13 May 2016
Piraeus, Greece:
Καλή αντάμωση

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Καλή αντάμωση.

Or if that’s Greek to you, Arrivederci.

Until we meet again.

We have reached the end of our extended journey from Barcelona to Venice to Athens, a journey of six weeks.

As your vacation ends, ours begins.

I hope you’ll join me here in these pages in a few months as we take to the sea once more.

Until then, safe travels.

Athens Parthenon

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 May 2016
Corinth Canal, Greece: The Shortcut to Athens

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Pelopennesia is the southernmost part of the mainland of Greece.

Although, some might quibble, geographically speaking. You might instead want to call Pelopennesia the largest southernmost island of Greece, because for more than a century it has been cut off from the mainland of Europe by the Corinth Canal.

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Ancient Corinth near the canal

The short and narrow canal connects the Gulf of Corinth to the west with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.

It’s an obvious place for a canal, since it allows the possibility of saving 185 nautical miles (213 land miles or 343 kilometers) of sailing between the Aegean and Adriatic.

On our crossing today, we avoided the need to sail down and around the bottom of Peloppenesia, saving almost a full day for a sailing vessel or about half a day for a ship like ours.

And even better, it was a spectacular trip, one of the most challenging passages for a ship. Almost anywhere else in the world, the beautiful Silver Cloud is considered a small luxury vessel; here in the Corinth Canal, we are extra-large, right at the limits of width and height.

OUR PASSAGE BETWEEN THE GULFS, 12 MAY 2016

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The idea of having a canal here was so obvious that it was pursued way before modern times.

The first serious consideration of a canal cutting across the Isthmus of Corinth was in 602 BC.

Periander, the Tyrant of Corinth and one of the Seven Sages of Antiquity proposed it as a public works project.

But he was not sage enough to figure out how to dig the ditch.

So instead, his engineers produced another great project, the diolkós, a stone road on which ships were transferred on wheeled platforms from one sea to the other.

Stretches of that dry canal can still be seen.

Skip forward three centuries, and in 307 B.C., Dimitrios Poliorkitis, king of Macedon actually began excavation.

But the digging was suspended after Egyptian engineers incorrectly predicted that differing sea levels between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulfs would inundate the Aegean Sea.

Oh, and also: the experts declared that Poseidon, god of the sea, was opposed to the joining of the Aegean and the Adriatic.

Next up was Julius Caesar in 44BC and Caligula in 37BC; just thinking about it, but still concerned about Poseidon.

In 66 A.D., the Emperor Nero sent war prisoners from the Aegean islands and six thousand Jewish slaves to work on the canal. Nero himself started the work, digging with a golden hoe, while music played.

Nero’s slaves dug a ditch three kilometers or two miles in length and 40 meters or 131 feet wide before Nero had to rush back to Rome to quell the Galva mutiny.

The 19th century, the Industrial Age, was the also the Age of the Canal.

The success in 1869 of Ferdinand de Lesseps’ Suez Canal awakened politicians and engineers and construction companies around the world. The Suez helped bring about the Panama Canal, the Cape Cod Canal, the Corinth Canal and other efforts.

The modern pathway follows—almost to the inch—Nero’s plans.

Sixteen million cubic yards (twelve million cubic meters) of earth had to be removed.

The Corinth Canal was completed and opened on July 25, 1893.

The canal was never a huge financial success.

It was (and is) too narrow for big ships, too difficult in bad weather or tides, and too prone to landslides.

Corinth Canal

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The Canal cuts the Isthmus of Corinth in a straight line about 6 kilometers, or about four miles.

Earthen or rock cliffs flank both sides, reaching a maximum height of 63 meters or 207 feet above water.

It is straight, which is good. But it is relatively shallow: dredged to 6.5 meters or 21.3 feet, in some places just a bit deeper.

Our ship has a draft of about 4.5 meters or about 15 feet.

Next problem: the canal is very narrow: 80.7 feet wide (24.6 meters) at sea level. And down below it is even a bit narrower, 70 feet or 21.3 meters wide. That’s less than two tour buses or coaches in width.

Silver Cloud is 70.6 feet wide.

Like many of us, our ship is widest around the middle and higher. So we have just enough to spare on each side of the ship and beneath our keel.

And memories of a tight squeeze.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 May 2016
Itea, Greece:
A Visit to the Navel of the Earth

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Itea is on the mainland of Greece, at its southern flank on the Gulf of Corinth.

Athens is about 75 miles or 125 kilometers southeast, easily reached by car.

Not so easily by ship.

Before 1893, ships had to go down and around Peloponnesia to get from the Adriatic to the Aegean.

But we have ahead of us this afternoon one of those “tick-the-boxes” treats for world travelers: a passage through the strange, narrow Corinth Canal.

But first, we have a morning in Itea.

There’s not all that much in the port: a few taverns and cafés and a bank. There’s a little beach in town; as is the case most everywhere, the better beaches are away from the harbor.

Pleasant enough, but that’s not the reason we’re here.

Just east of Itea is Kirra, which was the ancient port of Delphi.

And 15 kilometers, or 10 miles northeast are the partly restored ruins of Delphi itself.

The ancient and the modern town of Delphi are on the southwestern section of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.

It was here that Apollo slew the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth.

Yes, there is a place in Delphi the ancients believed to be the belly button of the planet, the Omphalos.

ANCIENT DELPHI

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Photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved

This was also the site of the Oracle of Delphi, the most important of the classical Greek world.

An oracle was a person—or sometimes a group of people—considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophecy.

Oracles were considered portals through which the gods spoke directly to people.

The most important oracles of Greek antiquity were the Sybil or Pythia priestess to Apollo at Delphi, and the oracle of Dione and Zeus at Dodona in Epirus.

In some ways, not too bad a job.

Chosen from among the peasants of the area, she was required to be an older woman of blameless life.

She only gave prophecies the seventh day of each month, seven being the number most associated with Apollo, and only during the nine warmer months of the year.

Hordes of people came to consult with Pythia and her successors.

Some wealthier individuals were said to have tried to jump the line with special offerings. Bribes, you might say.

An acquaintance of mine who is a professor of antiquities in Istanbul described the oracles of ancient Greece as borderline crazies who spoke in tongues.

Actually, he may be on to something.

Observers wrote that the Pythia seemed to be in a trance, speaking gibberish.

She sat on a tripod seat over an opening in the earth.

Vapors rose from a cleft in the rock at the navel of the earth.

According to one version of the story, when Apollo slew Python, its body fell into this fissure, giving rise to the fumes.

Intoxicated by the vapors, the Oracle would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo to possess her spirit.

One line of thinking is that some sort of natural gas—perhaps ethylene or methane or carbon dioxide or even hydrogen sulfide might have been coming from the earth.

That might have been enough to intoxicate the oracle, if not kill her.

And it would have smelled pretty bad.

People consulted the Delphic oracle on everything from personal affairs to important matters of public policy.

The ravings of the Oracle were “translated” by the priests of the temple.

If it sounds like that might be source of some of the campaign planks of some of our current politicians…you just might be on to something.

ITEA HOSIOS LOUKAS MONASTERY

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

11 May 2016
Corfu, Greece: A Quilt of Many Colors

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Corfu is a little piece of Greece, the seventh largest of the country’s islands. But in many ways it does not much resemble the rest of Greece.

Its history includes a long period of domination by the Venetians, a bit of French, and a few decades of British rule.

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In 1386 the islanders placed themselves under the protection of Venice, which kept it for four hundred years. Corfu—or Kerkyra as it was called–was known as the “Door of Venice”,

The presence of the Venetians offered some protection but it also attracted assaults by Turkish naval and land forces. The Siege of Corfu in 1537 landed 25,000 soldiers from the Turkish fleet of Suleiman the Magnificent. They pillaged parts of the island and took 20,000 hostages.

But in the city, the castle held and the Turks withdrew because of lack of supplies and an epidemic.

The second great siege of Corfu took place in 1716, during the last Turkish-Venetian War. On July 8 the Turkish fleet of 33,000 men was encountered by the Venetian fleet off the channel of Corfu and was defeated.

Despite repeated assaults and heavy fighting, the Turks were unable to breach the defenses and were forced to end the siege after 22 days. The 5,000 Venetians and foreign mercenaries, together with 3,000 Corfiotes, were victorious.

Once again Venetian castle engineering had proven itself once again against considerable odds.

The repulse of the Ottomans was widely celebrated in Europe, Corfu being seen as a bastion of Western civilization against the Ottoman tide and in many ways marked the beginning of the end of that empire as it began to pull back toward Constantinople.

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Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sissi, was a woman entranced by beauty.

She lost her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, when he committed murder-suicide with his mistress in 1889, in what became known as The Mayerling Incident. This was one of the string of events that would eventually lead to the ascension of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand whose assassination was an immediate precursor to the first World War.

In 1890 Elisabeth built a summer palace to the south of the city of Corfu, with the powerful mythical hero Achilles as its central theme.

The palace, surrounded by neoclassical Greek statues, is a monument to platonic romanticism. It was named Achilleion, after Homer’s hero Achilles.

Achilles is everywhere within: paintings and statues in the main hall and the gardens.

In 1898, Empress Sissi was herself assassinated by an anarchist in Geneva, Switzerland.

After her death, the palace was purchased by German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who had his own thing about Achilles. Today, the Achilleion Palace has been converted into a museum, a very worthy place to visit in Corfu.

ACHILLEON PALACE TODAY

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The last statue is that of the Empress herself, with her famously–frighteningly–narrow waist. She did pay for the statue,  so perhaps there was a bit of alteration included.  Or not.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

10 May 2016
Kotor, Montenegro: The City in the Hill

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Montenegro is a ten-year-old nation with a thousand-year back story and some spectacular scenery at sea level and up in the mountains that fill much of the country’s interior.

Kotor, the port we are visiting, presents one of the most spectacular views offered from a cruise ship: an ancient city carved into the face of a mountain.

Silver Cloud at the dock in Kotor today

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Montenegro, part of what was once Yugoslavia, is one of the smaller countries in the world: about 14,000 square kilometers or 5,300 square miles.

A KOTOR ALBUM 

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Our approach to Kotor is through a winding waterway that some tourist guides insist on calling a fjord. That’s not technically correct: a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs in a valley carved by glaciers.

Nearly all of the earth’s glaciers are at or near the poles, with only a few way up high in mountains near the planet’s mid-section.

What we’ve got in Kotor is a drowned river valley. The river was long ago covered over by a rising sea level in the region.

Kotor Sandler-9

On our approach just short of Kotor is a bay where we make a 90-degree turn to starboard.

Directly ahead is the little town of Perast, which under the Venetians was a very prosperous mini-maritime state with its own fleet and a bit of wealth.

And offshore are two islets.

One is a natural islet, Sveti Đorđe, the Island of Saint George, which contains a Benedictine Monastery from the 12th century and an ancient graveyard.

The second island is Our Lady of the Rocks. According to legend, local seamen found an icon of Madonna and Child on a rock in the sea at this location on July 22, 1452.

The seamen were said to have made an oath: upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea.

The custom of throwing rocks into the sea continues; every year at sunset on July 22, a small flotilla of boats sails into the bay for an event called fašinada, throwing rocks into the sea widening the surface of the island, takes place.

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

9 May 2016
Dubrovnik, Croatia: Up on the Roof

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We are at anchor offshore of Dubrovnik,  no longer facing invasions by the Ostrogoths, the Ottomans,  Napoleon, Italy, Germany, Serbia…and others who have come here before.

Today, the invaders are tourists–some of them armed and dangerous with Selfie sticks, which had to be one of the silliest inventions of all time.

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Silver Cloud at anchor off Dubrovnik today

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We were most recently here just last week on our way north to Venice. I wrote about Dubrovnik in my post of May 3.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, the thalassocracy of Ragusa—its empire at sea rather than on land—rivaled that of the Republic of Venice and other Italian maritime republics.

For much of that time Ragusa had to walk a fine line, avoiding conflict with Venice and the Ottomans.

The Republic of Ragusa was a relatively advanced state for much of its existence. A medical service was introduced in 1301. Its first pharmacy opened in 1317 and still exists.

Other institutions of the time included an almshouse, a quarantine hospital (Lazarete), and an orphanage. Ragusa instituted Roman-style town planning rules, and a 20 kilometer (12 mile) water supply system was constructed in 1436.

Through it all, the Republic of Ragusa grew its wealth through trade by land and sea. The city had a huge fleet of merchant ships (an argosy) that travelled all over the world. The Ragusans established settlements as far away as India.

Ultimately, Ragusa served as the agent of the Ottomans in the Adriatric and a counter to the Venetians. But the collapse of both powers left Ragusa isolated and vulnerable.

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Dubrovnik’s most beloved church is the Baroque Saint Blaise’s Church, built about 1714.

The main altar holds a polyptych by Titian, portraying a version of the Assumption of the Virgin, probably dating from 1552; the side altars hold paintings of later centuries.

The Cathedral treasury holds 200 relics from the 11th to 18th centuries; chiefly, the gold-plated arm, leg and skull of Saint Blaise and what is said to be a relic of the True Cross.

Another interesting church is Saint Ignatius of Loyola, completed in 1725 and modeled after the church of the same name in Rome. Ignatius was the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.

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The Church of Saint Ignatius

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

8 May 2016
Pula, Croatia: Arches and Amphitheaters


By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We are sailing out of Venice, one of the world’s most famous places, headed for Pula, Croatia, which is—to many people—quite obscure.

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Above, Silver Cloud at anchor in Pula today, seen through one of the arches of the Roman amphitheater, and below, beyond orange rooftops in town

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But Pula has had its moments.

Some will tell you it all began with Jason and the Argonauts.

According to legend, and a few inconclusive smidgens of archeological evidence, Pula was founded almost three thousand years ago by some of the crew of the Argo.

In the many-times told story, the son of the King of Colchis chased Jason and the crew of the Argo—the Argonauts—after they stole the Golden Fleece.

Colchis was an ancient nation on the east coast of the Black Sea. Today it is western Georgia, extending into Russia at Sochi.

Somewhere around what is now Pula, the story goes, the son of the king of Colchis was killed in battle.

Killing a king—or his son—is usually not something that pleases the ruling powers. And so, Jason’s men sought refuge…and founded Pula.

Now, remember: Jason and the Argonauts is a legend.

But some group did found Pula at about the time of the story.

The truly ancient story of the region includes evidence of ­homo erectus from about 1 million years ago caves near Pula.

There is also pottery from the Neolithic period (6000–2000 BC), and fortifications and tools dated from the Bronze Age of about 1800–1000 BC.

Archeologists and anthropologists believe the settlers of the Bronze Age are connected to sites found along the Danube.

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When the Romans conquered the Istrian Peninsula in the 2nd century BC, Pula became a military stronghold and from an important commercial port.

The Romans used the fine harbor as a landing place for conquests of the surrounding areas after 177BC. The Romans also added water supply and sewage systems and fortified the city with a wall and ten gates.

Some of those gates still stand: the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, funded by Salvia Postuma Sergia in 30 BC, was a monument to three members of her family. The arch was so spectacular it was said to have lured Michelangelo to sketch it during a visit to Pula in the 16th century.

ARCH OF THE SERGII

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In the yellow building along the Arch of the Sergii, the great Irish writer James Joyce taught English in 1904.

The Twin Gates (Porta Gemina) date from the mid-2nd century, replacing an earlier gate; a small section of the old city wall survives nearby.

The Gate of Hercules dates from the 1st century. At the top of the single arch is a sculpture of the bearded head of Hercules, and the names of some of the founders—or at least wealthy contributors—of the town.

The large amphitheater, with accommodations for 20,000 spectators, was built between 27BC and 68AD. In Roman times it was surrounded by temples of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

Today, it is the sixth-largest preserved amphitheater in the world.

THE AMPHITHEATER OF PULA

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In the 20th century, in the time of the Italian fascist administration, plans were made to disassemble the arena and move it to mainland Italy, but that huge task was never undertaken.

Instead, you can catch a glimpse of it up a city street above the port.

The Monastery of Saint Francis was said to have been established by Saint Antony of Padua in 1227.

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AROUND PULA

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

7 May 2016
Venice to Athens, with a Shortcut

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard to new guests joining us here in the glorious city of Venice.

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Photos by Corey Sandler,  2016. For more photos see my blog entry of May 5-6.

Tonight we head south from Venice through many of that once-great empire’s important holdings: Pula and Dubrovnik in Croatia, Kotor in Montenegro, and Corfu in Greece.

From there we stop in Itea on the mainland of Greece before taking a somewhat-obscure shortcut across the top of Peloponnesia.

Our ship is scheduled to squeeze through the almost impossibly narrow, rock-bound V-shaped Corinth Canal to reach Piraeus, the port of Athens.

I’ll be posting photos and observations here; I hope you’ll join me here.

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

5-6 May 2016
Venice, Italy: Dominant and Serene


By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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Venice is one of the most extraordinary places on earth.

A city afloat.

The grand remnants of a once-great Republic.

La Dominante. The Dominant.

La Serenissima. The most serene.

The City of Water.

The City of Bridges.

The City of Canals.

The City of Masks.

Most of all, a magical place that never fails to charm and amaze. We have been here more times than I can count, and we still are thrilled to return.

We arrived early this morning,  tying up at San Basillio along the Giudecca canal,  walking distance away from Saint Mark’s Square and a world away from the monster cruise ships around the corner at the terminal.

To guests leaving us here today, I wish you safe travels and arrivederci.

We spent our three full days in Venice basking in the late spring sun, and looking for new corners to explore. Here are some photos from this visit, including a view of Saint Mark’s Square with snow on the distant Alps taken from the campanile of St. Giorgio Maggiore across the Guidecca.

VENICE FROM ABOVE AND AFLOAT

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Saint Mark’s Square, with snow on the Alps in the background, as seen from the campanile of San Giorggio Maggiore.

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BURANO ISLAND

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TORCELLO ISLAND

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Depending who is doing the counting and sometimes on how high the water rises, modern Venice consists of about 124 islands that sit in the shallow and marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy between the mouths of the Po River to the south and the Piave to the north.

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It was during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that the Republic of Venice rose to become a major maritime power, along with Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi.

At its peak, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Venetian Republic eliminated the pirates along the Dalmatian Coast, acquired control of most of the islands in the Aegean, including Cyprus and Crete, seized and sacked Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, establishing the Latin Empire in the process and became a major power-broker, trading with Western Europe as well as continuing to deal with the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.

By the late thirteenth century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe.

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At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce.

Today, it has been invaded by tourists. That may seem quite a comedown, but the fact is that without tourism Venice would have returned to the swamp long ago.

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

4 May 2016
Rijeka, Croatia: The Gem of Trsat

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

A RIJEKA ALBUM

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Sliver Cloud at the dock in Rijeka today

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

3 May 2016
Dubrovnik, Croatia: The Walls of Time

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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Dubrovnik has lived in danger for most of its existence.

Centuries of political and trade conflict with much-larger powers, a massive earthquake, and a war in the 1990s that still echoes in the ears of some.

But Dubrovnik has one other distinction, and not a happy one.

It was added to the UNESCO list in 1979 and scarcely a dozen years later many of its priceless treasures of humanity were under siege and bombardment.

Today, Dubrovnik is nearly recovered, and one of the most popular tourist lures of the Dalmatian Coast.

The prosperity of Dubrovnik has been linked to the maritime trade for nearly all of its existence. Today, they trade mostly in tourists.

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These days we know the place by its Croatian name. But the Italians reach back to an older name of Ragusa, which is based on the Roman settlement of Ragusium, and in turn the Greek port of Ragousa.

The Republic of Ragusa existed into the Middle Ages.

On the other side of the Adriatic and in the Mediterranean in Italy there were similar seafaring and trading city-states in places like Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa, and Venice.

The city reached its peak of power in the 15th and 16th centuries.

We’re due to return to Dubrovnik on the next cruise, and I’ll have more photos and commentary in my blog entry for May 9.

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

2 May 2016
Brindisi, Italy: At the Back of the Heel

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Brindisi is on the back of the heel of the boot of Italy on the Adriatic Sea, in the less-visited region of Apulia.

Because of its location, Brindisi was a very important place in the story of the pushback by Western Europe against the Muslim occupation of the Holy Land: the Crusades.

By sea, or overland, this was and is the path taken by ancient peoples and then the Greeks coming from the east.

The Romans moved the other direction to establish colonies all the way over to Byzantium which became Constantinople and then Istanbul.

And also further east into Cappadocia, Mesopotamia, and Babylonia.

To the south, to Aegyptus and Judaea or Jerusalem and the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity.

Brundisium was connected with Rome by the Via Appia and a secondary road along the coast called the Via Traiana.

The Appian Way was used by many of the Crusaders heading down to the ports of Bari or Brindisi to embark by sea.

Remnants of the road still exist throughout central and southern Italy.

On the other side of the Adriatics was the Via Egnatia, built in the 2nd century BC to connect Durres in today’s Albania across to Constantinople, now Istanbul.

Brindisi became a place where Crusaders congregated, made plans and gathered provisions, and envisioned the Holy Land before they departed.

A theme park, if you will.

In Brindisi they could visit the Temple of Saint John Sepulchre, a circular church that was a faithful replica of the Anastasis Rotunda in the complex of the Holy City Selpulchre in Jerusalem.

And they could examine the scenes of the Holy Land depicted in mosaic on the floor of the Cathedral.

On this visit,  I went with guests to the city of Lecce, at the very bottom of Italy’s boot. Lecce is a very handsome place,  made wealthy through trade including export of the local Lecce stone, a form of limestone easily worked into grand cathedrals and statues.

They kept some of the stone for themselves,  and we toured Lecce with an enthusiastic art school graduate.

A LECCE ALBUM

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THE ROMAN THEATRE OF LECCE

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

1 May 2016
Taormina, Italy: A View to a Thrill

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

On the island of Sicily, Taormina offers one of the most spectacular views of the massive active volcano, Mount Etna. That peak is almost always bubbling or letting loose clouds of ash.

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Even this far south, Etna is usually capped by snow until deep into the summer. In Taormina, snow is less common but many mornings the locals must brush away white ash dropped on their doorsteps by Etna.

The most remarkable structure at Taormina is the Greek Theatre, one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily.

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It was built mostly of brick, and so archeologists say it probably actually dates from Roman times. But its plans are definitely Greek. Best guess: built during the 3rd century BC and rebuilt by the Romans during the 2nd century AD.

It is the second largest theatre of its kind in Sicily, after one in Syracuse.

Its acoustics are exceptional: a stage whisper can be heard in the last rows.

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A view of our ship at anchor,  seen through one of the arches along the stage of the Greek Theatre of Taormina

It is still used for opera, theater, concerts, and a glamorous film festival each summer. And over the centuries, more than a few performances have been enhanced by a show of flame, lava, and smoke from Etna.

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We were most recently here on April 10 and you’ll find more photos and commentary in the blog entry for that day.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

30 April 2016
Sorrento, Italy:
No Bad Choices

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Do we stay in Sorrento?

Do we venture out of town to navigate the Amalfi Coast?

Do we explore some of the most intriguing places on earth, the ruins of Pompeii or the smaller and less-visited ruins of Herculaneum or Oplontis?

Do we head further north to the big city of Naples?

Or do we hop on a ferry and go west to the charming island of Capri?

There are no bad choices in Sorrento, which is why we come back time and time again. We were most recently here on April 9; you can read my blog entry for that day for more comments.

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Il Sedille Dominova, the Seat of Dominova, dates from the 14th century,  built as a gathering place for nobles for administration

ON THE STREETS OF SORRENTO

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ON THE STREETS OF POMPEII

Below, a section of the formal city of Pompeii with the cause of its destruction–Mount Vesuvius–looking over its shoulder.

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Below, a two-story apartment from Herculaneum, another settlement destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79.

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Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

29 April 2016
From Civitavecchia to Venice: A Journey Between Empires

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

To guests leaving us today,  we wish safe travels and arrivederci.  And welcome aboard to new fellow travelers.

We sail out of Civitavecchia–the ancient port of Rome built by the Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century and now one of the busiest modern ports of the Mediterranean for cruise ships, ferries, and cargo–and we are headed down and around the toe and heel of Italy.

Our goal is the seat of another great empire of Europe: Venice. As we pass east of the heel of Italy into the Adriatic Sea, we will sail through a large part of the thassalocracy of Venice: a dominion over water and ports.

Our itinerary takes us from Civitavecchia to Sorrento (gateway to Pompeii on the mainland and the enchanted isle of Capri) and then through the Strait of Messina to Taormina on Sicily.

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From there we head to Brindisi on the heel of Italy and then Dubrovnik and Rijeka in resurgent Croatia.

I hope you’ll join me here.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

28 April 2016
Livorno, Italy: The Gateway

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’re back in Livorno, gateway to the glories of Florence, Pisa, and Tuscany. I posted a blog a few weeks ago, on April 7, with more comments.

On this visit,  I returned to Pisa to see if they have managed to repair their off-kilter campanile.  To the great relief of the tourist industry, the Tower of Pisa continues to tilt.

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Above, the Tower of Pisa peeks out around the baptistery on the Piazza dei Miracoli, the “Square of Miracles”.

On this trip I focused my camera on some of the details of the Baptistery,  Cathedral, and the Tower. It always pleases me to find a new way to view the tower,  a place I have seen more times than I can remember but always enjoy.

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A PISA ALBUM: THE BAPTISTERY 

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A LIVORNO ALBUM

Livorno is mostly a place tourists pass through quickly on their way to other lures,  like Pisa, Florence,  Lucca, and Sienna. But it does have its particular charms.

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At the Market in Livorno

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Below, from previous visits, the Duomo in Florence.

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Livorno Florence Duomo

The Basillica di Santa Maria dei Fiori was begun in 1296 and completed in 1436.

Alongside is Giotto’s Tower. It is topped with Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome, one of the world’s largest.

It is known, of course, as Il Duomo, the dome.

One of the best ways to see Florence is to climb 463 steps up the tower.

Behind the church is the Duomo Museum, showcasing art by Donatello, Ghiberti and Michelangelo.

For a mix of history and art, visit the Medici Chapels on Via Cavour, the private sanctuaries of Florence’s most influential family of the Renaissance period.

One chapel was designed by Michelangelo; there are also Medici family tombs dating back to the 16th century.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

26-27 April 2016
Genoa, Italy: La Superba

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’re on a ship, you see. A particularly nice one, as a matter of fact.

We have great food, fine accommodations, and a polished and capable crew.

What we don’t have is the ability to still the winds and calm the seas. The Mediterranean has been rather stormy for the past few weeks; nothing epic and not that evident aboard ship. But the swells in some ports have been quite high and that has affected our ability to use our ship’s tenders to come ashore in ports that do not have a dock.

That was why we ended up at the dock in Porto Torres on the island of Sardinia a few days ago instead of our intended call around the corner in Alghero.

We visited Cannes, as per schedule. But our captain decided that the forecasted seas offshore of Monaco and offshore of Portofino–our two following ports–were too high.

And so we diverted to Genoa, Italy for two nights. From Genoa we were able to offer tours by land to Portofino. And some guests went overland to other treasures of Liguria including Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli.

But for many guests, it was Genoa that was a revelation. For many decades, Genoa was considered a dark and unappealing commercial port, off the regular tourist path.

Things are changing, nicely.

LA SUPERBA

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Genoa is a city more than one million, the capital of the region of Liguria. Its niuckname is La Superba,  the Proud One.

Genoa, one of the ancient Maritime Republics of Italy, had a glorious past and its old city is filled with impressive palaces and churches and other structures, many of them restored to their former glory.

The historic center of Genoa along Via Baldi includes more than a hundred grand palaces of the former wealthy elite.

Here are some photos from our visit.

The Basilica dell’Annunziatta is a spectacular church,  near the palaces.

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Down along the historic ancient port, the waterfront was redone,  in grand style,  in the 1990s under the plans of architect Renzo Piano, born in Genoa.

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All photos copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler.  If you would like to purchase a high-resolution copy of any image, please contact me. 

25 April 2016
Cannes, France: Stars in Our Eyes

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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The Splendid is one of a dozen luxe hotels along La Croisette, the seaside promenade of Cannes

The Grande Dame of Cannes, along the La Croisette promenade facing the beach, is the InterContinental Carlton Cannes. The 343-room luxury hotel was built in 1911.

Which brings us to Agustina Otero Iglesias, born in Galicia, Spain in 1868.

As a young woman, she became a celebrated dancer, adopting her character La Belle Otero, a version of an Andalusian gypsy.

She became a star of Les Folies Bèrgere in Paris. And along the way she became one of the most popular—and celebrated—courtesans of France.

She was said to be close friends with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, several Kings of Serbia and Spain, the Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, and others.

She did quite well, accumulating a fortune of about $25 million dollars. But she was said to have gambled away nearly all of it, dying in 1965 in a modest one-room apartment at the Hotel Novelty in Nice.

Which brings us back to the, uh, cupolas of the Carlton.

According to some, the Carlton’s distinctive domes were designed to resemble the upper architecture of La Belle Otero.

Which is kind of frightening, except that La Belle Otero often wore conical, pointed devices.

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The Carlton Hotel in Cannes

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Le Suquet, the Old Town

Out in the bay are two interesting specks of lands, Les Îles de Lérins.

The smaller island is Saint Honorat, which has a monastery and ruined castle.

Monks have inhabited the island since 410 and, at the height of their powers, owned Cannes, Mougins and Vallauris.

Medieval vestiges remain in the stark church, which is open to the public, and in the ruins of the 11th-century monastery on the sea’s edge.

The Cistercian monks sell their own wine and a strong liqueur called Lérina.

The larger island is Sainte Marguerite which also has a castle, shops, bars, and restaurants, and some beaches.

And on Sainte Marguerite is a prison said to have been one of several places that held the “Man in the Iron Mask” in the 17th century.

The prisoner may have been the illegitimate older brother of Louis XIV, or in the writer Alexandre Dumas’ version, the king’s identical twin.

Either way, 34 years a captive, and from about 1687 to 1698, on the island half a mile offshore of Cannes.

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Le Tour du Masque

On Le Suquet hill,  the old town of Cannes,  the Tour du Masque, the Mask Tower, is the ancient watchtower.  A plaque there notes how the valiant militia of Le Suquet defended the place across the centuries against Barbary pirates and others.

And then it goes on to reference the Man in the Iron Mask, and it says in florid French: “Passers-by,  suspend your race and meditate on the suffering of the tortured, whose ghosts haunt these places. ”

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We were also here most recently on April 4; you can read my blog entry for that visit for more pointed commentary.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Hudson Book Cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

24 April 2016
Porto Torres, Sardinia: Safe Shelter

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

In the teeth of strong winds and high seas, we made a minor alteration to our itinerary to come into the harbor and dock in Porto Torres. Our original plan had been to anchor offshore of Alghero.

Porto Torres is about 24 miles east of Alghero by road and many guests crossed the peninsula to visit our original goal.

We chose to stay in Porto Torres and explore this less-visited town.

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Silver Cloud at the dock today in Porto Torres,  fronted by the 15th century Torre Aragonese, a reminder of the premodern Spanish world.

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Silver Cloud is the largest building in town

Today, Porto Torres is a busy commercial and ferry port, but it does have some places of historical note.

Just around the bend from our ship are the ruins of the Colonia Iulia Turris Libisonis, believed by some to have been founded by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.

The site includes colonnades and ancient streets as well as a number of substantial sinus decorated with mosaic floors.

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And just beyond stands a seven-arch Roman bridge from about the same time.  It was still in use until 1980, now replaced by a very ordinary modern crossing.

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At the top end of town is the Basilica di San Gavino, a Romanesque church built between 1030 and 1080, the largest and oldest of its kind on Sardinia.

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In the early 18th century, the European balance of power was shifting once again. After the conclusion of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Habsburgs were given Sardinia as the consolation prize to cover the loss of some of their Spanish kingdoms.

The Habsburgs further developed the region, bringing in Spanish style.

But in 1720, Alghero and the rest of Sardinia were handed over to the House of Savoy, which ruled northwest Italy on the mainland of what is now Italy.

The House of Savoy established the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Sardinia became a key pawn in the giant chess game that led to the Risorgimento, Italian unification.

The Kingdom of Sardinia, with Turin on the distant mainland as its capital, helped lead the way.

And in 1861, in essence, the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed most of what we now know as Italy and became the Kingdom of Italy. Which is why Sardinia is Italian today.

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We were also here on April 3, and you can read the blog entry for that day for more commentary.

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

23 April 2016
Porto Mahon, Menorca: Location, Location, Location


By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

As real estate agents love to say, it’s all about location, location, location. The Balearic Islands of Spain are right there in the tides of history of time…in the Mediterranean between Europe and Africa.

They have been occupied since ancient times, and also saw most of the major migrations and tides of war of human history.

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Menorca is known for its megalithic stone monuments: navetes, taulas, and talaiots. They were built by what is known as the Talayotic culture between about 1800 and 1000 BC.

A naveta is a chamber tomb unique to Menorca. It has two vertical and two corbelled walls giving it the form of an upturned boat, the source of its name. While some certainly had a defensive purpose, others may have served as lookout or signaling towers.

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Silver Cloud at the dock in Porto Mahon today

And then there are the taulas, which are usually found nearby. The word, which means ‘table’ in Catalan, is a T-shaped stone monument.

Similar but not necessarily related are the “nuraghes” of Sardinia, the “torre” of Corsica, and the “sesi” of Pantelleria, an island off Sicily.

It is, though, believed there was a connection—or at least an influence—on Menorca from other Mediterranean cultures, including the Minoans of ancient Crete.

Some of the same features found at Knossos on Crete are seen on Menorca.

We were here a few weeks ago, on April 2, and you can learn more about Porto Mahon and Menorca in that blog entry.

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Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

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