The next release in the Cruise through History series of story books for adult travelers, Itinerary IV Ports of the Black Sea, takes readers around the inland sea of deep history and mythology, so little traveled by cruise ships. Ports of Sinope, Trabzon, Batumi, Sochi, Yalta, Sebastopol, Odessa, Constanta, Varna and Nessebar are home to colorful characters through history. Stories in Cruise through History are distilled from hundreds of source materials, mined for fun facts of ancient mariners and modern poets, who bequeathed cities, churches and monuments. Stories are accompanied by images and original art to make inviting exotic travels through pages of the stories.
In Itinerary IV Ports of the Black Sea, follow Jason and the Argonauts to Batumi in search of Golden Fleece; Greeks sail to Chersonesos in Crimea to grow wheat for hungry Athenians in sixth century BCE; and bickering brothers-in-law Lords Cardigan and Lucan inspired the poem Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. Brothers wandering the Slavic world, Saints Cyril and Methodius came to shores of the Black Sea to bestow Cyrillic alphabet to enable writing scripture, leaving people enfranchised with language from which to build an economy. Pushkin came to Odessa to write poetry and had an affair with the wife of his commanding officer, Prince Vorontsov, the man who built a palace at Yalta. Aton Chekhov came to Yalta to write short stories, inspired by port scenes. Beloved Turkish poet, Sabahattin Ali, was imprisoned in a stone cell in Sinope, for works that questioned gender roles and the bounds of relationships. His story in this volume may inspire new readers now that Ali’s work is available in English.
Stories in Itinerary IV follow French architects to Odessa, to build a city for Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Premier Joseph Stalin held an international architecture competition for the ultimate Soviet buildings in Sochi, making a public-political statement of icon architecture. Catherine’s diplomat, Count Vorontsov built palaces in Odessa and Yalta, which transcend classical English and Moorish traditions. Nessebar holds the world record for churches per capita, built of red and white brick, highlighted by delicate ceramics. High on a mountain in Trabzon, in a cave, Greek monks built a magnificent monastery, in which frescoes have outlasted politics, banishment of religion and expulsion of Greeks from Turkey. In Istanbul, sultans endowed mosques, enough to fill the city with wondrous vaulted prayer halls. Batumi hosted French architectural style, until the little city, tucked in a corner of the Black Sea, appears so close to France.
Black Sea waters inspired the ancient cult of Orphic Mysticism, where drinking wine was the favored custom to help clear the mind for deep thoughts; and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the opus work of poetry, that gave written description to images painted on canvass by Renaissance artists in Italy. Metamorphoses pops up in Dante’s Inferno and Divine Comedy, in Shakespeare, and in Pygmalion, which came to Broadway as My Fair Lady. Ports on the Black Sea fostered political systems including the making of modern Turkey. So much of art, poetry and political intrigue, affecting the modern world, had its genesis around ports of the Black Sea. Their stories are found in Cruise through History Itinerary IV Ports of the Black Sea.
Cruise through History is a collection of short stories grouped by the sequence of many popular cruise itineraries, rather than by country, or period of history. As the stories move from port to port, they randomly move through time. The stories are all true. They introduce the traveler to the history and culture of a port through the story of a long-ago, or not so long-ago, resident, whose exploits left a castle, a palace, or a lovely site that can be explored on a cruise ship shore excursion. In this volume, there is even a prison to visit.
The host character for each port stop is chosen for their inspiring actions, and the visible culture left behind. Some names will be familiar, presented in these volumes with depth to their personality. Other characters may become like new friends, too long unrecognized. The stories may inspire you to read further. Either way, the stories offer a new twist to the school-age history of a place, drawn together to put travels in a fascinating context for the short-term visitor.
No apology is made for the choice of subjects. They have been chosen arbitrarily on the whim of the author, accumulated from past travels, for your enjoyment. The desire is that the reader will share the fun. No attempt is made to be politically correct, or give a chamber of commerce gloss to the stories evident in the remnants of the past. Knowledge of history can teach us a great deal about ourselves and the human condition, but only if it is honest and fairly told.
Stories in Cruise through History are true. When there are gaps in the facts, or mysteries remain, they are not supplemented by fiction. Rather, an effort is made to look at the known as a guide to the unknown. The reader can draw their own conclusions, daydream through the gaps, and enjoy the reason that so much popular fiction and movies are drawn from historical facts. Editorial sidebars and fun bits are in the footnotes.
These stories are offered to give historical context to the sites often visited as cruise destinations. In these stories, meet the characters who walked the same streets centuries in the past. Go beyond the castle ruins to envision the people who built them and lived there. The stories answer the question; What were they thinking when they did That?!
Itineraries in this series have stories at each port that seek to inspire cruise travelers to rise out of deck chairs and investigate a destination with honesty and irreverence, or the potential traveler to rise from the sofa and embark on a Cruise through History. There is no stigma of a school assignment. Earn an “E” for enjoyment.
Author Sherry Hutt has traveled for thirty years collecting stories of places and taking photos. She spends half the year entertaining cruise guests with stories of port cities, as the ships traverse the globe. She has spent years researching the diaries and records of characters highlighted within a story, distilling thousands of pages into short stories for the delight of the reader, whose desire is enlightened travel. Reading Cruise through History may inspire a cruise, or just enjoy armchair travel. Stories are true and will amaze readers with what was left out of history in school.
Read all the itineraries of Cruise through History and more to come.