Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Just like that old Thin Lizzy song...

I can't do this, but it looks like the future to me.

A nice feature of Google maps:

Take a GPS log file
Convert it into the .KML format used by Google Earth.
(You can make these with GPSbabel, amongst other utilities.)
Put it on a web server somewhere
Go to Google Maps, and search for the URL of the .KML file
You’ll get a nice map of your track. And you’ll even get information about how to link to it and how to embed it in your site. Here’s a section of the route I walked today, for example:

Here's the result.

...and here's the man who knows how.


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy christmas

I'll be speaking about Tom next year. And walking some more, and repeating some of the journeys I've already made.


Friday, 5 December 2008

Postwar Europe

Without such collective amnesia, Europe's astonishing post-war recovery would not have been possible.

Tony Judt

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Paris: city of booksellers?

Those Left Bank book stalls in Paris [Bouquinistes] filled with First Editions and rare collections of poetry and are in trouble: books aren't selling so well, and plastic Eiffel towers are doing better. What happens next?

...Paris city hall, alarmed that the garish knick-knacks are damaging Paris's "cultural landscape", has launched a battle to protect the literary soul of the banks of the Seine. Bouquinistes have been invited to crisis talks at the city hall in an attempt to promote more intellectual merchandise. But some warn that if they cannot adapt to the changing market they will "die of hunger".

Imagine this in a market near you:

The trade is strictly regulated. Each bouquiniste is allowed four boxes painted dark green: three must contain books, the fourth can sell items such as prints, collectors' postcards, stamps and souvenirs.

From Le Guardian.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Founder of Technorati launches public beta of his customised print travel guides...

...here's why:

...what I learned is that there is really something special about holding a physical printed book in your hands. Especially when you are travelling. And you know, I travel with my Blackberry and my iPhone and my Laptop and all of that and if I am in the middle of a Siok in Jerusalem or I am lying on a beach in Phuket, Thailand I don’t really want to pull out my Blackberry or end up paying those enormous data rates via my iPhone just to be able to find a piece of information that I could easily find if it was sticking in my back pocket.

Lots more here in an interview with David Sifry.

Gosh: print is back? Just as the E-book gets exciting?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Quicker than Tom

Mr. Rossy, a Swiss pilot, leapt from the plane about 8,200 feet over Calais, France, blasted across 22 miles of water and deployed his parachute, above, over the South Foreland Lighthouse in Dover. Onlookers who dotted the famous white cliffs cheered and waved as he came into view.

Even impressed the New York Times.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The ever generous Paul Theroux

Thinking about Tom and his amazing Jacobean times is actually easier when not in his exact footsteps. But I'm never far away, even back in London. Today I'm off to a conference on renaissance spies. And especially Sir Henry Wotton, who was "bureau chief" as it were, in Venice - during the early part of the reign of James I. And who certainly met Tom in 1608. (There's much more to Wotton, and maybe I will know after my conference). That's him above.

Meanwhile, back on the circle line...Paul Theroux tries to flog a new book in a free newspaper, and sounds as charmless as ever. Wasn't he rather keen on V.S. Naipaul's tracks once upon a time?

A lot of travel writing is a stunt – “Ooh, I’ll bounce a ball around Iceland, I’ll throw a Frisbee around Namibia” – and doesn’t amount to much except someone in need of a subject. The other type is people thinking: “I’ll follow the tracks of Graham Greene, that’ll be exciting!” So I thought, some gap year punk’s going to do that about me, and I don’t want that – it’s my life, my trip, I’ll do my own return journey.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Tom and Now

Thanks Google.

Makes it all much easier. Betwixt continues, and will be back regularly soon.

For now don't forget around robin.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Today is the 400th anniversary of Tom's Departure

A picture from Padua's railway station

Thanks Tom for inspiring my walk, changed my life - a little

And in other news: the Venice bottom snapper has finally been caught.

Normal walking service will shortly resume: I'm writing an academic paper on trust
and it's taking a little time.

Coming soon: The Rhine

A piece I wrote for The Times on Italian towns.

And Shakespeare might have made it to Venice as well as Tom. Read more here.

Another way to cross the Alps?