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Showing posts from February, 2014

Hash Assassins in Alamut, Iran

The Crusaders might have had a more difficult time getting here and the bus is surely faster than Freya Starke's donkey, but the windy trip into the ancient realm of the mythical Hashshashin is still a modern day adventure. Deep in the Alborz mountains an 11th-century sect hounded the invading Crusaders with fierce warriors stoned out of their minds on hash who descended out of impregnable mountaintop fortresses. Their ferocity gave birth to the word ""assassin"and this valley was their home. Today's residents however are far more welcoming (and sober!) though the inaccessibility of the now ruined fortresses still holds true for all but the most intrepid hiker but the stunning views make the effort worthwhile.

#adventure #hiking #history #mountains #camping #views #getaway #castles #fortress #adventuretravel #remote #11thcentury #warriors #crusade #crusades #fortresses #freyastarke #assassin

Originally published in Trazzler

Saint Who?

Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

I’ve come to know a fair number of saints, both dead and alive, since I moved out here to one of the last stops before you start hearing Portuguese and yet I’m always surprised when there is yet one more to discover and then puzzle at its English translation (try both major and minor St. Jameses on for size).
In fact, these holy men and women have become such a part of my day to day life that I now feel totally comfortable being on a first name basis with them. Just the other day I strolled through Santa Maria on my way to meet someone in San Juan, who lives down in San Blas, in order to talk about what we were going to do on our day off, which was of course thanks to Santo Tomas de Aquino. I never forget my youngest daughter’s birthday because it happened on San Jorge and when I cross San Francisco, he no longer takes…

OK, the farmers are happy...

Rather than doing a 'please stop raining' dance, I've decided to look at old pictures and try to remember what summer once looked like.

Where better to start than the Greek Isles?

About a day's sail out of Rhodes or maybe more, days melted into each other like ouzo, ice and water. Turkey was always somewhere on the horizon and the sky as clear and blue as the empty sea below it. Morning coffee came after tumbling into the already warm water. Sunburnt bald islands like scrubby blots above the waves until the colors of the towns came into view and called us into port.

Name that village?