The Kids’s Book That Impressed My Lifelong Love Of Journey

The list inspires travel

I have been blessed to have a well-traveled life. Over the years I’ve been able to visit some of my favorites from my list. Some of these trips have been quite an adventure. One of the greatest challenges was the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli hanging in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. I traveled around Italy by bus and when we visited Florence this gallery was not on the agenda but we had about an hour of free time. I didn’t leave town without seeing this painting. I literally ran through the streets of Florence to reach the museum and tore the halls until I got to the painting. I could spend about 10 minutes catching my breath and taking it all in. It was beautiful and so much bigger than I expected. Botticelli’s colors were vivid even after hundreds of years. It really is a masterpiece and my heart was full. Then I ran back to the bus.

I cried the first time I saw the Parthenon and I still can’t believe the emotional reaction I was experiencing. I know it sounds hokey, but I’d dreamed of seeing it for so long. This was a completely unplanned trip. I was stationed in Germany at a military airfield that houses the planes that were used to transport high-ranking officers all over Europe. If any seats were open, soldiers could take an available flight. My roommate called me at work and said if I could get a passport we could fly to Athens tomorrow. I dropped everything so I could make the trip. We reached the US military base in Athens with just enough time to get a taxi to the Acropolis before it closed.

The Ghent Altarpiece was painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck and hangs in St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. This piece of art has a storied past that is worth putting on a bucket list. The Ghent altarpiece consists of 24 wooden panels and hangs in the place for which it was designed. NPR calls it the world’s most sought-after painting. It has been stolen several times, looted in wars, sold illegally and a panel is still missing. When I saw it, I only knew it as a famous work of art, but nothing about its detailed history. Now it’s even better known from the movie The Monuments Men, in which the main characters search for it across Europe after the Nazis stole it.

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