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Showing posts from February, 2015

Cuatro Gatos y Un Burro...or the tale of Four Stray Cats and a Lonely Donkey

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.

A few years ago, shortly before the outbreak of the neverending civil war, I found myself in northern Syria tracing the footsteps of the sixth century monk and embryonic travel writer, John Moschus. In his book, Spiritual Meadow, he had recounted his travels through Byzantium and I was looking for any remaining trace of his trail more than 1400 years later. Back in Juan’s day, the stylish Stylites were in fashion and the monastery where Buñuel’s Saint Simeon once predicated from his pillar is just a short trip away from Aleppo. The ruins are quite impressive but what struck me most about the visit wasn’t the monastery itself, but the abandoned villages that dot the surrounding countryside between it and the border with Turkey. Entire villages of Byzantine-era stone houses that reminded me of Alcuescar's Santa Lucia…

The Beginning of a Quest, His and Mine

For many this was the end of the line, a place at the end of Africa to get lost in purple hazes and naked lunches. But long before Burroughs and Hendrix added their hipness, a local boy took the Tangerine brand far beyond the Levant. A medieval gap-year wanderer who saw it as a beginning rather than an end,  Ibn Battutah set off in 1325 from this white speck beyond Hercules' pillars on a pilgrimage that turned into a 25-year, 75,000-mile odyssey...all before coming home to dictate his tale. Get lost in the warren of the medina looking for this ultimate traveler-turned-saint's tomb, and pick up a bit of traveler's karma before setting out on your own journey. Or just try armchair travel by leafing through his Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling.

#architecture #history #coast #hippies #medieval #muslim #pilgrimage #maze #cemetery #islam #tomb #saint #explorer #medina #exploring #moors #beats #memorial #traveler #14thcentury #grav…