Monday, August 10, 2009

around the world around the worrrld

Globalization 101
Originally uploaded by millinerd
At the request of some who wondered what I was up to this summer, and don't feel like flipping through thousands of photographs (literally: I've passed the 10,000 mark on flickr) here's a tally of summer travels, linked to the best pics. My purpose? Collecting dissertation data, which I was in fact able to do in abundance. First, however, was a stop off at the strange sights of the Thessaloniki Biennale, which may merit a future write up. Then two weeks was at the Mount Menoikeion seminar. I think my best shots were here and here (don't forget to click "all sizes" and see the big versions). It rained a lot in northern Greece this summer. A lot. Towards the end of our seminar we had a glorious trip to Mount Athos by boat. I tried some stuff on the camera and communicated, I hope, the mystical green haze. I felt this one was sort of Sinaish. A Byzantine hand appeared in one shot, as did a lady in red just in time to punctuate a photo, and in one pic a dolphin merged with a seagull, and the peak said hello just as we ferried away.

Then the research flurry began.

Day 1 (July 2) Voreia to see the Kalliergis frescoes.
Day 2 (July 3) Meteora. Meteora was Roger Moore's last kill. Thanks in part to the film For Your Eyes Only, the place is quite overrun. And lest an evangelical convert to Orthodoxy think they've escaped Thomas Kinkade, think again. But the hospitality displayed in the convents, I should admit, won me over in the end.
Day 3 (July 4) Meteora to Thermopylae (not that impressive) to Delphi for dinner.
Day 4 (July 5) Delphi to Olympia (written about here) to Kardamyli, where I tried not to speculate about vacationing mafiosi.
Day 5 (July 6) Kardamyli. T'was my birthday so I slowed down a bit and wrote this.
Day 6 (July 7) Mani, the hotbed of Greek independence which I didn't even begin to uncover; Mistra, the Romantic end of Byzantium which did not disappoint; and Monemvasia, where I stayed on the rock in a hotel that was once the home of one famous image, and now boasted international cable with over 1700 channels. Odd. The dinner setting was, to say the least, a pleasant one. The barbounia (red mullets) even more so. It has taken me too long to discover that dining is the consummation of travel.
Day 7 (July 8) Monemvasia to Nafplion, where I foolishly neglected to bring my camera for magnificent a sunset stroll.
Day 8 (July 9) Mega-day: Nafplion fortress (quite a view), Epidavrios (the acoustics are indeed baffling), four Byzantine churches, Mycenae, Acro-Corinth (where the view enables Greece to make visual sense), Corinth beautiful Corinth, then a quick look at the long-closed Daphni monastery on the way to Athens. I'm tired just remembering the day.
Day 9 (July 10) Overnight in Athens. Checked out the impressive new Acropolis Museum, one giant "Give 'em back!" A prediction: The Elgin marbles will end up there eventually.

After this I met Denise in England where we stayed with my sister-in-law Susie in the wonderful Peak district, specifically Buxton. Susie's performance was superb, and among other things we saw were Chatsworth (set of The Duchess) with its marvelous interior and shocking marbles, Haddon Hall (set of the Princess Bride) with its gardens and recovered frescoes. Among many other pubs and churches, my favorite of all was perfect Cheadle, which Pugin called "my consolation in all my afflictions." It's all in the detailing. But the more down-to-earth Methodists, remember, have a place in Cheadle too.

This odd travel combo culminated in a quick trip through Massachusetts (I'm in trouble for not getting in touch with MA area friends, but a conference ensured little free time). I tried to express the fittingness of this Boston culmination here. Icons, strangely, have their place in New England as well, specifically at the packed and passionately docented Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA. But don't even get me started on Ralph Adams Cram's tomb and private chapel - that's another post.