Tuesday, April 2, 2013

500 years is the new New

The State of Florida has designated this week as Viva Florida 500 Week in recognition of it being 500 years since Ponce de Leon landed and gave the state its name, La Florida.  The week’s activities are part of the year-long commemoration of Florida’s history and will focus on people and events throughout the last half-millennium.  More information can be found at www.vivaflorida.org.
So what does this have to do with a Mediterranean cruise, you ask? 
As I was reading about Florida’s celebration of 500 years, I thought about how the United States will celebrate her 237th birthday this summer while we will be in Europe.  And it reminded me of our tour guide in Rome in 2007 telling us about the periods of time and architecture and how anything that was built after 1400 was considered to be new.  Over 600 years old and considered new?? 
When visiting regions with storied pasts that go back over 20 centuries, you can see why the perspective on what is new might differ from somewhere that doesn’t have as far to look back.  Whenever we travel to parts of the world with long, documented histories, we stand in awe and amazement at how things have survived and wonder at how much has been lost.  I’m a voyeur by nature, so when we do get to glimpse into the past, whether by visiting ruins or traipsing through museums, I stop to consider not only what life must have been like for the people of the ages, but what we might be leaving for future generations to find.  How can we take care of the places and things that belong to our time, to our age, and preserve them for our descendants?
While cruising is a great time for fun, relaxation, and enjoying family time, it offers a way to see more of the world without the logistics of finding a place to stay, where to eat, and navigating from place to place.  These things can be intimidating, so a cruise takes them out of the equation and offers the opportunity for passengers to expand their experiences and take in places they might otherwise never be.  And as part of those experiences, if they pause even for a moment to reflect on the people who walked before them, the people who built and lived and loved in the places they stand, perhaps they will at that moment consider how they will impact the future.
Viva the World!

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