes in a wall. Visiting Havana, in this sense, means descending into an archeological dig. At the surface is the Revolution, with its heroic moment, followed by […]

The dark side of Havana

Once more to Havana…. So far, I’ve tried not to fall into the trap that the English novelist George Eliot described more than a hundred years ago: seeing other people’s misery as ‘picturesque.’ I’ve described, and shown, the Hotel Inglaterra, posted images of the magnificent Grand Theatre and other architectural triumphs, monuments and renovations, and avoided overt comment on – well, on the dark side of Havana. By which I mean, not its flawed grandeur, or its magnificent decay, but its political system. In a word: communism. Because one of the things you can’t help noticing is the drab, dreary, official lexicon of […]

Havana’s Magnificence

Because it is a popular cliche to see in Havana only what is strange and exotic, ‘a magnificent ruin,’ one task of the visiting photographer – the photographer who is a traveller, not a tourist, a humanitarian, not a voyeur – is to reveal something of that city’s other nature: magnificent restorations, as in the Habana Grand Theatre, Art Deco masterpieces in the form, for example, of the Edificio Bacardi – the Bacardi Building – the intricate, ornate balconies and arches of another era. With this in mind, here are a few images.

‘Welcome Visitors’

From the Fish River Canyon, Luderitz and Sossusvlei, our 2006 journey in the Land Rover through southern and central Namibia took us to the disconcertingly turn-of-the-century ‘little Bavaria’ of Swakopmund, on the coast. We camped on the beach, and did day trips north, towards the Skeleton Coast, and south, to Walvis Bay, with its flamingoes, bird life and salt factories, as well as inland, to the dunes. Looking back at the photographs from our journey makes me think about the difference between travel and tourism: tourism, to my mind, is about going to distant places to shop, sightsee, and take selfies, while travel […]