Category Archives: travel

No Place Like Toledo, Spain

There is no place like it in all the world. Look at El Greco’s unforgettable painting first. Then this photograph: The whole city is a sort of natural castle with a moat, the Tagus River, in a deep gorge around … Continue reading

Posted in 1, art, books, El Cid, Romans, Spain, Toledo, travel, warfare | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Your Time to Be a Hero 3

Each of the generals spoke to the assembly of soldiers. One after another they exhorted the men to be brave in this terrible hour. Xenophon showed up in his finest outfit, all decked out for battle. “I figured that if … Continue reading

Posted in 1, Greek, history, travel, war | 4 Comments

The Emperor Meets His Natural Son II

The boy, dressed in black, walked in quietly, with an even pace, and went straight toward the Emperor without raising his eyes, as he had been taught. He knelt at the Emperor’s chair and kissed his hand. “Sire.” “Stand up, … Continue reading

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El Escorial

When Philip II was king of Spain the money was rolling in. You should have seen all the ships in the harbor of Seville, waiting in line, bumping each other, impatient to unload their gold and silver and hurry back … Continue reading

Posted in 1, history, Spain, travel | 7 Comments

Roman Ships

Roman ships had no rudder. The rudder was a medieval invention. Before that, all the ships were steered with two oars dragging at the back of the ship—one on the starboard and the other on the port side. Medium sized … Continue reading

Posted in 1, history, old ships, Romans, travel, war, warfare | 22 Comments

Pliny: A Man Who Didn’t Waste Time

Pliny (called “the Elder”) used to get up at twelve and work the rest of the night. No time to lose sleeping. Then just before sun-up he got dressed and went out. The streets of Rome were already busy. Everyone … Continue reading

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Where Great Westerns Were Filmed

Drive a few miles north of Almería in Spain and things start to look oddly familiar, even if you come from Cleveland or Glascow. Photo by Domingo Leiva in El País This is the Tabernas Desert. But where could you … Continue reading

Posted in art, history, Spain, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments