Where the flying fishes play

by Elias Blum

It’s strange how some parts of the world (some places, some cultures, some landscapes and cityscapes, some cuisines, some histories) fascinate us, and excite our romanticism and wanderlust, while others leave us a bit cold.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a certain liking – an aesthetic attraction, a sense of longing and perhaps even of belonging – for Central and Eastern Europe (in that long band that stretches, through Poland and the Danube basin, from the Baltic to the Black Sea) and for the Eastern Mediterranean (the arc that bends from Athens to Alexandria). These are the places which Patrick Leigh Fermor’s ‘From the Woods to the Water’ and William Dalrymple’s ‘From the Holy Mountain’ had put into words for me. These are the places that, when I had opportunities in my youth for solo travel, I chose to explore.

The Far East and South East Asia, on the other hand, have never really grasped my imagination. That said, I am sort of looking forward to my forthcoming trip to Burma / Myanmar. ‘Sun comes up like thunder’ and all that.