I didn’t have a very thrilling pre-Halloween weekend. I was struck down by the bug that’s been going around locally, and stayed in and watched Stranger Things instead. I was tempted to get a pumpkin to carve, but building work next door has displaced mice that have tried to come into my flat. At the moment they are deterred by cotton wool and strong-smelling orange and lemongrass essential oils, but I’d rather not tempt them in with a large ready cut pumpkin to eat.
In the summer I went on a ghost walk in Cambridge via work. The guide told stories of mysterious cloaked figures on roofs, and Black Shuck the giant black ghost dog, and also pointed out this spot, at the back of Peterhouse College, where it joins onto a graveyard, as the most haunted place in town. I am not really a believer in the supernatural, I’m more inclined to skepticism, but I do enjoy a good ghost story, and I’m a firm believer in atmospheres, at least. Some places are just full of it, (like Kit’s Coty).
(Obviously CW: Death, ghosts, haunting, suicide, graves)
(Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture on the beach)
I won a competition last year for free plane tickets to Japan, and went with my friend Vicky for just under three weeks in March, using a rail pass to explore the main island of Honshu and staying in hostels (and a spell in a hotel in Kyoto that came with the flights). Apart from the free flights we were totally broke, so a lot of the focus of the trip was on free or low cost attractions like scenery and museums and making maximum use of the rail pass rather than restaurants, bars or shopping. You can see more photos from other places in the Japan category of this blog, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.
Naoshima is tiny idyllic island in the Seto Inland sea devoted to modern art. The opening of the Benesse modern art museum (owned by the same organisation as Berlitz language schools) revived the island’s fortunes, although it’s still a small and quiet place with only a few villages and a lot of old people.
We visited the museum, but no pictures were allowed inside, so these are all of the rest of the island. I’ve made a post of some of the artists in the collection here.
So far I’ve shown you Malcesine and Limone sul Garda. I also took the boat to Riva del Garda at the northern end of the lake (which is also in a different province- Trentino). It was raining all day, so I figured I might as well go to the colder, rainy end of the lake and visit the museum, and save the outdoorsy stuff on the southern end like archaeological sites for a sunny day.
From 1815-1918 Riva was actually in Austria, and although it’s typically Italian in many ways, there’s a definite alpine influence there (and a lot of German and Austrian tourists). I had been there once before, in about 2000. A little while ago I dug up some photos I’d taken on a disposable camera then, and posted them here.