"Either Bolintineanu – who wandered for almost ten years, from 1848 until 1857, his eyes 'dried up by the sight of so many foreign lands,' across Bulgaria, Palestine, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor – is an often saddened pilgrim (though he can also smile), or bad luck, turning up on the 13th of September, drives him to many, too many desolate regions. Of course, his frame of mind has a say too. A 'sad land,' Jerusalem and its surroundings. Death has put its seal on wild, barren lands bearing the mark of 'destruction and death.' He who goes there feels deserted by youth, poesy and hope. The desert, 'between life and death,' was dampened by the tears, but also the blood, of a people born under a unique star, whose history abounds with 'bloody souvenirs.'" Excerpted from: The Auspices of Hermes. Travel Memoirs (before 1900) between the Real and the Imaginary, Minerva, 1993

by Florin Faifer