Julian’s Journeys

Travel is an amazing privilege, you probably realise that now you’ve been deprived of it. I know I do. We should never take it for granted. I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.

Julian’s Journeys is a collection of 34 travel stories. These stories are part memoir, part travelogue, and part revelation about the effect travel has on me.

The tales are very local – in Italy, the nun at a bus station in Catania in Sicily was incredibly knowledgeable about the local delicacy, mortadella. I was waiting for a bus to the beautiful town of Taormina with views over Mount Etna, the active volcano. Later in the day, the nun’s recommendation proved accurate.
In Bulgaria, I became slowly drunk when a local villager offered me the opportunity to sample his homemade slivovitz in his garden – all the while we wrote down football results on a piece of paper as the sun beat down from a blue sky.
I report a conversation I had with a super-smooth carpet-seller in Istanbul. He was giving me directions to the major tourist sights and, strangely enough, all those directions went past his shop. How amazing is that?

Quick travel stories

This book should give you something to smile about when you’re at home longing for a little bit of escapism. You can still travel with books like this one.

All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the stay-at-home-traveller who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Vancouver, Cape Town and the Baltic countries, while sitting in their other favourite armchair.
Visit Vancouver and its surrounding areas – go hiking in rain forest twenty minutes from the downtown core, catch the ferry to the Sunshine Coast – you can’t get there by road – and tour Victoria the capital of British Columbia. 

Next travel to Cape Town with its colourful history, encapsulated in the ethnically diverse Bo Kaap district. In this part of Cape Town the coloured houses are even more breathtaking than the views of Table Mountain. Read about the conversations you could have in the market in Cape Town’s Greenmarket Square. 
Finally, journey to the independent countries of the Baltic and discover the splendid churches of the capitals Tallinn and Riga where the architecture is breathtaking and the number of tourists is still relatively few.
Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

9 Greek Islands – Patmos

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to.

I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.

If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover the places I visited and the experiences I had. 

Greek Islands

This book keeps it simple and covers nine Greek Islands: Rhodes, Symi, Patmos, Samos, Syros, Paros, Tinos, Delos, and Mykonos. They are all different and all lovely.

This is an excerpt on Patmos.

I was lucky enough to see a Greek Orthodox service at the Apokalypsis monastery, only attended by local people. If you’re used to Catholic services then the Greek Orthodox version might well seem rather informal. The priest wore a white ‘dress’ decorated with Greek crosses. He had a large, bushy grey beard and hair to match. He spent most of the service in an inner room chanting while two men, members of the congregation not garbed in priestly attire but definitely part of the service, on the opposite side of the inner half of the chapel were counterpoint to his chants. People attending the service had lit candles when coming in to the chapel, but these were replaced every 10 minutes by one of the two men helping to run the service, who would replace each thrown-away candle with a new one. There were a few chairs in the inner part of the chapel and there was no music, the only sounds were the three human voices.

Periodically, worshippers would walk around the icons kissing each one in turn and then either kissing or running their prayer beads over the beaten silver surrounding the two gaps in the rock used by St John. At no time were all the people still. The priest spoke rapidly in a near whisper, his voice carrying around the chapel easily, but there was never any reply from the congregation as a whole, just from the two men. Theirs was the only sound I could hear – there was no noise from outside.

Occasionally, the priest came out of his inner sanctum with a senser full of incense. He lifted this towards the congregation three times and also wafted it out of the window as if in blessing nature. The incense momentarily blurred the icons in my line of sight and my nostrils breathed in the holy smell (some other word!). Some new worshippers prostrated themselves in front of one of the icons whilst others prayed and stayed where they were. There was always movement with people coming in and out of the chapel, lighting candles, praying, kissing icons, and touching the beaten silver. At no time did people talk amongst themselves.

After about an hour the priest gave the sacrament to all those who queued up to receive it. One of the priest’s helpers re-arranged the candles and threw most of them away as they’d almost all burned down to the sand in the container they were standing in. The final act was for the priest to hand out bread to all the worshippers as they were leaving the chapel. He then changed into black attire and strode confidently out of the chapel while listening to half-a-dozen people who were following him. The whole service lasted an hour and 20 minutes. 

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

9 Greek Islands – Delos

I have written seven books about the history of places I have travelled to.

I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.

If you are interested in history and / or travel then you should check out these books. Please bear in mind the books are travelogues rather than travel guides and so cover the places I visited and the experiences I had. 

Greek Islands

This book keeps it simple and covers nine Greek Islands: Rhodes, Symi, Patmos, Samos, Syros, Paros, Tinos, Delos, and Mykonos. They are all different and all lovely.

This is an excerpt on Delos.

Today, few people live permanently on Delos. There are no hotels on the island and no boats or yachts are supposed to moor there overnight. Ferry boats can come to Delos from Tinos, Naxos, and Mykonos, so it is best to arrive early. 

After paying the entrance fee, grab a free map, and head into the site. On the map, I followed the Blue Line around until it intersected with the Brown Line, which I followed to the Stadium Quarter. I retraced my steps and then continued on the Blue Line. I retraced my steps again and followed the Green Line to the Theatre Quarter. All this took about four hours. This is a big sight and take plenty of water with you on your journey around.

The first open area is called the Agora of the Competaliasts, who were Roman merchants who worshipped the Lares Competales, the gods or guardian spirits of crossroads. There are two small temples dedicated to Hermes here. The path continues to The Sacred Way, formed between two porticos, which leads to the Propulaea, the main gateway to the Sanctuary of Apollo. The first features in this area include The Agora of the Delians, The Temple of the Athenians and the Poros Temple. There’s also the Oikos of the Naxians (people from the island of Naxos) and the base of a huge marble base of a colossal statue of Apollo dedicated by the Naxians around 600 BCE. An oikos is a treasury where the offerings given by the people of Naxos were placed for safekeeping. Nearby, there are five further treasuries where the offerings of other cities were kept. These treasuries are close to the Bouleuterion, the Prytaneion, and the Ekklesiasterion used as assembly rooms for the deputies, dignitaries, and citizens respectively. All these different buildings/areas are shown in detail on the map, but walking around, there are so many walls and parts of columns scattered around that occasionally it’s difficult to discern where one temple or building ends and another begins. Even though there are no restricted areas in this part of the site, visitors are not allowed to walk on the walls to get their bearings.

The path continues past the Temple of Leto and the enormous Agora of the Italians before coming to the most famous part of the site, the Naxian Lions. Sadly, none of the lions on their plinths are originals dating from the 7th Century BCE. Three of the original lions completely disappeared and no one knows where to, another was looted by the Venetians, and the rest are in the on-site museum. Opposite the lions is the Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. This lake was filled up in 1925 due to an epidemic of malaria, but it would be wonderful if this could be reversed and the lake restored to its former glory as it would certain bring some variety to the landscape. To the north west of the Naxians Lions the columned building housed the association of merchants from Beirut.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Julian’s Journeys

Travel is an amazing privilege, you probably realise that now you’ve been deprived of it. I know I do. We should never take it for granted. I travel because my own father always said he would travel after he’d retired, but he never got the chance because he died from cancer when he was 49. I travel for him when I go to places as well as for myself.

Julian’s Journeys is a collection of 34 travel stories. These stories are part memoir, part travelogue, and part revelation about the effect travel has on me.

The tales are very local – in Italy, the nun at a bus station in Catania in Sicily was incredibly knowledgeable about the local delicacy, mortadella. I was waiting for a bus to the beautiful town of Taormina with views over Mount Etna, the active volcano. Later in the day, the nun’s recommendation proved accurate.
In Bulgaria, I became slowly drunk when a local villager offered me the opportunity to sample his homemade slivovitz in his garden – all the while we wrote down football results on a piece of paper as the sun beat down from a blue sky.
I report a conversation I had with a super-smooth carpet-seller in Istanbul. He was giving me directions to the major tourist sights and, strangely enough, all those directions went past his shop. How amazing is that?
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