6 December 2017:
Bridgetown, Barbados:
A Pair of Queens

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Barbados, along with Jamaica, is one of the most English-like islands in the Caribbean.

That stands to reason, since its first permanent settlers arrived from England in 1627 and to some extent never left, although the population today are mostly descendants of African slaves or indentured servants from India.

Barbados became an independent state in 1966. But Queen Elizabeth II is still the constitutional monarch.

And so on Barbados they love their cricket and their rum, often combining the both under the Caribbean sun. And you can enjoy afternoon tea in places like Greenwich, Chancery Lane, Newbury, Hastings, or Marlowe.

And the other queen? Robin Fenty, otherwise known as the mega pop star Rihanna, born near Bridgetown and today existing in a world of her own making.

This marks the end of our voyage on Silver Muse, which began  two months ago in Fort Lauderdale. We expect to be back aboard our sister ship Silversea Silver Spirit in the spring of 2018, in the Mediterranean, then Silver Wind in Norway and Iceland, and later in the year back on Silver Spirit for a transatlantic crossing from London and visits to Montreal, Quebec City, Boston, and New York in the fall. I hope you will join us here in these pages. Safe travels!

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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

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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 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 December 2017:
Devil’s Island, French Guiana:
Hell in Paradise

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Devil’s Island, L’île du Diable, is one of the most evocative, terrifying, inspiring, and memorable places I know of.

You cannot visit Devil’s Island without some of it staying with you the rest of your life.

The good news, of course, is that we are sailing in on one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world.

And the even better news is that we will be sailing away in the early afternoon, just in time for lunch and a Piña Colada by the pool.

It was not at all like that for the 80,000 or so guests who checked in to Devil’s Island between 1852 and 1953.

We arrived today under bluish skies, but as close to 100 percent humidity as I can imagine. Half an hour after tendering ashore with the first group of guests, the skies opened. I have been less wet inside a shower stall. But eventually the rain ended and we headed for the cells of the convicted, the tighter quarters of the condemned, and only slightly less awful holes for those held in solitary confinement.

Devil’s Island, across the narrow and treacherous strait that separates it from L’île Royale. Photo by Corey Sandler

Devil’s Island and the two nearby islands of L’île Royale  and L’île Saint-Joseph, as well as the mainland of French Guiana was used by the French as a penal colony for 101 years. Collectively they bear the ironic name of Les Îles du Salut (Islands of Salvation).

And to be precise, we visited L’île Royale, which was a general prison camp and administrative center and home to some of the cells.

Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

In 1895, French army captain Alfred Dreyfus was unjustly convicted of treason and sent to Devil’s Island in 1895. The French author Emile Zola helped bring about a retrial, and eventually Dreyfus was exonerated.

The prisons were kept open during World War II, but from 1946 until 1953, one by one the prisons were closed. The Devil’s Island facility was the last to be closed.

in 1970 came the book Papillon, published as a memoir by a former prisoner, Henri Charrière in 1970.

Charriere’s book was an international bestseller, and in 1973 the film Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman made the story part of the global cultural DNA.

Historians say not all of Charrière’s recounting is accurate, but the general tone of awful despair is true. You can feel it in your bones when you visit.

I’ve been to hell in paradise half a dozen times, and escaped successfully each time. And yet it draws me back.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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 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

1 December 2017:
Fortaleza, Brazil:
The Fortress City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our seventh and final destination in Brazil was Fortaleza, the Fortress, population more than 2.3 million, the largest of Brazil’s northern cities and fifth largest in the country.

Here in Fortaleza, we are near the part of Brazil closest to Europe, about 5,608 kilometers or 3,484 miles from Lisbon, Portugal.

On February 2, 1500, the Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in the cove here, but he was very much out of place.

The Treaty of Tordesillas, the 1494 papal-organized division of the new world into areas of control for Portugal and Spain put this part of South America on the Portuguese side of the ledger.

Proper colonization began more than a century later, in 1603, when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and the settlement of Nova Lisboa (New Lisbon).

THE METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL OF FORTELEZA

The Cathedral, begun in 1938, was finished in 1978. It seats 5,000 people. Photos by Corey Sandler, 2017. All rights reserved.

The French, who were not included in the pope’s division of the new world, were poking around this part of the world—including in what is now French Guiana and Guyana—and fought a battle against the Portuguese here in 1612.

After a victory over the French, the Portuguese expanded their fort, renamed as Forte de São Sebastião.

But the fortress could not withstand a Dutch invasion which began in the Brazilian Northeast in 1630.

And then in battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed.

In response, the Dutch West Indies Company—a government licensed private company that operated with war powers—a new fortress on the banks of the river Pajeú was erected.

Fort Schoonenborch, or “graceful stronghold” opened in 1649.

When the Dutch were forced to pull out of Brazil in 1654, the Portuguese renamed the Dutch fortress as Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção (Fort of Our Lady of the Assumption), the source of the name for today’s city of Fortaleza.

On a tour today we visited the Cathedral as well as the Theatro José de Alencar in Fortaleza. Named after a prominent playwright, the imposing structure–built mostly of wrought iron–was completed in 1910.

While we were there, a ballet troupe was practicing for a performance of “The Pharoah’s Daughter”,  or “La Fille du Pharaon,”

This is a well-regarded but not often-produced work choreographed by the Russian master Marius Petipa to the music of the Italian composer Cesare Pugni and using the libretto of the French writer Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

It was first presented at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1862.

And now this cosmopolitan mix was on stage in Fortaleza, Brazil.

I explored the theatre from bottom to top, including the attic which contained the stained glass signage for this national treasure.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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 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