Welcome to the “Idiot Traveller”

Welcome to The Idiot Traveller, a blog about travel and the people, places, history and culture that we encounter when we travel. Please note that if you are looking for the latest posts in my series of environmental and social anecdotes about campaigns over the last 35 years, you can find them on the "Emperor's... Continue Reading →

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The Marrakesh Express – Two Weeks in Morocco Pt 1. Maudlin’ Musicians and Metal Miners

I must have been in my teens when "Marrakesh Express" came out (1969). Those were heady days. Before Hendrix (1970) and Joplin died (1970). The Lizard King was still alive (died 1971). We were still trapped in Hotel California. Barclay James Harvest would play at our school a year or two later, followed by Genesis.... Continue Reading →

There’s a slow train a’coming driving me around the bend.

It is 392 kilometres from Sofia to Belgrade and another 600 kilometres from Belgrade to Vienna. From Vienna you are on the fast rail networks of western Europe but these first two legs of my journey are about 200 years in the past in terms of train technology years. The trip from Sofia to Belgrade... Continue Reading →

The Iron Rule – thou shall not (easily) pass (at least not in Turkey or Bulgaria)

The train which we boarded in Istanbul stops at the Turkey – Bulgaria border - and, refusing to be outdone by the Australian rail system, this train is old and slow and leaves from some part of Istanbul far from civilisation - a 45 minute bus ride from central Istanbul - what Australians would call woop woop. The train, itself, is some form of exercise in Turkish logic. My carriage is numbered 483 even though the train contains just four carriages. One assumes this is designed to confuse foolish yabangee (foreigners) since, no doubt, Turks understand this logic.  

Making In-Rhodes – more than just a colossus

As it is, looking at Rhodian history, it seems that it was a bit like a conga line of uninvited dinner guests. They arrived sans wine or food, hung around for a while, behaving unpleasantly

Ai am the Wei and the truth and the life -inside Ai Weiwei’s Istanbul exhibition.

"Life is art, art is life, I never separate them." Ai Weiwei (AWW)....and everything is political. If you take the view that I do, which is that even drawing breath is a political act, then Ai Weiwei's exhibition, in Istanbul is a great expression of the philosophy that Art is Life and that everything in... Continue Reading →

A potted history of the Ancient World – 4000 years of carnage in the Mediterranean, Anatolia & Mesopotamia

Moving through Lycia on cool winter's day. The sun shines. I am absolutely completely alone with the old stones and the graves. Nothing moves. No sounds but the breeze and the tinkle of goat bells as they move, invisibly, through ancient Lycian ruins and pines. The ancient Lycian city of Pinara The Lycians ruled this... Continue Reading →

Pinara: In the Valley of the Living Dead

Sometimes, when travelling, one comes across extraordinary and special places. In this particular case not just because the place is, in itself, extraordinary and special but because it was empty. As I walked through the streets of this long dead city, following the footsteps of people who live 2000 years ago, there was an utter... Continue Reading →

Environmental Anecdotes (Episode 3) The Franklin Campaign: The Leaker – they came in the Dead of Night.

THIS IS NOT A HISTORICAL RECORD. AS PER TRUMPIAN LOGIC, NO APOLOGIES MADE FOR ERRORS, EXAGGERATION, OMISSIONS, BAD TASTE OR MISREPRESENTATIONS. The call came from Canberra. I'd spent a year there as “National Liaison Officer” (NLO) for the Wilderness Society (TWS). A grand title but little else. I had been lobbying politicians and the media... Continue Reading →

Environmental Anecdotes (Episode 2) The Franklin Campaign: The Law of the Land and other Legends in their own Lunchtimes

This is not a historical record. As per Trumpian logic, no apologies made for errors, exaggeration, omissions, bad taste or misrepresentations. For those with a humour deficit it's worth pointing out that satire and sarcasm are not to be taken seriously, especially when written about individuals. I well remember the day and a few others... Continue Reading →

Travel Oddities: The Turkish Cult of the Renault 12

Did you notice that every Renault twelve in the known universe had disappeared? Are you worried that some black hole had appeared and was sucking matter into its vortex? You might be next? Fear Not. Every Renault 12 ever produced is, apparently, hanging out, doing its thing, in and around Fethiye, Turkey. The Black hole,... Continue Reading →

The Art of Nothing

The joy of travelling slowly & stopping often is...nothing. Doing nothing, being nowhere..

Environmental Anecdotes (Episode 1) Beating BHP with Bravado and Blue Tarps

Late on the 13th a white land cruiser, with our team of three, approached the first locked gate on the road on the road to Coronation Hill. The least organised, most impromptu and most poorly resourced "blockade" in Australian history was about to start.

97 Days Adrift in Europe (part 15) – Rome

After 93 days, this is the last stage of my short European trip. I will hop on the ferry from Dubrovnik to Bari and then by train on up to Rome for my first visit to the Eternal City. First, however, I must survive the trip to Bari, deck class. Travel terms are a bit... Continue Reading →

97 Days Adrift in Europe (part 14) Dubrovnik – of Wailing Walls & Howling Trains

As you head south the trains head south too. Slower, rattlier, fuller. The reclining seats, the speed, the power sockets all disappear. The restaurant car feels like a bit of an old 1950s film with the red velvet seats and the full meals for less than $10. The south of Hungary and the north of Croatia are emptier and older. We pass the rail yards at slug speed. They are populated, in the rain, with old fat freight cars looking like something out of star wars.

97 Days Adrift in Europe (Part 13) – Budapest

Many people will tell you that Budapest is their favourite city in Europe. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough but, after Prague, it seemed less splendid and somewhat dull and jaded

97 Days Adrift in Europe (Part 7) – Scribblings from a Trip

Travel can move you. It gives you time and space if you travel "well". And by that I mean slowly, taking time, taking in space, people, places, culture. For me, if done well, it is a time of contemplation, away from the day to day pressures, the lists, the obligations. It's a time to think,... Continue Reading →

Worldwide – Busking, street performance, music, dance

To see the videos full size please select full screen mode as the table format prevents the videos opening directly to full size Florence buskers, Artists in the Wind in Calimala Street Florence Street busker performs Edith Piaf's "Je ne regrette rien" Rome: The Cocktail Band performs near Trajan's Column Korean street performers for charity supporting... Continue Reading →

Europe 2017 (Episode 5): The Black Sea, the Beach and the Bosphorus

But if you want a cultural experience utterly foreign to the average Australian then accept an invitation to a popular city beach or swimming spot near a major population. This is, to the average Australian beachgoer, as instant coffee is to the Australian coffee snob or as a British national park is to an Australian wilderness area.

Europe 2017 (Episode 4): A Holiday Oxymoron – Visiting Mljet – another “undiscovered Mediterranean Island”

Like military intelligence, the living dead, found missing and Microsoft Works, the concept of an undiscovered Mediterranean Island is about as near to reality as Australia being the Clever Country.

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