The Origins of Travel: Grace Under Pressure

  We are often told that travel is freedom. It’s a romantic view of what is essentially leisurely migration. I don’t see it that way. Not anymore. Wanderlust: one of the most beautiful words in the English language (and typically of Germanic origins) is an evocative word that breathes mountain air and wistful breezes. But…

The Voyages of a Devoted Reader

Literary Travel Guide to Europe and the Americas   Travel guides. Is there anything more miserable, more cliché-making, complacent and sheepish than those small, compact dictionaries-of-places that you can conveniently, nay embarrassingly, carry in your pockets? All you need to scream out ‘tourist’ even louder is a sun-hat, bermuda shorts and sandals. What happened to…

My Favourite Passages From The Shadows of Paradise

    I   Writing. A piece of fucking writing, Johnny mumbled to himself with awe-struck delight as he walked back to his seat. For a brief, intense time after that Johnny started telling the world, with the typically local graceless bravado, that he was going to be a writer! He suddenly spent hours reading,…

3 Tips On How To Eat Local

  And why is it important to eat local when you’re abroad? Why not just go where fellow tourists go, in places made by locals, for tourists? These are run-of-the-mill questions that inspire an existential answer. At least, if you’re existentially minded. And if you travel, you probably are, even if you don’t know it….

5 Lessons Learned After Running Away From Toledo

  Ever notice the apathy on the faces of people who say, about a holiday, or an experience, even a marriage: “Been there, done that?” No one says that to brag or celebrate; it’s dry sarcasm meant to topple and politely insult. I was never one for clichés. I don’t like tired expressions. And yet,…

Blood in the Sand

Travel Essay on Bullfighting and Creativity Theatre and cinema are the only other art forms that demand such grand arenas. Myself and thousands of people crammed into the shady seats of that red-brick amphitheatre of Madrid; here to watch a performance that lies somewhere between art and sport and incorporates the best and worst of…

Madrid: Salsa and Tacos

    Madrid has been described as the most Spanish of cities – a capital who, like a mother, gives up her own identity and ambition for the sake of her children. There are very little things you could call Madrileño. Maybe churros, the callos de Madrid, cocido Madrileño and a few other dishes. For…

Travel Essay on Chiaroscuro Writing

  The Gran Via, the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol – these are places that dwarf you, make you feel like an ant standing at the threshold of the cosmos. It’s not just their size that makes you feel miniscule; it is their splendour, the regality, the life and living they can host, coliseums of…

Little and Often: Eating in Madrid

  Coming from a Maltese gastronomic culture good food for me means good portions. Seldom do you go to a Maltese restaurant and feel like you’re climbing a proverbial Everest. Upon leaving you notice the rest of the diners loosening their belt, huffing like a pregnant woman, and drinking copious amount of digestifs-cum-grenades. So to…

Hemingway’s Loss: The Hardest of Feasts

Feast of St. Gaetan, Hamrun, Malta   “Their chief occupations are feasting, fighting, and making love, and playing the most beautiful music.” WB Yeats   I cannot claim to know what my townsmen get up to in the privacy of their homes when the beautiful music stops and their bedrooms beckon, but as for the…