‘Stolen’ Towels and Sweet Revenge

July 24, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, TRAVEL |

Vines at Lyndoch: apart from its Barossa locale, they have nothing to do with this story

The Barossa Valley is justly beloved of wine buffs and travellers to South Australia, but from time to time, a local hostelry will just not come up to scratch.  Best to shrug philosophical shoulders and move on, but we are all prone to cut up after particularly poor experiences, which stick like a bone in the throat. Many years ago, friends of The Varnished Culture suffered such an experience, having bought a couple of nights via an ill-advised travel auction. R felt compelled to write a letter of complaint.  Redacted appropriately, this letter, dated 28 February, said as follows: “Dear__________ My…

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Egypt and Nubia

July 24, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Non-Fiction, TRAVEL |

(Written by William Brockedon, lithographs by Louis Haghe, from drawings made on the spot by David Roberts RA) (1847) It may not be the most propitious time to visit Egypt or indeed the Sudan.  Cheaper and safer to buy this sumptuous single volume Folio edition with the remarkable plates of David Roberts, a Member of the Royal Academy and a high master of in situ painting and (back at the studio, obviously) lithography.                             And today…

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The Witchery

July 18, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Restaurants, TRAVEL |

Edinburgh, summer, 2013 If you are staying in Edinburgh, book dinner here.  Ensure that you book ahead.  You may need to be content with a late booking. We wended along the Royal Mile, ascending towards the Castle. L negotiated the cobbles expertly in her high heels.  By 9.30pm we were past Boswell’s walk and ready to descend to the secret garden, our way lit by candles on each step (ladies with long gowns, beware). The day had been dry and sunny, with a bone chilling wind.  From our cosy vantage, the sky was an arctic blue and pink and you could…

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Amalfi Coast

July 3, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL |

Painting by Edmund Berninger, 1929

(May 2013) We started the day well, with a very fast and comfy train, replete with champagne, from Rome to Naples.  But then we were emptied at Naples station where an old gent showed us to a shop, where a young fellow, probably the grandson, sold us tickets on a local caboose to Sorrento.  P spent the trip standing at 10 degrees off perpendicular, and L was groped. In Tasso’s town, we caught a hotel jalopy that took us up a 60 degree slope on a nerve-twanging single road to the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso, a chichi, vaguely Bohemian pile…

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Eternal Rome

June 12, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL |

(April/May 2013) From the hell of Fiumicino Airport, an official looking chauffeur took us on a mid afternoon drive past the Forum, Trajan’s Column and the Colosseo and deposited us, bang on cocktail time, at the Hassler, atop the Spanish steps.  The Varnished Culture knew from the H.H Kirst novel* that we were due a treat and so it proved.  The hotel guests were just as exotic: Japanese in fluorescent sports gear, dancing a jig; a rich Italian with a blond 2/3rds his age; an odd couple feted by the staff; a short, plump American with dead, gold hair, accompanied by…

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