Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.
  • Travel
  • December3rd

    4th October – first full day in Venice

    Yesterday (and the day before?) was the long, long trip. Two legs – Melbourne – Dubai, two hour wait, then Dubai Venice. Arrived in Venice at 3 o’clock and met by Georgia, our landlord, who walked us from Piazza Romana where our bus brought us, to our little flat in Campiello Mosca, a gorgeous, tiny square with an ever running water spout, just around the corner from the grand church of San Pantalon, the one with the awe-inspiring trompe-l’œil ceiling.

    Slept for eleven hours, getting up at eight. Breakfast, we went around the corner to Tonolo, a recommended pasticceria, for bombe and coffee. Good stuff, very Italian.

    Our local fruit and veggie sellers, St Barnaba.

    Our local fruit and veggie sellers, St Barnaba.

    After that, we walked to Campo San Margherita, on our landlord’s recommendation, for some fruit and grocery shopping. Then we walked down toward Accademia and eventually went right through Dorsoduro to see Giudecca across the water.

    After lunch we did more wandering up to the station and Piazza Romana. Then we meandered toward the Rialto, finding good old Campo Silvestro and Locanda Armizo (where we stayed in 2004) along the way.

    Four o’clockish we made our way back to our flat, and at six o’clock, the bells started ringing near and far. At least one set very close.

    Dinner was at the Trattoria Dolfin. Good pasta and so so salmon main course. Read More | Comments

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  • July19th

    Okay, this is a long, long blog entry about our recent trip to the Marquesas Islands.

    The Marquesas Islands. Officially the world’s most isolated island group (thanks, Wikipedia). The nearest continent is North America, some 5500 kilometres away. A few tiny volcanic dots in the vast blue immensity of the Pacific Ocean. Distant, remote, rugged, cut-off. After visiting London and Paris over the last two years, the Marquesas were an obvious destination for our next sojourn.

    That's them, the Marquesas.

    That’s them, the Marquesas.

    The desire to visit the remote Marquesas Islands was prompted by spotting a tiny advertisement in the Melbourne Age some years ago. It resonated with me as I’ve always been attracted to the notion of the South Seas through reading things such as Ballantyne’s Coral Island, works by Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stephenson and Jack London. Wendy and I have already visited Vanuatu and Fiji, but the vastness of the Pacific beckoned.

    Just about the only way to visit this far off archipelago is via the Aranui, a hybrid cargo/passenger ship that is almost the only way the Marquesans get supplies. The Aranui makes 17 voyages a year and without the cross-subsiding that the passengers bring, the Marquesans would be even more cut off than they are.

    After talking about it in vague terms for years we finally nailed our colours to the mast and booked. A seven and a half hour flight to Tahiti impressed us enough with the distances involved, but we knew that after we boarded the Aranui in Papeete harbour, it was another 1400 kilometres before we’d reach the Marquesas Islands. The Pacific is very, very big.

    We had a couple of days in Papeete while the Aranui was loading, and we enjoyed this enchanted place. Tahiti is one of the hubs of Polynesian life and has all the Mutiny on the Bounty/Captain Cook Transit of Venus/Tropical Island Paradise thing going on. And it’s all true. Colours, fragrances, warm winds and astonishing vistas are everywhere. Read More | Comments

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  • June7th

    I don’t get excited about shopping for much, but two items do get the old heart racing: plastic containers (a story for another time) and luggage.luggage small

    I love luggage. Suitcases, carry-on luggage, backpacks, laptop bags, duffle bags, multipurpose hold-alls. I get absorbed in details of hard-sided vs. soft-sided, construction materials, stitching, TSA locks, internal accommodation, handles top and side, robustness of wheels, stuff like that. I’m entranced by the subtleties of weight – ‘What? With the Travel-Meister I can fit in another pair of shoes and still avoid excess baggage payment? I’ll have one in mint green, please!’ I dwell on colours, because we all want something that will stand out on the baggage conveyor, which means that no-one has anything that stands out on the baggage conveyor. Read More | Comments

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  • March24th

    seine

    The Seine

    I’m still coming to terms with the Paris trip of last November. Partly it’s because I’ve just recovered a huge stack of photos after the catastrophic computer failure I suffered in the last week of the idyll. Short version of this: I’d been carefully moving photos from phone and camera to the travel laptop for safekeeping, not trusting phone memory or camera memory card. Laptop breaks down, big time. Back in Oz, I had to try a few different places before one could retrieve anything. Yes, it was that big a meltdown. It took some time. The result is some recovered beautiful pix and some recovered corrupted pix. C’est la vie.

    That incident cast a slight shadow over the Paris sojourn, but it couldn’t take away from the marvellous time we had – nearly five weeks in Paris with a few days in Hong Kong on the way over and the way back.

    Read More | Comments

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  • December15th

    Paris 3

    Posted in: Travel

    Here I am, working away somewhere in Paris.

    Thinking is working.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • December10th

    Paris 2

    Posted in: Travel

    I’ve been back from Paris for a week now. The jet lag is wearing off and I’m starting to get on top of the email backlog. The whole month long Gallic experience is settling down in my mind, too, enough for me to write a little about it.

    Paris. What an extraordinary city. We had a lovely little apartment in the Marais, near the Pompidou Centre. It meant that thousands of Parisian attractions were within walking distance, so walk we did. We also used the mighty Metro extensively, travelling to the far reaches of the system to see what we wanted to see. Read More | Comments

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  • December5th

    Paris 1

    Posted in: Travel

    I’ve just returned from a wonderful month in Paris. Yes, I’m a lucky man.

    We had a superb flat near the Pompidou Centre and spent the entire time walking about, looking at things, eating and drinking. Cheese!

    I’m working up a comprehensive report, for those interested, but in addition I’m going to post a number of impressions, memories, sights and experiences in no particular order.

    First is one of the coolest things I saw during my month-long Paris sojourn: a real-life spy camera in a hat from 1910. It was in the sensational Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts).

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  • September11th

    British Museum Enlightenment Room

    I lie, of course. It’s the Enlightenment Room at the British Museum. But if I had a library in my home, it’d be something like this. With ladders to reach the books on the second floor. Of course.

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  • July20th

    I picked up this neat little pocket compass-sundial at Covent Garden, London.

    Pocket compass-sundial

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  • July3rd

    Heroes

    Posted in: Articles, Travel

    My recent trip to London became a pilgrimage. It wasn’t planned that way, but I found paying homage to some of my long-time heroes and inspirations, deliberately seeking out their works and their memorials and acknowledging their influence.

    Darwin and me

    Darwin

    In no particular order:

    1. Charles Darwin. At West Minster Abbey, I sought out Darwin’s burial place and memorial. The Natural History Museum was almost like a shrine dedicated to the great man, especially with the spanking brand new gob-smacking Darwin Centre. Even the Kew Gardens had a special Darwin inspired ‘Evolution House’. I heard an academic once say that Darwin had ‘the single best idea of anyone, ever.’ Clear-thinking, rational, careful, painstaking, imaginative  – Darwin has always been an inspiration. Read More | Comments
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