In a few days I will have an anniversary marking three years since I began my European adventures. When I began my exploration I also started to create my blog. I think of my blog not only as a journal of my discoveries but also as a place to remember the stories I have heard, the people I have met, and the cultural differences which I have encountered.
I maintain my blog for myself so I can enjoy reliving memories from the many places I have visited. However, I have shared my blog with everyone and I can’t help but notice that people in 61 countries have read at least one of the 75 stories I have written. I hope that you, my readers, enjoy the glimpse into my life and my explorations.
This story is different from others I have written. I always try to add several photos into my stories to help bring memories alive. I have also noticed that I have a significant collection of photos from the past three years that have not been posted. So, this story is all about the faces I have encountered over the past three years.
The faces are some of the most interesting memories that I have. And since my travels continue, I expect to be adding more of them to this story in the future.
Three years ago, my adventure began in the small Spanish pueblo called Mijas. Mijas clings to the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I knew nobody in Mijas but soon met Steve and Brenda Armitage, a couple from the UK. They were the proprietors of a small shop in Mijas and we became friends.
While in Spain I needed an operation and Steve and Brenda were always checking on how I was doing. Today they operate “Tickled Pink,” a terrific gift shop. They gave me a gift of Betty Boop dressed in American attire as a memory of them and our friendship. I am looking forward to seeing them again in a few weeks when I return to Mijas and Spain for the winter.
As you may know, a morning cappuccino or latte is essential motivation for me to get out of bed! In Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Vasile Lupsac runs “Let’s Coffee” and hand crafts an exceptional brew.
Vasile’s coffee is not “made;” it is expertly crafted by a master coffee connoisseur! His coffee is a bit more expensive than others in Romania but the quality difference is unmistakable.
During my travels I have frequently observed someone whose face is just interesting. In seeing two faces, I recall Malta memories of listening to Francesco singing Sinatra tunes as he drove me around the Malta island in his little white taxi. The face of Anthony Muscat Brown, a retired 82 year old civil servant, reminds me of a Hemingway sea captain. Anthony loves to talk with Malta visitors and positions himself strategically in Sliema by the coast to meet people.
While Francesco and Anthony speak English, I have found other people elsewhere with memorable faces who don’t. However, their faces bring back unique memories of what I was doing that day when I took their photo.
In the photos below, the face of matador in Mijas, Spain, reminds me of the bullfight I attended; the man dressed for Oktoberfest in Vienna, reminds me how excited he was that I wanted to take his photo; a waiter in Spain’s Canary Islands rapidly waited on his customers; a man smoking in Zagreb, Croatia, let me take his photo in exchange for a cup of coffee; a man in the market in Ljubljana, Slovenia was just sitting there with fly-away hair; a fisherman tended to his nets in Marsaxlokk, Malta; and a resident in Pula, Croatia was particularly well groomed.
Each of these people have interesting faces that help me recall the things I have seen and the stories I have written about how those places have moved me.
Sometimes faces are remembered in a historic context and remind me of travels. Vlad, “The Impaler” in Romania’s Transylvania, reminds me of my search in “Dracula’s castle” and my story about “Stalking Dracula.” And the stone carved images of Hercules and Medusa from Pula, Croatia, remind me of the Augustus Temple where they are found and the great Roman Arena there.
Then there are times that faces in my journeys are whimsical and remind me of an adventure. Riley (a.k.a. “The Floozy”) and Oliver (a.k.a. “The Terrorist”) bring back memories of North Carolina when I “house sat” with the dogs last October. In Zagreb, Croatia, I captured the face of the commander’s noble steed at the changing of the guard.
There are so many sculptures of unique faces in Austria. A lion decoration on a fountain in Vienna’s Graben reminds me of Roman history in their old encampment Vindobona that predates modern Vienna. I thought that the court jester in Villach was unique and have since found there are others there that I will have to return to see. Finally, Salzburg’s Mirabell Gardens brings back scenes from “The Sound of Music” and the hunchback in the Zwerglgarten there from the 1700’s.
So, I end this chapter of this blog story thinking of the many places I have traveled to in the past three years. I plan for there to be many more faces to add in the future chapters. The faces and their stories add to the detail of my explorations and bring them alive. I enjoy writing my memories of my adventures in my blog, reliving them through the faces makes each of those memories precious.