Three Drives in the USA, almost 1,000 miles.

Three Drives in the USA, almost 1,000 miles.

Down the I95

It was a long drive down from Washington DC to Athens, Georgia. We were 12 hours on the road, including three rest/food/toilet/gas stops. 600 hundred miles, the longest drive we were ever on. Up and down the middle of Ireland twice.

Those huge signs on poles higher than pines. Waffle House, McDonalds, Subway. Holiday Inn. Chicken Filet. Adult Store. Continue reading “Three Drives in the USA, almost 1,000 miles.”

Walking Through Georgetown & In The National Gallery of the USA

Walking Through Georgetown & In The National Gallery of the USA

Walking Through Georgetown

Georgetown, a university area of Washington DC, had that understated style and nothing-to-prove confidence about itself. Houses looked modest enough in size but seemed really stylish inside with soft light and muted graceful décor. Continue reading “Walking Through Georgetown & In The National Gallery of the USA”

Notes on Athens, Georgia

Notes on Athens, Georgia

Joan Didion wrote on the South in her book South and West: From a Notebook which was based on notes she took on a one month trip around the gulf states in 1970. She paints a backward and unflattering picture of the South when she compares Louisiana and Mississippi with California. Her main premise is that the South looks to the past, while California looks to the future. To me, her writing is dismissive and somewhat arrogant, and says, at times, more about her than the place she was writing about.

I have only been in Georgia and South Carolina for a few days and I didn’t go to rural and remote places as Didion did, so I’m not going to make generalisations like her. But I will follow her style of using notes she made along the way. Continue reading “Notes on Athens, Georgia”

Arlington Cemetery and the Religious Order of the Military

Arlington Cemetery and the Religious Order of the Military

Coming from a country with no great military tradition, the visual presence of the military and its infrastructure in other countries, such as France, the UK and the US has always intrigued and somehow unnerved me.

We were in Collioure, in France, a few years ago on holiday. We went for a walk along the coast, just north of the town. Beautiful, beautiful place by the Med. We had to go around a military compound to find the path by the cliffs and when we came back they were doing some kind of training exercise in the yard outside the compound. Continue reading “Arlington Cemetery and the Religious Order of the Military”

Washington DC – The New Rome

Washington DC – The New Rome

The most amazing thing about Washington DC for me was how much it reminded me of Rome – Rome as it once was, that is. All the buildings (around the National Mall especially) were so Roman, with friezes and thick columns (in a strange mix of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian) rising up above grand sets of steps. Huge domes in the middle, reaching skyward towards the gods, pregnant with glory. Full of the symbolic grandeur of Rome (and ancient Greece before it). Pale stone, clean and imposing, shining in sunlight. Huge lettering on the outside, massive doors for entry. Continue reading “Washington DC – The New Rome”

I Love America

I Love America

I love America and I love Americans. I love coming to The US and I’ve been coming here since 1987 which was my first trip away with Ciara – to the great capital of the world, New York City. The heat in Hell’s Kitchen in July was tough. I remember that small room in Brian’s apartment and waiting for the fan to turn again and breathe its sweet momentary coolness over us. But the city blew my mind and I’ve been back many times since. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Continue reading “I Love America”

On Airports and First Impressions of DC

On Airports and First Impressions of DC

On Airports

I used to describe Heathrow Airport as ‘the worst place in the world’. That was when I travelled a bit for work and I’d often be sent through Heathrow. That was the time when you had to walk over two roads and into another county to get to the specific far-away-as-possible little terminal (that we christened Paddyland) to get to flights home. I wasn’t comfortable in airports generally that time, it wasn’t just Heathrow. Continue reading “On Airports and First Impressions of DC”