During this summer’s stay in Turkey, I went off on an unexpected weekend trip to Cappadocia — thanks to the intrepid, infinitely more organised Ren, who’d found a good deal and persuaded me to join her (not that it took much persuading, of course!). So there I was, barely over a day after I’d agreed to the trip, shivering slightly in the cool, crisp 4 AM air in the little town of Göreme, waiting to see if I might be able to board a hot air balloon for the first time in my life. Since the sky in Cappadocia gets too hot for balloon rides soon after sunrise, together with the fact that gauging safety depends on last-minute capricious wind conditions, all of us who’d registered for the ride had to meet at the balloon company headquarters at 4 AM and wait before being told whether balloon rides would be happening at all that day. We were a comical roomful of bleary-eyed, somewhat bedraggled travellers —some of us, like Ren and I, having only just flown in from Istanbul two hours earlier— of all ages and from all over the world, munching halfheartedly on chunks of cheese and watermelon slices in the reception room, all waiting to hear our collective hot air balloon fate (imagine having to simply head back to bed at this point!).

Upon the recommendation of an artist friend who spent six months living in Istanbul last year expressly to paint oil paintings —who would ignore a travel recommendation from someone like that, right?— I set off to have an afternoon stroll around Fener and Balat, traditionally Greek and Jewish (respectively) neighbourhoods of Istanbul. It was a quick bus ride, via the 55T, from Taksim.

aynalarAn area that has seen better days, Balat’s streets are lined with brightly coloured, often dilapidated (if not outright hazardous) houses. In contrast to the many abandoned and decaying buildings, there’s a strong sense of vibrancy and general ‘neighbourhoodliness’, with its many shops selling household and everyday foods and goods, and countless children running about playing in its streets.



…to be back in Istanbul!

I’m returned to this gorgeous city in the hopes of improving my Turkish. So far I’ve successfully manipulated various unfortunate waiters into having extended conversations, enjoyed more delicious mezes than I can shake a kebab at, and caught breathtaking glimpses of the Bosphorus from unexpected angles while winding through the narrow streets of Cihangir… It promises to be a terrific three weeks.

This fantastic project, titled ‘Spring Autumn’, features grandparents and grandchildren (from China, Malaysia and India) swapping clothes. I love how the series explores intergenerational ties and differences, and societal tradition and change, through such a playful and affectionate lens. By artist qozop — visit the photographer’s website here.



As much as I love taking photos, I’m dreadful at organising them. I no longer have any of the originals of the pictures in this post, for example (especially trying since several of them are flippantly filtered versions). I used to shake my head in disbelief upon hearing the lengths more serious photographers go to in order to protect their images, but now I’m determined to start a basic system of properly storing photos… I don’t want to keep losing pictures from trips that I treasure!


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For my sister’s birthday, half of which we spent in London —we flew to Rome later in the day— we celebrated at a Lebanese restaurant, Yalla Yalla. (Thanks for the awesome rec, David!) They do amazing things with lamb, and all the desserts we ordered were pretty divine as well.

And then shortly after lunch it was a brisk trip to Heathrow and to..


I think Italy may be the country with the highest number of men dressed in suits wearing sunglasses asking for cigarettes outside churches in the world…

This was so good! Spaghetti topped with shrimp and a lemony cream sauce:

The City of Rome police logo features the legend of Romulus and Remus:

^My sister being model-esque in a quiet, picturesque alley.

Intense sandwiches!

Floor of the Vatican museums

This was very beautiful to look at from the top, but also very difficult to walk down. Definitely aesthetics > ergonomics for the architect who oversaw this one…

This painting by Donato Creti really stood out from the rest for me (which were almost without exception religious in theme). It beautifully depicts a series of astronomical studies.

If you ever wanted to write a letter to the pope…: