Showing posts from 2014


After visitng Concarneau I must admit the town looks nothing like I expected. Today it is not the quaint small fishing village that Simenon describes back in the early 1930’s. Quite the opposite, it is much bigger and less provincial. Yet this is not what surprised me the most. Modernisation can easily cause this to happen. What shocked me the most was that the town is “upside down”. Quai de l’Aiguillon lays to the left of the Hotel Admiral why I expected it to be on its right. And the Admiral hotel itself faces the wrong direction.
The old watch tower at Cabelou was another surprise. I had imagined an old abandoned tower not far out from the city. On the other hand when we made the trip out to visit it we found it to be much further away than anticipated. The abandoned fort, unlike how I had anticipated, was relatively big and a small house shaped building lay on the inside of it. The tower itself on the other hand much smaller that expected. Despite it not reflecting what I had im…


I arrived at Brittany Ferry’s port at 9 o’clock on the dot. The satisfaction of having arrived on time was short lived. I immediately realised that I had forgotten my passport. After spending all afternoon preparing for this trip. Tying up all the loose ends. Getting all my work out of the way. Packing the right things and making sure that everything was in order before departure. And yet throughout the whole day it never even crossed my mind to pack my passport. I can honestly say that this has never happened to me before. I like to think that in my disorderly way of going about thing there is always some form of underling structure that ultimately leads to order. Is it not a common saying that “out of chaos comes order”? I was truly disappointed with myself for forgetting my passport. I had spent a good portion of the day going over the novel The Yellow Dog to ensure that I knew the book well enough and that I wouldn’t make a fool out of myself when it came to discussing it. And th…


“On Y va!” Tonight we leave for Concarneau. Back to France. It’s my third visit in six months. I truly cannot wait to get back onto the continent. More than anything I have missed mainland Europe’s culture. Moving from Italy to England the cultural difference is quite noticeable. I find it much easier to relate to the French way of doing things than to the English way.
This year with my trip to Brittany in October and to Paris in January, I have had a chance to polish up my French. From the age of eleven I studied the language for three years. To my delight I have found that my communication skills are much better than I thought they would be. Being already bilingual I have always found it easy to get to grips with other languages. My Spanish for example is also quite good. So compared to many people that would struggle placed in this different environment, culture and language I cannot wait to get stuck into it. I truly believe that to understand and thrive in another country “We mu…

Food & Drink

I find one of the most exciting things about travelling to a new destination is discovering the local culture. Cuisine being at the centre of this experience. Maybe it is the Italian in me that makes me place so much importance on food. But wherever I go tasting the local traditional menus is nearly as important as discovering the new surroundings. 

I've already been to Brittany, and I look forward to having lunch in a Creperie again. The region is famous for its galletes or savoury pancakes and the prospect of eating them again, while drinking the local apple ciders, is making me hungry as we speak. As a student I don’t exactly have the most exciting meals. Pasta, chicken and potatoes are usually the order of the day. Well I’ve already decided that my dinners in Concarneau will consist of oysters, lobsters and scallops! 

Off the top of my head not much is mentioned about the local cuisine in The Yellow Dog. I do remember on the other hand Simenon describing that in Concarneau “In t…


Last night, about 4 hours before leaving for London a friend of mine said to me “I don’t even know what to pack yet! Ah to hell it doesn’t even matter.” I find that deciding what to pack for a journey is probably one of the hardest things, and yet in the end least important. I never know what to pack and always leave it to the very last minute. Undoubtedly it is the image and expectations you have of your destination that influence your decision making process.  I can’t say that I expect to find tropical weather in Finistère. In fact I doubt the weather in Concarneau will be very different from here in Plymouth. Grey, windy and rainy. In any case this is how Simenon describes it. In The Yellow Dog he depicts a vivid portrait of the French seaside village and over the course of the novel it is not till the final day that the weather in Concarneau turns from gloomy to fine. As my friend I expect that I also won’t pack my case till a few hours before leaving and will probably plan on we…


I may be exaggerating in stating that my desire to travel was born because of my love of books. This notion had never actually crossed my mind until I got involved in Charlie’s project of analysing the effect of narrative on travel. By the age of fourteen I had read nearly every book J.R.R Tolkien had written. I wanted to explore Middle Earth. And eventually I did, four years later I spent over a month in New Zealand exploring everywhere from Hobbiton to the peak of Mt Ngaruhoe (commonly known as Mordor)! But what does one normally do before travelling to a destination? Why of course read a travel guide. The Lonely Planet, Rough Guides or any other guide. And I too have done so multiple times. Yet this time I am heading to Concarneau and all I have read is a novel; The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon. And this is where the beauty of books is revealed. You conceive in your mind an idea, a picture of what you read. From reading the novel I have my own idea of what Concarneau looks like. …


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”, this is probably my all-time favourite quote written by St Augustine. I want to travel. All my life I have wanted to travel. To discover new places, the remoter the better.  It is only when traveling that I feel truly at peace with myself. Any journey is for me as much a journey of self-discovery as of discovery of an unknown environment. In just under two weeks we leave for Concarneau. It is still too soon for me to have the butterflies in my stomach as one might have just before leaving on any trip, but excitement is mounting. This time anticipation for travel is greater than usual. I would classify myself as a very spontaneous and last minute traveller. On the 3rd of January I went to Paris, I booked the flight the day before!! This time planning and research have gone into organizing the journey. I think this is the first time I've read a book set somewhere and then specifically planned to go and visit that…

The Unknown Town Project

The title of this web journal or web-log is drawn from the work of Antoine Compagnon where he writes of the novel as being like an unknown town, in which he wanders:

Un roman est comme une ville inconnue dans laquelle je déambule.  (Compagnon 2006, 798)
The postings to this Travel Journal, or Carnet de Voyage, are by Antonio Nobile acting as a case participant for the field research of Charlie Mansfield.  The Unknown Town Project has a whole range of aims: 

to develop travel writing and journal writing skillsto test the themes discovered in contemporary travel writingto provide a corpus of textual data on which grounded theory coding can be appliedto ask 'what is tourism knowledge?' and see how it is created by writingto explore how value is created for visitors to explore Concarneau (our ville inconnue) with the aid of the Georges Simenon detective novel, The Yellow Dog (Le Chien jaune).    Each day through the planning, reading and travelling AN will take one of these 16 themes …