As anticipated in the fifth newsletter (Jan issue), I’m writing to share some exciting news: “Outside Business Hours” - the section dedicated to culture, society, and travels - is now live.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust -
While Mudita is not going to turn into a travel blog anytime soon, these new posts will focus on places, people, and the aspects of culture hidden below the waterline (ones an occasional traveler might not fully comprehend during a short stay in a new country, such as the meaning behind specific types of artwork, the origins of certain rituals, the reasons behind particular architectural features, and so on), coupled with selected travel and reading advice.
Did you know, for instance, that the reason there were more Jews in Albania at the end of the Second World War than beforehand is linked with Albania’s code of honor and rules of hospitality that “involve uncompromising protection of a guest, even at the point of forfeiting one’s own life”? Were you aware that an example of how such a code in this region used to influence most areas of life - including architecture - can be seen in the small village of Theth, in the heart of the Albanian Alps, an area that’s also known for its stunning landscapes and hiking trails?
Has anyone ever told you that the holiday known as Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Latin America originated over 3,000 years ago in the Aztec empire and that at the time celebrations used to last for the whole month of August? Did you know that Europe’s largest set of Mudejar tiles still in place today can be found on the walls of the National Palace of Sintra in Portugal?
This said, with full awareness that for the time being our ability to travel is restricted, I have resolved to include in each post a fair number of links to 360° videos and virtual tours to give you a good glimpse into the “real thing” from the comfort and safety of your homes, as we wait for better and easier times to come. At present we may not be able to go on a tour around Porto, but we can still admire some of its magnificent collections of azulejos from a distance: click here to take a look inside São Bento Railway Station, and here to visit the cloister of Porto’s Cathedral.
Thank you as always for your presence and support,
Despina Moralidou is a chartered linguist (CIOL) and accredited translator, and for the better part of her adult life she has been working as a freelance translator/editor and in-house project manager specializing in Web, Marketing and Software localization. She has a Master’s degree in Specialized Translation (Surrey) and a Postgraduate diploma in International Cultural Cooperation & Management (Barcelona). She sometimes writes and/or shares thoughts on language, culture, her field of work, and anything else that catches her eye here .
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