Ekphrasis

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci

When I’m traveling, I love finding unexpected connections between people and places and ideas. Like Ekphrasis — an ancient Greek thing that I learned about in Mexico for an event sponsored by Americans. (If, like most people, you haven’t been following along, I’m an American in Greece on my way back to Mexico). Ekphrasis is a literary work that’s about or inspired by a piece of art. Like everything Greek, the idea of ekphrasis goes deeper than that. But to keep things simple, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is ekphrasic because the story is built around Leonardo’s paintings, including “Vitruvian Man.” John Keats’ poem, “Ode on A Grecian Urn” is also ekphrasic.

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Corfu Town

I arrived last week on Corfu, the largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea, Many Americans know it as the setting for books and movies about the Durrells. Some — and you know who you are– know it as a great place for skinny-dipping on the western beaches, circa 1973. The Greeks call the island “Kerkira” after the nymph who spent her honeymoon here with Poseidon. Poseidon’s decision to name the island after his bride isn’t so romantic, however, considering Poseidon kidnapped Kerkira, but pfft, Greek gods.

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Two Delicious Days in London

Weird new random sculpture in Trafalgar Square. Photo by BBC.

After our amazing week in Paris, Gabe and I headed to London on the Eurostar. What a great way to travel! The high-speed rail system makes the 300-mile journey across the French countryside and under the English Channel in two hours and 17 minutes. Because it leaves from the center of Paris and arrives in the center of London, it’s faster than flying. Thanks to the Eurostar, we had a leisurely morning in Paris, and still got to our London apartment in time for walking around and an early dinner. America?

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At the Pompidou, the Winners Are…

In English, the neon sign on the Pompidou says “What is there between us?”

If you come to Paris, be sure to visit the Pompidou at night. Gabe and I were there last night and the museum was almost empty. We didn’t feel rushed or distracted by crowds, so the museum was quiet, and the experience was intimate. What a privilege to be almost alone with some of the world’s most important modern art.

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Under Paris Skies

Gabe on the Seine

There probably aren’t many adventures that are better than Paris, except Paris with your kid. And this week, I’m in Paris with my (grown up) kid. Heaven!

Gabe and I are staying in Le Marais, which we love. Once the Jewish Quarter, it’s become trendy and quirky with a little bit of everything and everybody. There are falafel joints and traditional French cafes, and stores that sell couture next to shoe repair shops and organic produce markets. Quel dommage, we don’t like our Airbnb apartment. Gabe describes it as “a perfectly fine party house for a bunch of college guys.” But oh well, we are out most of the time anyway.

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Around the World in 80 Heys

Anais Nin

One of the small disappointments in my life is that I’m not the kind of person who gets nicknames, at least not the kind that are said to my face. For a short time, a few people called me “KimTwin,” a reference to an outboard motor. I was 20 and would have preferred a nickname that you would give to Anais Nin, mysterious and bohemian.

Although I am not a nickname kind of person, I’ve been called many things during my travels. Each gave me a little insight about another culture, and provided a small thrill. Here are the ones I remember.

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Dia De Los Muertos — Celebrating the Dead and the Living

An ofrenda at San Miguel’s Juan de Dios market

If you’ve seen Disney’s “Coco,” you know at least a little about Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos. Day of the Dead celebrates the loved ones we have lost because remembering them keeps them alive. Here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, it’s a time of traditions that date from the time of the Aztec empire — as well as some modern adaptations.

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