Livin' la vida loca

Oct 12, 2003

Livin' la vida loca

Charles Darwin must have been a regular at whatever passed for a bar on the HMS Beagle. During the ship’s five-week stop at the Galapagos, the scientific superstar-to-be got his kicks from riding the trunk-size tortoises that give the islands their name — galapago ...

Back to life, back to prosperity

Oct 12, 2003

Back to life, back to prosperity

Ecuador was built on bananas. Then, in the 1970s, this tiny South American country struck oil. Forward thinkers, though, are looking to tourism to keep Ecuador’s economy afloat when the oil dries up — as it is expected to do an estimated 15 years ...

Andean attractions

Oct 12, 2003

Andean attractions

When you’re tired from trekking around Quito’s Old Town, there are plenty of distractions to be found just a short drive from the Ecuadorean capital. Here are five of the best: Otavalo With 7,000 traders, mostly Indian women from across Ecuador and neighboring Peru, ...

Paradise maintained

Oct 12, 2003

Paradise maintained

In 1959, to mark the centenary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” the Ecuadorean government declared the Galapagos a National Park. In 1979, UNESCO proclaimed the archipelago a World Heritage Site. Today, legislation introduced in 1996 restricting new settlement on ...

The dark, radiant world of Rembrandt van Rijn

Sep 24, 2003

The dark, radiant world of Rembrandt van Rijn

It doesn’t look like the face of a man who paints religious scenes. Fleshy, with that famously crumpled nose, he sports a jaunty hat and a look of shabby dandyism. In his later years — more than two decades after he engraved this 1631 ...

World domination: Let's do it again

Sep 3, 2003

World domination: Let's do it again

Many a country has enjoyed its time in the sun — a period of dominance when the world (often quite literally) seemed to be at its rulers’ feet. It’s a difficult trick to repeat, though. Italy’s Renaissance, glorious though it was, never recaptured the ...

Face to face with history's Greatest

Aug 27, 2003

Face to face with history's Greatest

Histor is wont to bestow epithets on its more colorful characters, from the vertically challenged King Pepin the Short (714?-768), father of Charlemagne, to Ethelred the Unready, who ruled England with singular incompetence from 978 to 1016. Few, however, have so richly deserved their ...

Aug 24, 2003

The curious afterlife of Ada Lovelace

Celebrity is a fickle thing, as Ada Lovelace’s famous father, the poet Lord Byron, learned to his cost — sexual scandals and seesawing public opinion drove him into exile and to his death. For his daughter, however, the ups and downs of fame have ...

Taking shape: Prehistoric art and us

Aug 17, 2003

Taking shape: Prehistoric art and us

In the 19th century, scientists finally junked the Biblical idea of a seven-day divine Creation — with man, at the pinnacle of the process, being fashioned from clay on the sixth day. Ever since, it seems, we haven’t stopped searching for our secular version ...

Drawn to the simple life

Jul 30, 2003

Drawn to the simple life

The French artists of the Barbizon School effectively colonized the small village of the same name in the mid-19th century; some 100 artists watched — and painted — every step taken by the few hundred peasants as they went about their daily tasks. However, ...