Book review: In Europe, Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak

A well-thumbed copy of In Europe by Geert Mak

A well-thumbed copy of In Europe by Geert Mak

Europe is agitated and restless – it always has been.

In Europe, by the Dutch journalist and historian Geert Mak, gives a century of context to today’s anxieties. It looks at the hundred years before the millennium, and through this window reveals the troubled heart of today’s Europe.

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Naples, Italy: ‘Defend the City’ (‘Difendi la Città’)

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

Naples, scarred and sublime, is now in a fight against defamation.  One of its latest battles is online.

This city of secrets has eyes everywhere … now they are wanted in the digital world.

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A day under an umbrella in Cetara, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

I sat down to retouch this piece, change its style slightly, and … there I was, back under the umbrella. It was like remote sunshine therapy with a big YouTube smile at the end. I hope it does the same for you.

The Phraser

View through to the sea in Cetara, at the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast View through to the sea in Cetara, at the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast

It’s mid-week and warm.  We’re in a fishing village, between a sea-blue sky and its beach below, with hardly a tourist in sight.

The name of the small town is Cetara, on the Amalfi Coast.

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Happy Easter! This year we’re in England.

Wisley Gardens in England

Wisley Gardens in England – ready for the Easter weekend

There is warmth and new green in the south this weekend.  The trees are fresh-leafed, there are bluebells in the woods, and there’s blossom on the verges … it’s beautiful.

And, of course, there are chocolate eggs … but not like in Naples, Italy.

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Naples, Italy: a towering view, and a night of art in a royal palace

Last June we had an eccentric, wonderful evening trip up the ‘red tower’ in Naples, Italy, followed by a night visit to the art gallery at Capodimonte. I wrote about it then but here’s a repaint … better, I hope.

The Phraser

The eye-catching 'La Torre di Rò' (Torre del Palasciano) in Naples, Italy The eye-catching ‘La Torre di Rò’ (Torre del Palasciano) in Naples, Italy

Some evenings unwrap like the best parcels – one surprise at a time.  This is one of those evenings.

We’re part of another Curiosity Tour of Naples.  I’d signed us up for two reasons – the first was to visit the old red tower I’d seen above Naples so often; and the second was to show our visiting artists the Museo di Capodimonte.

The tower is part of our lives here in Naples.  We see it on every trip along the tangenziale from the airport at Capodichino.  It stands tall and mysterious above the dark green of the bosco di Capodimonte.  It is an exotic exclamation mark above a city outlined in rectangles.

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To Paris, France for the day

The rendezvous outside the Louvre - Paris, France

The rendezvous outside the Louvre – Paris, France

Any chance you can join us?”  A message from an American friend pings into my in-box.  Hmmm?

There’s sensible … and then there’s Paris.  Even if only for a day.

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