The Travels Of Benjamin Of Tudela

The motivations of intrepid travelers are not difficult to discern.  The desire to get out, to get away from everything that reeks of contemptible familiarity, to smash through obstacles and barriers both mental and physical, to be confronted with stimuli both terrifying and strange:  these would be primary impulses.  Following close behind them would be a thirst to seek one’s fortune, to take a certain measure of the world and its people, and to test one’s mettle against the mettlesome natures of others.  It has been so for centuries.

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The Travels And Philosophy Of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

She was born in 1689 in Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, the eldest daughter of Evelyn, Duke of Kingston, and Lady Mary Fielding.  When she was only four years old, her mother died, and this event became a defining one in her life; for she was raised in a decidedly male environment, a fact that imparted her personality with a bluntness and daring that distinguished her from other aristocratic women of her era.  As seems to be the case for many great travelers, she had to win her education through her own efforts.  She developed an interest in the classical languages at an early age; but as good instruction was impossible to come by, she taught herself Latin, French, and the basics of Greek through her own unrelenting exertions.  By her teenage years, she was composing verses.

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The Travels And Achievements Of Giovanni Belzoni

Giovanni Battista Belzoni ranks as one of the most unexpected and fascinating of European travelers.  With little formal experience and education, he managed not only to explore and document various parts of the Arab world, but also to carry out engineering and logistical feats that would have daunted even the trained professionals of his era.  This fearless Italian was born in Padua in 1788.  He was but one of fourteen children, and the son of a barber; finding few career prospects in his native city, he set out for Rome at the age of sixteen with the intention of pursuing a monastic career.  The Church at least could offer him food, drink, and a roof over his head; and for a poor youth, these inducements were considerably attractive.

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The Instituto Ricardo Brennand, And The Praia Dos Carneiros

The Instituto Ricardo Brennand is a Recife cultural institution containing a museum, library, and armory.  Founded in 2002, it is an impressive complex and well worth the visit.  I always try to see local museums when I travel, and I was glad that I came here.

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Porto De Galinhas And Maragogi

We recently visited the beach areas of Porto de Galinhas and Maragogi.  Porto de Galinhas is a major tourist beach destination, and is located about 60 km. south of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco.  Maragogi is a greater distance away; it is located in the state of Alagoas.  Both of these places are known for their “natural pools” (piscinas naturais).

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Some Views Of Olinda, Brazil

Olinda is located in the greater Recife area in Brazil’s state of Pernambuco.  It is considered one of the best-preserved of the old colonial cities.  We visited the city today, and the result is the collection of photos below.  The city is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Recife.

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Recife, Brazil At Night

We took a boat ride in Recife last night.  It was really just a short ride from one part of the city to the historic downtown area, which was surprisingly alive, considering that it was Christmas Day.  I sampled a lot of the street food, as is my usual habit.  One interesting thing I noticed was that whenever the boat passed under a bridge, the passengers clapped in unison.  I supposed this was a local custom, perhaps having its origin as a way of warding off bad luck, or giving thanks for continued safety.  No one I spoke to seemed to know the origin of the custom.

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Enlarged Curiosity: The Observational Powers Of Charles Darwin

A period of travel and overseas residence can transform a man from a plodding conformist to a free-thinking iconoclast.  Travel is the expediter of dreams, the elixir of mental health, and the abolisher of parochial preconceptions.  Nowhere is this truth more clearly demonstrated than in the life and career of scientist Charles Darwin, whose five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle provided him with the raw materials from which he was able to formulate his earth-shaking doctrine of evolution by natural selection.

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Francisco De Orellana’s Epic Navigation Of The Amazon

Francisco de Orellana Bejarano Pizarro y Torres de Altamirano was born in Trujillo, Spain, probably around 1511, although the precise date is uncertain.  He seems to have been a relative of the conqueror of Peru, Francisco Pizarro; and this sanguinary connection, combined with opportunities for glory and wealth, may have provided the impetus for him to emigrate to the New World around 1527.  He joined Pizarro’s army and served his kinsman well in the power struggles that were then rife among the Spaniards; and when the dust settled, he found himself in possession of substantial tracts of land in Ecuador, and an unsatiated ambition.

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The Positivism Of Benjamin Constant

I made an effort today to visit the house and museum of Benjamin Constant in the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.  I had visited it some years ago and thought it would be a good idea to see it again to gain some perspective.  The site was closed for renovations, unfortunately, so I had to content myself with a few photographs of the surrounding area.  These can be found below.

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