Baby Boomer Peace Hit the Road

Travel memories caught on camera

For most people, taking photos is as much a part of the trip as plane tickets, suitcases and postcards. We want to be able to bring home memories and relive our travels.

With the advent of digital photography, making memories has become so incredibly easy and inexpensive, but most of us fail to make prints. Our photos stay on our phones, computers, laptops and tablets. With all the sharing technology available, maybe we don’t need prints, but there is something special about paging through a photo album. Sure, compared to today’s high-resolution photos, the prints-of-old may look a bit grainy and fuzzy, but they are still dear to our hearts and can bring back the special moments of our journeys.

Here are a few photos of some of the people my husband and I have encountered during out travels in past years. All except one are prints in our albums, which we ceased to assemble in 2005 when we bought our first digital camera.

Traveling to the Republic of Ireland in 1995 was our first trip abroad. We had considered Germany, but opted to ease into overseas travel by visiting a country that spoke English – except that it often was difficult to understand the Irish brand of it, especially in the rural areas. This boatman was a kindly, smiling fellow whose English was nearly indecipherable, except that we did understand his claim of a bit part in the 1952 film “The Quiet Man,” The movie was filmed in this area (near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border) and won John Ford an Oscar for Best Director.  The boatman offered tourists rides on Lough (Lake) Corrib near Ashford Castle, a monumental medieval stone structure built in 1228.
[Photo by Jerry Ondash]In May 2008, we traveled to China and began our 12-day tour in Beijing. Our guide took us into an area where the government has not destroyed the old neighborhoods or hutongs. Their preservation serves mostly to bring tourists so they can see how the urban Chinese used to live before hundreds of high rises were built. Hutongs are characterized by small, single-story dwellings that open onto narrow alleys. Communal bathrooms (one for each block) still exist. We also walked through a lively, thriving market in the hutong district where we saw this grandfather and grandson. Urban Chinese families are generally limited to one child, and since both parents work, the child is often raised by grandparents. These only-children often are treated like royalty – fed well and carried around by grandparents long after the children have learned to walk. According to our guide, this is causing an obesity problem in China’s youngest population. [Photo by Jerry Ondash]My husband, sister, brother-in-law and I were touring Rome and Tuscany in September 2001. We flew to Milan just a few days after 9/11 in a nearly empty 767. We didn’t cancel our trip, reasoning that the skies were probably safer than ever because everyone was on high alert. The flight attendants opened several bottles of champagne and shared them with us.
One afternoon, after touring the catacombs outside Rome, we were strolling through a neighborhood and came upon this knife sharpener. He rode his scooter through the nearby villages with his “workshop” strapped to the back – a compact, efficient operation for sure. Although the day was hot, he didn’t remove his sweater, maintaining a dignity and formality about his work. [Photo by E’Louise Ondash]On that same September 2001 trip, we just happened to be in Rome on the Sunday that Pope John Paul II was canonizing a half-dozen people (declaring them saints) from as many countries. We learned of the event the night before when we questioned a man who was setting up thousands of folding chairs in St. Peter’s Square. We figured tickets for the next-day’s event were long gone, but took a chance and wandered back to the square the next morning. Surprisingly, an usher showed us to some seats, so we pretended we belonged. Within the next hour, the chairs began to fill with thousands, including hundreds of nuns from the saints-to-be’s countries of origin. The atmosphere began to resemble a giant sporting event as nuns of all types filed in wearing color-coordinated baseball caps and carrying matching flags and banners proclaiming the name of their saints. I caught this nun as she entered the square. [Photo by E’Louise Ondash]I photographed this colorful and jolly Portuguese street vendor – she grinned and laughed at every potential customer – in October 2002 in the beach town of Nazare. She and many other women who were dressed similarly stood next to their carts loaded with several varieties of roasted nuts in the section of the town built on the top of a cliff. It can be reached only by riding a funicular. Visitors come to Nazare to see the splendid baroque Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazare that houses the statue of Our Lady of Nazare, purported to perform  miracles.  [Photo by E’Louise Ondash]Our family traveled to Slovakia in May 2002 after researching my husband’s family tree and found many cousins still in the country. His maternal and paternal grandparents had emigrated from eastern Slovakia to the United States in the early 1900s but left behind many relatives. My husband took this photo of the  eight cousins as they gathered in a window to say goodbye to us. Their parents had hosted a luncheon in their modest home (no indoor plumbing) on their small farm. They had laid out quite a feast but only the father and oldest daughter ate with us. The rest of the women served us, and the children in this photo had lined up against the wall to watch us eat and converse. I guess they considered the strange relatives from America entertaining. [Photo by Jerry Ondash]  In 2002, we spent about two weeks in Turkey with a group of 11, starting in Istanbul and making a circle eastward. Our guide was one of the best ever. He never ran dry when it came to spewing information on the country’s history and culture, and took us to several small towns and markets in between the major attractions. We found this line-up of older women at a town market somewhere in Eastern Turkey.  [Photo by E’Louise Ondash]

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