Once again, I seem to be eating. We were traveling through Israel and the West Bank with my sister, who works for a NGO and has spent a lot of time there. She introduced us to shawarma. Seriously good stuff!
We stayed in Jericho in the West Bank for a few nights and had shawarma at a place in town. The restaurant had a cart on the street where they kept the food warm and prepared the shawarma. As we stood there on the street, we watched the tourists drive by in their air-conditioned buses. Sitting high above the streets and looking down on the activity. Never a part of it. Just looking on and not getting to really experience any of it. What a pity, to be so close and miss the opportunity to come to a better understanding of the people in the countries that you are visiting.
Wait a minute, he only had three of the flat bread that he needed. There were four of us. He told us that he needed to get some more. We stood on the sidewalk and talked and watched everything that was going on around us while we waited. The needed bread arrived. We didn’t see how the bread got there but were too hungry to spend much time thinking about it. When I was looking at my photos, I saw the delivery man that brought the bread.
I think we might have been distracted by the truck loads of Palestinian Forces driving by.
Everyone knows that after a good meal a cup of coffee is needed and here’s the guy for you. Starbucks Palestinian style.
Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Trevi Fountain? With it’s over the top baroque architecture, the pictures were always so beautiful. What the pictures didn’t prepare me for, was the people! I was amazed when we turned the corner and run into the mass of tourists there.
A few mornings later, we were out for an early walk when we rediscovered the fountain without the tourists. It was between eight and nine and the fountain was shut down for cleaning and it was very interesting to watch them clean and remove all of the money from it.
We bought some breakfast from the McDonald’s (I know, I know, but it was what was open) just down the street and sat there at the fountain and enjoyed our breakfast and coffee. It was lovely.
The legend has it that if you stand with your back to the fountain and toss a coin into it, you will return. We didn’t toss any coins in and we haven’t been back. I really should have tossed a coin in.
After 12 years, I had managed to convince my husband to give Europe another try. We had an overnight flight from San Francisco and after changing planes at Charles de Gaulle we finally landed at Nice, France. After clearing immigration and customs, we exited the airport, found bus #99 and boarded it for the ride to the main Nice train station. I remember being a little worried that we wouldn’t get on the right train and a very helpful French woman (who didn’t speak English) tried to help us. I need not to have worried. It was easy to find the right train and after a short ride, we disembarked in Villefranche-sur-Mer. The picture above was taken that first morning as we walked from the train station to the Welcome Hotel where we had reservations. As we walked down the road in the morning sunshine with the occasional glimpses of the sparkling Mediterranean, I thought, “I cannot believe this! It is so beautiful. Just fantastic!”
That’s what travel is all about: the unexpected. Unexpected is not always good, but most the time it is fantastic.