This was written for a newsletter at work, I work for the USPS, and I was assigned to write the article myself. I had to write it from a third person perspective. This trip was in the summer of 2002.
Call it a promise kept.
When Dale White’s son, Jared White, enlisted in the Army, he requested Europe as his choice of assignment. In November of 2000, after finishing boot camp, he shipped out to Vilseck, Germany. Before Jared left, his dad promised to come over and see him before he came home.
That’s why, from June 20 through July 4, Dale visited Rome, Athens and the Greek island of Santorini. When asked what was his favorite part of the trip, he says it was the time spent with his son. “He’s been over there for a year and a half and I wanted to see him.”
Dale’s an electronic technician on tour 2 who’s worked for the P.O. for almost 7 years. He said that, “Jared has a six month detail as a peace keeper in Kosovo starting in November,” so this was the last summer before he comes home that Dale could visit him on the continent.
They spent the first 5 days of the trip in Rome, including a side trip south to visit the ruins of Pompeii. Dale’s interest in archeology is the motivating factor behind his selection of destinations. Three years ago he traveled to Turkey to see the ruins of Ephesus, Troy and 5 of the seven churches of the book of Revelations.
This trip they visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum (including the Palatine hill where the emperors lived), the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Vatican.
“St. Peter’s Basilica was unbelievable,” Dale said, “the sculptures, the altar, the architecture, but most of all knowing the history and the people who’d been here before was all very awe-inspiring.” He arranged a tour of the sub-crypt through the excavations office before leaving Spokane. “The Basilica is located on the site where St. Peter was buried. In other words, on top of a graveyard.” The sub-crypt is the excavation of that graveyard located outside the circus of Nero where Peter was martyred.
Of course, not all their time in Rome was spent visiting remains of the Roman Empire. On one of the guided tours they took, they discovered the Piazza Navonna. “We were on a bus tour called Illuminated Rome. It started at 8 PM and they took us from place to place so we could see everything lit up.” The last stop was the piazza. They had such a good time during the 15 minute stop that they decided to stay. It was around 11 PM and the plaza was full of people; performance artists, sketch artists and musicians. That’s where the picture on the front cover was drawn.
Leaving Rome, they took the train to Bari, Italy where they boarded the ferry for the 15½ hour trip to Greece.
After taking the bus from Patras, where the ferry landed, to Athens, they visited the Acropolis, site of the Parthenon and walked the streets that Socrates and Plato had walked. “Also, the souvenir shopping was terrific in Athens”, Dale said. It seems that one of his favorite parts of any vacation is coming up with memorable trinkets from his journeys. “My mantle at home is covered with stuff from Turkey, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and Leavenworth, WA.”
In the middle of their visit to Athens, they took a three day trip to the island of Santorini. The ancient site of Akrotiri on the island is believed by some to be the source of the Atlantis legend. The island was the site of a huge volcanic eruption around 1600 BCE. The tidal wave from that eruption wiped out the Minoan civilization on Crete and traveled all the way to the north coast of Africa. But the task for Dale and his son was less intrusive. Lay on the beach and relax for 3 full days, as well as sampling the cuisine.
The people that know him check their watches before asking him to describe the food on his trip, because they know it won’t be a short answer. We won’t go into details here, suffice it to say that he was impressed. If you feel you have the time, ask him yourself, you won’t be disappointed with the answer.