Tag Archives: art

Life as an Overseas Student in Nottingham

Before I moved to Nottingham, my only knowledge of the city was its links to the legend of Robin Hood. Although I had visited Nottingham before, I did not have any particular feelings towards it; I only thought it was rather green and big in comparison to the place where I did my undergraduate degree, Leicester. It was soon made evident, however, that the two cities, although 30 minutes apart by train, were vastly different! Continue reading


Bastakia: Art, Heritage and Crafts in Dubai

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Emirates

A stroll through Dubai’s Bastakia Quarter is like a stroll back in time, or a walk through a movie set. If you take the chance to step away from Dubai’s bustling, shiny shopping malls or its luxury beaches for a walk through this historical neighbourhood, you will find peace, beautiful architecture, and Middle Eastern art and heritage.

A beautiful mosque stands at the edge of the Bastakia Quarter. Photo © Kathryn Parsons

Bastakia in Bur Dubai is easily reached by heading to Al Fahidi metro station and walking up Al Satwa Road towards the creek. Once you reach Bastakia, immerse yourself in the area by walking around the tiny alleys and seeing what you discover! The neighbourhood is home to the Coin Museum, the Coffee Museum, various art galleries, craft shops and cafes set in sunny courtyards. Most of my purchases during my visit to Dubai are from Bastakia — there’s a wonderful incense shop where I brought some oud crystals for burning and an art shop where a lovely man wrote my name in Arabic and framed it. There are also shops filled with Iranian pottery, handicrafts and jewellery.

Often named ‘Old Dubai’, Bastakia is also home to the remnants of Dubai’s old wall, constructed in 1800 from gypsum and coral. The neighbourhood has recently undergone restoration and is now a completely pedestrianised heritage centre, so it’s a perfect, peaceful place to see traditional Middle Eastern buildings and visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Here you can also go upstairs for great views of the neighbourhood.

Shops, cafes, galleries and museums are hidden in the narrow winding allies. Photo © Kathryn Parsons

My favourite part of the Bastakia Quarter is the Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Café, and not just because the food is delicious — this courtyard café is dreamy! In my opinion, there’s no better word to sum up the atmosphere as you sit down under the white canopies amidst the trees and flowers, order a cool minty lemonade filled with ice, and enjoy your surroundings. They also boast a selection of over a hundred different kinds of tea from all over the world, and an impressive variety of dishes to keep you going throughout the day, from traditional breakfasts, to barbecue, to hearty salads and afternoon teas.

Mosaic graffiti spotted in Bastakia. Photo © Kathryn Parsons

One of the best things I found about visiting Bastakia was that it was an ideal place to visit with others or alone. I first went with a group of people, which was ideal for meandering around the lanes, checking out the art and enjoying a nice lunch — even if we did occasionally lose somebody to the next alluring alleyway or art gallery! But it was also great to visit the quarter alone. The second time I went, I was visiting my sister who worked in Dubai at the time, so I had a few days to entertain myself. Aside from being invited to lunch by two men on the metro who were on their way to their mother’s house, I spent the afternoon in uninterrupted peace walking round Bastakia. I got to spend as long as I wanted pondering the interesting graffiti, sampling the scents of each incense and, best of all, drinking coffee and writing alone in the serene courtyard café.

Featured image © Kathryn Parsons


Leipzig: the Next Berlin?

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Poor But Sexy: A Student Guide to Germany

Compared to other Western capitals such as London, New York and Paris, which are pretty much as synonymous with astronomical rents, social cleansing and insta-hipster blandness as they are with their respective iconic landmarks, Berlin still manages to retain its essence as a city where normal people can actually live. This is largely due to the unusual and genuinely cutting-edge lifestyle it offers, which deserves to be preserved at all costs.

However, change is in the air. With Berlin rapidly becoming Continue reading


Pakistan’s Walls as Structures of Hope, Not Division

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Pakistan: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

I’ve spoken previously about poverty, overpopulation, terrorism, and corruption being some of the words which come to people’s minds when they hear the name ‘Pakistan’. I spoke of how this country was not short of amazing people wanting to bring positive changes in a place tarnished by corruption and fighting. I introduced readers to Nargis Latif, in an attempt to give her the recognition she deserves as her work is a source of strength for this nation.

She is not the only one though.  Continue reading


10 Things You Can Do In My Hometown: Hobart, Tasmania

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series 10 Things You Can Do In My Hometown

For all you art-loving foodies, Erin Cooper shares her inside knowledge of Hobart, Tasmania’s capital.

I’m Erin, and I’m what one would call a Hobartian, i.e. someone who lives in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. The entire state of Tasmania (that little island at the bottom of any map of Australia), has a population of about 500,000 people, with 200,000 of those living in Hobart. Statistics aside, you should all come to Hobart. Literally everybody should visit my wonderful hometown. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Salamanca Market

Sure, this is the most generic tourist hotspot in Hobart, but it’s highly visited for a reason. The market sprawls the length of the Salamanca area every Saturday morning, selling everything from handmade candles, to locally produced whiskey, honey, wood materials and doggie treats. If it can be made out of felt, Tasmanian pine wood or local Merino wool, Salamanca Market has got it. It’s also one of the best places to chat with the locals and watch buskers. Be sure not to eat before you come. There is so much food to experience. You want crepes? Salamanca Market. Bratwurst sausage? Salamanca Market. Dutch pancakes? Salamanca Market. You get my drift.

There’s something for everyone at Salamanca market. Photo: tailoredtasmania.com

Salamanca Market operates every Saturday morning and entry is free. A free shuttle to the market has several stops around the city. See here for details. 

2. Constitution Dock

Keep walking along the waterfront from Salamanca and you’ll find yourself in Constitution Dock. This is Tasmania’s answer to the French Riviera; it’s just as beautiful, but considerably cheaper. Constitution Dock plays host to the best fish and chips in Hobart in both conventional and floating restaurants, freshly made to order and caught in Tassie waters. Mako Fish and Mures Lower Deck are always great options. It’s definitely a view you can’t miss.

Photo: steveparish-natureconnect.com.au

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