Equally many of the buildings are not always publicly accessible so their interiors remain unseen.
Nonetheless, many marvellous mosaics, wonderful windows, swirly sinowy steel railings and more can be seen.
I ask people to draw maps...
· Draw the World
· Draw Europe's nations
· Crowdsourced Continent maps
I make map cards:
· See map cards
· Buy map cards
And other things I write about:
· Little moments from travel
· London art & museums
· Football with foreign fans
· London shop geography
I visited Manchester recently.
While there, I followed a Royal Geographical Society audio tour on Victorian Manchester.
It started at the newly refurbished Manchester Victoria station, with its marvellous tiles, and brought me to see buildings relating to how newly industrial Manchester cared for its poor and destitute.
Outside one brick building, I felt a surge of emotion about that institution helping those who were being left behind in the Victorian industrial metropolis.
Each brick, to me, symbolised all the small kind acts taken place there.
My fanciful notion aside, Manchester is a place full of brickwork and tiles, a city made of mosaics, the many making the whole.
Since 2009, I have been (on-and-off) asking people to draw maps of continents which I then overlay on each other.
I've asked people to draw South America, Australia, North America, Europe and Africa.
But I've waited a long while to 'do' Asia. Mainly as I didn't know how to approach Asia.
I had previously asked people at a SouthEast Asian festival to draw some maps, could I follow that idea with more regions. Should I divide Asia into regions and, if so, which regions?
The answer had been staring me in the face rather obviously: ask people to draw 'Asia' - a seemingly simple but complex challenge.
In August and September, I went to a variety of events where I asked people to draw Asia:
In Chicago, this day last year, I visited the Pilsen neighbourhood to see some murals painted on its walls.
I visited Dublin a few months ago. I hadn't been to Dublin for more than 12 years (my trips back to Ireland take me to Cork instead).
Dublin felt like an invigorated city to me, lively and exciting. My visit coincided with excellent sunny weather (rare for Ireland), so I took the opportunity to sit in the sun and people-watch.
I wandered around and sat in Stephen's Green for an afternoon, one of the main garden squares in the centre of Dublin.
I saw and heard the following microcosms of Dublin:
Chicago's L train doesn't actually have a circular line, but a group of lines which come together in a circle line effect in a part of the city called The Loop.
Sometimes when I'm travelling, I like to simply sit on a train and watch people near me, places passing by. And what better way to do this than on a circular, loop line.
I like to think that a circular line brings you a 360° view of a place (it's not always the case, but it's a nice idea).
This is the first in a semi-regular series of posts on circular travelling -so if there's a circular loop line where I am, I'll get on board!
One of my favourite things about Brazil is the way they use humble plastic chairs. I see it as very Brazilian.
Every city has its zones: the political quarter, business quarter, entertainment district.
One of the first things I'll do in a new city is head for the main shopping street to watch the comings and goings.
I recently spent Christmas and New Year in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Whenever I sit in a window seat in a flight, I always think of a scene in the TV miniseries of the play Angels in America (first broadcast 11 years ago today!) in which a character - Harper - sits in a window seat (go watch it, it's brilliant!).
And as one of my recent flight was to New York, this led to remember more scenes from the play set in and around Manhattan - including the memorable final scene set at the Bethesda fountain in Central Park.