Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ports d'Attache

If you are looking for inspiration to travel, and if you can understand some French, consider checking out the program Ports d'Attache ( You can watch at least one episode, about Lima, Peru online.

It is a series about port cities around the world, and it is not just the usual tourist television show about major attractions, hotels and restaurants. Host Heidi Hollinger, who is also a noted photographer, interviews many different types of people to uncover various aspects of a city. Hollinger is at least trilingual (English, French and Russian) and so some of the interviews are in those languages, helpful if your French is rusty.

So far I have seen only the episode about St.Petersburg, Russia, and part of one on Copenhagen, as well as part of the one about Lima. I was especially impressed with the St. Petersburg show, since Hollinger interviewed, among others, a woman who still lives in a communal apartment in the centre city, an American woman who has been running a restaurant for many years, and a local artist.

 The woman who still chose to live in the communalka had to bring her own toilet seat every time she wanted to use the bathroom, but still considered she was better off than she would have been moving to a smaller place in the distant suburbs. Fascinating. Since I have stayed on one of those small apartments far from the centre, I have some sympathy for her choice.

Hollinger is particularly knowledgeable about Russia, where she lived for many years after the fall of the Soviet Union and snagged a job as a photographer for the newspaper Pravda. Today she has returned to her home in Westmount, QC but still manages to get around a lot.

In any case, the shows are well worth watching. Below is a picture of the Russian battleship Aurora, now at permanent anchor in St. Petersburg. A shot from this ship signalled the start of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.


Anonymous Kenia Urlaub said...

Nice and very old ship, we have learn in the school about this. I have think its already under the water or in India

10:28 am


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