Our Thing

It would be impossible for me to write about my travels in Sicily without a mention of their most famous export. Or perhaps as we shall see it also falls under the category of import. I'm talking about the Mafia of course and let me be clear from the outset that this a personal reflection; … Continue reading Our Thing


Excursion to Vigàta

I've referred in earlier Italian posts to my enjoyment of Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen detective novels, which through locating the protagonist in a different city for each story combine whodunnit, travelogue and social commentary.  In Blood Rain, Zen is posted to Catania in Sicily, where the rivalries of different crime families and darker political forces combine to … Continue reading Excursion to Vigàta

“It’s where my family live”* (CH2)

Its perhaps a consequence of the reluctant study of my school years that some of the great authors I read at the time had any future appeal completely extinguished.  The burden of completing Nostromo was sufficient to deter me from reading Conrad ever again.  Eliot's poetry was another victim, despite the fact that a line from The Waste … Continue reading “It’s where my family live”* (CH2)

Zzzzz Mr Hemingway. (Habana 58)

One of the less likely destinations for visiting tourists can be found in the Ambos Mundos hotel.  The rooftop bar and perhaps the experience of travelling to it in the original metal cage lift, are the draw for most, and with cold mojitos, smooth salsa and views over the city on offer from the shade of its canopies … Continue reading Zzzzz Mr Hemingway. (Habana 58)

The Icing on the Cake

Fellow blogger and poet Becky Kilsby recently posted a new work which immediately resonated with me. I am often that person grabbing a quick breakfast courtesy of Pret (or less frequently Nero), catching up on the news with my iPhone, and people watching as my fellows dash to offices in the city.  Of course the … Continue reading The Icing on the Cake

Quixote (Habana 45)

William Shakespeare is probably the greatest writer that England has produced; more than that he is probably the greatest ever writer in the English language. Curiously he had a Spanish contemporary of similar stature, and in the same way that Shakespeare is revered not just in the UK, but also in the US, so Miguel de … Continue reading Quixote (Habana 45)

Hemingway (Habana 27)

I've read some Ernest Hemingway over the years.  Some, but not enough. I say that because I've unintentionally become something of a Hemingway stalker; it seems that everywhere I travel these days I find myself in a bar that was once frequented by the writer. The process began many years ago on a trip to … Continue reading Hemingway (Habana 27)