Category Archives: Culture

Travel & Photography: ‘Greek Islands’ (May 2022)

An endless expanse of shimmering waters paired with unmatched Greek hospitality awaits visitors to the islands of the Aegean Sea. Each island is home to a unique spirit and mythology.

From Patmos (a favorite of Aga Khan) to Hydra (which captivated Henry Miller, Leonard Cohen and Sophia Loren), the islands are imbued with a seductive sense of history, tradition and adventure. 

 Several films over the decades have been filmed on them, including Boy on a Dolphin (1957) on Hydra, The Big Blue (1988) on Amorgos and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) on Santorini.

Sources of inspiration for millennia, the ancient ruins, cliffside monasteries and volcanic rims are all can’t-miss sights. Venturing on an Odyssey of their own, the author and the photographer boarded a traditional Greek sailboat and set out to capture the calming atmosphere, quintessential characters and breathtaking architecture of these gems of the Aegean. A spectacular journey re-created in the pages of Greek Islands.

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Cinematic Travel: Colors And Cultures Of India

Located in South Asia, India sits on a peninsula that extends between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The country, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, is the world’s second most-populous nation after China.

For many years of its long history, India faced incursions from the north by Turks, Arabs, Persians and others. By the 19th century, Great Britain became the dominant power on the subcontinent. After years of nonviolent struggle against British rule, India gained its independence in 1947.

Rainforests Of Africa: The Protectors Of Gabon

Gabon’s soul lies hidden beneath a thick green mantle, the source of most of the Gabonese traditions, medicines, spirituality, and resources. A precious heritage that a small number of men and women protect.

We meet Kombo, a Babongo hunter, and Juste, who is in touch with the forest spirits. In human cultures in general, and perhaps particularly in Africa, the landscape is the first shrine of tradition.

From the sand dunes of Mauritania to the currents of River Senegal, to the Lions of the Beninese savannah to the spirits of the forests of Gabon, this series explores the origin, the nature and the survival of deep links between several populations in West Africa and their habitat.

Travels: History Of The Orient Express & Istanbul

Gavin Stamp retraces the route of the old Orient Express, from London, via Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, to Istanbul, in search of the treasures of ‘Old Europe’. Stamp’s adventures on and off the train are punctuated by his candid, entertaining reflections on life, the world, and the strange and wonderful people he meets.

Celebrity Culture: History Of The Côte d’Azur, France

The Côte d’Azur stands for glamour and luxury, for film festivals and stars, for yachts and villas. The most famous personalities of the last century met here. The Côte owes its unique mythos to their loves and passions.

The Côte d’Azur boasts a breathtakingly gorgeous landscape. But its mythos is more than the sum of it beautiful parts. The whole world associates the narrow coastal strip on the French Mediterranean coast with sun, stars and scandals. In Saint Tropez, a former fishing town, a new and newly sensual art of living was popularized thanks to the young Brigitte Bardot.

On the eastern part of the coast, Oscar winner Grace Kelly conquered the principality of Monaco with her marriage to Prince Rainier. The matchmaker? The Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, who wanted to burnish the dwarf state’s image. One of the most glamorous film festivals in the world was established in Cannes. After that, it seemed everyone came to the Côte. At the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, the paths of the famous crossed again and again.

For 150 years the hotel has been home to artists, queens and kings, divas and stars. Since 1969, the hotel has been owned by the German industrialist family Oetker. Maja Oetker describes her personal memories of the past 50 years. To this day, the Côte d’Azur has lost none of its appeal. It is more than just a place: it is an entire mythos.

Travel & Culture: Desert Peoples Of Mauritania (HD)

Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a sovereign state in Northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest.

In human cultures in general, and perhaps particularly in Africa, the landscape is the first shrine of tradition. From the sand dunes of Mauritania to the currents of River Senegal, to the Lions of the Beninese savannah to the spirits of the forests of Gabon, this series explores the origin, the nature and the survival of deep links between several populations in West Africa and their habitat.

Each episode takes us to discover an emblematic landscape: the river (Senegal), the desert (Mauritania), the forest (Gabon) and the savannah (Benin). A compass of escape and meeting which rests on two main pillars: the spectacular character of the places, often classified with the UNESCO world heritage, and the charisma of the main characters who are transmitters of their respective traditions.

Travel: The Top Ten Places To Visit In Bangladesh

Bangladesh, which means the land of the Bengals, is one of the most populated countries in the world with an estimated 170 million people. In the past, Buddhists ruled for centuries, but by the 10th century, Bengal was primarily Hindu.

In 1576, Bengal became part of the Mogul Empire, and the majority of East Bengalis converted to Islam. Bengal was ruled by British India from 1757 until Britain withdrew in 1947. At this time, the province of Bengal was partitioned into East Bengal and West Bengal.

In 1971, Bangladesh fought Pakistan for independence and became the independent country Bangladesh that it is today. The country is home to the world’s largest river delta, and the longest natural uninterrupted sea beach in Asia, which is 120 km long. The villages appear to be buried in groves of mango, jackfruit, bamboo, betel nut, coconut, and date palm. However, only a small portion of the country’s land surface is covered with forests.

The most significant feature of the Bangladesh landscape is provided by the rivers. None of the major rivers of Bangladesh originates within the country’s territory. Thus, Bangladesh lacks full control over the flow of any of the streams that irrigate it. In addition, there are many severe storms during the rainy season. Each year between June and October, the rivers overflow their banks and inundate the countryside.

The inundations are both a blessing and a disaster. Without them, the fertile silt deposits would not be replenished, but severe floods regularly damage crops and sometimes take a heavy toll on human and animal populations. The typical household in Bangladesh, particularly in the villages, includes several generations of extended family. Most marriages are arranged by parents or other relatives, but increasing numbers of educated men and women choose their own partners.

The best time to discover Bangladesh is from October to March. The easiest and cheapest way to get around is by rickshaw. The rickshaws in Bangladesh are unique and colorful. Bangladesh is covered by more than 700 rivers, producing a deliciously lush landscape with more shades of green than you ever imagined. Traveling by boat is a way of life here, and provides a fabulous opportunity to see the country from a more unusual angle. As an un-touristed destination, Bangladesh also lacks much infrastructure, and traveling around can be hard work. So don’t try to pack too much into your itinerary. It’s a place to relax, meet people and discover new ideas and ways of life.

Views: Stone Sculptors Keep Craft Alive In Egypt

For over sixty years, Sayed Al-Mataany has been using thousand-year-old, Ancient Egyptian methods to carve hieroglyphs into vases and sculptures — but major blows to Egypt’s tourism industry have caused a steady decline in the number of tourists coming to Luxor to buy his ornaments. We went to Luxor in Egypt to see how his business is still standing. Sayed does not have a website. He sells his work locally in Luxor.

New English Travel Books: ‘Deepest Somerset’ (2022)

Deepest Somerset off the presses

THE third book in our series, Deepest Somerset, is on its way to you.  It was printed at Blackmore in Shaftesbury on the last weekend in August, and is now at the bindery, where the cover, again featuring a wood engraving by Howard Phipps, will be joined to the pages.

Food: Sourcing Local Fish In Southwest England

The war in Ukraine has hit the supply of grains and vegetable oils, while around 70% of the world’s cod and haddock comes from Russian boats. Global food prices are soaring and some restaurateurs fear a plate of cod and chips could rise to £20. The FT’s Daniel Garrahan and food writer and restaurateur Tim Hayward travel to England’s south west coast to see how two restaurants which source local, sustainable fish are coping with inflationary pressures.

Filmed by Petros Gioumpasis and Richard Topping. Edited by Richard Topping. Produced by Daniel Garrahan and Tim Hayward.