Upload & Sell: On
My first trip to Europe was aboard a Greek freighter. My former wife and I spent two months in Greece, most of it rambling through ruins. I'd poured over history books and guide books, then upon my return and after enrolling in a graduate program in architecture, I gave an hour lecture on the art and architecture of Crete. So when you encourage me to visit ruins, you're talking to the right person. I loved visiting Ephesus when Rinie and I traveled in Turkey this spring. It was as though I'd completed a chapter of the history that began in Greece and extended east and north to the shores of Turkey. i imagine to a certain extent the same is true of Italy, though the Romans certainly made their own mark on the landscape with great buildings. I've explored in Venice, Ravenna, Rome, Florence and Siena. I love Italy. It would be a delight to visit again. I spent a month in Italy, traveling in October. I prefer to travel away from the heavy tourist season when temperatures are a bit milder. The trip to Greece was through November and December before a train trip to Paris, and Copenhagen with a flight to London before returning to the cold weather of the United States in time to watch my football team lose in the Super Bowl...
Another great place is Tunisia. Loads of amazing Roman and Carthaginian ruins to visit. Stunning scenery if you go in April when the poppies are in bloom and plenty of more modern arabic style medieval towns as well. The mosaics museum in Tunis is worth the visit alone. Of course maybe wait till the political situation has calmed down a bit first.
My trip to Greece aboard a Greek freighter included a stop in Tripoli, Libya. This will be ancient history for some of you but it was 1969, shortly after the revolution that brought Kaddafi to power. When we approached the port the captain was scurrying about to make certain some products were stored away. We asked what it was all about and the second officer said they were making certain things associated with companies owned by Jewish families were out of sight. There was also concerned about whether my wife and I were Jewish. Shortly a couple of soldiers arrived on a small boat and we were ordered to the dining room. Our passports were taken and we were given yellow cards. It turned out we were the first ship that had arrived since the revolution who was permitted to disembark passengers.
We did adventure out and it was quite a scene. Photos of Kaddafi were in practically every store window. Jeeps with machine guns mounted on the back raced through the narrow streets. Soldiers stopped us repeatedly to check our cards. Quite a number of Europeans approached us for information about what was happening. They wanted to leave but were unable to do so. My wife, a tall beautiful woman with blond hair who was wearing bright yellow slacks was of much interest to men lounging around.
We decided to visit the museum to look at archeological finds and discovered we were the only people in the museum. A guard followed us, no more than fifteen feet away the whole time. We discovered that all the English signs describing exhibits had been torn from the wall. It was not at comforting experience at all.
Tunisia is doubtless a wonderful place to visit but not at this time in its history and not as an American. Too many nasty characters out there who would love nothing better than to kidnap or kill an American. Besides, the wine is better in Italy...