An afternoon in Cambodia

There are few things in life which I enjoy more than a holiday aboard a Thompson (TUI) cruise ship. That little blue plastic card is the ticket to two weeks of paradise! The first stop on our trip was in Cambodia – not the most obvious choice of a tourist destination but interesting nonetheless.

Our first trip out from the boat was to Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s south-west coast overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. With only an afternoon free in this port we boarded a tuk-tuk (complete with smoking engine and decorated with green astroturf) around a couple of areas of interest, including the famous ‘golden lions statue’ and the Wat Leu Temple on the outskirts.

There is a lot of poverty in Cambodia and it is impossible to ignore people living by the roadside and children begging for money in the streets. There is also massive construction work of luxurious apartments and it seems that every other renovated building is a casino, which is a shame.

Cambodia has a terrible history as I am sure you are already aware, and any decent tour guide will point out the killing fields and the legacy of the Khmer Rouge 1975 -1979, when Buddhist temples were destroyed, desecrated and used as mass graves. Even before this, the country was bombed consistently in the Vietnamese War with America.

The country is trying to rebuild and establish itself as a tourist base, and it does have a lot to offer, although there is such a lot of work needing to be done. Should we visit Cambodia again in, say, another ten years’ time, I am sure that it will look very different…

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Last Day in St. Petersburg ∼ St. Peter& Paul Fortress

Catherdral 1

 

Is the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral the most beautifully adorned church I have ever seen? – without a doubt! It’s amazing internal design by Domenico Trezzini and Ivan Zarundy (1722-1729), successfully combines elements from the traditional Russian Orthodox with western Catholicism in a stunning Baroque style.

The details of our trip were quite sparse and after a long day visiting various locations we were ushered quickly in through the gates.  I must admit the external structure did not prepare me for its stunning interior. The church is not huge, but there is a lavish array of architectural splendor on display. Personally, it was the sumptuous ceilings which drew my attention; the cathedral is a rich and potent source of Russian history and probably contains more decorative gold in its iconoclasts than I have seen previously in my entire lifetime…

As well as, the iconoclasts and paintings, the Cathedral is also an important burial vault, containing the tombs of Peter the Great, and  Alexander II. In 1998 the remains of the last Russian Emporer  Nicholas II and members of his family who were killed at Ekaterinburg in the revolution of 1918, were buried inside. There is so much to see that is breathtakingly beautiful, and the history of the Cathedral and Fortress is fascinating.

Did I save the best until last? Absolutely – I hope you enjoy the photos!

 

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The Lovely Town of Ennis, Co. Clare ∼ The Perfect Fictional Location?

“Fun, relaxation, good humour and decent human friendliness await all visitors to Ennis,” declares the town’s tourist website – and indeed this true, if my recent visit to this very charming town in Co. Clare, was anything to go by. I have never been to anywhere quiet like this and my excitement at my visit was definitely increased as I had used Ennis as the location of one of my noir short stories, Every Move You Make, the title of which was taken from that classic stalker song by Police.

It can feel a little strange to mix fact with fiction in this way, but I chose Ennis because it is has so much natural charm and old fashioned hospitality that it seemed ideal for my noir story, which is based in several Ennis locations – some of which are identifiable from these photos. It might be fun to try and spot them; I will add the link to my story below.

Getting back to the real town of Ennis, which is situated on the River Fergus, just north of where it enters the Shannon Estuary. The town lies north west of Limerick and south of Galway and is also only a short drive away from Shannon Airport, which gives access to many flights to the US – and there are often many American accents to be heard when out and about in the town!

The Irish name for the town is short for Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada; meaning “island of the long rowing meadow” which is quite beautiful don’t you think?

My short featuring characters Finola and Declan is the first in a series of Ennis adventures, with the second already written (but without a home as yet) and the third in construction. If you enjoy a noir tale or a stalker story why not check it out the first story here?  pulpmetalmagazine.com/…/every-move-you-make-by-sonia-kilvington

“It’s difficult,” she muttered nervously.

“In your own good time,” replied Declan as graciously as he could on a very dull Monday morning, to an equally dull looking client, who was already testing his patience.

Finola felt out of place in this tired, dreary office. She had already tried to craft a reasonable explanation for her visit. One that wouldn’t sound too ridiculous or paranoid, although from his weary, world-worn expression; she imagined that Declan had already heard many stories which were much more harrowing than her own. Still avoiding his gaze, her eyes strayed to a fragment of loose wallpaper hanging off the moldy smelling wall, next to her chair. She fought a strong urge to grasp the scrap between her fingers and peel it away, slowly, slowly, until it rested in the palm of her hand.

Declan cleared his throat purposefully, in a manner which implied that his time was not only valuable, but highly billable, too,

“So, what is it that you think I can I do for you?” he asked directlyRead more

Casa Batlló: Barcelona

Casa Batlló is an outstanding architectural delight. Once the family home of Antoni Gaudi, the building has been restored with much respect of its architectural heritage, opening to the public as a private museum to the in 2002. It design is unprecedented in the architectural world, and on The Noble floor which was the main […]