All posts filed under: travels

travels are posts from trips that i’ve taken. specifically, those that are international in nature.

Where we lay the dead.

Happy Halloween! I love the deep quiet that cemeteries have, even if there are leaves crunching and birds squabbling.  I get the feeling feeling that I’m able to barely brush against something eternal.  As a child I would often be taken on walks at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.  I suspect this gave me the idea that cemeteries are places for peace and rest, whether you are living or dead. Here are some cemetery photos I’ve taken in the past year – you may have seen them on Instagram already.  The oldest of the grave markers are from the Eliot Burying Grounds in Roxbury.  It’s usually locked behind a large wrought iron fence.  For two years I used to stand under the horse chestnut tree outside its gates to wait for the bus, and wonder what it would be like to walk inside.  Happily, on a recent walking tour in the neighborhood I got the chance.  I was told that the adjacent building was recently renovated, and when they tore …

citysumption and the search for urban cool.

As I’ve already told you, I recently got back from a trip to Europe.  As always, the return to Boston was a bit of a shock, as I lamented, “Boston just isn’t cool.”  Barcelona, where I had just been, just had this effortless excitement to it, a laid back sense of style and innovation, sporting incredibly innovative architecture from Gaudi to contemporary, from tapas on the street to dancing in the squares. What does Boston have?  A food-truck inferiority complex and a half-working waterfront park?  Where’s the beach and the outdoor bars til 5am?  And why, oh, why don’t we turn our incredible seafood into conservas for me to nibble while drinking cava in the sun, or in a packed bar of people drinking vermouth and nibbling on salty, briny snacks? So, in order to try to snap myself out of this malaise, I proceeded to do the “cool” things in Boston.  Most notably, I head to the SoWA open market, “Boston’s original art and indie design market.”  If you know where this is going, …

working landscapes, fantasy landscapes, cultural landscapes.

I just got back from a road trip through the Pyrenees, from the French Riviera to Barcelona.  It was a gorgeous trip, a relaxing trip, a very, very food oriented trip (like you’re surprised).  But you know what was surprising?  How industrial, how work-oriented the landscape that we traveled through was.  From Marseille and its warehouses to the industrial agriculture and viticulture of Languedoc, from large-scale salt production in the Camargue to the incredible manufacturing history and massive port of Barcelona, the places we traveled through were not exactly straight from the fairy tales.  When we passed a nuclear power plant we were reminded that France gets 75% of its energy that way, and as we passed through the Pyrenees and saw the vast fields of air turbines we marveled at their size, the sheer engineering of them, and the marvelous contrast that they made against the romantic misty landscapes and medieval villages that surrounded them.  It was so exciting to see up close the work of making a country run, the kind of thing …

an anti-logic of streets: getting lost in Rome and at home (and thoughts on arts-experiments in planning)

Long title, lots of ideas here.  Stick with me. I spent last week in Rome, which is actually where la flaneuse first was born, six years ago.  I didn’t yet know then that I would be wandering around cities as my profession, but as a writer for Let’s Go: Italy, I learned to love the solitude and spontaneity of exploring cities on foot, watching roads and residents as I went.  Though I got to know Rome very well, especially as I tirelessly visited every restaurant, mapped every vicolo, and scouted every sightseeing deal, returning was a whole different ballgame.  I was struck by the city’s layers, its character, the way it has grown haphazardly over time and then lurched under massive redesign campaigns by powerful leaders seeking to make their mark.  I saw Rome with new eyes, and I want to share some of my observations with you. First, though, I want to give credit for these new eyes to the ladies of Platform 2, an incredible conceptual art/performance/social engagement collective here in Boston.  A …

from the archives: holiday markets and christmas decorations.

As promised, here’s a brief roundup of holiday markets and decorations.  I think it’s such a cool way that cities transform themselves temporarily.  I’ve been thinking a lot about temporality in urban spaces and this seems like a good way to get started on saying something concrete about it.  The holidays are such a unique temporary intervention because they last so much longer than your average festival, so they really permeate the feeling of a place.  Where are your favorite holiday decorations? Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have also been thinking about the ability of *snow* to transform our experience of urban space.  I find I talk to other pedestrians more often, as we negotiate narrower walkways and uncrossable mounds of ice at intersections.  Maybe that’s a small silver lining, but I’ll take what I can get.