Ithaca: A Greek Homecoming

Ithaca

Photo Credit: splindsay

I awoke this morning on Ithaca. The overnight storm had subsided and the air was balmy. We’re staying in a house on a hill for a few weeks and have gorgeous views over the town of Vathy which lies below. A handful of boats are moored in the harbour and a black car makes its way slowly around the harbour’s curve.

It feels good to be here after 29 months of travelling, a journey inspired by Sean’s and my shared desire to travel together. Greece is a key destination for both of us. For ages, I’ve wanted to spend considerable time in Greece, to get to know the country of my father and ancestors, and to connect with the Greek in me. Likewise Sean, who has for many years wanted to experience Greece, having studied ancient Greek and the Greek classics in graduate school. And, so, it feels particularly fitting for us to be on Ithaca, home of Odysseus and the island he took ten years to return to after the end of the Trojan war. Not only have we both held the dream and intention to come to Greece, Sean and I have been through a whole host of Odyssean trials since we began our travels in 2012.

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Florence without David

Why We Missed Michelangelo’s Masterpiece

Images of Florence © 2014 Mufidah Kassalias

Despite his disproportionately large head and hands, Michelangelo’s David is one of the main attractions in Florence and, for some, a major reason to visit the capital city of Tuscany. Sure, his rear view is rather attractive, but after seeing the 1910 replica outside the Palazzo Vecchio, David’s original home — if not his intended one on the roofline of the Cathedral — neither of us felt moved to pay to see the real thing in the Galleria dell’Accademia. A somewhat sacrilegious decision? Not exactly.

David has become a cliché.

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Ich bin ein Berliner

No, Not a Jelly Donut but a Temporary Resident of Berlin

Reichstag Reflected in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus © 2014 Mufidah Kassalias

Reichstag Reflected in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus © 2014 Mufidah Kassalias

As a digital nomad I’m firm believer in getting to the heart of wherever I happen to be, making connections that go beyond the superficial and immersing myself in whatever it is that makes each place unique. I figure places are like people. Take the time to form deep connections and they’ll forever be a part of you. Even if you never have the opportunity to meet again.

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From Gaillac, France to San Casciano, Italy via the Côte d’Azur

Cannes, France © 2014 Mufidah Kassalias

Before day had broken on a mild mid-January morning in the South West of France, Sean and I were on the road once more.

After spending four-and-a-half months in a hamlet just outside of Gaillac in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France — where we embraced a hermit-like existence as dog carers and guardians of a 100-acre property nestled in the hills above the town — Sean and I have now moved on to the Tuscan village of San Casciano in Val di Pesa, 15km southwest of Florence.

Sunflower fields have been replaced by olive groves, but both landscapes are full of vineyards, Gaillac being one of the oldest wine-producing regions in France due to its location on the banks of the Tarn river, on the main route for transporting Roman wine to Bordeaux and Northern Europe in the first century, and San Casciano being in the south of the Colli Fiorentini (Florentine hills) area of the Chianti region. Continue reading

Burgos² — A Book of Instagram Photographs of Burgos, Spain

Images from Burgos²

Images from Burgos² © 2013 Mufidah Kassalias & Sean M. Madden

“Absolutely brilliant!! It’s a fantastic book, congratulations!
A very complete view on the city, its people and landscapes.”
— Héctor Jiménez, Diario de Burgos

In early December, Sean and I launched Burgos², our book of Instagram photographs of Burgos, Spain. The 144-page hardcover book contains 367 of our 1,400+ Instagram photos of Burgos, both city and province, and is available on Blurb, where you can preview the entire book (see Burgos2.com for direct links to the book page in the UK, U.S. and Spain stores).

These are the photographs which, in the words of Diario de Burgos journalist Héctor Jiménez, made us “famous on Burgos social networks more than a year ago,” and which inspired Jiménez to feature us in two separate articles — published exactly a year apart, on 25 November 2012 and 2013 — in the city and province’s main daily newspaper. Continue reading