What do you think of the ‘deep state’?

Spies everywhere…

A friend asked me this week, “What do you think of the ‘deep state’?

The short answer is, “I try not to.” Mostly because it has no meaningful impact on my life.

‘Deep state’ is the idea that some sort of shadow government made up of rich, powerful actors wields power, either within or behind the legitimately elected government.

Will COVID-19 Break the European Union?

(Photo: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

In a previous blog, I promised to share my thoughts on the post-pandemic future of Europe, in particular for North American readers who may not be following developments on this side of the Atlantic.

Travel’s off limits for the next several months, so we might as well talk about something.

Picnics and Laughter in a Rhodope Mountain Glade

Plovdiv: Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city

We left the Pirin mountains the next day and entered the vast flat plain of the Maritza River Basin that connects Sofia to Plovdiv and opens out towards the Black Sea. The was the great path from Europe to the Levant. The road to Constantinople and Asia.

Hiking Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains

The Pirin Mountains are a hiker’s paradise…

It was time to move on to the Pirin Mountains, and the off-season ski resort of Bansko, where hotel suites went for bargain prices and half the restaurants were closed. The Thracians knew the Pirins as ‘Orbelus’ (‘snowy mountain’). The Slavs associated them with Perun, god of storms and thunder, the most powerful deity in their pantheon. To us, they promised some of the best hiking this side of the Alps.

Drifting Through The Crossroad of Empires

Rila Monastery

The beginning of the journey didn’t bode well. Bulgaria Air was nearly two hours late. We eventually boarded an unmarked plane with ancient seats and the sort of old-style seatbelts I hadn’t seen in at least a decade.

An unmarked plane didn’t bode well…

A Postcard from Lastovo

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Lastovo: isolated Adriatic island of jagged hills clad in holm oak and aleppo pine, where the sea laps sunbleached stones with tongue translucent blue.

Settled by Illyrians and later controlled by Rome, over the centuries it was destroyed by Venice for harboring pirates, joined the Dubrovnik Republic, and passed through the hands of Napoleonic France, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, to finally become a part of independent Croatia.

Jostled By The Motion

I’m alone in my compartment as the train leaves Slovenia and enters the broad rolling fields of Hungary. The dark blue seat upholstery smells of dust, and the nautical gloss of the walls have faded to matte.

London in Images

 

 

 

 

 

Images of London

We’ll get to North Korea soon, I promise. I’m in London at the moment and wanted to share something with you.

Spent some time searching for the tomb of one of my heroes. He’s buried in a marble replica of a Bedouin tent in a little cemetery in Mortlake…

Sommières Daze

 

 
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moonlight echoes through nighttime streets
reverberating off walls of limburger cheese
and the yellow plaster of peeling bandages
over Poseidon blue.

razor wounds
or Time’s shaving nicks?