More Travel Memories.
Here are four more special moments recalled from my travels over the past 15 or 20 years. Some I knew were special at the time, but others are incidents that still keep popping up in my memory without warning and at any time.
Belgium. We spent two nights in the town of Ypres where some 800,000 men from all armies were killed in World War One battles memorialized by the famous poem that begins “In Flanders fields where poppies grow…” A number of historic buildings in Ypres, including the town’s magnificent cathedral, appear to date back to the Middle Ages. Wrong! Every building in the town, including the cathedral, was reduced to rubble in 1914-15, but carefully rebuilt to original plans after the war. Fact: Despite appearances, not a single structure in this town is more than 100 years old.
France. Lunch served on the outdoor patio of the Hotel Esplânade in Domme, a medieval village overlooking the Dordogne River valley in the Périgord region of France. This is where I was served the perfect omelet–perfect in shape, in texture, in taste and in presentation, the standard by which every omelette ever since has been judged … and has fallen short.
Australia.I visited the Katherine School of the Air which uses computers and audio connections to educate some 250 students scattered over hundreds of thousands of square miles of the vast, remote Australian Outback. Loomis Question: “What’s the most difficult program to teach when your students are many hundreds of miles away?” Teacher response: “Choir.”
United States. Every time I travel by one of Amtrak’s long distance trains, especially on any of the western routes, I make the same inescapable observation: there are a helluva lot of poor people in this country—men and women and, most especially, children, all living in crowded trailer parks or in ramshackle broken down houses. You see it from the train. And something has to be done about it.