Peterhof, Russia

Palaces and gardens, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great, and sometimes called the « Russian Versailles », attract tourists to Peterhof (UNESCO World Heritage Site). In the Soviet Union, tourist guides, who were allowed to meet foreigners and spoke several languages, enjoyed a privileged status. This lady in the gardens was probably one of…

Budapest, Hungary

Szechenyi Bath is the biggest and most popular of all thermal baths in Budapest, with eighteen different pools. In one of the outdoor pools, local chess players meet and seem to play endless games. November 2012. Les bains Szechenyi sont les plus grands et les plus populaires thermes de Budapest, avec dix-huit bassins différents. Dans…

Lomé, Togo

In the big market in Lomé, some Togolese somen sell traditional fabrics, particularly the Dutch « wax » that is much sought after in Western Africa. They are called the « nanas Benz » as most of them have become wealthy and own a big Mercedes car. The golden years are now behind them as the economic crisis and…

Ubud, Bali

A Balinese hindu lady is bringing a basket of canang sari to the temple. Canang sari are offered every day to the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa divinity as a form of thanking for the peace given to the world. They are a very simple household offering. August 2004. Une dame balinaise hindouiste apporte un panier…

Cordoba, Spain

It was Palm Sunday in Cordoba. The city was quiet until I came upon this procession that made me feel I was in an El Greco painting. Incense smoke, drum and trumpet bands, heavy pasos (floats) with Passion scenes: the Holy Week in Andalusia is one of my favorite events. April 1999. C’était le dimanche…

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Established in 1670, Café Hoppe is a traditional « brown café » in Amsterdam. The name « brown cafés » comes from their dark wooden interiors and the nicotine-stained walls and ceilings. There is always a fresh layer of sand on the floor and a few interesting characters to watch. November 2007. Fondé en 1670, le Café Hoppe est…

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

You often read that one or two million of people from Rio go down to the beach on week-ends. This seems hard to believe. But once you reach the beach in Ipanema and see the mix of wealthy Cariocas and inhabitants of the favelas, you realize the figures could be true. February 2006. On lit…