Text & photographs by Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
The steep green mountain slopes of Western Norway are covered with white veins. Immensely powerful waterfalls plummet into the crystal-clear or emerald-green waters of the fjords where occasionally a whale passes by… Standing on top of Lilletopp, Tyssedal, overlooking the Hardanger Fjord, I am facing two very different sides of Norway: to the right, it looks like a lost and wild place on Earth dominated by nature, to the left another impression sticks… In the midst of this natural beauty attracting hikers from all over to conquer the famous Tongue of the Troll, or Trolltunga, lays the heart of where the industrial revolution of Norway started and the cradle of the country’s hydropower capabilities…
Text: Claire Lessiau Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
The harbour of Antwerp is larger than Antwerp itself… Historically, it allowed the city to become one of the most prominent in the world during its Golden Age in the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, it provides 150,000 jobs, greatly contributes to the wealth of the region of Flanders and propels Antwerp as the second city of Belgium. Hop on a bike to discover Europe’s second largest harbour (after Rotterdam), between capsize bulk carriers and cute villages surrounded by nature.
Article updated on April 20, 2022 Text: Claire Lessiau Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
I could harldy be further from the haute couture stores of Avenue Montaigne or Rue Saint Honoré in Paris, the stronghold of fashion since the 16th century… Still, the finest silk pieces I have ever seen are sliding through my fingers and I feel their soft and delicate textures. The shiny fabrics reflect the light delicately. The relief of the silk gives it an unexpected depth. I am in rural Cambodia a stone’s throw from the temples of Angkor where this rare Khmer silk was made, exclusively for the king: “It took more than 10 years of research, and trial and error to revive the century-old forgotten techniques of silk weaving of the Khmers!” says Sophea Peach, the founder of Golden Silk, and it all started with the devata‘s sculpture of Angkor… Let me show you…”
Article updated on May 25, 2020 Text & photos: Claire Lessiau
Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Sapporo, summer 2015: the little cart approaches, loaded with coffee makers, soft drinks, bento‘s and sweets. The young Japanese female train attendant asks us what we would like in a perfect English with an American accent. We are puzzled! Keep travelling!
The water has been boiling for a while now and a woody scent enters my nose. I pour the hot water full of shavings through a piece of cloth to filter the pulp out. I bring the water to the boil again before adding the main ingredients. No, I am not preparing a meal, I am making yellow! Keep traveling!
Think: the Netherlands. What are the first few images popping up into your mind? Wooden clogs, tulips, windmills? Maybe gay-weddings, bicycles, the Amsterdam canals, or brown coffee shops? What about the yellow gold? No, not Heineken, I’m talking: cheese! Keep reading
An ant-hill… A beehive… No, it’s more like a ballet; a ballet, with its well-rehearsed choreography, every participant sticking precisely to its path in a continuous and fast motion, with an unbelievable precision. Except that I’m witnessing how electrical trolleys are evolving, delivering some of the 20 million flowers traded everyday here, in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands, at the biggest flower auction in the world. Keep reading
The Panama Canal took global trade to the next level, putting San Francisco only 9 000 kilometres from New York City instead of 22 000 via the dangerous Cape Horn. In a global economy, the canal is also used to link Asia to Europe: if you are sitting in Europe or the east coast of the USA eating a banana from Peru reading this article, or using a cell phone or laptop made in Asia, chances are they went through the Panama Canal. However, the construction of this engineering masterpiece came at a high price. Keep traveling
The beauty of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro made quite an impression on Christopher Columbus who discovered it in 1502: Columbus island (isla Colon), Christopher island (isla Cristobal), or the admiral’s bay (bahía del Almirante) are some of the names one can see on its map. Later, the islands developed into ship supply and repair bases, as indicated by their names: isla Bastimentos translates as supplies and isla Carenero as ship careening. Isla Colon is the largest island of the archipelago and hosts the local capital of Bocas del Toro. Founded in 1826, it became the third most important city in Panama until the 1920s. The United Fruit Company, the biggest producer of bananas that is known today as Keep traveling!
Article updated on May 25, 2020 Text & photos: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
The fish market and tuna auction moved from Tsukiji to its new and sterile Toyosu location. However, there are still over 300 stores and restaurants in Tsukiji that has retained its character. Take a peek at what Tsukiji was like & make sure you visit while in Tokyo…