live blog: knights of the rhodes table

The biggest medieval city in Europe, the picturesque old town of Rhodes is an unexpected delight. A rabbit’s warren of narrow streets and buildings of traditional architecture, much of the town as it appears today was built by the Knights of St. John at the end of the Byzantine era. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the crusading Knights retreated to Rhodes, over which they claimed sovereignty, fortifying the northern tip of the island with the castle, towers, bridges, and gates that still stand. The Knights would later move again, weathering a name change and establishing a more famous state on the island of Malta. What they left behind saw an invasion of the Turks, who built mosques, public baths and mansions for the new patrons, followed by Italian colonizers after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and British bombs during World War II. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, it’s a minor miracle so much of the town’s architecture has managed to survive 700 years of relentless give and take. For that, the flaneur in me was quite grateful this afternoon.

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live blog: sailing away

Sailing around the outer cays of Turks & Caicos was a sublime way to spend the morning today.  The water is what I call Photoshop Blue:  the kind of color you tend to see in postcards and don’t believe actually exists.

Due to the tectonic activity in nearby Haiti as well as strong weather fronts crossing the region, I expected the waters to be churning and murky with sand.  And while the tides are much higher than normal right now, they nevertheless remain crystal clear.  So clear, in fact, that my captain was able to forage us the freshest possible lunch:  conch; which made for a killer ceviche that was enjoyed with a couple of beers.

Almost as good was lounging on the powdery stretch of beach.  Apparently this strip of Fort George Cay didn’t even exist a couple of days ago; it was washed into existence by the tide.  As a result of that evolving birth, it’s also strewn with starfish, coral and live sand dollars.  Rinsing the morning’s collection in a bowl of water made me imagine the most interesting kind of bouillabaisse!

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bucket list: 2009 edition – May

MAY

Pool_01

TURKS & CAICOS:  Providenciales has to be one of my favorite islands when I’m looking to kick back and relax. (A rare occasion, but nevertheless….)  So naturally there was an epic internal struggle when I found myself at the minimalist-chic Gansevoort South for a weekend-long fitness bootcamp.  Led by the inspiring  – and very fit – founder’s of NYC’s Core Fusion classes in an outdoor pavillion at the onsite exhale spa, it was a butt-lifting, yoga-infused sweatfest that had me comfortably fitting into formerly-snug jeans by the time I headed home.  And sporting a great tan to boot.

hiking up yer kilt

SCOTLAND:  There must be some Scottish blood in me somewhere because I always feel particularly at home here in Edinburgh.  Even in a kilt – which was the occasion for this particular visit. Interviewing the irascible Howie Nicholsby, designer and founder of 21st Century Kilts, I was tempted to try one one.  After a laddish afternoon together in full kit, I was hooked and had to have my own.  If you’re the kind of guy that thinks a rambunctious puppy or a well orchestrated baby is a chick magnet, I’ve got one word for you:  kilt.  And if you think that chocolate lab melts the hearts of ladies everywhere and leads to phone numbers in pocket, you’ll be bowled over by the inquiring and admiring eyes that greet a man in a kilt.  Gentlemen,  it defies fashion.  And a little bit of turbulence in a kilt goes an awful long way, too.

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