Postcard Series – Bergen


It’s 10 o’clock at  night and the sun is shinning bright. The cafes and restaurants are full, dinners are being served. Small round and square tables are covered by large umbrellas protecting patrons from the midnight sun. This is so weird!

Bergen, June 2007

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I’ve taken to writing (myself) postcards when travelling. I’ve this image in my head, of me, thirty-forty years down the line, going through stacks of yellowing postcards, and thinking about the good old days, a cup of hot chai in hand.

Cricket Island – Vis, Croatia

In a valley on an Island, six almost cricket teams gather around the vineyards for the VIS – the Vis International Sixes, a Cricket tournament enjoyed with a liberal sampling of the local vino, multiple helpings of regional delicacies, and some sunburn along the blue Adriatic.

There’s an interesting mix of Croatian and English around the ground. Who knew this game could translate so well. Cricket first came to the island in the 1800s, by way of sea and military design. Then it was a way for bored English officers to kill time, now it provides a much needed escape from city-bred cubicles.

There’s everything you’d expect from a cricket tournament – mid-over conferences, heckling spectators – usually teammates heckling fellow teammates, all in good spirit of course, hungover players, confusion with the rules and scoring, stumbles, fumbles and some stunning cricket, lost cricket balls, a bunch of colourful characters and colourful language, even a pitch invasions (this time of the canine variety).

For some players this is a first – there are a few here who’ve never held bat or ball before. Others are old warriors, with many injuries to show and many stories to share. There are players who are just out of school, there are others who have crossed retirement age. It takes all kinds to make a good cricket match.

The teams are squaring off for a chance at to get their hands on a set of hand carved trophies. It doesn’t happen in many tournaments that one of the team captains is also the one to create the tournament trophies. The trophies are carved from old wine barrels, much like the scorecard. Cricket is all about maintaining the consistency.

Once the runs have been chased down, the victory march completed, the ground opens up to practice and a bit of a fun. The scuffed red cricket balls are now joined by chewed up tennis balls, and chasing dogs. Equipment is tidied up. Scorecards are tallied. Bottle openers are forced into action. And the valley is swarmed with post match analysis, strategies and plans for the tournament next year.

Really Short Notes from a Wine Tasting Weekend in Istria

  • I’m off to Istria with the Brava Wine Company, run by the lovely April. She’s a smart cookie; she has made drinking wine a career. I’m paying attention.
  • Istria is gorgeous. All the delicious wine they make here is just the boozy icing on the cake.
  • Making good wine is about a combination of things – passion, dedicated effort, luck, weather. Drinking good wine is just common sense.
  • At some point it comes down to taking note or drinking more wine; more wine always wins.
  • April pulls out notes of dried plum. Someone else on the table tastes violets. I  stick with what I know – “oh yum!”
  • Each time I pour out the wine, my glass get refilled. This is by far my most favourite magic trick.
  • Mixing wines is actually a fantastic idea.
  • Wine tasting = no hangover. Eureka!
  • When you come back with more alcohol than clothes in your bag, you know you’ve done something right.

Istrian Bottles of Wine


Spring is nudging into Croatia, clearing the sky, painting it blue, much like the sea. The season is still a few months away. Soon these shores will fill up with human clutter, but for now it’s just us, the lapping waves and the fat gulls. I am here to explore the Istrian wine trail, along with a few friends, and I’m  parched.

The first drop of wine presents itself at 11:00am, and that’s only because the silly GPS insisted we take the long route, across vineyards, past shiny new stone mansions, and over dirt roads. But we are are finally here, at a small upcoming winery in Poreč.

Istrian families have a long and rich wine making history. While most make a few liters of their own wine, a few have turned it into successful businesses, converting their farms and family names into well known brands, best enjoyed with bit of cheese.

A glass of wine. And then another. A sip, a splash, a gulp. One for the road, and then one more. And then one more because it all tastes so good. Wine the colour of floating roses, the colour of blood red rubies, white with swirling flecks of gold, and a white that tastes like a liquid orchard. I drink them all.

We move from one wine to another, quicker than I can keep up. At one point I stop taking notes; I can’t be bothered with any distractions when there’s wine to polish off. Every few minutes we raise our glasses to the chorus of živjeli,  and then we begin all over again.

Postcard Series – Amsterdam


Yesterday, I had a space-cake; I spent my day in an exploding kaleidoscope. Now I’m standing in front of Van Gogh’s best work. It’s a dizzy whirl of colours and emotions, pain and joy, each cut, stabbed, smudged and gently kissed by a stroke of his brush. The space-cake was fine, but this is what I guess they call a real high.

Amsterdam, July 2011

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I’ve taken to writing (myself) postcards when travelling. I’ve this image in my head, of me, thirty-forty years down the line, going through stacks of yellowing postcards, and thinking about the good old days, a cup of hot chai in hand.

A Matter of Perspective

I’m floating above the world in an open basket. The sun is staring back, bright eyed, and a chunky layer of fog guides us along the way.

Around us other balloons float up and down, weaving a unique colour-coordinated symphony in the bright blue sky. It’s the whoosh of burning propane and the crackling radio (traffic control) that keeps me grounded, reminds me that this is real, keeps me from floating away on an escapist fantasy.

Quietly, steadily, we climb up, up, up. I stand on my tip toes and look down; squares of fields, zigzagging crop lines, crooked rooftops, fairy chimneys, open nests, they all grow smaller, and strangely more magnificent. Looking down, shadows grow lighter and crevasses open up. I see shapes, layers and personalities that were invisible before, hidden in the mundane and routine. I see beauty where I saw boredom before. I see what the birds see.

I should be scared of the drop, instead I feel a soothing calm take over. I feel a wave of inspiration, hope. Everything, even thought the same, is so very different. It’s a matter of perspective, I guess.