A path invites, lures and beckons. It meanders, follows a creek for a while or crosses a bridge. Perhaps its surface is uneven with cobbles, shale or stepping-stones. Or maybe it is time-worn and ancient, following the steps of our ancestors or tracks made by animals to a water source in the bush. The best paths are well beaten and have evolved over time. Shortcuts, ways and lanes call the curious to explore. They are not politically correct- they were not built with the disabled in mind. They were not built for bicycles either.
The pedestrians wandering these featured paths are not alerted by the impatient ringing of bells from the lycra clad or speed obsessed bicycle brigante. They wander at their leisure, quietly reflecting as they go, stopping to take a photo or admire the view, or striding out more vigorously to an appointment.
Brexit has rocked the world this week and so Ailsa, at Where’s My Backback, has nominated Exits as the travel theme of the week. I found this beautiful door, with its hand painted Salida or Exit sign, in Valparaiso, Chile. A few chains around that Salida, leaving won’t be so easy.
I have always longed to return to Valparáiso, Chile, South America just to see the how the colours have changed and to see if the artwork is renewed on the walls. The streets of Valparáiso provide a canvas for all sorts of artists as well as home painters, who prefer to use bright colours for external walls. I imagine the walls are always in transition. Steep streets rise up above the busy port, the hilly suburbs accessed via ancient, vertical tram cars or ascensori, which take you from one level to the next. If you walk, goat like, to the upper reaches, you will be rewarded with more colourful views.
Mr Tranquillo, my partner in life, my travel agent, gentleman and scholar, has taken up blogging. Now I have to guard my photos like a hawk. I used to dip into his pictures willy nillly, with a ‘what’s yours is mine’ approach, like a free digital bank. Now I must ask politely. In his last blog, he stole some of my photos from Chile to complete a story about graffiti. In doing so, he unearthed an old file of mine and took me back to Valparaiso.
He had worked on this post for some time and had wandered the streets of Brunswick to get some urban grunge into the mix. We now both loiter with intent and camera. He has always been my patient editor, questioning some of my more rash approaches: now I am his, encouraging him to loosen up.
Although the subjects of our posts sometimes cross paths, our writing styles are distinct. Both our professional lives were based on writing, but for distinctly different purposes. We both devour books, but rarely do we read the same things. During our last trip to Thailand, my holiday reading took me to the obsessive world of Elena Ferrante, and after four volumes of her Neapolitan series, I am pleased to have escaped. While stuck in Ferrante’s world, Mr T found a hard backed tome, left behind on the book shelf in our guest house in Nong Khai, Thailand. Entitled, ‘The Malaria Project’ by Karen M Masterson, it exposed
America’s secret mission to combat malaria during World War II—a campaign modeled after a German project which tested experimental drugs on men gone mad from syphilis.
Nice holiday reading indeed! He tends to choose more non fiction than I do. And although we spend most of our time together and can read each other’s thoughts, we are quite different, we really are.
Take a look at Mr Tanquillo’s blog- he writes beautifully.