Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hidden delights

Why, I often wonder, would I want to go abroad, when there's so much I haven't yet seen in England? (Well, you might reasonably reply, because there are more beautiful/interesting/exciting things abroad, and you would be right, and one day I will go to Venice...)

I have, I can say in mitigation - and I have to make this count for a lot because it is the only serious bit of Abroad that I have done - been to Russia. Communist Russia, just about (November 1982). I have been to the Moscow State Circus, where they had performing bears, and the Kirov Ballet, and shared a sleeping compartment on the Moscow-Leningrad train with, inter alia, an Intourist guide with an interesting skin complaint called Stanislav (the guide, not the complaint). Had my father been interested in such things, he may well have been disappointed to discover that Stanislav was due to take over from Irena at the station. The train had a samovar at the end of each carriage, but not, as far as I recall, a toilet (but it must have done. Perhaps it is just too horrible to remember.)

But for those of us who still hold out against foriegn travel (and I really don't mind flying, but I cannot stomach the thought of airport security), here, which I found via Diamond Geezer, is all the evidence you could ever need of the many and varied delights yet to be discovered on your very doorstep. Forgotton, hidden and unbelievable places, touching in their insignificance, or amazing in that you've never heard of them. Astounding in their brilliance, or brilliant in ther mundanity. Go and randomly browse the archives. It will by turns warm and break your heart.

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