24-25 September 2015
Barcelona, Spain: Rambling Home

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our cruise comes to an end in Barcelona, which is a great end…or beginning.

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city; the metropolitan area is home to about 3.2 million.

Founded by the Romans, it became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona who had grand plans, eventually expanding their territory to include all of Catalonia.

The next expansion of Catalonia came in 1137 when the county of Barcelona merged with neighboring Aragon through dynastic union, a corporate marriage, if you will.

The Crown of Aragon went on to conquer many overseas possessions, ruling the western Mediterranean Sea with outlying territories in Naples and Sicily, and as far as Athens.

And then came one more dynastic union, this time between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile.

The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas.

It runs up from the harbor through its historic districts and toward the Cathedral and La Sagrada Familia.

The street signs call it La Rambla, the Promenade.

But it’s actually a series of linked streets, so it is commonly referred to in the plural, Las Ramblas.

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The Artists

Few cities are more imbued with the artistic vision of one man than is Barcelona.

The visions, and some of them are a bit strange—were those of Antoni Gaudi, one of the masters of the Modernist or Art Nouveau style.

There are works by Gaudi throughout the city.

Most begin with elements of Spanish Gothic, mix in Modernism, and finish off with phantasmagorical flights of fancy.

Gaudí began his work as a secular architect and artist, but in his later years he devoted his life to the Catholic church.

His crowning achievement was—or will be—La Sagrada Família, the Holy Family.

Technically, it is not a cathedral—home to a bishop. Its full name is the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.

They’re still working at it.

The current expectation is that La Sagrada Familía will be completed in 2026, which would be the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.

Like many of you I have visited hundreds of cathedrals all over the world, many of them many centuries years old.

Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia may well be the last monumental cathedral to be built, and it is amazing to watch the work underway.

Another artist with a wonderfully skewed view was Salvador Dali, born in Figueres, about 75 miles from Barcelona; Dali’s life from 1904 to 1989 overlapped Gaudi’s.

Today, not far away in the Barri Gotic, is the Picasso Museum.

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga. But he spent his youth in Barcelona.

The Museu Picasso is housed in a pair of 14th century palaces. It includes more than 3,800 works in its permanent collection, much of it from his early days.

There’s one more hometown artist of note: Joan Miro, born in Barcelona in 1893.

His paintings, drawings, sculpture, and ceramics moved from the conventional past abstraction and into surrealism.

Arrivederci

We are heading home from Barcelona for our vacation. We look forward to seeing you on another Silversea ship in 2016.

Safe travels.

Text and images copyright 2015 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

23 September 2015
València, Spain: Fallas, Fireworks, and Paella

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, after Madrid and Barcelona.

That’s pretty impressive company.

But Valencia can stand on its own as a wondrous old city, the former capital of the Old Kingdom of Valencia.

The birthplace of paella. The deathplace of the fallas.

The host city for the America’s Cup in 2007 and 2010.

And home to a massive modern architectural project by Santiago Calatrava.

The roots of Valencia reach back to a Roman colony founded in 138 BC on an island in the Turia River.

The Moors held this part of Spain from the 8th to the 13th century, with the exception of about five years from 1094 to 1099 when Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar—El Cid—broke their hold in Valencia.

Despite being on the Mediterranean Sea, there is still a local expression that says “Valencia has always lived with its back to the sea”, meaning that the spirit and the core of the city is not necessarily oriented to the water.

One of the most famous aspects of Valencia is a tradition that dates back several centuries, the Night of the Cremà, which takes place in March.

This is the burning of the Fallas, large wooden and papier mache dolls or effigies—sometimes representing politicians or celebrities or allegorical figures.

It is believed the tradition dates back to the carpenter’s guild of Valencia, who would celebrate the Festival of their patron Saint Joseph by gathering in front of their workshops to burn old tools, other wooden utensils, and candleholders they used to give them light during the winter season.

To me, a much more worthy exercise is the acquisition and consumption of Paella, the signature dish of Valencia.

The dish is named after the pan used to prepare it. You can, if you wish, think of it as a Spanish version of a wok.

Paella originated in the mid-nineteenth century near Albufera lagoon in Valencia. In many ways it brings together the Roman and Arab and indigenous flavors of the region.

Copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

22 September 2015
Alcúdia, Mallorca, Spain: Pirates, Giants, and Raindrops

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There is something very special about the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean.

Something that attracted ancient peoples, the Roman empire, the Moors, Pirates, and Vandals.

Also the great composed Frederick Chopin, the artist Joan Miro, the poet Robert Graves, and the great architect Antoni Gaudi.

Each came for short visits but left behind significant reminders of their genius.

Mallorca is Spain’s largest island possession, and its second-most populated island (after Tenerife in the Canary Islands.)

On this visit, we are avoiding the hustle and bustle of the principal city of Palma de Mallorca, and instead coming in to the charming resort village of Alcudia to the north

Mallorca Sandler4

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Mallorca La Seu Sandler2

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Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

21 September 2015
Sète, France: The Venice of Languedoc

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Sète is a commune in the Hérault department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France.

So it is French, of sorts, although its ancient origins are as part of Occitania.

Occitan is a Romance language, still spoken in places here and there in the Languedoc region that includes parts of southern France, the Occitan Valleys of Italy, and Spain’s Val d’Aran.

Languedoc means the Language of Oc.

Oc is the Occitan word for “yes.”

And so we have arrived in the Land of Yes. Take that for whatever you want.

What else is Sète?

Poetry, mystical sometimes indecipherable love songs, mussels, and oysters.

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A city built around an ancient canal, a place that apparently is the world capital of the sport of water-jousting.

And a relatively obscure port that in 1947 was the embarkation place for 4,500 Holocaust survivors on a barely seaworthy former cruise ship that on its way to Palestine changed its name to Exodus.

On this visit,  I went with guests on a visit to the charming town of Pezenas,  once  a wealthy trading center and home of the great French author Moliere.

A PEZENAS ALBUM

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From there we went to the Abbey de Valmagne, which dates from the 13th century and later. In more recent times,  it is home to spirits of a different kind: a wine cave.

ABBAYE DE VALMAGNE

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Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

 

20 September 2015
Marseille, France: The Second City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Marseille is the oldest city in France, and the country’s second-largest city population behind only Paris.

This is very much a working city: it is France’s largest commercial port.

Out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago of four islands. One of those, L’ile d’If, is the location of Château d’If, made famous by the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

There have been settlements in this area for almost 30,000 years.

The city of Marseille was founded about 600 BC as a Greek trading port; it was named Massalia. It became a link between inland Gaul and Rome, importing wine and other goods and exporting agricultural items and slaves to Rome.

Skipping forward, in 1792, Marseille sent 500 volunteers to Paris to support the French Revolution.

The song they sung on their march from Marseille to Paris, a call to arms that became known as La Marseillaise, is now the national anthem of France.

For many visitors to southern France, the gem is Aix-en-Provence, about 20 miles north of Marseille.

And on this glorious Sunday morning,  with a hint of autumn in the air,  I returned to Aix with guests.

The settlement of Aix or Aquae Sextiae was founded in 123 BC by the Roman consul Sextius Calvinus.

Aix flourished after the 12th century, when, under the houses of Aragon and Anjou, it became an artistic center and seat of learning.

Aix-en-Provence is situated in a plain overlooking the Arc, about a mile from the right bank of the river.

The main thoroughfare is the beautiful Cours Mirabeau, planted with double rows of plane-trees. It is bordered by fine houses and punctuated by decorative fountains.

Aix Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d’Aix) is built on the site of the 1st century Roman forum of Aix.

AN AIX ALBUM FOR TODAY

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Built and re-built from the 12th until the 19th century, it includes Romanesque, Gothic and Neo-Gothic elements, as well as Roman columns and parts of the baptistery from a 6th century Christian church.

A MARSEILLE ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

19 September 2015
Saint-Tropez, France: The Headless Saint and the Creation of Woman

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

When you say Saint-Tropez most people think of Brigitte Bardot in a bikini, or perhaps modern Children of the Sun lounging around on the beach in no bikini at all.

But Saint-Tropez has a more substantial history, including a martyred saint from Pisa after whom the town is named, a Japanese sumarai who came on a voyage of exploration in the early 1600s, and an almost-forgotten World War II invasion site.

There was also the painter Paul Signac, one of many greats who were drawn to the beaches and the special light of maritime places, long before there were fancy bistros and outrageously priced shops.

Saint Tropez Sandler2

Saint Tropez Sandler1

Saint Tropez Sandler3

Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

 

18 September 2015
Monte Carlo, Monaco: The Gem of the Côte d’Azur

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Monaco has (almost, depending on your particulars) all the ingredients for adult fantasy.

A seven-hundred-year monarchy in a country smaller than New York City’s Central Park.

The romance and heartbreak of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly.

The other royal wedding of 2011, between the playboy prince and a lovely and nervous Olympian bride.

A prestigious Formula One automobile race through its winding streets.

A major tennis tournament.

A major jewel heist by the Pink Panther gang, still unsolved.

Sandy beaches, spectacular yachts, don’t-ask-the-price shops, don’t-look-at-the-bill restaurants, and a fabled casino where—in our mind’s eye, at least, the men are all dressed in tuxedos and the women are dressed to kill.

And us.

Monte Carlo Sandler1

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For those guests leaving us here, we wish you safe travels.

We’re headed out on a cruise that will follow the south coast of France, then venture south the lovely island of Mallorca, and then return the mainland at the remarkable city of Valencia and the even-more-remarkable grand city of Barcelona.

Here’s our plan:

v2527 Voyage Map

Welcome aboard!

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

17 September 2015
Cannes, France: Front Row Center

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

It requires more than a little bit of suspension of disbelief, but Cannes was once a small and humble fishing village.

It is no longer small, by no means humble, and today’s fishing is aimed at the wallets of visitors.

It is, though, a very interesting place with grand architecture, high-end shops and restaurants, and a back story of movie stars, high fashion, and romance, fabulous festivals, and jewel heists.

Oh, and a beach.

In postwar times—since 1946—Cannes is most famous for its film festival, held each May.

Producers shop for financing or hope to strike distribution deals.

Actors come to see, but mostly to be seen.

Antibes is on the Mediterranean between Cannes and Nice, in the direction of Monaco. It is a handsome seaside resort, with snowy Alps in the background.

The city was founded in the 5th century BC as a Greek Colony of Massilia, which we know now as Marseille. It was named Antipolis, literally the “city across.”

Pablo Picasso came to Antibes in 1946 and was invited to stay in the castle.

During his six-month residence Picasso painted and drew, and crafted ceramics and tapestries.

When Picasso departed, he left a number of his works to the municipality. The castle has since become the Picasso Museum.

Another worthy trip is to the perfume city of Grasse or to the lovely mountaintop village of St-Paul de Vence in Provence.

This region, stretching along the coast from east of Monte Carlo and west to the Italian border, is part of the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

While it has been part of France for more than five hundred years, it still retains a distinct cultural and linguistic identity.

A CANNES ALBUM

Cannes Sandler1

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On this visit,  we ventured about 30 minutes away to the handsome city of Antibes to visit the Picasso Museum and stroll the streets of this very French place.

AN ANTIBES ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

15-16 September 2015
Livorno, Italy: The Glories of Florence, A Tower in Pisa, and the Rooftops of Lucca

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Livorno is a city that has some worthy places, although most visitors pass on by.

That’s because for those of us arriving by cruise ship, Livorno is the gateway to the great city of Florence.

Oh, and also one of the world’s iconic sites, a certain tower in the town of Pisa. And also beautiful Tuscany, Siena, and Lucca.

We’re here for two days, which is about 363 days too short for a proper exploration. We’ll just have to make do.

A FLORENCE ALBUM

Livorno Florence Sandler2

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Livorno Florence Scuola del Cuoio

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A PISA ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

14 September 2015
Genoa, Italy: The Treasures of the Ligurian Coast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our original itinerary had called for a visit to Portofino. No one would ever blame you if thought the name of this lovely town and harbor meant “Fine Port.”

Alas, that’s merely a coincidence. Portofino is truly a fine port. But according to Pliny the Elder, the great Roman chronicler of the first century, Portofino was founded by the Romans and they named it Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.

The dolphins are mostly gone now, replaced by swarms of tourists who come to see the fine harbor, its nearby Paraggi beach, and the surrounding area including Camogli and Rapallo.

We were scheduled to put down our anchor offshore of Portofino. Alas, we have run into some rough seas and wind–not enough to make our travel aboard the lovely Silver Wind uncomfortable,  but greatly affecting the operation of our ship’s tenders.

And so we instead tied up at the dock in nearby Genoa, the largest port in Italy.

Here are some photos from previous visits to Portofino, and then done photos from today in Santa Margherita di Ligure and Rapallo.

A PORTOFINO ALBUM

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Portofino Abbey San Fruttuosi Sandler

The Abbey of San Frutuoso

A SANTA MARGHERITA ALBUM

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A RAPALLO ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

 

13 September 2015
Calvi, Corsica: Napoleon, Nelson, and the Vendetta

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Corsica, at least in the wishes of its people for centuries, has always been a place unto its own.

A French flag, Italian heritage, and a Corsican culture.

It is an island of jagged granite mountains and dense, dark forests. It even has its own odor, a scent of the maquis: fields of aromatic herbs and shrubs.
Calvi Corsica1

 

It was a beautiful day in Corsica as we were at anchor,  but the wind and seas were a bit on the wild side at midday,  and the tender ride from shore to the ship was . . . exciting.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

12 September 2015
Olbia: Sardinia’s Emerald Coast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

“Sardinia, which is like nowhere. Sardinia, which has no history, no date, no race, no offering.

“They say neither Romans nor Phoenicians, Greeks nor Arabs ever subdued Sardinia. It lies outside; outside the circuit of civilization.”

So said D.H. Lawrence in his book, Sea and Sardinia.

Very evocative. Not fully true, although it certainly is an unusual place.

Sardinia is part of Italy, while its neighbor Corsica is part of France.

Although French Corsica is closer to Italy than France.

And Italian Sardinia is closer to France (at Corsica) or Tunisia than it is to Italy.

In Olbia, much of the older architecture and a bit of the culture is still heavily influenced by the Spanish and the Habsburgs who ruled here for many centuries.

The newer construction in Olbia and in nearby modern gathering places like Porto are a little bit Las Vegas, a little bit San Tropez.

And they call the region the Costa Smeralda: The Emerald Coast.

Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

 

11 September 2015
Civitavecchia, Italy: Treasures of the Med

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Two ships in one day, with an airplane flight in between. We started the day in Lisbon at the end of a wondrous cruise from Southampton to Normandy, Asturias, and Portugal.

We bade arrivederci to Silver Cloud, hopped a flight east across Europe to Rome, and have met up with sister ship Silver Wind on a journey that will take us through the west coast of Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Cannes, and on to the Oz world of Monte Carlo.

I would have much preferred to sail down and around; airplanes are so déclassé.

So here we are on Silver Wind.

On this cruise we’re going to go just about every direction we can:

West from Civitavecchia through the Tyrrhenian Sea to Olbia on the Italian island of Sardinia.

North and then west through the Strait of Bonifacio before going north again to Calvi on the French island of Corsica.

North to the mainland of Europe and the fine port of Portofino in Italy.

Southeast along the Riviera di Levante to Livorno, the port for Florence in Italy.

Then west across the Ligurian Sea to Cannes, France.

And then finally, northeast to Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco.

Here’s our plan:

v2526 Voyage Map

Copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

 

11 September 2015
Lisbon, Portugal: What Fates Impose…

 By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Lisbon is one of the most interesting and intriguing of European cities. It’s a little bit Spanish, a little bit Arab, and a whole lot of only-in-Portugal.

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, sits on the coast at the place where the river Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the westernmost capital of mainland Europe.

With its central location and port, Lisbon became the capital city of Portugal in 1255.

During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with northern Europe and Mediterranean cities.

And then, in the Age of Discovery from the 15th to 17th centuries, Lisbon was the port of departure for many of the great Portuguese expeditions, most notably Vasco da Gama’s trip to India in 1497.

Lisbon is a rich stew of architectural designs: Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, modern and post-modern along with a few Moorish styles.

The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is one of the lesser-known jewels of Europe, a rich collection of ancient and classical art along with some modern pieces.

It was assembled in the early 20th century by Calouste Gulbenkian, a tremendously rich British businessman of Armenian extraction.

Santa Maria de Belém is about 4 miles west of the city. Its name comes from the Portuguese for Bethlehem.

Belém is the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery.

Perhaps Belém’s most famous feature is its tower, Torre de Belém.

The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse late in the reign of Dom Manuel (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port at Belém.

A more modern monument in Belém is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries.

The 171 foot (52 meter) concrete monument was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

Shaped like a ship’s prow, it includes statues of Henry and important explorers.

Also in Belém is the fabulous Mosteiro dos Jerónimo, one of the reasons why the Torre de Belém was built.

The Jerónimos Monastery was begun in 1502 on instructions from Manuel I and took fifty years to complete.

Its role was as a monument to Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India; the great explorer’s tomb is inside.

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This is the end of this cruise, and I wish safe travels to friends old and new.

We’re debarking as well, heading to the airport for a quick flight to Rome to meet up with sister ship Silver Wind.

I would have much prefered to sail down and around; airplanes are so déclassé.

But this is what fates have imposed.

Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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 September 2015
Porto (Leixões), Portugal: Tripe, Wizards, and Port

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our penultimate port of call on this cruise is Porto, not the most famous of places in Portugal.

It is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area. The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Lisbon is the grand city of palaces and monasteries and monuments and a metropolitan population of about 2.8 million, and it lies ahead of us.

Porto, well, it’s a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

The city is located along the Douro river estuary.

Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, is said by some historians to be the source of the name “Portugal.”

We’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of fine Port after dinner.

Port Wine is named for Porto, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Vinho do Porto is a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

The wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

 

9 September 2015
La Coruña, Spain: The Crystal City at the End of the Earth, and Santiago de Compostela: The Way of Saint James

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

La Coruña is in the autonomous community of Galicia.

In recent history, La Coruña was the political capital of the Kingdom of Galicia from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Spain has 17 autonomous communities, a first-level political division that came out of the Constitution of 1978 which was intended to retain the autonomy of the nationalities and regions of the Spanish nation.

On this visit,  we ventured about an hour south to the town of Santiago de Compostela, a place of pilgrimage for Christians for centuries.

We visited the cathedral,  saw the vendors offering walking sticks topped by a carving of a scallop shell–proof to some of the accomplishment of their peregrino or pilgrimage,  and topped it all of with tapas and a music and dance performance by a Galician folk troupe: Celtic bagpipes of northwest Spain.

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La Coruña is sometimes called “The Crystal City.” That nickname is derived from its many galerías, or glazed window balconies.

Naval architects adopted the design of the windowed stern of a warship and applied them as balconies to many places in northern Spain, including Galicia and the Basque region.

The first settlement was believed to have been on the peninsula that extends out from the present city, probably established by the Artabrians, a Celtic tribe.

Then came the Romans in the 2nd century BC.

They were attracted to the strategic position at the edge of Iberia, and they called the region Finis-terrae, the end of the world.

Its name in the Galician language evolved from that to Fisterra.

Under the Romans, the settlement they called Brigantium became important in maritime trade, and even drew the notice of Julius Caesar who visited in 62BC.

Commerce in metal and other materials grew, with connections what is now France, England, and Portugal.

Brigantium reached its peak in the 1st and 2nd centuries, but declined after the 4th century and especially with the incursions of the Normans, which forced the population to flee towards the interior of the Estuary of O Burgo.

It was in the 2nd century that the Farum Brigantium was built.

Farum is the Latin version of the Greek work pharos, meaning lighthouse.

The other name for the farum was the Tower of Hercules.

That tower, restored and elaborated a bit over 1,900 years, still stands on the peninsula about 2.5 kilometers or 1.5 miles from the center of La Coruña.

It has been in more-or-less continuous use since first built, and may well be the oldest lighthouse still in existence.

According to some, it may have been modeled after the great Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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 September 2015
Gijón and Ovieda, Spain: The Waves of History

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Gijón is the largest city in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain, located on the Bay of Biscay.

Cimavilla (in Spanish, Cimadevilla) is the oldest part of Gijón.

It includes ruins of the old Roman settlement as well as interesting residential and touristic areas including a small yacht club.

This is an ancient part of the world, with evidence dating back 250,000 years or so to the first humans including homo erectus and the Neanderthals.

Later the area came under the cultural influence of the Celts, and Celtic influence remains.

The Romans arrived about 29 BC under Augustus.

The major event in the first millennia was the Moorish invasion, beginning in the 8th century.

The Moors swept through most of Spain and Portugal, but the defenses put in place by the Romans and the mountainous topography of Northern Spain proved to be difficult for the invaders.

This region became a refuge for Christian nobles, and the Reconquista,  the Reconquest of Spain rose from here.

We spent the day about 15 miles inland at the regional capital of Oveido. And as luck would have it,  we arrived on the day of the festival of Asturias,  which involved a bit of partying–the local drink is fermented sidra or apple cider, and a parade through town by an Asturian bagpipe and drum band.

Here’s a bit of what we saw:

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

7 September 2015
Bilbao, Spain: Basque Country

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

When we left Bordeaux, France we headed for Spain.

Spanish customs and immigration officials will officially admit our ship and guests and crew, and you’ll hear a lot of Spanish being spoken on the streets.

But to some—and please, I am not trying to get in the middle of a political dispute—we are actually entering a wholly different place: Basque Country.

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The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum

Bilbao, located on the northern coast of the Iberian Peninsula about 19 kilometers or 12 miles from the Bay of Biscay, is also the largest municipality of the autonomous community of the Basque Country.

It is believed that the Basques are the distant descendants of some of the earliest inhabitants of Western Europe.

Genetic studies indicate Basque tribes predated the arrival of planned agriculture in the Iberian Peninsula, about 7,000 years ago.

The Basque Language, still in wide use in this region, is unrelated to Indo-European languages. At the time of the Romans, they spoke a variant of the Aquitanian Language.

Other Basque cities in Spain include Navarre and Pamplona.

In the autonomous region within Spain, the official languages are Basque and Spanish, although the Spanish constitution requires knowledge of Spanish.

By some estimates, about one-third of the residents of the autonomous region use Basque in everyday communication.

But the influence of the Basques spreads much further than that, with a diaspora that spreads around the world, especially in places where ex-pats could put to use their skills in sheepherding, ranching, and fishing.

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According to some, the biggest influence of the Basques are the Jesuits, and the Republic of Chile.

Ignatius Loyola, born in Loyola in the Basque Country of Spain in 1491, is considered the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.

And an estimated 45 percent of the immigrants to Chile in the 17th and 18th centuries were Basque; today about 2.5 million Basque descendants live there, more than the population of the Basque Country in Spain and nearby France.

Millions of others of Basque lineage live in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia.

Today, Bilbao is most known for its museum centerpiece: the Guggenheim Bilbao.

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, it was opened in 1997.

Built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through the city of Bilbao, it is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

It features permanent and visiting exhibits of modern art works by Spanish and international artists.

The Guggenheim Bilbao is considered by many to be one of the most important contemporary structures.

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The museum came about because of an effort by the autonomous Basque government to have a rebirth of the city’s decrepit port area. In 1981, the government offered to fund a Guggenheim museum, covering the $100 million U.S. cost of construction, a $50 million acquisitions fund, and to subsidize the annual budget.

Not a bad deal if you’re a foundation looking to add a new museum to your collection.

The curves on the exterior of the building were intended to appear random and to catch the light. The museum is clad in glass, titanium, and limestone.

The interior is designed around a large, light-filled atrium with views of Bilbao’s estuary and the surrounding hills of the Basque country.

To some it looks like a ship. To others a fish.

To me it looks like an extraordinary place; I’m not a fan of Frank Gehry, but this structure gets past my strict bar.

Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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

4-6 September 2015
Bordeaux and Sainte-Emilion, France: The Pearl of Aquitaine

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Victor Hugo said this:

“Take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux”.

That’s a pretty good lineage.

Add to it Bordeaux wine, Bordelaise sauce, and a handsome mix of architecture and culture.

The city is built on a bend of the river Garonne.

A growing sector of industry in the area is high-tech.

The French Ministry of Defence has invested something like 2 billion Euros in the Laser Mégajoule project in Bordeaux. The project is intended for basic research on laser and plasma technologies.

High-tech companies include Dassault, EADS Sogerma, Snecma, Thales, SNPE, and others.

Dassault Falcon private jets are built there, as well as military aircraft, the Airbus A380 cockpit, the boosters of the Ariane 5 rocket, and the M51 SLBM missile.

But many visitors have come to worship at the font of Bordeaux wine.

I will leave the fine points of oenology to the wine experts and our sommeliers aboard ship.

I’ll just say that this region produces what some say are the best cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes and wine, as well as some other varieties.

Grapes were introduced to the region by the Romans, probably in the 1st century.

They liked what they got, and it has been a constant ever since.

Bordeaux now has about 116,160 hectares (287,000 acres) of vineyards.

There are about 10,000 wine-producing chateaux, and 13,000 grape growers and amongst them they produce about 960 million bottles per year.

This area has been occupied for tens of thousands of years, which pleases the tourist bureau greatly.

La Grotte de Pair-non-Pair, just north of Bordeaux above the Dordogne river before it joins the Gironde, was discovered in 1881 in a vineyard in the Côtes de Bourg.

The cave has some of the world’s oldest known cave drawings: horses, ibexes, deer, and mammoths.

Remains found in the cave may be Neanderthal—at least 30,000 years old and perhaps much older—and an 18,000-year-old Cro-Magnon.

The presence of remains across such a wide range of time?

I’m guessing the cave was actually a popular wine bar.

Here are some photos from our visit.  The first image shows German U-boat pens which still stand very close to downtown Bordeaux: they were constructed so robustly that they have withstood plans and wishes to remove them for 75 years.

We went next into the heart of Chateau country in Bordeaux,  visiting the town of Saint-Emilion and then the small family winemaker Chateau de Tailhas in Pomerol.

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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

 

3 September 2015
Belle-Île-en-Mer, France: La bien nommée

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The name of this place should give it away, don’t you think?

Belle-Ile-en-Mer.

Beautiful Island in the Sea.

And that it is.

In fact the local nickname for the island extends to La Bien Nommée, the Well-Named.

Belle-Ile, Brittany’s largest island, lies about 9 miles or 15 kilometers off the coast of Morbihan.

It is a place of beautiful beaches—about 60 of them, spectacular craggy coastline, and lovely pastoral interior.

At the island’s main town of Le Palais, the first thing you’ll notice is the star-shaped Citadelle Vauban, which was built by the famous French military engineer in the 18th century.

It was called by some, “The Battleship of the Atlantic.”

The fort now houses a luxury hotel-restaurant and a museum about the island’s history.

Many of Belle-Île’s residents are descended from the 78 Acadian families who returned from French Canada as part of Le Grand Dérangement, the expulsion of the Acadians, in 1765.

The dramatic landscape of the island has long drawn artists.

The most famous work was that of Claude Monet in the 1880s who was drawn to the wild north coast. According to local history he had to have an assistant hold down his canvas he worked to keep the wind from flinging it into the sea.

It is said that within an hour after first setting foot on Belle-Ile-en-Mer in August 1894, the French actress Sarah Bernhardt purchased an abandoned fort on the cliff top at La Pointe des Poulins.

She would spend parts of her last thirty years there. Bernhardt ended up creating a compound for friends and family, which she called her “menagerie.”

Bernhardt is buried in Paris. And here on Belle-Ile there is no sign of her other coffin, the one she often used as a place to sleep. She claimed it helped her understand her many tragic roles.

Here are some photos I took on our visit to the beautiful island in the sea, also including a peek at the museum chez Bernhardt.

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Text and images copyright 2015 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

Henry Hudson Dreams 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