Category: Arts and Culture

From Fishermen to Fine Art – A Walk Around Old Stavanger in Norway

It’s an uncommonly warm and sunny September morning in Stavanger, Norway. The locals go about their daily tasks as visitors stroll around the harbour taking in the picture-postcard prettiness of it all. It’s not somewhere I had thought to explore, to be honest. It stands to reason that when you imagine a cruise around the Norwegian fjords, what first comes to mind is the lavish scenery resulting from eons of glacial activity. I suppose the...

BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Neasden Hindu Temple London

Hindu Blessings at London’s Neasden Temple

I’ve been to UK Hindu temples before, those converted community-hall type of temples you find in most urban population centres, where the shrines are modest and the furnishings sometimes a little frayed around the edges. I’d occasionally wondered if all such temples outside of India were the same. Last weekend I discovered that this is categorically not the case, as I accompanied my longest-standing friend and her family to Neasden Temple in north-west London. I knew nothing...

Why Cuenca is Ecuador’s Loveliest City

Some have said Cuenca stands on the site of what was once El Dorado, the mythical city of gold which the Spanish Empire searched for in vain. Today, this city in southern Ecuador owes its architectural heritage to those marauding Spanish Conquistadors themselves, and is the country’s most important city after the capital, Quito. I wandered the historical city centre and soaked up that ambience during a backpacking trip to South America, and found much...