B and K enjoy traveling and writing about the people, places, events, and things that have happened to them during their travels. Kay has been on a dozen cruises and Ben about half that number.
Ben’s Basque roots took them to Spain and France by car, exploring the major cities in Spain and the Basque country between Spain and France along the Pyrenees Mountains.
Kay’s Italian roots took them to Italy and the major cities of Rome, Florence and Venice.
Exploring the many interesting places in the U.S. is a work in progress, inspiring many interesting and informative travel writings.
A travel story:
ITALY, MY FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL
A number of years ago I traveled to Italy with a group from my local professional association. It was a planned tour through a travel agency, designed for the group as a whole but the experience was quite personal.
Our guide, let’s call her “B”, was a wisp of a young lady dressed in a dark, wool sweater and skirt with leg tight boots that came to her knees. She said, “My name is “B” and I’m a Roman.”
Educated for many years in the culture and history of Italy with a specialty in Rome,B talked non-stop about the history, culture, architecture, and people of her City. She carried an umbrella on the end of which was a large, colorful scarf. Holding up the umbrella above the crowds, she would tell us to follower her and we did to some of the world’s greatest architectural and cultural treasures.
The Coliseum suddenly appeared in the middle of an urban area that had grown up around it over the many hundreds of years since the Roman’s erected it. It looked strangely out of place, like it didn’t belong there. The truth however was evident, it belonged where it was and the urban sprawl that surrounded it, didn’t.
Vatican City appeared around the side of a high wall covered with graffiti. We went to the head of the long line waiting to enter the City because B had made a reservation for our group. She knew the gatekeepers by name as we were given entrance to the dismay of the hundreds of tourists standing in line who did not have a reservation.
As we entered and began our walk around the covered walk-way we notice a gathering in the center of the square. Standing in front of the small group was the Pope; it was his weekly appearance and we were privileged to listen to his words coming over the public address system. It was inspiring, not so much in the religious sense but more in the cultural sense; here he was, the head of the world-wide Catholic Church just standing out in the open air talking to all who listened and in awe of his presence.
The capstone of the day for me was B’s reaction to my question, “Why do you tolerate the graffiti especially on such a sacred place as the wall to Vatican City? In America, we have laws against this conduct and when the perpetrators are caught in the act, they are arrested and prosecuted.”
In an indignant and condescending tone, B replied, “In our country this is considered art work and it has been accepted for hundreds of years.”
I thought to myself, there must be some truth to the much quoted phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans’ do.”
However, as an older adult I had no desire to spray paint anything on the ancient walls of Rome and Vatican City and was more than a bit dismayed that the locals accepted this behavior as “ancient art work” especially when done by modern-day-Roman brats.
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