1975 Our First Trip to Europe & The Middle East Note: I am writing this belated journal in April 2015 while on a 10-day cruise to Barcelona Spain. I really should have written it years ago, as I now realize there are gaps in my memory of 40 years past. I did make a list of places and dates taken from a previous passport and from those skeletal remains I will try to flesh out my travels with Jim Hewitt, my love and my partner from 1973 to 1978. In 1973, New Orleans was a mystical place and I was into the "New Age" stuff that was more ancient than the mainstream Christian culture from which I came. Astrology, was taken seriously in this Scorpio city to which I felt such an affinity. I had recently read the 4 Gospels of Jesus while living in the woods and saw similarity to Buddhism (theory that Jesus fell in with some Eastern Mystics in those lost years between 12 & 30). This was where I was at when I met Jim who was into Eastern filosofy and had a Spiritual Master, Meher Baba. We visited the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach South Carolina and even talked of someday visiting Baba's Samadhi (tomb) in Ahmednagar, India. A little background of the time. This was the '70s when young ppl with long hair and beards (Hippies) hitch-hiked all over the U.S. and even backpacked thru Europe. We talked with someone who'd done it and were convinced that we could do it. So, having passports and vaccination records from our trip to Centro America, we got tickets for a flight to Luxembourg. We quit our jobs at Montanari Clinical School in Hialeah, Florida and got one of those cheap air fares to Europe. The plan was to get to Europe then take trains, ferries and buses thru the Middle East to India. On the way we were to go to Assisi, Italy - a pilgrimage to St. Francis. We left Hialeah on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4, 1975 (This was not planned, just synchronicity I suppose) and within a day were landing at Luxembourg. We took a shuttle into the city and got a room for one nite at a cheap bed & breakfast. The bed was ancient and the mattress lumpy. The rate of exchange was not so great in North Europe and we only got some snacks before getting a train to Italy. Just a note about youthful, counter-culture travel in the '70s. We did no research except looking at a map of the countries we would be going thru. We may have gotten visas for some in the Middle East ahead of time but I can't remember. I don't recall needing any in Europe, just showed our passports when needed and getting it stamped. At Milano we thot we'd stay the nite but stepping out of the train station discovered it was a huge metropolis so back into the station, had an antipasto meal and within a couple of hours were on another train south. The same thing happened in Fiorenzo., (We thot of these cities in the Renaissance times and never considered 500 years of growth) In Italy we got by with Jim's limited Spanish he learned from Puerto Ricans in NYC. I was also learning a little from our trips thru Centro America in 1974 & 75. Finally, we arrived at Assisi, which was still quaint, in a rural setting of olive groves and not too developed. We saw Ancient Roman building doorways next to Medieval era buildings. We got a room there for a nite and explored the town and Basilica of St. Francis. There were still a lot of Franciscan Monks in brown robes in town from the feast. We missed seeing the body of St. Francis but did see St. Clare (still attractive after 700 years). This is where we had our first real meal, salad and spaghetti with marinara sauce at our hotel and some pizza while walking about. From Assisi we took a train to Brindisi, the port city where we caught a ferry to Greece on October 10. My memories of the short time we spent in Brindisi were the bold gay men who kept hissing at us on the sidewalks. I'm surprised I didn't get my ass pinched. Jim and I accompanied each other going to the restroom. The ferry ride was mostly overnight and we tried sleeping on a deck but it was quite cool. The next day we landed at Patras, a small Greek seaside town on a peninsula outside of Athens and got a room to enjoy the Mediterranean for a while. We ate mostly in our room, bread, wine, cheese and canned stuffed grape leaves. Then, we took a bus to Athens, where we got another hotel room and enjoyed wandering the city. While in Athens, Jim convinced me to go to the Acropolis. I was reluctant to do typical tourist stuff and paying the $1 admission but we went and looked at this marvel of ancient Greek architecture, mostly in ruin. It is amazing to see such stonework, knowing the limited tools at the time. How did they do it?