Video from my Summer Holiday

Over the course of my long summer holiday this year, I recorded a small amount of video on my mobile phone. Below is a selection that gives some taste of the places I visited.

Note, All these clips are in MPEG4 format. I suggest you right-click to save the file to your computer and then open it using your chosen video player.

Lake and glacier, Finse, Norway (1.4Mb) 
This video shows the lake at Finse and a closeup of its accompanying glacier. Even in late August a huge amount of snow remained on the ground which made walking and cycling rather difficult! (Interestingly, the Hoth scenes from The Empire Strike Back were filmed here.)

Midnight sun, Arctic Circle, Norway (3.2Mb) 
This video was recorded aboard the 'Finnmarken' under the midnight sun at about 2.30am. It shows the dramatic Norwegian coast as we glide slowly by.

Aboard the 'Finnmarken', Arctic Circle, Norway (1.6Mb) 
This sequence shows the headland that stands at Europe's most northerly point (approx. 450 kilometres above the Arctic Circle). After this, it was south all the way to Murmansk.

Solovki Monastery, White Sea, Russia (3.4Mb) 
The beautiful Solovki Monastery is one of the most revered in Russia. The island on which it stands is also the location for Solzhenitsyn's book "The Gulag Archipelago". Marvel at the old veterans there for a day trip - one (with a huge chest of medals) kept a bottle of vodka in his pocket which he drank voraciously from.

Aboard the ferry, White Sea, Russia (1.3Mb) 
Seagulls follow the small boat that takes visitors to-and-from the Solovki Islands. The birds are quite bold and will pick food from your hand as they glide alongside.

Train journey, Northern Syria (3.2Mb) 
The train from Latakkia to Aleppo has an open back from which you can survey the dramatic mountain countryside.

Wild Tortoise in Qal'at Si'man, Northern Syria (1.9Mb) 
Whilst wandering among the ruins of Qal'at Si'man I stumbled upon a wild tortoise. He wisely chose to hide in his shell before attempting to make good his escape (they can move faster than you might think)!

Gunfire echoing around the Qadisha Valley, Lebanon (1.7Mb) 
Listen carefully and you can hear automatic gunfire from the Lebanese Army. This was fired in celebration of their victory over Fatah Al-Islam at a Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli.

Wild boars, Ehden Forest Reserve, Lebanon (613Kb) 
This is the moment I stumbled upon several wild boars rooting among the trees. The previous day I had accidentally disturbed a sleeping male boar. His enormous size and large tusks henceforth encouraged me to keep my distance!

"Spider's Nest" exhibition, Beirut, Lebanon (794Kb) 
A multimedia presentation at a Hezbollah-organised exhibition in South Beirut. Called the "Spider's Nest", it celebrates their successes against in Israel in the Lebanese war of 2006. This sequence shows a destroyed and captured Israeli 'Merkava' tank.

(2013 sneaky update - Meet another solo traveler on my new app,
A photo of a bell ad a whistleMix n' match: Content features & formats Why do we use the content we do? For example, why does the website of University College Dublin use a proprietary 3-d image format for a "campus tour" feature? Why not simple images, Flash or video? To answer this question, we need to define what we mean by content "features" and "formats". Read my new article "Content functions, features and formats"
"I am currently away from the office..."

To explain the lack of site updates, you should know that I am on extended leave. I will not return to the office until mid-September. In the meantime if you live in any of the following places, you may have already seen me as I passed through:

Holiday Reading
  • "Children of Men" by P.D.James. A good start but a poor end. The recent film adaptation is better.
  • "Homo Britannicus" by Chris Stringer. A somewhat plodding but nevertheless interesting history of human & proto-human habitation in Britain.
  • "My Life as a Fake" by Peter Carey. A dark and bitter story of schizophrenia and unintended outcomes.
  • "The Great War for Civilisation" by Robert Fisk. A lengthy but compelling insight into the horrors inflicted on the people of the Middle East by foreign powers and home-grown despots.
Holiday Listening