We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Six and Out


Arinsal, Andorra. January 2011.


Bourg Madame, France. January 2011.


Roses, Spain. January 2011.


Lisbon, Portugal. February 2011.


Istanbul, Turkey. March 2011.


Slunj, Croatia. April 2011.


Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina. April 2011.


Fez. Morocco. May 2011.

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Ceuta. May 2011.


Algeciras, Spain. May 2011.

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Banwar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, May 2011.

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Coolangatta, Australia. May 2011.

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Labuan, Malaysia. May 2011.


Sepilok, Sabah. June 2011.


Lawas, Sarawak. June 2011.


Meden Rudnik, Bulgaria. August 2011.

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Bucharest, Romania. August 2011.


Comrat, Gagauzia. August 2011.


Balti, Moldova. August 2011.


Chernivtsi, Ukraine. August 2011.


Kraków, Poland. September 2011.

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Bratislava, Slovakia. September 2011.


Brno, Czech Republic. September 2011.

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Prilep, Macedonia. September 2011.

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Elbasan County, Albania. September 2011.


Prizren, Kosovo. September 2011.


North Stradbroke Island, Australia. October 2011.


Tianjin, China. November 2011.

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Vale de Telha, Portugal. December 2011.

17 comments to Six and Out

  • You have out done yourself this year :-)

  • I think there’s more than six there.

  • And a very minor nitpick: It’s Chernivtsi.

    That having been said, I wish I could afford to travel as much as you do. :-)

  • Keith

    What happened to July ?

  • Ted: It is Чернівці (Chernivtsi) in Ukrainian, and Черновцы (Chernovtsy) or previously ЧерновиÌцы (Chernovitsy) in Russian, so I was actually using an older form of the name (or something close it it) rather than an entirely wrong one. I didn’t actually intend to do this (but the number of different Cyrillic spellings, and their various Romanisations does make it hard to keep straight), so I have therefore corrected it.

    In truth there are so many forms of the name it is almost ridiculous. If I had known it was Cernăuți in Romanian (or should that be Moldovan?), I would have realised there was a direct bus from Balti and would have likely arrived there several hours before I ultimately did, but getting confused when travelling is half the fun.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Michael, you’re slacking.

    (If only I had a private source of income…..)

  • Do they sell birdseed near the statue of the unknown papparazi in Bratislava?

    The slebs could have hours of fun sprinkling it round his hat.

  • RAB

    JP beat me to it. I have actually heard of some of those places!

    Private income? He’s got a private jet on permenant standby, hasn’t he?

    The best we managed was 2 weeks in Brittany with the bonkers dog, sob!

    You are a hero Michael :-)

  • Paul Marks

    I hope that new building in Arinsal is not blatently out of character with the rest of the buildings near by.

    It looks so now – but it is unfair to judge it just on the construction stage (it may be fine when finished).

    Very good phographs – mostly of places I would like to see.

    But not all of the places of course.

  • Kim du Toit

    Man, that’s a depressing bunch of destinations, Michael. Just out of curiosity, did you go to the rifle factory in Brno?

  • Man, that’s a depressing bunch of destinations

    You must be joking. I hate to think what your idea of a fun place must be!

  • Paul: It’s a large ski lodge being built in a ski resort. I am sure it will fit in.

    Andorra is tiny to start with, and most of the country is rather dramatic mountains. The only flat land is in a single main valley, and just about every scrap of land in that valley has something built on it. The country is a couple of overbuilt towns consisting almost entirely of duty free shops surrounded by ski resorts, surrounded by sections of France and Spain containing small (and old) towns and villages.

    Actually, there are some dazzlingly beautiful spots on the Spanish (Catalan) side on the drive up. I was particularly taken by Castellfollit de la Roca, which is surrounded by basalt cliffs on three sides. There are some interesting old and new bridges around it, including the remains of one which was blown up in the Spanish Civil War. I could have shown that one if I were interested in continuing the theme of war damage that seems to have somehow become big in this year’s photos. For that trip to Spain, I have chosen a pretty seaside town, instead, for some reason. Incidentally, the famous restaurant El Bulli is (or was) in Roses, just around a couple more headlands to the left of that photo.

  • You must be joking. I hate to think what your idea of a fun place must be!

    In defence of Kim’s position, I now realise that these photos contain four different pictures of damaged structures from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. I didn’t do this deliberately – other than in the sense the I try to post photos of things other than regular tourist shots – but I do like to put subtle connections between the photos in these essays, so I don’t really mind that I did. I had many choices of other often very beautiful things to post in all these countries – particularly in Croatia and Macedonia – but war damage from relatively recent times is poignant, somehow.

    It’s probably fair to say that as places, Moldova, Kosovo and northern Bosnia-Herzegovina remain pretty dysfunctional and grim, although there are still interesting and at times also beautiful things to see in all of them. The people in them are largely trapped with little to do and few ways of leaving, too, which is asking for future trouble. Western Ukraine is poor and the Ukrainian state is dysfunctional, but I don’t find it especially grim. Some of the grandness of the Austro-Hungarian empire was trapped inside the Soviet Union and preserved, and preserved. (That said, I have chosen another terribly depressing photo. The cinema in the photo of Chernivtsi was previously a synagogue. There is actually a great heroic story from the time involving Chernivtsi/CernăuÈ›i – Traian Popovici, the mayor of the city in 1941 and 1942, strongly resisted the deportation of Jews and saved the lives of something like twenty thousand people – but any reminder of the absence of Jews in this part of Europe is inevitably a grim thing).

    Albania, on the other hand, was the big positive surprise of the year – beautiful, friendly, and obviously advancing very rapidly, admittedly from an extremely low base.

    As for Poland, and the Czechs and Slovak republics: these countries have successfully rejoined the west. No two ways about it. Bulgaria and Romania are not very far behind. In particular, I love Bucharest. The architecture is somewhere, well, interesting, after what Ceausescu did to the city (although it has a batshit crazy grandiosity about it, which makes it notable although certainly not beautiful), but the city has one hell of a buzz about it. Romanian pop music and other popular culture reaches a long way into surrounding (and sometimes not-surrounding) countries.

  • but any reminder of the absence of Jews in this part of Europe is inevitably a grim thing)

    This story, however, has a rather uplifting ring to it.

  • Jim

    There was a period of about five years or so (’96 to ’01) when I did a lot of business travel, including a fair amount of international travel. I think you have managed in one year of personal travel to overwhelm my five years.

  • Paul Marks

    Mountains, hills, the sea, rivers – ancient buildings (in good repair).

    There are some of my favourate things. Add in (temperate) forests and you have just about all of my favourate things.