The most other-wordly trip I have ever embarked upon is a self-guided hike through the ancient pilgrimage routes of Japan. These paths exist in the mountains and you come across ancient Buddhist shrines as well as more modern but distinctly memorable holy places, such as this cemetery. Thank you Japan for keeping something special in the post-modern world where everywhere seems the same.
On this trip to Europe, there have been a few things I’ve noticed that seem different to previous trips. All those reports we have all seen about African and Middle Eastern migrants appearing on the shores of southern Italy….well, its not just southern Italy. Our hotel is near the central station of Milan ….our cabbie confirmed that around 100 migrants rejected by France appear here everyday. They sleep rough in the environs of the monolithic Milan train station. These displaced people co-exist with the high fashion and international financial centres that Milan is known for. They are the symbolic Other, not part of the new society except as outsiders, interlopers, or the rejected. It appears they inspire a mixture of pity, resentment and indifference. They stand out even more to me , having just come from Nice where so many relax in the sun and enjoy beautiful hotels. I hope Europe can find a better solution for these people than what I am seeing from my hotel window.
Travelling through beautiful Nice, and watching the insanity and violence on CNN, I painted an image of a world away from the recent horrors and familiar stupidities.
This visit helps you understand the scale of the battle that books and films cannot do.
Strangely enough, the whole cliff top including the views and even the bunkers was incredibly beautiful. The way the 70 years has created delicate patterns on the walls of the bunkers was unexpected and exquisite. There was a juxtaposition of death with beauty.
This cemetery is a solemn place that gives the visitor a tangible indicator of the scale of the loss of life in the Normandy battle.
As we travel through Paris, an historic heatwave befalls the city (32 degrees), and the beautiful metropolis is like Australia in summer. Crowds, sweat, trains to the great galleries….is it possible to commune with great art in the presence of multitudes? Sometimes…yes.