Category Archives: Travel

Bookshops – Jorge Carrión

Why do bookshops matter? How do they filter our ideas and literature? In this inventive and highly entertaining extended essay, Jorge Carrion takes his reader on a journey around the world, via its bookshops. His travels take him to Shakespeare & Co in Paris, Wells in Winchester, Green Apple Books in San Francisco, Librairie des Colonnes in Tangier, the Strand Book Store in New York and provoke encounters with thinkers, poets, dreamers, revolutionaries and readers.

Bookshops is the travelogue of a lucid and curious observer, filled with anecdotes and stories from the universe of writing, publishing and selling books. A bookshop in Carrion’s eyes never just a place for material transaction; it is a meeting place for people and their ideas, a setting for world changing encounters, a space that can transform lives.

Written in the midst of a worldwide recession, Bookshops examines the role of these spaces in today’s evershifting climate of globalisation, vanishing high streets, e-readers and Amazon. But far from taking a pessimistic view of the future of the physical bookshop, Carrion makes a compelling case for hope, underlining the importance of these places and the magic that can happen there. A vital manifesto for the future of the traditional bookshop, and a delight for all who love them.

This was picked up on a whim when it first came out. Suckered into it, I’ll admit, by rave reviews from the media. which were hurriedly found on the trusty phone whilst protectively holding the last copy close.  This sounds like it should be a good book to fuel the passion of a reader for (more) books and the shops they find themselves in. Sadly I found myself underwhelmed after a couple of chapters.

It is an interesting read in parts, celebrating bookshops is a great idea of course but the disconnect for this reader came partly from the lack of small bookshops, they are forgotten with all the razzmatazz of their bigger cousins.  Showcasing well known or popular bookshops is good but the lesser known and equally (arguably more interesting) smaller shops would create, not only a nice contrast but are also something that more people can relate to, especially as they have their own charm and mysticism.

As this is a translation, it’s understandable that some of the phrases seem a bit out of place, however quite a lot of it feels like notes taken and left in the final draft.  There are many occasions when authors, shops and subjects are touched upon in the same paragraph with bewildering speed and change of subject.  It’s fairly sprawling in its name dropping both of obscure and common authors, publishers and so on but it feels like a very mixed bag overall.

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Posted by on 19/03/2018 in Essays, Travel


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Posh Nosh

On my travels I came across this wonderful Swiss restaurant, Vieux Chalet.  Set back far from Manila, in the hills of Antipolo, this charming place brings a slice of Europe to the locals and has a wonderful ambience and setting.  Outside there is a lovely atmosphere of silence, only broken by the sound of nature.  Inside friendly hosts and relaxing music compliment the wonderful food and intimate surroundings, the Beef Filet Mignon is definitely recommended.

There is another reason to head over to the restaurant and that is to photograph the skyline of Manila.  Sadly it was too challenging for my photography skills and the scope of the phone camera too.  The openness of the view is impressive, especially during the sunset and reminds the diner that it is good to be out of busy city and appreciating life in peace.

Then there was this amazing doggie, named Beast. He happily and patiently accepted all of our attentions despite the heat, which must be intolerable in the summer. He was last seen ambling off into the distance to where, we were told by the owners, he knows of a cooler place to rest.  That ambling backside was perhaps the most enduring image of an altogether wonderful experience.


Posted by on 07/03/2018 in The Philippines, Travel


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And Out the Other Side

To the final post from this wonderful museum and more variety and intriguing works were to be seen,

and to kick things off, there is nothing like a bit of a nod to Europe to start, even it is of the dark days…

I love this painting for really showing not only the imagination of the artist but the crazy ideas we all possess that are waiting to get out.

This one was about an exploding woman made of cheese, if memory serves me correctly.  I prefer the idea of the mainstream traditional media having egg all over themselves thanks to their increasingly questionable news reporting. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 27/02/2018 in Art, Photography, The Philippines, Travel


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Further inside the Pintô Art Museum

Continuing the tour through various galleries of the Pintô Art Museum and the diverse work of Filipino artists took a slightly more whimsical, wooden direction this time.

I am rubbish at filters so sorry if these are again poor quality, it is partly that and also the lack of light which is a constant struggle to someone clueless when it comes to such things.

I like the wooden, framed effects of this artwork.  Overall this was my favourite gallery for consistency in theme. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 26/02/2018 in Art, Photography, The Philippines, Travel


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Inside the Pintô Art Museum

First of all, apologies for my poor photograph taking, hopefully some will do justice to the pieces and also  for not being able to tell you what artist did what. Due to the short nature of battery life over here, it’s take as many photos as you can and hope you get everything you want.  With that out of the way, welcome to eclectic creations of Filipino artists.

After yesterday’s post about exterior shots, it was time to enter the building.  Pintô means door in Tagalog, which is a fitting name for this place. As everything is subjective to the viewer’s perspective, it could mean a whole host of things both in the philosophical and artistic sense.

There are six spacious galleries – and assorted outside art pieces which are dedicated to showing off the talents and direction of Philippine art and it is a fascinating study.  It was well worth the hours we spent there, especially seeing the enthusiasm of our fellow explorers. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 22/02/2018 in Art, Photography, The Philippines, Travel


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Pintô Art Museum, Exterior

I love a good museum, especially one that is housed in a lovely building. On a Sunday living up to its name Crissy and I, took advantage of an offer from cousin-in-law (if that is the right term) Jerrold and girlfriend Kim to explore the Pinto Art Museum.

What a find it was! Entering through a small gated archway, I could have been mistaken for thinking I’d ended up in the Mediterranean countries.  The greenery and the whitewashed buildings were a world away from the glass and steel buildings of the everyday.  The addition of a little chapel near the entrance was a nice juxtaposition of historical art, leading as it would, to modern art.

I could find no information about the actual buildings but I think that adds to the aura of the place.  The relaxing atmosphere leaves the adventurer free to explore and stumble upon the pieces as haphazardly as one wishes. I imagine sitting for a time at the mini amphitheatre watching a play in the dusk breeze would be amazing.

With chairs and beds placed around, as well as some statues and sculptures to keep one satiated between galleries this is a truly wonderful place to seek out and appreciate nature as well as art. Read the rest of this entry »


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Early Shots

I have returned after a wonderful wedding and honeymoon week.  Photos will be coming soon of course, there have been so many posted on Facebook already and once the official ones are through, there will be a couple of posts coming up with the photos that really encapsulate the day.  Until then here are a few photos – in no particular order –  of my travels so far.

A visit to a beach – especially these beaches – in the company of wonderful people is always good. Added to great food, swimming at night, a thousand stars in the canopy of the sky and a super moon; followed by paddling about in the morning and enjoying the view of the sun glinting off the clear water, it was perfect…except for the grimmest toilet and shower facilities I have encountered in a long time.  Eagle eyed viewers will recognise the beach as being just a stone’s throw away from the beach I went to last year Costa de Oro.

Intramuros (within the walls) is also known as the Walled City, so being because the Spanish built the wall in the 16th century to protect themselves from attack in those days when it was a remote outpost of the Empire.  The span of this fortifications is impressive and there are still some cannons lining the walls as well as a sign warning about flying golf balls from the local course. There is a fascinating bookshop amongst other things in this part of Manila, which tempted me with lots of local literature.  One day I will be back for handfuls of that, as there seemed to be some enticing and powerful works waiting for my eyes.

Twin Lakes is a picturesque spot overlooking Lake Taal (which contains the second most active volcano in The Philippines, although Mt Mayon is stealing all the headlines at the moment), here we spent some time photographing, the wind was a bit chill and we had other places to go so didn’t enjoy any of the places to eat whilst taking in the view.  We didn’t really explore the resort but it was nice just to take in the clean air and the natural beauty of the area.  The highlands of Tagaytay are considered cold, with the average minimum temperature for January being 18 degrees.  The wind keeps it feeling cool sometimes but is considered pretty cold for Filipinos.
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Posted by on 07/02/2018 in Photography, The Philippines, Travel


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