Dublin – Ireland

The utter absurdity of a 45-minute flight is seldom more apparent than when you’re standing in a line for passport control that takes approximately the same length of time to clear. Indeed, upon leaving central Edinburgh, I spent considerably more time in the airport than in the air, although that didn’t stop Ryanair attempting to peddle every type of snack and airline gizmo in the approximately 25 seconds in which we weren’t taking off or landing. Continue reading

Edinburgh – Scotland

As promised, it was raining when my plane landed in Edinburgh. The weather forecast for my stay wasn’t especially favourable – and it looked like this was going to set the tone for my trip as I rode the tram into the city centre. Then something unexpected happened; as I stepped out of the tram at York Place, the vengeful spring sunshine burst through the heavy clouds in a million golden columns of light and the afternoon breeze chased the fog away, leaving a beautiful sunny afternoon behind. Edinburgh is a stunning city even in the worst weather, but in the post-rain halo it left me speechless.

You know, I was joking when I wrote that it was my Australian curse to have the sun follow me everywhere I go, but I’m kind of starting to believe it.  Continue reading

Paris VII: The Paris Awakens

Among its many distinctions and decorations, Paris is a city of travellers. Personally, I’ve now been there something like twelve or thirteen times, which sounds impressive until you realise that a third of those have been stopovers, transits, airport hops and train-changes. I’m not a fan of rushing from station to station without a rest – especially in a place as great as Paris – so these days I tend to spend a day or two in the capital each time I go somewhere and chip away as much as I can at that massive list of things to do.

This transit-hub status also means that I very nearly always have friends in Paris. Often – but not always – these are foreigners like myself who are on their way somewhere else. Sometimes they’re people who are studying nearby. Very occasionally they’re French friends who can motivate themselves to leave home and visit the baffling spectacle that’s right on their doorstep. I never will understand the tendency of Europeans not to travel when everything is so close. Continue reading