A Darkside Downunder – MONA magic (Hobart, Australia)

I'm in Tasmania drinking with Dave; a giant of a man with broad shoulders and no neck. He's lived alone all his adult life, and sits at his normal spot at the bar, in  brown flannelette shirt and singlet, jeans and mud-caked Blundy boots. "Changed? Yeah, sure has...

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Almost Lesotho – seeking Shangri-La (Drakensberg, South Africa)

`...didn't you ever want to know what was on the other side of the mountain?'           - James Hilton, Lost Horizon. Funny to find an Antipodean neighbour way out here: a beanie-clad, mumbling, red-head New Zealander in the middle of Africa; him having asked about...

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Jigsaw Days – secret pieces (Picardy, France)

From Berlin I've flown to Paris late winter, driving north for two hours and overnighting in the hamlet of Behen, a classic French Chateau with stately entry paved for WW2 German tanks, towers and walls from 15th and 18th centuries, the stables once bombed by American...

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The Lion King – wandering ways (Skeleton Coast, Namibia)

There's another white dual cab propped on the wrong side of the road. I wind down the passenger's window to ask if all's OK. A khaki-clad man pauses, narrow-eyed and hesitant way out here, water bottle pulled from an open, dust-laden tailgate. We're in Namibia –...

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Calling on Kittelsen – demons, ghosts and ghouls (Norway)

Four metre waves batter our ferry on the fiercest piece of water in the world. We’re 100km west of the Norwegian mainland and this is the Maelstrom, first mentioned by the Greeks 3000 years ago and immortalised in the iconic writings of Edgar Allen Poe and Jules...

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Clarisse of Arabia – teaching the children (Helsinki, Finland)

Outside the station I squint in late summer sun, a grand entrance clad in grey Finnish granite and guarded by lamp-holding titans: stern-faced stone men far too serious to be the animated rap stars of railway advertising campaigns. At their feet, there's a kid busker...

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Something from Nothing – mystic gifts (New York, USA)

There’s something about these multi-coloured cocoons, the plaque on the wall `Judith Scott: 1943-2005’. I adjust my glasses and lean closer, scratching my head and struggling with the notion of an artist not only deaf and mute, but also stricken with the effects of...

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