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Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages by McGovern Patrick E

Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages by McGovern Patrick E

Author:McGovern, Patrick E. [McGovern, Patrick E.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: University of California Press
Published: 2009-10-29T22:00:00+00:00


SIX

SAILING THE WINE-DARK MEDITERRANEAN

MY WIFE AND I CAUGHT our first glimpse of the azure Mediterranean in 1971, when we traveled south from Germany to Italy, on our way to a kibbutz in Israel and my first archaeological adventures in the Middle East. We had been picking grapes on the Mosel River, and when temperatures dropped in early October, we needed to move to warmer climes. A chill ran up my spine, not from cold but excitement, when we espied the Mediterranean from the high bluff overlooking Monaco. We felt blessed, just as the vineyards of the Mosel were that summer, and we looked forward to leaving Western culture behind and entering the exotic world of the east.

Our journey to the Levant showed us the mercurial nature of the Mediterranean. An all-night ferry across the Adriatic Sea from Bari in Italy to Dubrovnik in the old Yugoslavia shook us to pieces. That crossing was followed by idyllic days and nights on the decks of Greek ferries as we plied Homer’s “wine-dark” Aegean. We eventually reached Beirut, then regarded as the Paris of the Middle East with its broad boulevards and luxurious lifestyle.

We could not cross into Israel by land, because the border was closed, as usual. Instead we went down to the Beirut harbor and found a boat that would take us to Cyprus. A small Danish freighter took pity on us, and we were signed on as first mate and assistant cook. We spent the next week luxuriating on the Mediterranean, drinking unlimited quantities of Tuborg beer, enjoying a Christmas dinner with the crew, and using the boat as a hotel to visit nearby Salamis, one of great ancient cities of the Mediterranean, when we arrived in the Cypriot port of Famagusta. Such is the magic of this sea.



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