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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.  

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 →

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.

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