As their cruise took them along Croatia , Greece , Italy , and France , one thing that stood out to the couple was the sheer magnitude of history each place had to offer . Larry described walking through Florence in awe of the statues that were built in the 15th or 16th century . These historical aspects made for some surreal blends of past and present , such as in Split , Croatia . “ You go into this old Roman ruin — and , I mean , it ’ s Roman ruins ! B . C . times ! And , there ’ s vendors in there selling junk , but they ’ re in this ancient Roman edifice . It ’ s just phenomenal ,” Larry said .
The differences in culture were also a fun experience , such as in the Greek island of Crete , where Larry and J . Chris drove four-wheel-drive Suzukis up to the island ’ s highest point . At each of their stops , the locals gave them shots of the Greek liquor ouzo or limoncello , and then allowed them to get back into their cars and drive away . “ There ’ s no way there would be a government sponsored liquor distribution when you ’ re driving [ in America ],” Larry laughed .
In most Italian cities , the couple were surprised to find they had to pay for public restrooms or shopping carts , and that the cost of sitting down at a street bar was three times more than if you stood and enjoyed your drink . Even the way of eating was different , often favoring quality over quantity . “ You go to these restaurants , and you get two or three ravioli , but they ’ re so flavorful ,” Larry described . “ They had this great aroma and this light marinara sauce on them . It was just a different way of eating .”
Respecting the different customs and the culture ’ s language went a long way . Larry , who speaks a little Italian , Spanish , and Greek , would make an effort to speak to the locals in their native tongue . “ If you are friendly and try to talk a little bit [ in their language ] people just light up ,” Larry explained . The people would talk to Larry faster than he could keep up . Although he couldn ’ t hold a proper conversation with them , his effort delighted them .
If given a chance to go back , J . Chris would definitely revisit Rome . Because her parents had an audience with the Pope for her mother ’ s work with Saint Joseph ’ s Family Center , Rome has personal significance to her . She already knew much of Rome ’ s history due to her Catholic background , and she enjoyed seeing it come to life in the Vatican City Museum and in the exquisitely detailed paintings of the Sistine Chapel . She found Rome ’ s busy city life vibrant and exciting , especially their little cars , which would zip through the city and be double parked in myriad ways , much to the couple ’ s amusement .
For Larry , he would revisit Villefranche-sur-Mer , a little fishing village nestled on the coast of France . He and J . Chris loved its colorful buildings and rustic walkways so much that they bought a painting of the area . He enjoyed the peace of sitting by the ocean and enjoying a cappuccino .
Larry and J . Chris have always had a keen eye for spotting the vibrance of the people and places within their community , which is what made gmhToday so compelling for its readers . Traveling abroad has proved to be no different . J . Chris said that the character of each place overwhelmed her . She and Larry loved seeing so many new places and meeting new people . Truly , it was a trip of a lifetime .
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