Friday, 29 July 2016

Hospitality: Or, what makes a room a home

This is hopefully part of a longer piece generally, but I thought it would be a positive way to embark on this Friday blog challenge. Since I've been heavily reliant on short term accommodation during my time abroad, excellence in hospitality has been on my mind for a while.
My journey began in February. So I could start my year in Croatia in style, my friend and I took a road trip through France and Italy for a week. As we headed south to Ancona, we purposefully stayed in a wide variety of places; from a family owned medieval Italian palazzo, a 1920s spa town grand hotel of faded grandeur, as well as a hysterically 1980s orange hotel room somewhere near Montpellier. Most of these were memorable because of the freedom and fun of travelling, and excitement of not knowing what to expect from our temporary residences.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sunday Sounds

The bustle of bells pronounce Sunday magic;
Full peal across the bright pastel space,
Where pale sea meets busy harbour,
Hazy sky meets jewelled balloons
And conversations murmur and burble. 

Sounds rising and falling, 
Interlacing in an endless swirl of persistent rhythmic clouds,
Echoing the multitude of percussive noon bells across the city.

Appealing to each other like friends in friendly greeting. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Croatian Literary Baroque

Bartol Kašić (1575-1650)
On my island of olive growers and fisherman I feel as far away from the baroque as is possible. The landscape is dotted with tiny café latte tinted stone chapels, perfectly contrasted with the pine green forests and iron rich soil. These appear to have sprung out of the earth, so sympathetic are they with their natural, yet cultivated surroundings. Human in scale and spiritual in content, they are reminders of a simple, aesthetic and pure faith. This seems to be what the architects of the baroque were trying to bulldoze in their efforts to appeal to the emotions and senses of the wavering congregations. Revision here is quite entertaining, and what follows is a fleshing out of the notes that I'm working through - it is inevitable that an art style which I really don't like has produced so many posts!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Klapa: The Rhythmic Heart of Dalmatia

Klapa singers on Vis 2016
One of my first experiences of klapa music during my stay in Split was wandering around the city late one cold March evening. I had only just arrived and I was feeling homesick. I turned a corner in the picturesque old part of town and heard singing to make my hair stand on end. A small group of young people had gathered in an ill-lit courtyard behind an iron grill, and they were singing songs a cappella. I stood and listened with tears running down my face. You didn’t need any knowledge of the language, they had absolutely nailed how I was feeling. I was missing my lost love, my home far over the water, and I was wallowing in – completely romanticised – nostalgia.