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Travel


Exploring the unexplored

A GREEK FOR THE CONQUEST PERU

His name was Pedro de Candia and I discovered his existence in a fascinating book “The Royal Commentaries of Peru” written by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, which my friend Samantha introduced to me. The author is the son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca Princess. He therefore knows both the Spanish and Inca…

Palace of Strelna

Saint Petersburg, Russia This palace was built for Peter the Great by architect Le Blond. Its park stretched from its terraces to the Baltic. It was passed down to numerous members of the Imperial Family before belonging to my great-grandfather, the Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, and then to his son, Konstantin Konstantinovich. I absolutely wanted…

caricyno-moskva-Russie-Prince-Michael_Of Greece_Chronicle

TSARITSYNO PARK

It was just given back to the public recently, but Aimone, my son-in-law, had long known it as a Romanesque ruin through which he enjoyed taking strolls, as the palace is surrounded by a sumptuous park with water features, an island and a dock marked by marble sphinxes. In fact, the tsarina Catherine II the…

Pont_d'Iéna_Bridge-Paris Bridge

Louis XVIII and Jena Bridge

Louis XVIII had a feel for France whatever regime it was ruled by. In the Paris occupied by the forces of the coalition, the place names, the avenues, and the bridges served as a constant reminder to the occupying forces of their defeats. L’Avenue d’Austerlitz, l’Avenue de Wagram, and above all the Jena Bridge, reminded…

Fechin Mabel Dodge Luhan

THE GHOST OF TAOS

Mabel Dodge was the wealthy wife of the automobile manufacturer of the same name. In the 1930s, she had an extraordinary villa built in New Mexico on the High Plateaux in the city of Taos. This paradise attracted a great many eccentric artists and characters. Mabel Dodge received all who thought and created, notably D….

ANTIKYTHERA

Having woken at one o’clock in the morning, we speed off in a Jeep to Diakofti. The ferry from Athens arrives shortly afterwards. We step on board and meet Fivos’ father, Aris Tsaravopoulos, the archaeologist, and my old friend Adonis, an erudite amateur archaeologist. We settle down in a vast, almost deserted lounge area and…

Naples : The Hospice for the Poor

In 18th century Naples, the largest building was not the Royal Palace, as many would expect, but rather the Albergo dei Poveri, the Hospice for the Poor. It’s a great compliment to the royal family that financed the building, and King Charles III in particular, who came up with the idea. Yet the construction of…

Requiem for a Marvel

Extract from my diary, Palmyra, February 10, 2002. The ruins were charming last night, illuminated by the distant street lamps, but this morning they were beyond compare. I left at seven thirty, it was already broad daylight, and there I saw one of the most beautiful sights in my entire life. The columns of the…

The Cathars

Two centuries after the death of Christ, Mani, an exceptional magus and prophet, rose to prominence in Persia. He mixed the religion on his country, Zoroastrianism, with a fiery interpretation of Christianity. Mani himself would not end well, as the shah eventually had him executed, yet his followers would multiply. These faithful soon emigrated, reappearing in Asia Minor in…

Göbekli Tepe

Professor Klaus Schmidt was one of the most distinguished German archeologists to have worked on Turkish sites. One day he was informed that at Göbekli Tepe, not far from Urfa in southern Turkey, a gang of laborers had uncovered a large monolith. They were making preparations to destroy it so they could continue their work and not…