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  • seandodson 8:48 pm on October 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , travel   

    Paris vs New York 

    A tale of two cities told by two bloggers with the help of some attractive graphics. They say their blog is “a friendly visual match between those two cities, as seen by a Parisian-based-and-lover on New York : details, cliches and contradictions”. Need to know more? Then this way, please.

  • seandodson 5:27 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , subway maps, , travel   

    The Brighton Line 

    Cheers to Andrew for pointing me towards this map of the Brighton underground, by local artist Sean Sims, which is as witty and it is imaginative. Have a look at the bottom right-hand corner where you find the station for Beachy Head (terminus), a reference to its popularity for suicide, or towards the top where you will find that Crystal Palace is closed, a nod towards a bit of football team rivalry. Nice to see that Nick Cave has his own station too. It is a very good map, but not as good as this.

    • Andrew Darling 8:10 pm on September 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Think you mean cheers to @darlingbuds

    • black friday 9:48 pm on November 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This
      is a very well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

  • seandodson 2:52 pm on June 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Daisann McLean, oslo, travel, travel guide   

    A poor man’s connoisseur guide to happy living in one of the most expensive cities in the world 

    This is the best idea for a travel book since Daisann McLean’s Cheap Hotels.

    Apparently, it is the first book in a series of city guides created by Norwegian graphic designers Your Friends, in collaboration with Sondre Sommerfelt, writer and editor and Knut Bry, photographer.

  • seandodson 6:03 pm on April 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , salt's mill, saltaire, shipley, titus salt, travel,   

    Salt’s Mill, Saltaire 

    New blog post: Just back from a weekend in Yorkshire where we took Darling Anna and baby button to see Salt’s Mill in Saltaire, near Bradford. Famous for its David Hockney gallery, I had feared that, like rain on sandstone, the years since my last visit might have eroded the mill’s artistic vision. Not a bit of it. Salt’s Mill remains just as good as any gallery in the country.

    • houdini 10:12 am on April 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What a BEAUTIFUL picture! Yeah, Salt’s Mlil is great isn’t it!

  • seandodson 2:59 pm on August 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bandstand, , brighton bandstand, , seaside, travel   

    The Birdcage of Bedford Square 

    bandstandDelighted to see the restoration of Brighton Bandstand on the promenade. Originally known as the Birdcage or the Bedford Square Bandstand, it reopened last week as a working bandstand (holding proper tiddely-om-pom-pom concerts and all that) and a viewing pavilion overlooking the English Channel. There’s a nice cafe in the basement as well. The £850,000 needed to rebuild the structure, which had been left to the elements since the 1960s, was stumped up by the local council, after a campaign led by three local women.

  • seandodson 7:58 pm on March 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: denmark, , travel   

    Anyone fancy a free all-expenses-paid-trip to Denmark?

  • seandodson 4:18 pm on January 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 28 days later, , , , , , , travel,   

    28 Days of Christmas later … 

    Carnaby Street

    Originally uploaded by


    London abandoned. A Flickr set taken on Christmas morning (via William Gibson’s blog) by blogger Ian Visits. London looks almost totally abandoned, devoid of both traffic and people, although the lights are still on and the traffic lights are working. Spooky and beautiful.

    From William Gibson’s blog:

    “Christmas, particularly in the early morning, has always seemed so much more liminal to me than New Year’s eve. Spectral, deeply in-between.”


    Incidentally, while on the subject of abandoned places: check out the sound stage of HBO’s masterful television epic The Wire. Foolishly I had thought that much of it was filmed on location. But the offices of the Baltimore Sun and the city’s homicide division turn out to be incredibly convincing simulations.

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  • seandodson 6:12 pm on December 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arundhati Roy, besiktas, besiktas fish market, , emily jane white, generation kill, , sarah slean, , travel,   

    Things I have learnt or loved of late #4 

    fish_market_301108_021I’d love to go see the new Beşiktaş fish market (via architecture NMP). Makes we want to be back in Istanbul. I’ve never been in the winter. | A nice Flickr stream of the old market | I am finally Wireless: Five seasons of The Wire in as many weeks and now a big hole to fill. Here next? | Or straight into David Simon’s Generation Kill? On the BBC this January | Arundhati Roy on why the Mumbai attacks were not India’s 9/11. She remains a great loss to the novel. | I really like the look of Booooooom! Art, design, film and music all expressed with verve. | I’ve also taken a hankering to the haunting, melancholic vocals of Emily Jane White’s Wild Tigers I Have Known | And Sarah Slean’s sassy little ditties

    • pascal 6:51 pm on January 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      ah beşiktaş ahh

  • seandodson 6:27 pm on December 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexandros Vasmoulakis, , athens, , greece, , , , travel   

    Alexandros Vasmoulakis: the brightest buckle in the graffiti belt 


    This summer I took a train from London to Istanbul and back again. As you cross the alps, from Austria to Slovenia say, you notice how much graffiti is painted on the walls of the big cities. It’s almost as if you hit the graffiti belt somewhere south of Graz.

    Most of it is despoilingly ugly, especially in Athens where the streets around many of the ancient monuments have been ruined with the most moronic of daubings. But then again there’s also the delightful work of Alexandros Vasmoulakis whose delicate, fantastic murals enliven the city marvelously.

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  • seandodson 12:14 am on December 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andrew hussey, art nouveau, best station cafes, , , , french food, gare de lyon, , , prague, railway restaurants, railway station, rautatientori, travel, washington   

    Station to Station: in search of the perfect railway cafe 

    Le train Bleu

    Originally uploaded by surrealiste

    Best TV doc in ages: Andrew Hussey’s France on a Plate (iPlayer link, get it while it’s hot). Worth it alone for discovering why Camembert is the cheese of the left (abundant, cheap and soft) and Gruyere is the cheese of the right (hard and expensive apparently) | Any documentary of French food makes you want to go and get some, I now want to visit Le Train Bleu, the rococo restaurant in Paris’ Gare De Lyon | Which got me thinking about great railway station cafes. | Helsinki’s marvelous station cafe is little celebrated | Kyoto’s rooftop gardens equally splendid and one of the best places to stare at that most magnificent city | Union Station Cafe in Washington arguably the most salubrious | While Prague has this beautiful example of Art Nouveau.

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  • seandodson 9:22 pm on September 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 20th arrondissement, , , , Le Flèche d’Or, mama shelter, , paris hotel, philippe starck, review of mama shelter, Saint Blaise, tourism, travel   

    Mama Shelter: new hotel in Paris is perfect for that long night’s jouney into day 

    Mama Shelter is a new hotel that opened last week in the 20th arrondissement in Paris. Situated in an emerging neighbourhood of Saint Blaise, and designed by Philippe Starck, its clearly styled to attract a nightclubbing crowd. The rooms are spartanly decorated: a mixture of exposed concrete, mirrored surfaces and expensive Apple wall-mounted iMacs. And like most nocturnal life in the city, it’s pretty dark inside the Shelter, which is all the better to appreciate the Superman mask bedside lamps (right) which are a nice touch. Indeed, Mama Shelter seems purpose-built as a place to recover from a long night at Le Flèche d’Or, the quarter’s legendary rock and electro club which is just across the street. Hotel guests get to jump the queue and there’s the weekly programme of the live acts appearing at the club scrawled on a large mirror on each floor of the hotel to entice you over.

    Rooms start at just 79 euros, which is excellent value for a such a design-led hotel, although there’s an extra charge for breakfast. But then again, if you have been up half the night, do you want to spend time and money munching croissants anyway?

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  • seandodson 10:29 pm on September 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , isle of wight, martin parr, , , travel   

    On holiday with Martin Parr 

    If you have ever wanted to go on holiday with Martin Parr, the celebrated English photographer, now is your chance. This weekend the School of Life is offering a two-day break on the Isle of Wight in the company of the sardonic snapper. Parr has described the Isle of Wight as a “living theme park, like stepping back into an England of 20 or 30 years ago.”

    Staying in Parr’s favourite seaside hotel, you get to join him for visits to the Brighstone holiday centre, the Needles, Ventnor beach and other “landmarks of the Isle of Wight tourism scene.” According to the press release, you will get a chance to discuss his photography as well as his collections of souvenirs and postcards, and “train your eye to see the ugliness in beauty and the horror in leisure.”

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  • seandodson 10:02 pm on September 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beyoğlu, , hasan huseyin, , meyhane, Tünel, Tünel Pasaji, travel,   

    Tünel vision: a passage to Istanbul’s coolest quarter 

    I’ve just returned from Istanbul where I stumbled across a fabulous corner of the city situated around the northern entrance to the Tünel, the old underground funicular railway that connects the Galata Bridge with the city’s main shopping street. Opposite the entrance and you find the gate to the Tünel Pasaji (Tunnel Passage), a handsome courtyard filled with plants, antique shops and tables from the assortment of cafes that line its edges. We ate at KV an eclectically furnished restaurant serving hearty local cuisine and later returned for lunch at Hevetia, a cafe serving modern meze which you order buffet style.

    The Passage is also connected, by another gate, to a long, narrow street where the city’s trendy folk hang ot outside fine restaurants next to walls filled with political graffiti and some admirable stencil art. There are vegetarian cafes and traditional meyhanes (raki houses). Rose sellers and waiters, carrying trays of sweet Turkish tea, add to the throng.

    Nearby is Coffee and Stories, one of the most beautiful coffee shops I have ever visited. Featuring floor-to-ceiling prints of the photographer Hasan Huseyin, who I believe owns the place, it is worth a visit to the area alone.

  • seandodson 8:55 am on September 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , austria, austrian tourism, european city of culture, , gray tourism, graz, heritage, interrail, interrail to istanbul, rail travel, travel   

    Graz: quite possibly the most underrated city in Europe 

    I’ve just returned to Graz in Austria on the second leg of a journey to Istanbul (and back) on the InterRail pass. I first visited over five years ago, a little before the city enjoyed its status as European City of Culture.

     I am amazed that much more is not made of Graz. It’s surely one of the most overlooked cities in Europe. Its food is not only inexpensive but takes the best from both Germanic and Italian cultures,while adding delicious local ingredients, most notably pumpkin oil to the mix. Its architecture is both full of Baroque and Renaissance flourishes (the city is a former seat of the Hapsburg’s) set beside ambitious new buildings. Its both bourgeois and comfortably old fashioned, but since the sixties has been a centre for the Austrian avante gard, while as many as six universities give the city a youthful appearance. It is, moreover, large enough to explore and extremely cultured, and yet unlike Vienna, it doesn’t take itself incredibly seriously and, unlike Salzburg, it isn’t packed with tourist coaches. I don’t know why Graz is so often overlooked, it deserves a much better reputation

    Of course, more prestige would probably only spoil it as it is perfect as it is.

  • seandodson 10:48 am on August 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , how to pronounce Beijing, how to say Beijing, mandarin, , , travel   

    How to get your mouth around Beijing 

    A few years ago, while enjoying an after-dinner drink at a hotel high up in the Arctic Circle, a really nice Swedish lady politely taught me how to pronounce Beijing with a hard J (as in Jack) rather than the softer J (as in Jacques).

    I naturally began to notice how many of us also mispronounce the name – including most major news networks. The BBC uses a hard J, but Channel 4 News and Sky offer a more confusing message. This got me wondering: why is there this dichotomy in the West? So I looked into it and, seeing that it was time for the Olympics, I wrote a small article in today’s Media Guardian on the politics behind the pronounciation.

    Here’s the blockquote:

    In the old days it was much easier, as the capital of China was Peking (K as in king), but since 1949 the Chinese authorities have been asking us to use Beijing. This was routinely ignored until the 1980s when the request became more insistent and the Chinese began enforcing the new name on all flights, sea routes and official documents.

    The first indication of this change for many was on the news – and the newsreaders began to shift the J into something that sounds vaguely French. According to Zhao Shangsen at the Chinese embassy in London, there is no softer phonetic J in Mandarin. This makes the use of the French-sounding J sound a bit like an affectation; an attempt to sound grand.

    Even so, pronouncing Beijing with a hard J is still only an approximation. To say the name like a local you need to be able to handle the tonal shifts of Mandarin.

    With the Olympics now in full swing, isn’t it time that our news presenters tried their best? After all, the old excuse for mispronouncing the names of foreign places – that they arrived here through a system of, well, Chinese whispers – is no longer valid in the age of instant communication.

    There’s a helpful explanatory video here, if you want to learn how to pronounce the name of the capital correctly.

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    • Jonathan 1:19 pm on August 11, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad lots of people are picking up on this now. I particularly like the “affectation; an attempt to sound grand.” That’s what I’ve been trying to say about it. Not only is there no such sound in Mandarin, there isn’t in English either!

    • seandodson 9:04 am on August 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      There was a bit of follow-up in a couple or Readers letters in yesterday’s Media Guardian.

  • seandodson 6:03 pm on August 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CGI, , , espania, madrid, , spain, , travel   

    Spanish Metro advert displays a beautiful, surreal Madrid 

    A little of something beautiful for Friday: This advert for the Madrid Metro (sorry I am too hamfisted to embed the video, but you can catch it over on the excellent SuperSpacial blog). It’s one of the most beautiful adverts I’ve seen a long time and a great use of computer modelling. The city as seen from a glass ceiling (via).

    • Madrid 10:07 am on August 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I totally agree. One of the most beautiful adverts I’ve ever seen indeed.

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