Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

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

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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.

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

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In Search of the Lost Time

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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.
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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.
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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
Savai’i, Samoa

The Great Samoa

Upolu is home to the capital and much of the tourist attention. On the other side of the Apolima strait, the also volcanic Savai'i is the largest and highest island in the archipelago of Samoa and the sixth in the immense Polynesia. Samoans praise her authenticity so much that they consider her the soul of the nation.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Braga or Braka or Brakra in Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 6th – Braga, Nepal

The Ancient Nepal of Braga

Four days of walking later, we slept at 3.519 meters from Braga (Braka). Upon arrival, only the name is familiar to us. Faced with the mystical charm of the town, arranged around one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist monasteries on the Annapurna circuit, we continued our journey there. acclimatization with ascent to Ice Lake (4620m).
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Architecture & Design
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
self-flagellation, passion of christ, philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
Resident of Dali, Yunnan, China
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
Fogón de Lola, great food, Costa Rica, Guápiles
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
Tiredness in shades of green
Suzdal, Russia

The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

With summer and warm weather, the Russian city of Suzdal relaxes from its ancient religious orthodoxy. The old town is also famous for having the best cucumbers in the nation. When July arrives, it turns the newly harvested into a real festival.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Entrance porch in Ellikkalla, Uzbekistan

Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
Network launch, Ouvéa Island-Lealdade Islands, New Caledonia
Ouvéa, New Caledonia

Between Loyalty and Freedom

New Caledonia has always questioned integration into faraway France. On the island of Ouvéa, Loyalty Archipelago, we find an history of resistance but also natives who prefer French-speaking citizenship and privileges.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Sanahin Cable Car, Armenia
Alaverdi, Armenia

A Cable Car Called Ensejo

The top of the Debed River Gorge hides the Armenian monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat and terraced Soviet apartment blocks. Its bottom houses the copper mine and smelter that sustains the city. Connecting these two worlds is a providential suspended cabin in which the people of Alaverdi count on traveling in the company of God.
Cilaos, Reunion Island, Casario Piton des Neiges
Cilaos, Reunion Island

Refuge under the roof of the Indian Ocean

Cilaos appears in one of the old green boilers on the island of Réunion. It was initially inhabited by outlaw slaves who believed they were safe at that end of the world. Once made accessible, nor did the remote location of the crater prevent the shelter of a village that is now peculiar and flattered.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Van at Jossingfjord, Magma Geopark, Norway
Natural Parks
Magma Geopark, Norway

A Somehow Lunar Norway

If we went back to the geological ends of time, we would find southwestern Norway filled with huge mountains and a burning magma that successive glaciers would shape. Scientists have found that the mineral that predominates there is more common on the Moon than on Earth. Several of the scenarios we explore in the region's vast Magma Geopark seem to be taken from our great natural satellite.
Armenia Cradle Christianity, Mount Aratat
UNESCO World Heritage

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Cahuita, Costa Rica, Caribbean, beach
Cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
holy bookcase
Tsfat (Safed), Israel

When the Kabbalah is a Victim of Itself

In the 50s, Tsfat brought together the artistic life of the young Israeli nation and regained its secular mystique. But famous converts like Madonna have come to disturb the most elemental Kabbalist discretion.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

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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.
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica, public boat
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.