Cobh: Titanic, Lusitania and other sad stories of this picturesque town in the south of Ireland

If you’ve been following my Irish adventures, you already know why I chose Cobh as my operational base for the south of Ireland. And also that I spent almost half a day trying to get my hair cut in that small town. If you don’t know, read about if here.

So I guess it’s time I share with you the lovely things I discovered about Cobh. And why it is well worth a visit, if you’re ever in the south of Ireland. (more…)

Hidden danger - Remembering Justin Alexander Shetler

Nearly a year has gone by, since the American trekker Justin Alexander Shetler went missing in the Himachal Pradesh, North India.

In fact, he disappeared barely one year ago and he already became just another name on a list. The long list of those adventurous travelers who go missing while exploring off the beaten track places. The list of the somehow “peculiar” people, who don’t strictly follow the rules and patterns of common social behaviour. Those who aim higher. Those who want to transcend.

Warning tales of travelers’ death and disappearance are constantly brought to us by the media. In the wake of another mysterious death at Koh Tao, Thailand’s “Death Island“, I was reminded of Justin’s story and started thinking about some hidden dangers in the travelers’ path. Actually, in all our paths. (more…)

A day in Cobh and my new Asian-Irish haircut

On my recent visit to Ireland I stayed for a few days in Cobh, a picturesque sea-side town, a few kms from Cork.

I arrived in Ireland 3 days beforehand and was staying in a lovely little hotel in Cobh, on top of a hill, overlooking the bay. I felt blessed with that glorious view, over breakfast, every morning. A hot plate of porridge or a comforting full Irish Breakfast and I was ready to tackle another day.

But after a couple of site-seeing days, with quite a few kms in between, that particular day I woke up feeling lazy.

Over breakfast, allowing my thoughts to wander over the blue water, hovering like a seagull, I decided to have a laid back day and simply stayed in Cobh. (more…)

Have you been hibernating for the Winter? Well, Spring is here!

Have you been hibernating for the Winter? I have. There’s this general apathy I’ve felt for the last few months. And I just can’t seem to shake it off. Do you feel the same?

Firstly it was Xmas, and New Year, and evaluating travel prospects for 2017. Early in January I had a feeling this was going to be a year of beginnings. And I still do. But I’m getting impatient waiting for them, though… (note to self: have to work on my anxiety control capacity)

Secondly, some annoying budgetary constraints made me give up (for now) on my travel project for February. I didn’t tell you about it as it came crumbling down pretty early in the beginning of the year. It was quite the bummer as I had completely set my mind to it. Oh, well… It got shoved back into the drawer, waiting for better days.

But now, Spring is finally coming! Hurrah!

And, although my budgetary constraints still bug me, the monsoon is beginning to drive me once again.

In other words, my wanderlust is calling, loud and clear.

Yet I’m still divided between some other emerging interests – which have taken up most of my free time lately – and the call of the “road”.

Unfortunately I don’t have any vacation days until the end of April.

On the other hand, I don’t need vacation days to explore my surroundings, right? There are tons of things to do, not far from home. And I tend to neglect that.

Plus, the last weekends have been rather rainy and I don’t feel like getting out of the house.

But I really must put a stop to this hibernation mode. Enough is enough! I’m usually not this lazy!

So, I’d better get started planning, don’t you think?

Any suggestions?

From Italy to Switzerland: Riding the Centovalli train to Locarno

In October 2014 I spent 3 days in Lake Maggiore, Italy (read about it here) and took the opportunity to ride the Centovalli all the way to Locarno, on the Swiss part of the lake. It was a magic ride.

The Centovalli Railway is a panoramic train that connects the Italian city of Domodossola to the Swiss-Italian city of Locarno, by lake Maggiore.

It crosses the Hundred Valleys’ region (Centovalli), passing deep ravines and narrow viaducts, up in the mountain tops.

(more…)

Georgian religious chant, in Aramaic language

Why did I fell in love with Georgian culture?

Here is one very good example…

Georgian polyphonic religious chants were originated in the IX and X centuries. Usually the highest voice provides the melody and is supported by two other voices.

A curiosity: in the district of Mtskheta (a few kms from Tbilisi) there is a big community of Christian Assyrians, who still speak Aramaic.