This is the first blog for my new website. I decided to discuss my two passions - photography and travel. Making photographs, for me, is capturing a moment in time. Many of those moments can be seen in the galleries of my website which (the reader) can peruse. They are often made while I have been traveling. But some of my favorite moments while traveling could not be caught with a camera. They had to be caught and stored in my memory. I recall them now and again and smile.
One occurred in the late '90s in Vienna at the Sacher Hotel where I was staying. I had wandered in to the Blue Bar with my trusty Herald Tribune crossword puzzle. As I ordered a glass of wine I noticed a long table set up in the middle of the room. I asked the waiter if it was okay if I sat in the adjacent booth? He said, of course, please do. Soon a large party of Italians arrived and numerous bottles of Crystal were poured and consumed. Many toasts (in Italian) were made but I didn't know to whom or for what.
I finished my second glass of wine and asked the waiter for the check as the large party was called in to dinner and were leaving for the next room. The waiter gave the bill to a young man (the only person left at the large table) who had spoken only Italian to his group and now spoke Austrian German to his waiter. I decided to inquire of the young man what the celebration was for? In perfect English, he replied it is my parents 50th wedding anniversary today and they were married here in the hotel. Remarkably, he went on to say, the entire wedding party was able to attend and join us here in Vienna. In addition, my wife and I were happy to announce that we have a child on the way. I expressed my congratulations then went back to signing my bill and preparing to leave. But I turned to him again and said - you are a very lucky man! He smiled, beamed really, and said yes, I think you are right. Thank you for reinforcing something I sometimes forget to realize. Our eyes held each other for a moment and then I said goodnight as did he. I never saw him again. I have thought of him occasionally and hoped his life continued on it's fortuitous path.
A moment shared by two people who said pleasant things to one another and had a shared, happy encounter. You see those moments are also why I travel. It isn't just seeing sights, making photographs or being able to say I went here or there. It is shared snippets of time experienced with others. It is human beings and our interactions that, although small in scope, make us glad to be part of the larger whole. No photograph or any other art form could have expressed that moment. And until now it has been locked in my travel memory bank.......to be continued......