Ternberg is a small town in Oberösterreich, very near Weyer where I went a few years ago.
I think people get the idea I go to some kind of Alpine Scandinavian utopia, by looking at the scenery and maybe an mental image of some long ago ski holiday or weekend break in Vienna.
While in Milan, I also bought a ticket to the cathedral and attached museum.
When you say to people “I’m going to Italy for work” they think you’re going to go to some sun-kissed medieval tourist spot to live la bella vita, when the reality is often more like San Donato Milanese.
In September 2021 I returned to teaching EFL abroad. I had come home from Austria in March 2020, and then not taught at all for 18 months. It was a last minute trip, because the Italian government had suddenly decided to allow school visits
I got this postcard from a supermarket in a small town in NW Germany near where the festival is held. I hope it has genuine Rammstein tears in the soil sample, or I’ll ask for my €3 back
Here’s a playlist I made while I was in Melbourne of (mostly current) Australian stuff I heard played in various shops and cafes. Daytime Australian radio is where cock rock goes to die, and keeps Midnight Oil forever living off royalties, but I definitely didn’t go there with this playlist.
On my last day in Australia, I had a few hours to waste in between checking out of the hotel and getting the train to the airport. I was staying right next to the Aquarium, so I went there. I didn’t visit the local zoo, because it looks grim, and I’m generally against city zoos with large animals who don’t have enough space to roam. The aquarium isn’t the cruel kind with large sea mammals, so I felt ok about going there. It’s mostly small fish and coral, with some rays, sharks and small penguins.
While I was in Sydney, I went for the day to visit my friend Zoe in the inland mountain town of Katoomba.
While in Sydney I met up with my friend Emma Davidson who runs Take Care zine distro, and we had a wander round Newtown (not far from where she grew up) and had some dinner. Newtown is the area of Sydney next to the university, full of old houses and narrow lanes. It used to be very cheap- full of hippies and students and LGBQT bars and bookshops, but is now extremely expensive.
To be honest I wasn’t fussed about the centre of Sydney. I was staying close to the harbour, but it all felt very bland and glossy, like living in a Westfield shopping centre. I was there to visit friends more than anything.
MONA was one of my main reasons for visiting Tasmania. It’s basically in an underground bunker like a Bond villain’s lair, and requires a boat ride to get to. The owner David Walsh, is the richest man in Tasmania and a very strange character in his own right- he grew up in a rough area of Hobart, and made his fortune by using maths to outsmart the gambling industry, and then spent it on this museum. He’s simultaneously “mathematical genius” and “13 year old edgelord”.
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, and one of the oldest cities in Australia- lots of old buildings. Even by Australian standards it has a really grim history of genocide and massacres against the original local people, with lots of explanatory plaques and signs around as memorials.
Here’s Australia continued- my trip to Tasmania and the pretty seaside town of Sandy Bay, hometown of Errol Flyn. If you have any idea from the cartoon that Tasmania is a hot desert place, it’s not think. Think more New Zealand.
Fitzroy Gardens is a park in the centre of Melbourne with a model village, lovely botanical conservatory and some fairly strange sculptures and tree carvings.
Sticky Institute is a Melbourne institution- a zine shop in the basement of Flinders Street train station that’s been there since 2001
In Australia, charity shops are called op shops, short for opportunity shops and Melbourne has really great ones
Here’s some photos from around Melbourne in Sept 2018 (yes, it has taken me that long to sort them out), they’re mostly phone photos taken as I wandered around. Melbourne is a mix of Victorian terraces very similar to those in the UK (with the addition of sunporches), gleaming new blocks, and wild west saloon type streets like this.
Here’s a few photos from St Kilda in Melbourne. It’s a fancy coastal suburb of Melbourne filled with interwar bungalows, with a pier and esplanade. In the 1960s it was run down and where all the hippies lived, but is now back to being fancy. I went there because there are wild penguins living on the pier and I hoped to see some. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to spot any that day.
Last year I went on a trip to Australia, with a stop-off in Singapore along the way. I’ve finally started sorting out the photos and writing a zine about the trip. Here’s some photos from Singapore- they’re all phone photos as I left my suitcase at the airport for convenience as I had to fly to Melbourne the next day and I realised the battery charger for my camera was in it too late.
I was tidying up some old photos and found some from my trip to Denmark in 2015 that I never posted. These are of the Louisiana Art Museum. It’s a modern art museum and sculpture park just up the coast from Copenhagen.
It’s very unlikely I or anyone else will be travelling much this summer (I’ve not been more than a mile away from home for months now), so I thought I’d sort out and post some old travel photos. Here’s Roskilde from 2015. I posted photos of Copenhagen and Malmö at the time (you can see them here and here), but I forgot to do these ones.
In the fuzzy zone between Christmas and New Year I scanned a lot of old negatives. I’ve recently started going through them and editing the photos. It’s not like travel is going to be much of an option this year, so might as well sort out all my old travel photos that I overlooked.
I realised I still had a few photos from February in Austria left unposted, so here they are. Strange to think that six weeks ago I was travelling around Central Europe for work, and now I don’t venture more than a mile or two from home.
A couple of years ago I won some plane tickets to Japan, and went inter-railing around Western Japan with my friend Vicky. The whole trip was short notice and on a very low budget, but we had fun. When I came back I made a zine about the trip. The paper edition is still available here, but for the foreseeable future I can only send physical copies to the UK. So I’ve made a digital edition for people to read.
Amstetten is the most extremely average place in Austria. It’s a largish commuter town in between Linz and Vienna. You have no reason to visit it. Its main claim to fame is that Josef Fritzl lived there. I was there to teach in one of the schools as a visiting teacher.
I was supposed to be back in Austria right now, running more school workshops. Obviously that’s not happening now, due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Here’s some photos from Salzburg a couple of weeks ago, where I flew en route to Amstetten.
Austria Post does an excellent fixed price box within Europe which is extremely handy when you’re travelling around for weeks on end with a 20kg luggage restriction and needing to dress nicely for work and no access to laundry.
Here’s some assorted photos from Deutschlandsberg. It’s a very ordinary small Austrian town near Graz. Although it’s a pretty and nice place, it’s probably not where you’d pick for a holiday in Austria (although they do get hikers and people coming for the wine trail in the summer).
My next work assignment was in Deutschlandsberg, a small town at the foot of the Koralm Alps, near the Slovenian border. (Austria is a lot further south and east than people imagine). I was there three years ago (at a different school), when it was snowing heavily. This time I arrived to brilliant sunshine, and went for a walk up in the vineyard filled hills with Jemeala, one of the other teachers.
En route to my next work assignment in Deutschlandsberg near the Slovenian border I stopped off in Graz overnight. I’ve been to Graz loads of times. It’s a really nice city, even if everyone does have a thick Arnie accent.
To travel in between Vienna and Graz, until the never-ending tunnel under the mountains is finished later this decade, you have to take the train over the top of the Semmering Pass, going up and down over the Alps. You get some spectacular views, and the trainline itself is a UNESCO site. It’s hard to take good photos out of the train window, so here’s my playlist for over the mountain.
Fertőd is the village in Hungary just across the border from Pamhagen. It has a huge Baroque palace there (which we also visited) and therefore more places to eat than Wallern (and the exchange rate is very favourable). The train takes about five minutes, but only runs every four hours. In fact the train journey was so quick a lot of the time the conductor couldn’t even be bothered to sell us a cross-border ticket.
A lot of small towns in Austria have a Mardi Gras carnival, and they often organise them to be on different days to not clash. This means that if I’m in Austria doing school workshops in February I often see multiple carnivals. Wallern-im-Burgenland is still the most surreal I’ve seen.
My next work assignment was in a small village called Pamhagen on the Austria-Hungary border. The main hotel in the village was closed, so we were put up in a neighbouring village called Wallern-im-Burgenland. Pamhagen is only about 70 miles away from Vienna, but it’s a million miles in reality. Until 1989 it was pinched between the lake and the heavily militarised Iron Curtain. The border is open again now, with no passport controls (thanks Schengen Agreement!) but the area still feels like the end of the line.
Győr station is really quite stylish in a 1950s way. I took most of these photos while I was waiting around bored for my delayed train back to Austria.
There were a lot of decrepit old wooden windows in Győr old town. Here’s some of the various designs of draught excluders I saw.
The Danube at night
There’s also lots of vintage street signs in Győr. This one says “fabric dyeing and dry cleaning”.
After working in Vienna for a week I headed off on the train to Győr in Hungary. It’s the regional capital of NW Hungary, and exactly halfway between Vienna and Budapest. I’d never been there before, and it was an easy train journey from both Vienna and the tiny village on the Austria-Hungary border where my next work assignment was.
Vienna has strong rent controls for shops, meaning that many of them are in the same location for decades, leading to lots of vintage shop signs around town (along with stylish new ones like the brewery one above). Here’s a selection of different ones I spotted on this trip.
I also visited Vienna Architecture Centre- I’d never been inside this small museum before, but the entry was thrown in free with the bundle ticket I bought for the other exhibitions.
About 15 minutes walk from the school I was working at in Vienna, and next door to the University of Life Sciences was Türkenschanz Park
On a rare day off in Vienna I went to the Open Studio day at the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. This is the top art school in Austria, and also the same institution that famously rejected Hitler twice for his lack of creativity. The studios are in this impressive building, the Semperdepot, which was originally built to store theatre scenery and props.
I’ve been in Vienna and now a tiny village on the Austro-Hungarian border for the last few weeks. Here’s what I’ve been listening to.
The Kunsthalle Wien holds temporary exhibitions- I caught the last day of this show. It definitely isn’t the best thing I’ve seen there- I’ve previously been to blockbuster Basquiat, Haring and Švankmajer shows there, but it was included in the Combi-ticket I bought for the other museums, so I made sure to see it.
I’ve been back in Vienna since Saturday, but I was busy at the annual work conference. Last year was the first in a decade that I didn’t spend any time in Vienna, and that was strange. Vienna is a very big and grand capital city for a small country of six million sparsely spread mountain people, a remnant of the days when it was the capital of the whole Austro-Hungarian empire, covering Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Romania and Poland.
The Slovak National Gallery was also open late- it was free that day too because they were changing the exhibitions and only two rooms were open. From the website it seems like there’s a lot of interesting stuff in the museum, and it’s a pity I didn’t get to see it, but I enjoyed the small section I did get to see.
Zdeněk Miler was a Czech illustrator and animator best known for his character the Little Mole (Krtek or Krteček).
I’m working in Austria for the next few weeks. I’ve been visiting for the last ten years to run school workshops. You spend a week in a local school running drama, creative writing, and sometimes art or cookery classes as an English immersion programme. Every week you’re at a different school.
I normally take my DSLR, and sort out the photos afterwards, but I couldn’t find what I’d done with the charger. My phone has a very decent camera though, so I’m going to use that and post them as I go. I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the way the FB and Instagram algorithms decide what people see and in what order. Everything’s jumbled up and got no context or order, and it makes seeing travel photos particularly frustrating. So they’re just going here, where they stay in chronological order and in context.
I’ve recently scanned around 60 old rolls of film, which I’ll gradually post. These are some photos of the palace of Versailles taken on some extremely expired slide film. At the time I worked in a photo lab, and ended up with a huge bag of all the expired film from the shop for about £20, and also got free development as a perk. Half-melted and degraded Kodak slide film + Olympus XA2 camera, cross-processed as C41.
Here’s some more old films I scanned- this time of Innsbruck from two years ago. Standard Ilford HP5 with a 70s Pentax SLR.
Some photos of a place called Le Haut Boulay in Northern France near where my mum lives. I have never seen a soul in the hamlet. There’s a handful of houses and the roadside shrine, and that’s it.
It was really a test roll for the film. Fomapan 400- a very cheap black and white film from the Czech Republic.
A couple of years ago I went down to Aldwick, near Bognor Regis for the summer to house-sit a relative’s house. I ended up being stranded there due to a lengthy train strike. Robert Smith of the Cure is probably the only famous local resident. The owner of one of the local shops told me where he lived, and I went along to see it once out of curiosity. The house was dull and expensive looking, but the beach it stands next to was much more Robert Smith like, with windswept shingle like Dungeness and rare sea cabbages. I never bothered to look at Robert Smith’s house again, but I made many trips to the beach because I liked it so much. I was usually the only person there.
Here’s some more 60s tourism slides from my grandparents’ house (you can see others here). This time from the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, now a UNESCO site. Again I have posted all 36 images. It looked pretty much the same when I was there about 10 years ago, minus the annoying coach party of loud Texans who kept appearing everywhere you looked and complaining there was no Taco Bell and you had to walk places. Further along the coast in Sorrento I bought a very fancy waffle-knit towel that still serves me well for travelling. The shop assistant seemed very confused that I wasn’t buying a whole matching set of them like the majority of their customers. Afraid I could only afford one small one.
When clearing out my grandparents’ house a couple of years ago I found seven packets of these 60s tourist slides of various places around the Mediterranean. I’ve been scanning and restoring them. First up, these from Herculaneum.
Herculaneum is a smaller coastal town near Pompeii that was also destroyed by the volcano. It’s not as well known, but there are some magnificent villas there in a similar but smaller archaeological park to the one you can visit at Pompeii.
On my way back from the Tyrol, I stayed in Munich en route to the airport, and visited the Dachau concentration camp museum- it was the first Nazi concentration camp and served as a template for many of the others…
A short train ride or couple of miles walk outside Kitzbühel is the Schwartzsee (“black lake”). It’s full of minerals washed down from the mountains that give it the glassy black effect…
So here’s a couple of assorted photos of Kitzbühel town. It’s a ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, about equidistant between Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich…
In July I went to Kitzbühel in Austria for work. I was there to run a workshop in the local middle school, and the mayor gave me and my three co-workers tickets for the local ski lift…
Here’s some more photos from Germany. From Harth in Nordrhein-Westfalen to be more precise. It’s a small village in the Sauerland, a scenic forest region about a hundred miles east of Cologne, popular for hiking and cycling.
I spent most of August in Germany, teaching some school workshops and going to Documenta art fair along the way. My first assignment was in rural Nordrhein-Westfalen. The agency has a tendency to book you on flights at brutal times early on a Sunday, so instead I booked my own flight to Cologne on a Friday evening, and claimed it back off them. I have been to Cologne loads of times, and my colleagues were flying into Düsseldorf, which I had never visited. So I decided to stay in Düsseldorf, do a bit of sightseeing, and then meet up with the others before heading to the Sauerland.
And to round off my stuff from Croatia, here’s some sketchbook notes from Zadar museum and Trogir. Hobotnica (pronounced hobotnitsa) is Croatian for octopus. It’s a good word.
So here’s my playlist from Croatia- it goes with the zine I wrote about the trip.
So here’s the last of my pictures from Croatia. This time of Trogir, a town up the coast from Split. I went there on the bus, on a whim really, and was glad I did.
If you keep walking out of Split you end up on the Marjan peninsula. The first time I visited I made the mistake of climbing up to the peak in 35c heat. After that I sensibly took the coast road.
Here’s some photos from my trip to Croatia this summer. It was a real last minute thing, I suddenly had a week free in a packed summer of teaching engagements and still didn’t actually live anywhere yet, so I bought a cheap flight to Croatia and did some sightseeing.
This summer I had to chance to go to both Documenta in Kassel and the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. Here’s my photos from one of the Ljubljana Biennial exhibitions that allowed photos. The theme of this Biennial was this poem by Slovenian writer Jure Deleta.
Here’s an illustration of a car park in Bracknell. Like the one I did yesterday, the original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £24.
Earlier in the summer I went on a ghost tour of Cambridge via work, and I took these notes.
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.
When I was in Ljubljana this summer, I went on a boat tour up the Ljubljanica river that runs through the city.
I’ve got two new zines out.