Archive | September 2010 RSS feed for this section

The Ultimate Success

30 Sep

Stuart Burns

“Oh, you’re English? My, your French is simply impeccable!”

He almost began to well up when he looked at the old lady. There, in the cramped surgery waiting room, he sat and considered this momentous event. Continue reading


Auf den Spuren Goethes und Schillers in Thüringen

28 Sep

Aila Mihr

Goethe-Schiller Monument, Weimar, Germany

Jena und Weimar – kaum zwei Städte sind mit der Geschichte und dem Werk Friedrich Schillers und Johann Wolfgang Goethes so eng verbunden wie diese beiden. Nimmt man sich etwas Zeit um diese Städte im idyllischen Thüringen genauer zu entdecken verwundert es nicht, dass die beiden Dichter sich hier wohl fühlten. Doch nicht nur sie hat der Charme von Weimar und Jena bezaubert, auch für andere herausragende Persönlichkeiten der deutschen Geschichte, wie Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Liszt, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lucas Cranach und Friedrich Schlegel waren sie eine kürzere oder längere Station in ihrem Leben. Continue reading

Dear Elephant…

27 Sep

Suffice to say that I, like many other St Andreans, am completely and utterly disgusted by this ignorant decision to dismember the modern languages department at St. Andrews University in one fell swoop. It is an outrage that we, who have earned a right to attend this academic institution, will no longer be receiving the fullest and indeed richest education in our modern languages degrees. I believe that the whole dubious affair really boils down to this: our university does not love languages. Continue reading

Summer in Paris

27 Sep

Sarah Dundas

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat

So I know what you’re thinking already…how romantic…how lovely…how warm! And I suppose summer in Paris can be all those things on occasion, but also overrun in July, deserted in August, and frankly…far too hot! Continue reading

Close Encounters of a Catalan Kind

26 Sep

Hannah Lucas

Botifarra amb seques (sausages with white beans)

Having firmly landed at Barcelona airport with the Ryanair welcome jingle still echoing in my ears as I take the first steps of my Great Year Abroad Adventure, I decide to commemorate this momentous occasion by purchasing my first periódico (and can of Fanta Lemon). Eager to sink my teeth into some authentic Spanish articles and practise the lingo, I begin to read. And immediately want to cry. I don’t understand a thing! Thus begins my first Catalan experience – an unexpected confrontation with the strange language of which they are fiercely proud. At first glance, a sort of written hybrid between Spanish Castillian, French, Italian – very much Romance-based – but which adopts a bizarrely Eastern European quality when spoken. So much so that Spaniards from other regions within the Peninsular refer to them, both affectionately and derogatively, as los polacos (the Poles), and on numerous occasions I was convinced I was overhearing conversations between a couple of severe Russian gentleman, rather than the two mature Catalan amigos that I would turn around to see. Continue reading


25 Sep


All of these words mean ″elephant″ in different languages, except one. If you think you know which word is the odd one out, email your answer to, there will be a prize for the first correct answer – extra points for telling us what the word actually means and what language it is in!

فيل • Elephant • Olifant • Elefant • Fil • Elefante • слон • Slon • Elevant • Elepante • Gadya • Norsu • Elefantti • Éléphant•
ελέφαντας • Elefan • revistë • פיל • हाथी • elefánt • Fíl • gajah • eilifint • zilonis • dramblys • gajah • iljunfant • słoń • tembo•
ช้าง• ہاتھی • voi • eliffant • העלפאַנד


Off the Beaten Track

24 Sep

Tomohiro Harada

1) Zone of Alienation: The city of Prypiat in UKRAINE

In 2008, I visited a ghost city of Prypiat. It was a thriving city in northern Ukraine until Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster turned it into one of the largest ghost towns in the world. Now it is in the Zone of Alienation, where it is still radio-active and nobody can therefore live there… Very creepy experience, although it is indeed a forgotten town… Continue reading

Turkish Delight: How To Haggle in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

24 Sep

James Penn

Idly stumbling into the entrance to Istanbul’s truly ancient ‘Grand Bazaar’ is akin to wondering into Aladdin’s cave. For almost five hundred years, this is where the commerce of this burgeoning, bustling city has taken place. One is immediately struck by a myriad of Turkish delights: mountains of spices envelope the air in a unique musk, traders barter furiously and implore tourists to see that their family will starve unless they buy their overpriced wares. Continue reading

Make your own Origami elephant!

23 Sep

Nicolai Lilin: a Siberian education

23 Sep

Stuart Burns

Nicolai Lilin

In the midst of the tented village that every August becomes the Edinburgh International Book Festival, it’s quite usual to see families wandering around enjoying the (rare) sunny days, children with ice creams, elderly ladies swooning over Alexander McCall Smith, that sort of thing. The Festival has a very laid-back atmosphere, and offers an escape from the hectic world of Festivals Edinburgh. It was therefore a rather odd sight to see Russian writer and Turin-based tattoo artist Nicolai Lilin, swaggering through the entrance with a humongous, muscle-bound bodyguard and his Italian interpreter. Continue reading