"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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What faithfully happens, as summer turns to autumn in Tuscany, is that people come down with a pernicious fever - let’s call it ‘acute funghiosis’ - which causes a delirious devotion to truffles. Truffles are discussed with the same intensity and fervor usually reserved for Plato. They are hunted, worshipped, prized, prepared and savoured -- after which, the experience of hunting, worshipping, prizing, preparing and savoring is again examined with near-religious ecstasy. This epidemic grips the palate of anyone who eats, and can be cured foremost with a generous serving of taglierini alla tartufo.
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If you visit my city, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, you are sure to spend some time in one of Vancouver’s unique tourist attractions, Stanley Park. The park became the favorite haunt of an Indian princess/poet, Pauline Johnson, the first Native Indian to be published in Canada. Her book “The White Wampum” gained her high literary standing.
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I was back on the train to Belfast after decades, the new stock state-of-the-art shiny, clean, comfortable, smooth and fast. Back in the 1980s the train to Belfast shuddered and creaked its way to the city. The seats were blighted with cigarette holes and knife slits, the floors covered in litter, the walls plastered with graffiti.
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I’ll admit to not recognizing the structure of a giant penis on a commercial building at first, thinking it was some elaborate design that I just didn’t get. Initially, I was somewhat taken aback by the penile projectile, but then I began to contemplate why decorated penises adorned many buildings and homes.
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Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, with skillful carvings adorning every block in the place. However, my most memorable moments spent in Siem Reap did not happen in Angkor Wat but in the sights that surround it.
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My first thought upon observing the houses of the Spanish city of Cuenca, was that I wouldn’t want to be a sleep walker if I lived in one of them. Due to limited space, the former inhabitants of the old city built their houses close to the edge, on a rocky mountaintop. Over the centuries, the relentless wind eroded the lime stone cliffs leaving some houses clinging precariously to the edge.
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During one summer, I took a holiday in the seaside town of Paignton, one of three towns in Torbay alongside Brixham and Torquay. It is part of a supposed English Riviera that has miles of sandy beaches, and some great coastal landscapes. Aside from soaking up the sun on Paignton's beaches, soak up the history at Torbay's museums, steam railway, Oldway Mansion and Berry Head.
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At first sight, it looks as one of provinces of India. Same clothing, Indian faces, smell of curry... Yet each of them contains something unique, and one soon realizes it is a different country. Welcome to Nepal! Having landed on Nepalese soil, we understood we were in a very different world.
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Sunshine and colourful buildings invited me out. Quiet empty streets made me feel at home. I knew the sun was there because I’d seen it rising over Stockholm’s highest buildings as my overnight bus from Norway arrived. I knew the classic pastel-coloured architecture from photos, and had seen some bright sparks of paint when arriving.
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As the plane was beginning its descent, I couldn't help but notice how small the islands were, even as they were getting bigger as we were getting closer. The islands of Bermuda actually comprise one of the smallest territories in the world. We were greeted by a Calypso band of seven musicians that immediately got us into the tropical island mood.
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Krakow’s Rynek Glowny is the pulse of the city. A self-appointed citizen who calls himself, Pawl Jan (Paul John), appears on the scene in his Magyar/Tartar uniform. His heavy fur hat and gold-buttoned red velvet vest (plus matching culottes) are topped off by a long fur coat. A three-foot long curved sword along with a pistol accessorizes his outfit. Naturally a flowing moustache is in place.
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I am not too far from the truth – I am at Mirjan fort, near Gokarna. The fort, built first in the 12th century and extended in the 16th century, has a long and glorious history. It was the seat of Rani Chennabhairadevi, ruling under the aegis of the Vijayanagar Empire. She was better known as the Pepper Queen, or Raina da Pimenta, as she controlled the spice trade in the area.
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Hanoi is a contrast of old and new with some intriguing contradictions. The National Museum is housed in an old colonial building. The 900 year old Temple of Literature was a center of Confucian learning and thought. The French-era Opera House is beautifully appointed ... and located opposite the Hanoi stock exchange in a square that includes a Gucci store and the Hanoi Hilton.
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TRAVEL THRU HISTORY is a unique travel 'zine dedicated to exploring historical and cultural experiences. If you have toured the wonders of Egypt, trekked through Berber villages in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, explored the ancient ruins of Greece or the Mayan pyramids in Mexico, and immersed yourself in another culture, we'd like to hear from you. This is a site for writers to share their travel experiences in a creative, literary way through travel articles, essays, journals and creative non-fiction memoirs.
We publish stories featuring the historical, archaeological, and cultural aspects of a destination. We also accept stories about literary journeys, visits to the haunts of famous writers and artists, unique museums and art galleries. Explore the exciting and diverse world of other cultures, and take us on exotic adventures.
Readers will be taken on fresh, often overlooked experiences and adventures that will provide a valuable insights into the past as well as the lifestyles of other cultures.
To send a story or query a story idea, please read the writer's guidelines in the Submissions section and review previously published articles.
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This site was last updated on
March 19th, 2014.