About This Blog

Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Place Names

As a teacher I always liked to get names right, and as a literacy teacher I always liked to spell them correctly.  I have found it difficult to get these things right in place names, particularly.

Some countries have given me particular problems.  India has been changing the names of its cities for a long time.  When I was there most people referred to Tiruchirappali as Trichy and many still referred to Varanasi as Benares.  Chennai and Mumbai are more recent.  I've by and large kept to the names that I remembered, but my journals were not consistent.  Bali is another place I have found it difficult to spell the names of villages and sites and to find them on a map.

In Peru, Cuzco officially changed its name to Cusco in 1976, about the time I was there; I used both spellings in my journals.  Most place names with Quechua derivation have since been changed.  Even Ollantaytambo was Ollantaitambo when I was there.  I've found it difficult to be consistent.

Most countries which do not use a Latin script allow great inconsistency in transliteration.  This is particularly true in Morocco, where I remember different versions on the same signs.  Looking at maps researching this, I found it difficult to identify smaller towns and villages whose names I had jotted down.  Much the same is true in Afghanistan, and even to some extent in Greece.