Travel and Leisure

From the Attic
samjbasch

A glimpse in time

Sam J Basch

There’s almost nothing as useful to illustrate the passage of time as a photo album.

Some 35mm colour slides of a student tour to Europe in 1974 provided a glimpse in time, just as if paging through an album. Pulling back the curtain of time revealed cobwebbed memories stored in the far recesses of the mind.

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

Sights of Silesia

Sam J Basch

Visit Wrocław (pronounced ‘Vrotsh-waff’) in Poland’s Silesia province for its vibrant art scene, museums and culinary delights – and history. While Covid-19 is restricting overseas travel for now, this intriguing city and environs have much to offer the tourist. Nearby is the site of arguably the most daring World War II incident, ‘The Great Escape’ master-minded by South African-born RAF pilot Major Roger Bushell.

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From the Attic
samjbasch

Ancient knowledge

Sam J Basch

A tour of the Basotho Cultural Village in the spectacular Golden Gate National Park is a true revelation. The two-hour herbal trail not only gives one an insight into ago-old traditional methods of treating ailments and injuries, but also reveals ancient rock art, some of the oldest evidence of human culture in Africa.

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From the Attic
samjbasch

Pygmalion?

Enter Leighton House in London to get a glimpse into the life of the pre-eminent Victorian artist Lord Frederick Leighton. That fascinating life included an intriguing relationship with an East End beauty, which inspired George Bernard’s Shaw’s novel ‘Pygmalion’ that was made into a play and the movie My Fair Lady.

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

HEARTH AND HOME

Stone houses may look harsh and uninviting. Yet, they date back millenia – home to our early ancestors.

The ‘hearth’ inside was where they cooked; the fire generated heat for warmth, especially in cold climes. In time, the phrase ‘hearth and home’ came to embody family and the love shared among those living in the glow of the firelit room. It exuded coziness and the embracing comfort of home.

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

All that glitters

Humankind has always had a penchant for gold. It’s actually a fever, gold fever, striking down all those with the indescribable urge for quick riches. Up north in the Limpopo province are the remains of South Africa’s first gold-mining company.

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Travel and Leisure
Andrea Abbott

Literary ramblings

Literary connections add a cultural touch during a short rambling tour on the Isle of Wight and in parts of South Devon in England

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

Pillars of Tower Hamlets

Four black metal pillars in a half circle, about three or four metres high, standing between two blocks of flats in London’s East End. To what purpose? Play things for kids? A work of art?

Actually the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was where the Stepney Gas Works produced coal gas for more than a century. Coal was conveyed by barge on the Regent’s Canal and converted here to gas for households, industry and the city’s streetlights. It made it a target for aerial bombardment in World War II. This now becomes an interesting story…

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Sam Basch
samjbasch

Take a long view

Britain has the allure of timelessness and tradition, and a language that is spoken widely. The age-old traditions the Brits so jealously guard have their roots elsewhere. Even their English language was a Germanic import, brought there by Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

As the Danes invaded in the 9th century, and even settled in places, the Wessex king Alfred kept them at bay. He is credited with saving the English language. But William the Conqueror’s invasion from Normandy in 1066 almost killed English. Fortunately three centuries of French at court introduced a lexicon that massively enriched modern English.

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Wild, weird and wonderful

Words cannot describe the spectacle of wildflowers that flourish every year on the West Coast and Namaqualand. Photographs give an idea, but you have to visit there to be caressed by soft air, to smell the earth and sea, feel the sun’s warmth, the silkiness of the petals, the lustre of the blooms.

This is a wish-list item that reminds us how magnificent nature can be…

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