Koi fish vying for food in Kyoto by Content Catnip

Four weird unexpected things to love about Japan

Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don't know about yet. 1. Requiem for a washlet Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel…

Advertisements
The terrace houses of Sevilla, Spain

Travel: The Beautiful Terrace Windows of Triana, Sevilla

Back in 2010 during a particularly sweltering summer, I visited Andalucia and soaked in the beautiful architecture in Sevilla. The best way to see all of the charming neighbourhoods and historic monuments was going the tourist routes with an open-top bus. This also afforded me excellent views onto all of the terrace houses with their…

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal Of Berlin Zoo

Roland was a goliath 4,000 pound sea elephant (A.K.A an Elephant Seal Mirunga patagonica. He lived in Berlin Zoo from the late 1920's until his death during the second world war. Here he is getting a snow bath from his handler at the Berlin Zoo (date unknown) In this film you can see his large…

Tui - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

The ultimate guide to collective nouns for New Zealand birds

This post is for all of the New Zealand and global bird-lovers out there. New Zealand has some wonderful and incredibly intelligent birds that also tend to have rambuctious, mischievous and cheeky personalities. Check out this video of a kea being, well... a kea if you don't believe me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoCuRuHlt8 Here are some little known…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

On a dark night, Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!– I went forth without being observed, My house being now at rest. In darkness and secure, By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!– In darkness and in concealment, My house being now at rest. In the happy night, In secret, when none saw me,…

Roadtrip on the Isle of Skye. Gloaming sky

Travel: The ruins of Duntulm Castle on Trotternish

I visited Duntulm on the northerly most point of the Trotternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye back in 2010. Many many moons ago, perhaps several thousand years ago, the now mostly ravaged and ruined castle was originally a Pictish fortress, forming one of a chain of duns or forts stretching along the north coast…

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

Travel: Exploring Ancient Kidwelly Castle in Wales

About ten years ago I visited Carmarthenshire, Wales and discovered the ruins of Kidwelly Castle with a friend and fellow couch-surfer. It was a delightful and fascinating day, full of overcast grey weather, souvenirs, bara brith, Welsh rarebit and early medieval history. Perched close to the wind-swept seaside and encircled by beautiful lapwings, ducks and…

Eerie and Glorious Fake Cities Left Empty in China

Eerie and Glorious Fake Cities Left Empty in China

“Entire townships and villages appear to have been airlifted from their historical and geographical foundations in England, France, Greece, the United States, and Canada and spot-welded to the margins of Chinese cities,” according to Bianca Bosker, author of Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. Tianducheng:  A Fake Parisian Wonder Originally conceived as an homage…

When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her…

It is the time when crimson stars Weary of heaven’s cold delight, And take, like petals from a rose, Their soft and hesitating flight Upon the cool wings of the air Across the purple night. It is the time when silver sails Go drifting down the violet sea, And every poppy’s crimson mouth Kisses to…

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat held for it by a row of ancient trees; you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one, not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses, not calling…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Wir Bleiben Alle https://wp.me/p41CQf-KHm

Travel: Wir Bleiben Alle, Berlin

Wir Bleiben Alle which roughly translates to We Are All Staying is a punk anarchist squat, bar and multi-level music venue. It's an integral part of the modern resistance movement in Berlin which protests against the rising rents and gentrification of suburbs Prenzlauerberg and Kruezberg. This is where artists, writers and bohemian types used to…

Short film: Celestial wonders in downtown London

Short film: Celestial wonders in downtown London

In this stunning short film called Sun Moon London by filmmaker Luke Miller, we witness otherworldly visions of the interplay of the moon, sun and bustling central London. Luke captured the harvest moon on the 5th of October 2017, when the moon was at its zenith of autumnal equinox. Along with footage of the 1st…

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Yarchen Gar also known as the Yaqên Orgyän Temple is located in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China Geographically remote and nestled in a valley some 4,000 metres above sea level, the temple rarely sees tourists or visitors. The monastery is associated with the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism . At Yarchen Gar there is a concentration of…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Seal of Mahia Beach

Travel: Baby seal on Mahia Beach, New Zealand 

While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was…

Tapas of bread with fresh sardines, basil, cheese and tomatoes in Madrid, what I actually remember from the palace tour. Copyright Content Catnip 2009

Travel: The Royal Palace in Madrid

It was broiling and steaming at about 38 degrees in Madrid that day. Looking out over the vista of Madrid during the peak of the siesta period it seemed that all the traffic had stopped and all of the sensible people in the city had retreated inside, except for the tourists like me of course.…

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Travel: Walks along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh

The Polish Bear and I went on a lot of adventures together while living in Edinburgh. One of our favourite walking trails was the devastatingly beautiful Water of Leith. This natural body of water crosses over the Forth and Clyde Canal, which I've written about extensively before. The Water of Leith snakes its way through…

Futuristic pop-art masterpiece tower for sale in Berlin

Futuristic pop-art masterpiece tower for sale in Berlin

If you fancy yourself building your own Willy Wonka style creative studio or Warhol style art factory then the Bierpinsel could be perfect for you if you have a spare 3.7 million Euros. Bierpinsel stands at 47 meters high with a futuristic Pop-art architectural design trend from the 1970’s. Constructed by the architects Ralph Schüler…

Travel: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Travel: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Whereas in Australia bollards are being erected everywhere to protect against trucks driving through people on the street, in little old New Zealand, the bollard means something completely different and is used to great decorative affect in the town of Napier in New Zealand. These Art Deco bollards are dotted around all of the streets…