3 June 2017:
Foynes, Ireland:
Location, Location, Location

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Foynes, population about 600, is a pretty village in County Limerick in the midwest of Ireland. But there are many pretty places in Ireland.

Foynes has a deepwater port, inland from the open ocean and well-sheltered, on the southern bank of the Shannon Estuary, a 60-mile-long tidal waterway that runs from the City of Limerick to the Atlantic Ocean.

But there are other major ports in Ireland, too. Cobh and Cork, and Waterford for example. And in Northern Ireland there is Belfast. They are all quite old and established ports.

But in 1930 there was something special about Foynes that is not matched by those larger and better-known ports: location, location, location, at least when it comes to its line of latitude.

In the early 1930s, as plans were being made for the first commercial transatlantic flights between the United States and Europe, early aviators sought the shortage distance point-to-point and passage over land for as much of the trip as possible, adding a margin of safety.

In 1933, famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, who was working for Pan American Airlines as a consultant, homed in on Foynes.

The idea was to use flying boats, huge aircraft that included the Flying Clipper design. Land-based commercial airplanes did not have the fuel capacity to cross the Atlantic with a full load of passenger and freight.

Flying out of New York, planes would hug the east coast of the United States, over Boston and Maine, and then pass over Nova Scotia in Canada and finally Newfoundland before making the over-water crossing to Ireland. The distance was about 3,050 miles.

Foynes had the added advantage of being in Ireland and not England; Ireland was already signaling its intention to remain neutral as the winds of war arose, and indeed it would hold that position throughout World War II.

Construction of a terminal in Foynes was begun in 1935, and the first transatlantic proving flights were operated on July 5, 1937 with a Pan Am Sikorsky S-42 flight from Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador. Service to New York, Southampton, Montreal, Poole and Lisbon followed.

Foynes would be one of the most important international terminuses of commercial flight from 1939 to 1945, through World War II.

The age of the flying boat was relatively short. Advances in technology—accelerated by World War II military demands—led to development of longer-range propeller-driven and then jet aircraft.

In 1942, Shannon Airport opened on flat boglands on the northern bank of the same estuary as Foynes. And in 1946, after the end of the war, the flying boat station in Foynes closed.

A DAY IN BUNRATTY

On this visit I went with a group of guests further up the River Shannon to Limerick to make a visit to Bunratty Castle. This structure was built about 1425 and went through a number of owners, beginning with wealthy landholders, then Kings and other Nobles in the region of North Munster.

The three story castle fell into near ruin but was lovingly restored and reopened in the 1950s. It includes some amazing period gurniture and decorations and very well conveys the claustrophobia of dwelling within a 600-year-old stone castle.

Inlaid into the wall of the Great Hall was an ancient fertility symbol, promising (or threatening) children to women who passed by.

Surrounding the castle is a Heritage Park that displays buildings from the 18th century including private houses, farm houses, a schoolhouse, doctor’s office, and other structures.

We capped off the somewhat chilly day with a stop at a bar for a cup glass of Irish coffee. I asked the bartender to hold the coffee and hold the cream and I enjoyed the rest.

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Foynes is generally a rather damp and sometimes chilly place, and perhaps not the most wonderful place to land after a 20-hour flight in a boat.

An oft-reported story–which does not necessarily mean it is true–is that Joe Sheridan, chef at the restaurant at the terminal in Foynes, greeted cold and wet passengers arriving on one of the Clippers with a cup of coffee greatly improved by the addition of Irish Whiskey and cream.

There are some people who say that in the process he ruined three perfectly good drinks: coffee, whiskey, and cream.

Text copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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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.

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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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2 June 2017:
Cobh, Ireland:
A Place of Beginnings and Endings

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cobh is a place of epic beginnings and endings.

It is one of the closest ports of Europe to Canada and North America.

Cobh—or Queenstown as it was known then—was the place from which millions of Irish departed their homeland to seek a new start in the new world, the land of milk and honey, the place where the streets were paved with gold: America and Canada.

The population of Ireland was estimated at 8.2 million in 1841; half a century later, in 1891, the population was said to be 4.7 million.

As many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930, from Queenstown, other Irish ports, and British ports like Liverpool.

Today, in the United States, more than 10 percent of Americans trace their roots to Ireland.

Queenstown was the last piece of land touched by passengers on the doomed ship Titanic in 1912.

And Queenstown was just out of reach of the Lusitania, which came the other direction from New York before it was torpedoed and sunk off the Old Head of Kinsale in 1915.

A COBH ALBUM

A SIDE TRIP TO CORK

On this visit, we were off the ship early and onto a morning train up the estuary to the big city of Cork, about 15 miles away. In not-all-that-ancient times, the distance was enough to make the cities grow very differently.

Today, Cork is a lively town with a wealth of Georgian and Victorian buildings and a few pieces of idiosyncratic architecture as well.

Here are some photos from today:

Silver Wind at the dock, as seen from the train station on the other side of the quay.

An old mill in Cork, converted to apartments.

Inside and outside the English Market in the heart of Cork.

ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT COREY SANDLER 2017, all rights reserved.

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Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

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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:

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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.

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1 June 2017:
Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom:
Pasties and Pirates

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cornwall forms the southwestern tip of the mainland of Great Britain.

This is an interesting part of the United Kingdom with a great deal of history, and not all that much visited.

One of the local specialties is the Cornish Pastie, which was one of the original fast foods. It was developed as a way to provide a hot, sealed meal for the workers in the mines of Cornwall.

The ingredients for a proper pastie include “swede”, which some people call turnip but it is actually a yellow turnip or rutabaga.

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A Pastie maker in Falmouth. Photos by Corey Sandler

The word is pronounced PASS-TEE, by the way.

Not PAYS-TEE, of course, which is something completely different.

In the Caribbean, on the French island of Les Saintes, native women still bake something similar: Les Tourments d’Amour, the torments of love which had their origin as a packaged meal given the fishermen heading off for a day’s work at sea.

Falmouth also had other moments of history including as the place where Charles Darwin returned from his great voyage of natural discovery on the ship Beagle.

And it was the place where the first word of the success of the British against the Spanish Armada and the death of Lord Nelson was received.

It was also from this little port that one of the most daring commando raids of the second World War World War II launched. The raid on Saint-Nazaire in 1942 successfully disabled an important dry dock in German-occupied France for the duration of the war and forced Germany to send major ships needing repairs through waters closer to the United Kingdom and within range of  ships and aircraft of the Allies. The raid came at great cost, though, both in deaths and captured soldiers, and is not forgotten in Falmouth.

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Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

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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

31 May 2017:
Southampton, United Kingdom:
Going Full Circle

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

During the night we crossed La Manche (the Sleeve), which is what the French call the English Channel. More precisely, we sailed out of Honfleur and arrived this morning at Southampton in the United Kingdom.

This marks the end of this cruise, which began two weeks ago in Monte Carlo.

To guests leaving us here, bon voyage. We look forward to sailing with you again somewhere, sometime.

And to new guests, welcome aboard.

Tonight, Silver Wind departs on a new cruise, heading west then north then south then east. That works out to a near-complete circle of the British Isles.

Here’s our plan:

We are due to call at Falmouth in the southwestern tip of Cornwall in England, then to the Republic of Ireland and Cobh, Foynes, and gotta-smile-because-of-the-name port of Killybegs.

Then we cross the border to Londonderry/Derry and Belfast in Northern Ireland. A quick dart across the water brings us to Greenock in Scotland, the port for Glasgow.

And then back southward to Holyhead and Cardiff in Wales, the Dartmouth in Devon.

On Sunday, June 11 we are due to make a grand procession up the River Thames, passing through the Tower Bridge in London in the afternoon.

I hope you’ll follow along in these pages.

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Text and photos copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved.

30 May 2017:
Honfleur, France:
Hidden in Plain Sight

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Honfleur is a medieval gem, hidden in plain sight, between the major French port of Le Havre across the Seine to the east, and the D-Day beaches of Normandy to the west.

It’s a lovely place, with a certain je ne sais quoi, not at all like much of the rest of coastal France.

And so it seems no surprise that this was one of the sources of impressionism in art and a musical genius of evocative impressions.

Honfleur was the birthplace of the artist Eugène Boudin and the composer and artist Erik Satie.

And it was a favored place to visit for French painters Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet, English landscape artist William Turner, and writer and critic Charles Baudelaire.

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While much of Normandy, about 50 miles or 32 kilometers way, was pounded by the Allies in the D-Day landing or by the Germans in defending it, Honfleur survived the war relatively untouched.

During German occupation, authorities in Honfleur allowed the River Seine to silt up the harbor, making it of little military value.

What remains is of great cultural value to us now.

A RETURN TO NORMANDY

Seventy-two years ago, Southampton was one of the ports of embarkation for the invasion forces of D-Day, along with Portsmouth and other places.

Today I went again to the beaches and the villages of Normandy, something that should be mandatory for historians, politicians, and anyone else of consequence.

Among the men and boys who landed at Normandy was my father,  and I take advantage of every opportunity to visit there.

A Normandy Album

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We begin at Omaha Beach,  one of the two principal American landing sites,  then went up on the bluff to the vast cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, the final resting place of about 13,000 Americans,  two thirds of them given benefit of a gravestone with their name,  the remainder–as the notation reads–known only to God.

At Arromanches the British constructed a massive artificial harbor that allows the full push to Germany to begin.

No one with a soul can visit these places and come away unmoved.

Text and images copyright 2017 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.

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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 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

29 May 2017:
Saint-Malo, France:
Time Travel

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

This little piece of Brittany has a story of its own as well as a firm hold on pieces of European, North American, and South American history.

It’s all about location: offshore islands at the mouth of an important river.

Before the arrival of the Romans, a promontory fort had been erected at Aleth, south of the Saint-Servan district, commanding the approaches to the Rance River.

A monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan in the early sixth century included a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo or Maclou.

The settlement has a long history of setting itself apart.

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Walking through the cobblestone streets of Saint-Malo feels like time travel, little changed from the 1500s, when the explorer Jacques Cartier set out from here for the New World.

But, in full disclosure, almost everything you see has been rebuilt from the rubble of World War II.

This beautiful little place, a fortified town on what was once an island, was a German holdout after the Normandy landings to the north. Allied forces wanted to open up additional ports to bring ashore men and supplies, and Saint-Malo was one of the places chosen.

In late August and early September 1944, the historic walled city of Saint-Malo was almost totally destroyed by American shelling and bombing as well as British naval gunfire.

We anchored offshore today under gray skies and drizzle, which was displeasing to some but seemed very appropriate for the ancient (rebuilt) fortifications and cobbled streets.

I went through the walls into the Cathedral, lovingly reconstructed after World War II. To the right side of the altar, I paid a visit to the tomb of Jacques Cartier.

SAINT-MALO May 29, 2017

And outside the cathedral, a shop displayed a map of Saint-Malo and some modern furnishings, with the store windows reflecting the old city.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

On previous visits,  I went about an hour inland in Brittany to the beautiful,  mostly untouched Medieval town of Dinan on the Rance River.

We inspected the half-timbered shops and the simply elegant Saint-Saveur church.  I also made a visit to the Chateau of Dunan.

A DINAN ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

27 May 2017:
A Coruña, Spain:
Crystal City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

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.

Today, La Coruña is in the autonomous community of Galicia. The place has other versions of its name, in Galician and British English: A Coruña and Corunna respectively.

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

LA CORUŇA MAY 27, 2017

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.

SANTIAGO DEL COMPOSTELA

About an hour south is the town of Santiago de Compostela, a place of pilgrimage for Christians for centuries.

We visited the cathedral on an earlier visit, watching 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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Text and images copyright 2017 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

26 May 2017:
Oporto, Portugal:
Let Us Raise a Toast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Porto, which may not the most famous of places in Portugal, unless you have a particular affinity for a particular form of liquefied grape.

Porto 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.

Today we went for a walk through the old city of Porto (also called Oporto). Among the places we sought out: the old  Igreja do Carmo, the Carmelite Church of 1756 and the spectacular Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento, the 1896 train station which is decorated floor to ceiling with fabulous tiles telling the story of Portugal.

And we also stopped by the famous Livraria Lello Porto bookstore where J.K. Rowling, an impoverished teacher at the time, hand-wrote the first three chapters of the first book of the Harry Potter series.

PORTO MAY 26, 2017

Igreja do Carmo

Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento

Livraria Lello Porto

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

They say:

“Porto works, Braga Prays, Coimbra, studies, and Lisbon gets the money.”

A TOAST TO PORTO

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 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

25 May 2017:
Lisbon, Portugal:
A Place to Explore

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.

On this visit, we went a bit out of town to the National Palace of Queluz, which was modestly modeled after the Palace of Versailles. It was constructed in 1747 for the Portuguese Royal Family. Today it is a glimpse into a time long gone, but not forgot

PALACE OF QUELUZ, May 25, 2017

ALL PHOTOS BY COREY SANDLER, All rights reserved

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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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Text and images copyright 2017 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

24 May 2017:
Portimão, Portugal:
Blue Tiles, White Storks

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

I went for a visit back in time to the hillside town of Silves, a relatively untouched piece of Moorish culture in Portugal’s stunning Algarve region.

We were greeted first by storks,  who serve as the modern lookouts, perched atop chimneys and parapets and anywhere else they can plant a nest.

SILVES, May 24, 2017

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And then we went up the hill to see first the small Catholic cathedral, from about the year 1050,  and then behind it the Almohad Citadel, erected by the Moors in the 8th century.

The cathedral mixes  a bit of Roman columns with Moorish arches.

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MILES OF TILES

The local art scene includes some fine paintings, carvings, and architecture.

But the specialties of this part of the world have to include azulejos, blue-and-white painted tiles, dishes, and other ceramics. They’re not all blue, either.

Many older examples illustrate scenes from the bibles or the stories of saints. There are also landscapes, geometric patterns, and floral designs.

You’ll find them almost anywhere you go. In Portugal, you can find azulejos inside and outside of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even train stations.

The technique came from Spain, which learned it from the Persians in the early 15th century. The word azulejos comes from the Arabic al zulayj, meaning “polished stone”.

Portimão is a small city, about 45,000 inhabitants, located on the estuary of the Arade River.

Since pre-Roman times, Portimão has made its living from fishing.

Today it is a major center for the sardine-canning industry, and also luring its shares of tourists.

VISIONS OF PORTIMÃO

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Azulejo tiles in Portimão

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Ponta da Piedade, near Portimão

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Lagos, Portugal

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Text and images copyright 2017 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

 

23 May 2017:
Cadiz, Spain:
The Wild West

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cadiz is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the Iberian Peninsula, and possibly the oldest in all of southwestern Europe.

Think of it as a frontier town, the Wild West of Europe.

Cádiz was part of the Muslim realm of Al-Andalus, now the Spanish region of Andalusia.

Its history and culture are built on a base of Moorish or Muslim cultures, and by earlier forces: the Iberians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Roman Empire, the Vandals, and the Visigoths.

The Phoenicians built an outpost here about three thousand years ago and called it Gadir, which means walled stronghold. And for most of its existence, that was its role: a fortress and an armory.

CADIZ MAY 23, 2017

Inside the small Jesuit chapel, all but hidden by the massive Cathedral of Cadiz.

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A CADIZ ALBUM

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Roman Theater of Cadiz

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Alameda district of Cadiz

The Moors ruled between 711 and 1262, until they were finally ousted by Alphonso X of Castile. During the Age of Exploration, the city was re-energized.

Christopher Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages.

By the middle of 16th century, when the Spanish Empire ruled or traded with much of the world, Cádiz was the receiving end of the treasure train from Asia and the New World.

Spanish Galleons would pick up gold, silver, and other treasure from Mexico, South America, Japan, China, the Philippines and other parts and try to get it past the real Pirates of the Caribbean and back to Europe.

ARCOS DE LA FRONTERA ALBUM

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Text and images copyright 2017 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

 

22 May 2017:
Malaga, Spain:
Wrapped in a Mantle of Art

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The rust-colored walls of the Alcazaba, the azure waters of the Mediterranean, the dramatic flair of Spanish and Moorish architecture.

All are conducive, I suppose, to great art, and it was here that Pablo Picasso was born.

For all of these reasons and more, Málaga has wrapped itself in a mantle of art.

This small city has developed a remarkable portfolion of world-class art collections, starting with a Picasso collection and a branch of Madrid’s Carmen Thyssen museum.

More recently, the Centre Pompidou Málaga and a branch of the Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg opened.

MALAGA MAY 22, 2017

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On one visit,  I went up into the hills to visit the ancient city of Mijas, the “Balcony of the Costa del Sol.”

It was the morning after the night before, in Feria or fair season.

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A MALAGA ALBUM

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Granada, one of Spain’s most spectacular and famous cities lies just under two hours to the northeast of Málaga, at the base of Sierra Nevada mountains.

The city has been inhabited for thousands of years.

In the 8th century, the city became the capital of a province of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

The Alhambra, Arabic for “the red one”, or the red fortress, was built in the mid-14th century.

In January 1492, the last Muslim sultan in Iberia surrendered control of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella, Los Reyes Católicos (“The Catholic Monarchs.”)

By the 16th century, Granada took on a Christian and Castilian character, as immigrants came from other parts of the Iberian Peninsula.

Many of the city’s mosques, some of which had been established on the sites of former Christian churches, were converted to Christian uses.

GRANADA ALBUM

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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

21 May 2017:
Cartagena, Spain:
The Warm Coast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Cartagena is on the Costa Cálida, the Warm Coast of Spain’s Murcia region. Cartagena is one of Spain’s more historically significant places because of its superb and easily defended naval port.

But Cartagena is less-known than many other coastal cities of Spain,

In fact, its distant namesake, Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia, may be much better known.

Cartagena, Colombia grew as one of the principal Spanish fortresses to hold the treasure taken from South America, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Cartagena, Spain has long been a crossroads of civilizations and navies. It has a fine collection of early 20th century Art Nouveau buildings, intermixed with a spectacular Roman Theatre and remains of Phoenician, Byzantine and Moorish structures.

SUNDAY IN CARTAGENA

Continue reading 21 May 2017:
Cartagena, Spain:
The Warm Coast

20 May 2017:
Valencia, Spain:
Arts, Sciences, and Paella

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

València is Spain’s third largest city, after Madrid and Barcelona, which is pretty impressive company.

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

The birthplace of paella.

The deathplace of the fallas.

And the modern resurgence of an ancient settlement around the spectacular Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, the City of Arts and Sciences, completed in 2008 in the old bed of the river Turia.

It was a spectacular day, weatherwise, in this spectacular city today.

And so I chose to conduct a photo safari in which I focused on the parts rather than the whole of Valencia. Here is some of what I saw.

VALENCIA 

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Its highlights include structures by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, among them the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house and performing arts center which is topped by a swooping wave which overhangs the structure.

L’Hemisfèric, an IMAX Cinema and planetarium is the centerpiece of the project. Its eyelid is reflected in a water pool, creating the illusion of a giant eye.

El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe is an interactive museum of science that resembles the skeleton of a whale.

L’Umbracle is a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia including rockrose, lentisca, rosemary, lavender, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, and palm trees.

L’Oceanogràfic is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe. Built in the shape of a water lily, it is the work of another architect, Félix Candela.

CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

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We eat oh so well aboard ship, but that is no excuse not to indulge in local specialties when given the chance. Few places are more worthy than this region of Spain, the birthplace of paella.

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.

In many ways it brings together the Roman and Arab and indigenous flavors of the region.

In Moorish Spain, farmers improved the old Roman irrigation systems along the Mediterranean coast, leading to greater yields in rice production. And from this came casseroles of rice, meat, fish, and spices.

Paella Valenciana includes meat (usually chicken or rabbit). Paella de Marisco, with fish or seafood, or even Paella Mixta, with meat and fish. Not with sausage, ham, or meat broth; those are for tourists.

Paella is typically eaten at midday, so many restaurants do not serve it at dinner, which in Spain can be deep into the night. In its classical version, paella is cooked over a wood fire. Not gas. And if you see a microwave in the kitchen, run away.

MERCAT CENTRAL

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Text and images copyright 2017 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

19 May 2017:
Barcelona, Spain:
Rambling

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

As far as I am concerned, there are two types of travelers: those who love Barcelona, and those who have not yet experienced its many charms.

We come to Barcelona six or eight times a year in this job. Tough work, but someone has to do it.

The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas, or the Promenade. It is actually a series of linked streets, each one of them a rambla mostly dedicated to a particular set of markets: flowers, art, pets.

Few cities are more imbued with the artistic vision of one man than is Barcelona. The visions, all of them beautiful and some of them a bit strange, were those of Antoni Gaudi, one of the masters of the Modernist or Art Nouveau style.

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

Gaudi designed it to have 18 towers: 12 for the apostles, 4 for the evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus.

Gaudí died in 1926, and they’re still working on the basilica, with plans to complete in in 2026, the centenary of his 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 cathederal to be built, and it is amazing scene to watch the work underway.

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BARCELONA TODAY

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GAUDI IN BARCELONA

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The waterfront at the base of the city, near the place where much of Spain’s great fleet of exploration was built and where Columbus returned from his first voyage, has been restored and improved.

Maremagnum, a sprawling shopping, dining, and entertainment complex has pride of place. Literally translated from the Latin it means the “great sea.” But as a Spanish idiom, it means an abundance or an overabundance or a confusion born of excess.

Much like Barcelona itself.

MAREMAGNUM

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If somehow you’ve seen everything you want to see in Barcelona, here are two great out-of-town trips: the Montserrat Monastery, about 30 minutes by car, bus, or train and a world away, and Girona, a mini-version of Barcelona with a river running through it.

MONTSERRAT

Text and images copyright 2017 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

18 May 2017:
Bandol, France:
La Ville Tranquille

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Bandol is a commune in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France.

It is a lovely but less-known part of the French Riviera, between Toulon and Marseille.

Bandol features a sheltered bay cradled by hills and protected from the wind.

They call it the “ville tranquille”, the tranquil village.

The sheltering hills help block the Mistral, a strong wind coming from the Rhone Valley that can reach near gale force or higher for 115 days per year not far away in Sanary-sur-Mer.

The south-facing sheltering hills around Bandol have another benefit, providing excellent conditions for the growing of grapes. There is evidence of vineyards in the area going back to about 600 B.C.

There are five appellations in the region, and Bandol is known for its white and rosé wines produced on the coast, and stronger-bodied red wines on the inland terraces.

The soil and the warm, coastal climate are ideally suited for the late ripening Mourvèdre grape.

We sampled some for you. Santé!

A CASTELLET ALBUM

On this visit I went with a group of guests up and over the seafront hills to the pretty perched village of Castellet.

It was early enough in the season that this old town was not yet over run with invaders taking selfies.

Photos copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler

Text and images copyright 2017 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.

Hudson Book Cover

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

17 May 2017:
Monte Carlo, Monaco:
Down and Around from the Med to Southampton

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard Silver Wind.

We’re sailing out in the middle of the night, escaping the buzz and the glitz of Monte Carlo for the laidback French port of Bandol in Provence.

Our course will take us down and around, from Monte Carlo to Bandol, and then across the bottom of Spain. After passing through the Strait of Gilbraltar, we’ll head north to Portugal and then past Normandy and the mouth of the Seine at Honfleur.

The cruise will conclude with a crossing of the English Channel to Southampton.

I’ll be posting photos and stories here throughout the cruise. Here’s our plan:

I hope you’ll join me here.

Text and images copyright 2017 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.

Hudson Book Cover

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

 

16 Jan 2017:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA:
Circling Back

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Back in the U.S.A., and headed home to rinse the sand from our toes.

We wish guests safe travels, and  look forward to seeing them again somewhere on this wondrous, aqueous sphere.

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We’ll be back in May on Silver Wind for a peripatetic tour: the Mediterranean, a circle of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and then a jaunt up the west coast of Norway. We will twice sail up the River Thames and through the Tower Bridge, a feat that only a few cruise ships are able to accomplish. I hope you’ll join me here.

Text and images copyright 2017 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.

Hudson Book Cover

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

 

13 Jan 2017
Samaná, Dominican Republic:
Gimme Shelter

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our original plan had been to visit the tony resort complex of Punta Cana in the far east corner of the Dominican Republic.

Alas, the seas were not in our favor for use of the ship’s tenders and our captain decided against anchoring offshore. Instead, we called at the tourist enclave of Samaná, considerably more sheltered in its fine bay.

A bit off the tourist path is St. Peter’s Evangelical Church.

This church was brought from America in the early 19th century by freed and escaped slaves who were invited to resettle on Hispaniola by the government which was the first in the new world to throw off their slave holders.  There was also aid by American abolitionists who sought a place to resettle African slaves.

About 6,000 came to Hispaniola;  most did not stay,  but a community of descendants live in and around Samaná.

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Los Haitises National Park is on the southern side of Samaná Bay, about 15 kilometers or 10 miles from Samana. This is a protected virgin forest, accessible primarily by boat from Samaná, with little road access.

Haitis means highland or mountain range in the Taino language, although the hills aren’t that tall: about 20 to 40 meters or 100 to 130 feet.

There are many sea caverns along the coast, some with ancient pictographs and petroglyphs. The area was formed in the Miocene epoch, about 23 to 5 million years ago.

Included within the park is San Lorenzo Bay with numerous islets and mangroves.

The Cayo de los Pájaros, or Bird Key, is populated by frigate birds and pelicans. It is located near the enticingly named Boca del Infierno, or Mouth of Hell.

And the spectacular waterfall, El Limon, was used for the opening scenes of the original Jurassic Park movie.

images copyright 2017 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.

Hudson Book Cover

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

12 Jan 2017:
Road Town, Tortola:
An Independent Path

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, which sounds very impressive,

Except that none of the islands are very large or have all that many people.

Pity, since they are very nice places.

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The islands—in total—have a population of about 28,000. Of that number, about 23,000 live on Tortola, many near the capital city of Road Town, which is where we are scheduled to dock.

The principal islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost van Dyke.

Although the Spanish Empire claimed the islands, they never settled them: they found no gold. On nearby Virgin Gorda there is a small deposit of copper, and British entrepreneurs later imported miners and technology from Cornwall.

In subsequent years, English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Danish powers scuffled over control of the region, but the predominant power for much of the time were pirates including Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.

In the late 16th century, the English, who had successfully displaced the Dutch, established a sugar cane plantation colony on Tortola and the surrounding islands.

Wherever there was sugar cane, there were slaves because the industry was very labor-intensive.

In the late eighteenth century, new settlers arrived: Loyalists from the Thirteen Colonies after the American Revolutionary War who were given land grants by the Crown to encourage development. They brought their African-American slaves with them, outnumbering the British colonists.

English is universally spoken throughout the British Virgin Islands, along with some local dialects and creole.

British Virgin Islanders are classed as British Overseas Territories citizens, and since 2002 have had full British citizenship.

Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, its citizens are deemed to be citizens of the EU as well. Just to make things confusing—or easier, if you prefer—the official currency of BVI is the U.S. dollar.

Text and images copyright 2017 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.

Hudson Book Cover

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