Behold the hundred universes

last update: 30 January 2022

In trying to better understand my odd little collection of interests, I started to wonder if scientific instruments, winemaking, olive oil, ceramics, playing bridge, museums great and small, the architecture of past, present and future, etc., and even great scientific discoveries, have anything in common. And not forgetting the pile of trivia I think I know, but occasionally discover I don't.

I guess they are all part of the same physical world, and the real difference is that we each look at that same world though different eyes.

Proust in The Prisoner (volume five of Remembrance of Things Past) wrote,

"The only true voyage of discovery,
the only fountain of Eternal Youth,
would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes,
to behold the universe through the eyes of another,
of a hundred others,
to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds,
that each of them is

Everyday, when waking up in the morning, I think that the world is born again, and that I will find something new that will feed my
joie de vivre and lift me like a wave. I treat it like a long awaited Christmas gift. I tear away the coloured paper, play with the box, and take apart the contents to see how they works.

I suppose the first thing to note is that I'm one of many thousands (or maybe millions) of people in the clan Smith. Google will tell you a lot about many Bernard Smith's, but not about me, unless of course you decided to search on 'bernardsmith', where you should be able to find my '.eu' and my '.name' websites. So, first things first, I'm not a recently deceased art historian, or a 17th C organ builder, and I did not start an all-white band called Jokers Wild in 1966.

I'm just someone who studied physics, worked for a while as a research physicist, then became a bureaucrat, which to my surprise I found surprisingly interesting. But not interesting enough to stop me retiring early. It was in 2007 when I realised I needed a six month vacation, … twice a year.

Even before retiring I played with building websites, etc., so it came quite naturally to use the webpage format to keep my ideas all tied together in one place. I see this website as a way to document my persistent, but somewhat
idiosyncratic, interest in everything from past civilisations to modern-day science & technology.

And being totally
idiosyncratic, have a look at this odd collection of "curiosities":-
History of the Châteaux de la Loire
Nobility in feudal Europe
An introduction to bridge
Olive trees and olives
A discussion on face recognition
An introduction to cyber warfare
The difference between pottery and ceramics
History of Buddhist temples in India
Visiting the Burj Khalifa
Dali Jewels
Did Leonardo build Chambord?
Guggenheim in Bilbao
La Sagrada Família
Altarpieces in the Prado
Where is Richard the Lionheart buried?
The new temples of wine
A hierarchy of Angels
Flying in an Airbus A380
Las Meninas - a symbolic labyrinth
Lunch in Del Cambio, Turin
The history of Rioja wine
Parma - home of Italian food, …

Just because my mind wanders, doesn't mean I'm lost…

I also have another website '' specifically dedicated to our family travels, and including reviews of hotels, aircraft, airports and airport lounges.

Our latest addition is a series of short travel reports, "Clin d'œil to the world", to Berlin, Siena, Graz, Novo Sancti Petri, Fregate Golf Club, Amelia Island, Corfu, Fiji, Singapore, Naples, Parma, Sainte-Maxime, Saint Endréol, … As someone once said, these short travel memories are our "footprints in the sands of time".

You can find more extensive reports on our extended visits to.-
Spain - Madrid, Barcelona, Cádiz, Málaga, Ronda, Bilbao, València, …
Castles of the Loire - Chenonceau, Chambord, Fontevraud
Dubai - The Mall, Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Beach
Phuket - Beaches, Temples, Khao Phing Kan, Thai Food and Fruit, …

The website also covers:-
Pre-Trip Planning, with topics such as vaccinations, medication and first-aid, travel insurance, security checks, packing lists (check-in and carry-on), hand washing clothes, buying suitcases, …
Reviews - Hotels & Restaurants
Reviews - Airports & Lounges
Reviews - Aircraft

I am building these two websites purely for personal reasons, and I have not designed them or their contents for any particular audience. But if by chance you have landed on one of my websites you are welcome, and any feedback is also more than welcome.

Best regards, and I hope you enjoy your visit.