Blog posts of '2012' 'February'

Fort Tiracol, Goa
The irrepressible Fiona Caulfield writes in the new Love Goa guide, that “by the end of the 16th century, Goa, then known as Goa Dourado or Golden Goa, was the capital of the world’s spice trade and one of the richest places on earth, with a population larger than London or Paris.”  The convents, seminaries and parish churches, like the dazzling Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While in Goa, she also suggests a visit to Tiracol Fort, a well-preserved and compact 17th-century building, perched on a cliff at the northerly tip of Goa, which is run as a seven-room heritage hotel and “lovely for lunch”.
Held in the Netherlands every ten years since 1960, Floriade 2012 opens April 5 in in North Limburg (once the Duchy of Limburg). Set in an expansive park in Venlo with the many pavilions separated by gardens and woods, the world horticultural expo runs through October 7.  The flower fields at Keukenhof, located outside Lisse between Amsterdam and the Hague, are open starting March 22.  A hunting area in the 15th century, the imposing castle and gardens at Kekenhoff have been host to an open flower exhibition since 1949. Seven million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, usually at its peak in mid-April.
Venice Ruled
Roger Crowley spins tales of three centuries of plunder and plague, conquest and piracy in City of Fortune, How Venice Ruled the Seas, chronicling the transformation of a tiny city of lagoon dwellers (Venice) into the richest place on earth. Crowley has also memorably written of Istanbul, Venice's natural rival and object of envy, in