"Promotion Man"  Chapter 2, Cont.

We awoke every morning to the hoofbeats coming from the street below, as columns of Moroccan Royal Calvary passed. Cadets in regal uniforms sat astride elegant black mules in double file columns marching down the avenue. They flew the King's colors from long pikes and we'd been told they were the ceremonial escorts for the Moroccan royal family on state occasions and in national parades. The mules were beautiful huge animals and their colorfully festooned bridals and saddles were true works of art. We watched this ancient world parade pass us by as we sipped our morning mint tea at a sidewalk cafe on the street below our hotel room. Time sometimes seemed to stand still, but in this most fantastic ancient city, time seemed to fly by and all too soon we had to pack.

After a few short weeks in this fantastic ancient city of Fez we were running low on necessary supplies for our young son Christian and were anxious to get back to a modern city and find a western style drug store. We rented a small French car in the city center and began our drive through the desert, speeding along on a narrow strip of asphalt winding through the seemingly endless sandy landscape and finally we reached the gates of the biblical city Rabat. A festival of some sort was in progress and the streets were packed with colorfully dressed people blocking every access, we stayed long enough to take in the sights and moved on through the desert once again.

We spent the night at a shoddy ocean front hotel somewhere along the way, and early the next morning began the drive up the foggy coastline toward Tangier. Tangier is a large city that is nothing like the ancient towns we'd visited recently, there was little there to remind us we were still in Morocco, except the ubiquitous street vendors in caftans selling hand made trinkets to tourists.

We overnighted in a smart European style hotel next to the harbor and booked passage on the morning ferry back to the European continent. The customs officials leaving the country were far more meticulous than the ones we encountered at our entry, we stood waiting as an agent examined every inch of our luggage.

Christian on the Train
(Note the ABB Tee Shirt)
The Medina
The Medina in Fez
(True, Donkeys have the right of way in the Medina)

Innsbruck, Austria
(Great food, great beer and great skiing)

Gondola ride, Venice
(So many things to do here

Thankfully we'd flushed all contraband and quickly boarded the ferry and set out from Tangier Morocco to Tarifa Spain. Most of our credits remained on our Eurrail pass and we traveled by train to Rome for a few days where we toured the Vatican Museum several times, went through the Sistine Chapel and of course visited the Roman Coliseum.

Then by train it was up to Florence and touring the famous Piazza Duomo, Uffizi museum, Michelangelo's statue of David and other iconic works by Florentine artists. After a few days of sightseeing in Florence we were on our way again, this time to Venice for an extended layover. Once in Venice we did what all tourist do, rode in a gondola, took a trip to the island of Murano where we watched hand blown glass artists fashion intricate works and delicate art treasures for the crowds. Amazed by the fiery spectacle we bought a elaborate glass chandelier as a souvenir of our visit.

Fatigued from the constant touring we caught a sleeper train to Innsbruck Austria and rented a cozy room in a Tyrolian chalet at the foot of a mountain looming above the village. Our room overlooked the city and on the bed were stacked fluffy white foot-thick duck down comforters, a welcome touch at night for keeping the cold mountain air at bay.

We took a gondola cable car to the top of the mountain where we could almost see the entire range of sharp peaks that jutted skyward in the Tyrolean Alps. We bought a complete set of ski equipment and taught ourselves how to ski on soft icy spring snow at the most spectacular mountain range in Europe. In the evenings, after a day of skiing and we'd gather back at the chalet and take a steaming hot bath in a huge bathtub the size of a small car, then we'd a walk down through the village streets to a family owned beer tavern, relax by an blazing log fire and enjoy the freshly brewed local beer and dine on the best veal schnitzel in the world.

After skiing a couple of weeks on various Tyrolian slopes, we were restless again for new sights and hopped on an overnight train through the Austrian and Swiss Alps into Zurich Switzerland. Zurich was a disappointment, it was a cold gray city where everything cost twice as much as anywhere else.

The next morning we made a hasty return to the train station, boarded the bullet-train to Amsterdam and sped north at 150 mph. The landscape was a blur of multi-colored tulip fields, farms and wooden windmills doting the very flat landscape most of which had been reclaimed from the sea, as is most land in the Netherlands.

We arrived at the stately gray stone train station in downtown Amsterdam and instantly fell in love with the city, it's beautiful architecture, the narrow multi-story homes lining cobblestone streets along the canals and the liberal lifestyle of Amsterdam citizens. "Amsterdam is the city I could live in forever, I never got tired of hearing about it's unique history, or looking at the collections of eclectic art in the many museums and envying the gracious lifestyle that evolved from centuries of free thinking, open minded people ... I loved it."

Only two short weeks in Amsterdam, damn. We felt bad leaving, but we'd planned on seeing the King Tut exhibition at the British Museum before it left London, it was the first time the collection had been on public display outside of Egypt. We caught the ferry across the English channel and took a five day layover in London to visit the Tut exhibition many times and of course to see all the more famous sights.

After our many museum and Tower Of London crown jewel tours, we left the city and went south by train to the seaside resort of Brighton. Our first night we lodged at a local family owned B & B enjoying the unique English breakfast, made from whatever was served at dinner the previous night, plus two eggs and a banger (sausage). After a few days of old school English seaside relaxing we were ready to move on and we rented a camper van and began a leisurely drive through the lush green countryside of Western England toward Wales.

"It took me a few miles to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. However, I picked it up on it  quickly and drove into Wales where we toured the old gray stone B & B's and Pubs in every hamlet along the way, some of the pubs had been open and serving the public for several hundred years. We'd stop in quaint smoky pubs for warm beer and some pub-grub and listen to the locals chat in their native Welsh language. Although my father's family was of Welsh origin, I couldn't understand a word of the language, I was just thankful the road signs printed in Welsh were also printed in English."

Finally, after a few months the time our departure date approached, we backtracking over the channel by ferry, then by train we quickly passed through Belgium's industrial grime and arrived in the micro-country of Luxembourg with a day to spare before our return flight to America. Time enough to relax, gather our thoughts and reflect on our once in a lifetime travel adventure.

"After being  deeply involved in other cultures for months and outside your comfort zone, the mind opens up to new possibilities and new potential. This extended travel adventure was a life changing experience for me. I hadn't thought about the music business one time, my only thoughts were about the people I loved, my family and friends"

The months of travel seemed to go by in an instant and before we knew it we were inside of a plane flying over the dark waters of the Atlantic and back into Atlanta. We gathered our backpacks from the airport baggage carousel, hailed a cab and told the driver to get us to the nearest Krystal hamburger joint where we wolfed down about a dozen of their tasty little sliders, the first "real" burgers we'd had for months.

Life was good... and it was good to be home.


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