"When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!" Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright, born in Alcalá de Henares and died in Madrid on April 23, 1616. His novel Don Quixote is often considered his magnum opus, as well as the first modern novel.
In 1569, Cervantes moved to Italy, where he served as a valet to Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who was elevated to cardinal the next year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. He was then released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.
In Esquivias (Province of Toledo), on 12 December 1584, he married the much younger Catalina de Salazar y Palacios, daughter of Fernando de Salazar y Vozmediano and Catalina de Palacios. Her uncle Alonso de Quesada y Salazar is said to have inspired the character of Don Quixote. During the next 20 years Cervantes led a nomadic existence, working as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and as a tax collector. He suffered a bankruptcy and was imprisoned at least twice (1597 and 1602) for irregularities in his accounts. In 1606, Cervantes settled in Madrid, where he remained for the rest of his life.
When life itself seems lunatic... stop and stare the beauty around you!
Thats the magical moment when the sun bathes the Madrid before disappearing over the horizon.
“I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me. Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down. Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina. Quando fiam uti chelidon—O swallow swallow. Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih, shantih, shantih”
The Waste Land, T.S Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot was born on this day in 1888, in Missouri. Once a subversive outsider, he became the most celebrated poet of the 20th century. Yet, 53 years after his death, he is considered one of the greatest love poets, with a constant sense of love frustration, loss or faux pas. Few poets have dealt so profoundly with the themes of childlessness, of longing, of ageing.
His most well-known work, “The Waste Land,” in 1922, says something which is not new: that life has become barren and sterile, that man is withering and without assurance, that the waters which made the land fruitful will ever rise again… However a closer view does more than illuminate the difficulties; it indicates how each thing falls into place, and to the reader’s surprise shows that the framework and the detail could not otherwise have been communicated.
The poem ends in Sanskrit and its final line, the repeated “shantih” is a formal ending to an Upanishad (=Hinduism ancient Sanskrit text) and is also used as an ending to many mantras (sacred utterances), which means that the poem ends not just with words written on the page… but with a sacred chant.
Reading and exploring his work is not an easy task due to the unorthodox coherence of his poems, which are based rather on the emotional sequence of ideas & images.
However one cannot say that it is not worth reading!
“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.”
Don’t be a tourist. Be a traveler!
Anafi, my favorite island… the island which was revealed to the Argonauts by the God Apollo when they were sailing in the darkness… The story continues with the Argonauts to moor the ship in the island and, to honor the god, by building the temple of Apollo Aiglitis (aigli=glamour, brilliance), naming the island “Anafi”, due to its appearance (“anefani”=appeared, in ancient Greek) out of nowhere.
6 tips to do it like a local!
Move slowly and spend more time in one location. Allow margin in your itinerary for wandering.
Find a place to stay that feels more as a home… Camping at the beach or staying at local homes and engage with the family owner through conversations, meals and daily routines.
Try authentic cuisine in restaurants and don’t ask about the ingredients. Order “Papadia” salad at Roukounas tavern and other traditional dishes.
Utilize public transportation.
There’s no better way to move through local culture than by moving the way the population does… So try the bus and hitchhiking!
Attend festivals. Plan your trip during the annual Anafi’s festival of 15th of August and live the myth... Explore the rural. Find the natural beauty and unparalleled hospitality. Visit the Venetian Kastro at Chora, the imposing limestone monolith Mount Kalamos, the sandy beaches Kleisidi, Katsouni, Flamourou , Megalos Roukounas, Mikros Roukounas, Megas Potamos, Agioi Anargyroi, Prassies and Livoskopos.