Why You Should Turn the Corner
How to Find the Sublime
Dear Classical Wisdom Reader,
Everyone who has been to the Louvre in Paris knows ‘that’ room. The ridiculously crowded one, filled with gawking tourists, selfie-sticks and umbrella wielding tour guides. Over the mob, there’s a small painting, looking out ironically, with her famous non-smile, over her gaping audience.
Of course, if you turn the corner... you are face to face, sans the masses, with not only one - BUT THREE - majestic Da Vinci’s. The gentle curves of the Virgin and child, along with St. Anne, captivate and La Belle Ferronnière stares out sternly. Meanwhile, St. John the Baptist, with his gorgeous glowing cheekbones, laughingly points up. For the passionate art lover, it’s a moment to enjoy true beauty... all to one’s self...
Essentially, you can take a passing glimpse of the Mona Lisa, if you like, but the real treasure (the real experience) is in the next room.
But going around the corner doesn’t just work at art museums. It's actually particularly true for archaeological sites. This is because we are truly transported into another era in a way that you can only achieve when you leave off the crowds... when you go off track.
I’ll give another example.
The year was 2014 and my husband and I decided to go to Albania. We like to ‘collect’ countries, and so when our boat arrived in the Greek port of Igoumenitsa, we found a taxi driver who agreed to take us over the border to the Albanian town of Sarande.
Well, neither us... nor our Greek driver... had any idea of what this trip would entail. Slowly bypassing goats and horses, through ravines and empty border controls, we even took a small wooden raft across the river.
But man oh man, was it worth it.
You see, once on the other side, we called in a few hotels till we found something reasonably priced (I believe it was around $20 a night with a view of crystal clear waters and the ability to step out on the beach), and enjoyed a small slice of paradise.
The best, however, was to come. Apparently there was an archeological site nearby, and being the nerd that I am, I was more than happy to take the day trip there. What a treat!
We had stumbled upon Augustus’ and Livia’s holiday retreat. A splendid site, with a beautiful auditorium, amazing marble statues, and killer views.
Oh... and it was COMPLETELY EMPTY.
I wandered around for hours, reimagining the Roman Empire, stepping on the stones that the Emperor himself once stood.
It was beyond magic.
And THAT is why it’s always worth going around the corner... going off track... taking the path less travelled.
That’s how you find the sublime.
Fortunately, you can also go there this March, but instead of trying to get around donkeys... you can arrive in the majestic Diana.
I’m certain Livia would approve.
Join this trip of a lifetime, along with Donald Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor (though not that Roman Emperor), and journey across the Mediterranean (including Albania)... in search of Ancient Wisdom.
All the best,
Founder and Director