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 in Fez
(True, Donkeys have the right of way in the
(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
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
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.