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Travel


Exploring the unexplored

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…

Moscow, 2014

No country gives me the impression of being an empire quite like Russia does. Moscow, where I recently traveled for the first time in many years, is the capital of an immense and powerful empire, the vital center of which is the Kremlin, as it has been for centuries. I had imagined that after the…


Cyprus

Cyprus is cruelly divided between the Greek half in the south and the Turkish half in the north. Despite being built up, with villages, houses and hotels lining the coasts, the island maintains its charm and authenticity. Cypriots are Greek, and speak Greek, however Cyprus, with its sumptuous, essentially Mediterranean nature, is very different from…

Morocco

Morocco, the country of my youth. I lived there with my maternal family during World War II. I returned frequently over the years until the death of my much beloved grandmother, who lived in the small city of Larache, in the north of the country. A few years ago, I traveled to the south of Morocco,…

Peloponnesus, 2014

The European winter: cold, rainy, and foggy. During February, the most difficult month of this season, the Peloponnesus proved to be full of sunlight, wildflowers, budding almond trees, and surrounded by a sea of deep blue. It is the most inviting and charming time to visit the marvels that dot the Peloponnesus; in 2014, I brought…