Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island


Vila Vailima
The house that Robert Louis Stevenson built in Vailima with the help of many Samoans.
Memoirs
Photographs and clippings in one of Villa Vailima's rooms.
Lush coast of Upolu
View over the forested coastline of Upolu from the top of Mount Vaea.
Fireplace in the Tropics
Room at Robert Louis Stevenson's mansion in Vailima.
history lesson
Illustration shows Robert Louis Stevenson teaching his son Austin Strong history.
jogging
Samoano recovers from the climb to Mount Vaea, where Robert Louis Stevenson was buried.
Azulis Rooms
Room of Robert Louis Stevenson's mansion, in shades of the shallower sea of ​​the Pacific Ocean.
in communion
Robert Louis Stevenson's family in contact with Samoans, some who worked in Villa Vailima.
Return to Vailima
Corridor descends from the top of Mount Vaea, towards Vailima.
Under the Wide…
Text on the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Art & Possession
Detail of one of the rooms of the Villa Vailima mansion.
Next stop: Vailima
Bus arrives at Vailima village.
Coast of Upolu
View of Upolu from the elevation on which R. Louis Stevenson was buried.
At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.

Samoa's general elections had ended four days ago, but the process was far from over.

As we drive along the long Mulinu'u Road that runs along the city's isthmus to the homonymous tip, we come across a committee of delegates dressed in the rigor of the nation who recount the votes and meticulously fill in the results on large slate boards.

45 seats were qualified for the 15th term of the Fono, the Legislative Assembly and the Human Rights Protection Party won 36, in an unequivocal victory that, as is often the case on those sides, soon became embroiled in controversy.

Years have passed since the arrival of the first European discoverers, Samoa has become the first territory of the Pacific to conquer its independence and, since 1962, it has been solving problems that are its own.

The Courageous Solidarity of the Newcomer Robert Louis Stevenson

But more than a century earlier, around the 1890s, the natives had both unexpected and enthusiastic support from Robert Louis Stevenson, a writer fresh from a fascinating journey across the Pacific: Hawaii, Tahiti and the Society's Archipelago, Gilbert Islands, New Zealand and Samoa.

Historic photo by R Louis Stevenson with natives, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Robert Louis Stevenson's family in contact with Samoans, some who worked in Villa Vailima.

Delighted by his generosity but also by the charisma of the Scotsman, they called him Tusitala or storyteller, in the Polynesian Samoan dialect.

"The Treasure Island" and "The Doctor and the Monster" ("Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde”) were some of the ones that he created and told the world and that made him world famous.

The influence it exerted on island politics and destinies quickly became defiant and provoked successive shock waves: during his stay, Stevenson found that the European officers appointed to govern the Samoans were incompetent.

After several unsuccessful attempts to solve the problems, he published “Footnote to History” a manifesto that resulted in the demobilization of two officers of the colonial powers and which the author feared would provoke their extradition.\

Vila Vailima: The Home of Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

These fears have not been proven. Stevenson has even become friends with powerful politicians and their families, notably that of US Commissioner Henry Clay Ide. At the same time, it deepened its roots on the island.

mansion, house, village vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

The house that Robert Louis Stevenson built in Vailima with the help of many Samoans.

Villa Vailima, the wooden mansion he built on the property he acquired and housed most of his retreat, withstood the reaction of the then administration unscathed. And, to the relief of the Samoans, also the great earthquake that shook the archipelago in 2009, with an intensity of 8.1 on the Richter scale.

Today, Villa Vailima is one of the most respected and appreciated places in Upolu, a symbol of its exuberant multiculturalism that we are keen to visit.

View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

View of the forested coastline of Upolu, from the top of Mount Vaea.

Margaret Silva. The Portuguese-Descendant Employee of the Vailima Museum

Upon arrival, our guide Anthony introduces us to the museum's hostess, named Margaret Silva. The color of her skin, the profile of her face and the nickname leave us intrigued, but since neither Anthony nor Margaret give us any clues, we are forced to inquire about the lady's origins. “Silva?

Your surname must be Portuguese or Spanish, no? And, don't take this the wrong way, but it doesn't look 100% Samoan.”

Anthony realizes what's going on and validates the suspicion. “Oh, sure. You are Portuguese! Margaret? You're half Portuguese too, right? Margaret confirms and adds some stunning historical information. “Yes, I'm half Portuguese.

I don't speak much of the language anymore but my grandmother learned from my grandfather and still speaks a little. What happened, in a nutshell, was that he was working on a New Zealand cruise ship that regularly stopped at Apia.

During a break, he met my grandmother in the city and no longer wanted to return to the ship.”

bus in Vailima, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Bus arrives at Vailima village.

Thus began the saga of the Silvas in Samoa, a family that Anthony assures us is one of the wealthiest and most influential in the nation, owning several businesses including a construction company, grocery stores and gas stations. But the native guide explains more to us.

The presence of the now enormous Silva clan is for him and for the Samoans completely normal, to the point that few remember their origin and genetic difference.

And, remembering the nickname of the author of this text, he adds, for a general laugh: “It's not just the Silvas. Now that I think about it, we also have a big Pereira family. There must be almost as many as the Silvas.

Two of her daughters who live near my parents' village are beautiful. I really like it.”

The Samoan Work and Death of Robert Louis Stevenson

However, Margaret reminds us that the museum closes shortly and suggests that we begin our tour of the mansion. As we do so, it describes the most important or simply curious aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson's life in Upolu.

photos and memories, vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Photographs and clippings in one of Villa Vailima's rooms.

During his stay, Stevenson wrote prolifically also about life in Samoa and other islands in the Pacific.

In 1894, he went through times of depression and inactivity to which he replied with “Weir of hermiston” with which he became enthusiastic to the point of being convinced that it was the best novel he had ever produced.

detail living room, Vailima Villa, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Detail of one of the rooms of the Villa Vailima mansion.

But on the night of December 3rd of that year, after having worked hard on the novel, he was opening a bottle of wine when he fell down with his wife.

He was pronounced dead after a few hours, allegedly due to a brain hemorrhage. I was 44 years old.

The Elevated Sepulcher of Mount Vaea

The Samoans honored the funeral wishes of the respected Tusitala. They carried him on their shoulders to the summit of nearby Mount Vaea, where they buried him overlooking the sea.

View from top of Mount Vaea, Upolu coastline, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Overview of Upolu from the elevation on which R. Louis Stevenson was buried.

His sepulcher is now the destination of a sporting pilgrimage for health that Stevenson never had.

As we climb the slope, dozens of Samoans from Apia and even expatriates from Apia pass us by. Upolu, delivered to a jogging strenuous and repetitive starting in the vicinity of Villa Vailima and ending at the top of the elevation.

down Mount Vaea, jogging, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Corridor descends from the top of Mount Vaea, towards Vailima.

While we recover from our fatigue observing the tomb and reading the writer's conformed but elegant Requiem, we also leave our sweat there, generated by the heat and humidity that invigorate the lush landscape around us.

top of Mount Vaea and tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa

Samoano recovers from the climb to Mount Vaea, where Robert Louis Stevenson was buried.

And gone on the island that Robert Louis Stevenson loved so much.

Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia

The imagery of the paradisiacal South Pacific is unquestionable in Samoa, but its tropical beauty does not pay the bills for either the nation or the inhabitants. Anyone who visits this archipelago finds a people divided between subjecting themselves to tradition and the financial stagnation or uprooting themselves in countries with broader horizons.
Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia - High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

From New Zealand to Easter Island and from here to Hawaii, there are many variations of Polynesian dances. Fia Fia's Samoan nights, in particular, are enlivened by one of the more fast-paced styles.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the track of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Samoa  

In Search of the Lost Time

For 121 years, it was the last nation on Earth to change the day. But Samoa realized that his finances were behind him and, in late 2012, he decided to move back west on the LID - International Date Line.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Tongatapu, Tonga

The Last Polynesian Monarchy

From New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii, no other monarchy has resisted the arrival of European discoverers and modernity. For Tonga, for several decades, the challenge was to resist the monarchy.
Goiás Velho, Brazil

The Life and Work of a Marginal Writer

Born in Goiás, Ana Lins Bretas spent most of her life far from her castrating family and the city. Returning to its origins, it continued to portray the prejudiced mentality of the Brazilian countryside
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Safari
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Pisang to Ngawal, Nepal,

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
by the shadow
Architecture & Design
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Adventure
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Dragon Dance, Moon Festival, Chinatown-San Francisco-United States of America
Ceremonies and Festivities
San Francisco, USA

with the head on the moon

September comes and Chinese people around the world celebrate harvests, abundance and unity. San Francisco's enormous Sino-Community gives itself body and soul to California's biggest Moon Festival.
Cities
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Meal
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines
Culture
Philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Sport
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Bark Europa, Beagle Channel, Evolution, Darwin, Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego
Traveling
Beagle Channel, Argentina

Darwin and the Beagle Channel: on the Theory of the Evolution Route

In 1833, Charles Darwin sailed aboard the "Beagle" through the channels of Tierra del Fuego. His passage through these southern confines shaped the revolutionary theory he formulated of the Earth and its species
Ethnic
Gizo, Solomon Islands

A Saeraghi Young Singers Gala

In Gizo, the damage caused by the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands is still very visible. On the coast of Saeraghi, children's bathing happiness contrasts with their heritage of desolation.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Cathedral of Santa Ana, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
History
Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

The old and majestic Vegueta de Las Palmas district stands out in the long and complex Hispanization of the Canaries. After a long period of noble expeditions, the final conquest of Gran Canaria and the remaining islands of the archipelago began there, under the command of the monarchs of Castile and Aragon.
Vanuatu, Cruise in Wala
Islands
Wala, Vanuatu

Cruise ship in Sight, the Fair Settles In

In much of Vanuatu, the days of the population's “good savages” are behind us. In times misunderstood and neglected, money gained value. And when the big ships with tourists arrive off Malekuka, the natives focus on Wala and billing.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Literature
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Nature

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
Natural Parks
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Sigiriya capital fortress: homecoming
UNESCO World Heritage
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

The Capital Fortress of a Parricide King

Kashyapa I came to power after walling up his father's monarch. Afraid of a probable attack by his brother heir to the throne, he moved the main city of the kingdom to the top of a granite peak. Today, his eccentric haven is more accessible than ever and has allowed us to explore the Machiavellian plot of this Sri Lankan drama.
Correspondence verification
Characters
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica, Caribbean, Punta Cahuita aerial view
Beaches
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Religion
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Mahu, Third Sex Polynesia, Papeete, Tahiti
Society
Papeete, French Polynesia

The Third Sex of Tahiti

Heirs of Polynesian ancestral culture, the Mahu they preserve an unusual role in society. Lost somewhere between the two genders, these men-women continue to fight for the meaning of their lives.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Crocodiles, Queensland Tropical Australia Wild
Wildlife
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
PT EN ES FR DE IT