‘I’m starting not to think of the Mediterranean as an empty space surrounded by Europe, Asia and Africa. You can look at the sea as a single entity, a place from whose coastlines people look not outwards, to this country or that capital, but inwards over the water to each other. This sea has its own cities, its own life, its own way of being. Jean Cocteau, the French writer, loved the Mediterranean. That’s the way he looked at it fifty years ago. Of all the world’s continents, he said, it is the only one that is liquid.’ When Nicholas Woodsworth came to Alexandria, he immediately felt it: ‘There is an intimacy, a garrulous warmth and near-tribal sociability that belongs to this city and is shared by all others on this sea. It is not African, nor European, nor Middle Eastern, either. But it is identifiable. It is Mediterranean.’ ‘Wherever you look in the Mediterranean life is basically the same. I don’t mean in the hinterland or in the capitals lying far in the interior – their agendas are different. I mean the people and ports on the sea itself.’ So Nicholas Woodsworth set out to visit them all.
Alexandria is the first destination of Woodsworth's Mediterranean Trilogy before Venice and Istanbul.
Nicholas Woodsworth was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1953 and grew up in Africa and south-east Asia. He was Africa Correspondent for the Financial Times in the late 1980s, and served as the Weekend FT’s staff travel writer from 1990 to 2003. He lives with his wife, Jany, in Aix-en-Provence.
‘[Woodsworth’s] enchanting journey around the old seaports… a Mediterranean trilogy to cherish’ - The Guardian
‘An astute reporter with a dry humour and an impressive eye for detail’ - Sunday Telegraph