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Archive for the ‘Mediterranean’ Category

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alachance/3231163757/in/set-72157612241800357/© 2008, Andy Lachance, all rights reserved

Infinite riches in a little room. Would you like to see more?

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BlueMosque

© Andy Lachance, all rights reserved

If you think this is good, you should really see it in four dimensions.

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“Imperium sine fine”, they termed their empire: “dominion without limit.” Well, the Goths, Huns, Vandals and Moors had something to say about that. But Philip Parker’s new book, The Empire Stops Here, has a most intriguing concept:

to travel the entire length of what the Romans themselves termed the “limes”, the frontier zone of their empire. As The Guardian reviews it, the result was a journey epic enough to satisfy even a Virgil. As Parker sums it up, with justifiable pride, “I have encountered more than five centuries of Roman history, in some 21 modern countries, covering a range of climactic variations from a snowstorm in Switzerland to a sandstorm at 45 Centigrade in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis, and have covered more than 20,000 kilometres on the ground.”Yet his book is far from being a conventional travelogue. Once the introduction is done, the first person barely intrudes. Neither a work of history, nor a scholarly gazetteer, nor a guide, but rather a blend of all three, The Empire Stops Here is a book in which weather-beaten masonry serves to crowd out human beings, and in which the people who most truly come alive are those who have been dead for 2,000-odd years.

Read more from The Guardian here.

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morocco_1_02

“It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in  Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and  tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease  spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

At this early hour, I’m unable to find complete video of this historic address, but you can read the complete transcript at the superb cultural website 3QuarksDaily.com. For many years, Travel Dynamics International has operated elegant cruises to Spain and the northern coast of Africa under the precise principle outlined in Obama’s words above; if you’re interested, please take a look at our 2010 journey to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.

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casa-milaFrom William Powers in The Washington Post:

“One look at Mila was enough to surface deep wells of ambivalence. I have, it seems, a love-hate relationship with Gaudí. Despite how touristy the place was, I couldn’t help admiring how he ingeniously weaves nature’s curves and angles into his designs. Nobody but Gaudí would have thought to give a building’s rigid verticals a subtle lilt by mimicking the way people stand upright. I stood there adoring the Mila’s cacophonous balconies and the way the entire building waved and rolled around the corner, as if a Mediterranean tsunami were flooding the city.”

Read more on Gaudí’s radical Barcelonan architecture here. Join Travel Dynamics International in Barcelona on our gorgeous, wide-ranging “Historic Cities of the Sea” cruise, aboard the “gold standard of expedition cruising,” the 114-guest Corinthian II, from April 22-May 6, 2010. BOOK NOW FOR SAVINGS OF $3000 PER PERSON!

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alhambraThe Guardian reports:

One of Spain‘s most enduring historical mysteries is close to being solved as experts decipher and translate more than 10,000 Arabic inscriptions adorning the walls of the Alhambra palace in Granada.

The intricate Arabic inscriptions carved into the ceilings, columns and walls inside the imposing hill-top fortress have long fascinated visitors. They contain everything from snatches of poetry and verses from the Qur’an to clever aphorisms, pious wishes and boastful slogans.

There are so many of them, however…<Read more>

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corinthian-iiCruisecritic.com has published a review of a recent Travel Dynamics International cruise taken by user pisque, who joined us for a journey from Rome to Istanbul aboard the Corinthian II.

Here are some excerpts:

Travel Dynamics International has it all together. This is small-ship cruising designed for a full intellectual barrage. No casino and night club fru-fru….just a great immersion into the world of ancient artifacts and thought.

We heard about this trip via an opera association. It had all the places we wanted to see, a full lecture format, and we wanted to try a smaller vessel….we were amply rewarded…

Fellow passengers were fascinating. Some were experts in Greco-Roman history, others ran the gamut from financial tycoons to physicists…

Local excursions were terrific, with local guides at each port, commodious buses, with two lunches at local places included, with one in Sicily being exceptional, and another in Santorini being adequate.

The staff put together a dinner by candlelight in Ephesus, with local cuisine equal to the ships great dinning room, together with a string ensemble providing music…This was a night to remember.

Disembarkation and transfers were handled with aplomb. We opted for a two night extension in Istanbul. The Hotel was luxurious, and again the tour buses and guide were outstanding.

I would not hesitate to book a cruise with this company in the future.

Read the full review here.

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