Mid-October 1969: Other than brief layovers on our way to destinations afar, this would be my first real visit to Europe. Why my father chose Rome, Italy, and Madrid, Spain, as opposed to any other cities or countries, I never asked. With all the moving we had done, I had learned to go with the flow, and this attitude had served me well all those years.
I have vivid memories of Mass at the Vatican and our tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, both spiritually moving places. And I was both impressed with the Colosseum and amused by the multitude of cats that made the ancient ruins their home. But the sight that enthralled me most was the Victor Emmanuel Monument, a grandiose building of white marble with a massive curved colonnade.
In Madrid, I remember little of the city itself, but our day trip to Toledo stuck with me over the years, memorable enough that I would make a second visit decades later and two years after my father had passed away—a bittersweet return.
Next week: “Sailing the Virgin Islands Aboard the Schooner Mistress.”