60 years after the first ever trip abroad partly by ship,partly by car and first time with a group of Rotarians from Jerusalem and Nazareth

In October of 1954 the Directing Committee of YMCA in Nazareth decided to send a delegation to next year 100th. jubilee of the Association to be held in Paris France.

That year 1955 as a member of the board of directors I joined the delegation that included Rotarians, secretary of the YMCA Association in Israel Mr. Lesli Putnam and his wife and also his secretary from Jerusalem and from Nazareth Sami Geraysi, Walid Hamati and myself.

On Wednesday the 3rd. of August 1955 we sailed on the beautiful Italian ship “Philippo Grimani” from Haifa, and it was the first trip ever abroad, the first time in a ship and with a group not very well known to me.

On the second day the ship anchored opposite Larnaca in Cyprus and we visited the town which looked shabby and more like a big village. However the next port was Pireus in Greece and there,we went out to visit the old Greek Acropolis after which sailed again passing through the strait of Messina then parallel to the famous volcano “Stromboli” and last the ship anchored in Napoli where we visited the famous historic city of Pompeii, had a glimpse of the Vesuvius Volcano.

It is important to mention here that Mr. Putnam, secretary of the YMCA in Jerusalem brought with him his new Chevrolet Station car, which was parked down in the Garage section of the ship. In Napoli we took the ship out and started our drive towards the eternal city, Rome. We were all astounded to see the old historic buildings of the city, the colosseum, the majestic churches, the wide streets and the beautiful fountains and above all Church of St. Peter in the Vatican City. Later in the day we went out of Rome driving north, and towards 10 in the evening we arrived to a city called Grosseto where we noticed multitudes

of people roaming its streets. We understood it was the feast of the city’s Guardian Saint Lorenzo, so we joined the procession and went with the people to its huge church and attended part of the Mass for that occasion. There in Grosseto we saw for the first time what is a Television and after watching some Italian programs we were invited by Sami for a taste of pieces of water melons sold in the streets and around midnight.

Next morning we continued driving north towards the city of the inclined tower, Pisa, then started to drive in the Italian Riviera and then the French Riviera and when we entered San rimo it was near midnight so decided to find a hotel, but as it was summer season found no free rooms at all. Ultimately found one room in a simple hotel which we were obliged to take and had the ladies with Mr. Putnam and Walid stay in it and Sami and myself had to be satisfied with the car seats as our beds that night.
The next morning as we were driving in France knew that Paris was 900 km away, here Mr. Putnam asked me to drive and requested that the next day we had to be in Paris for the start of the convention programs. The car was new and strong, the streets were wide and well asphalted so what remained was to press on the gas and fast the car went. The next day around 7 in the evening we saw the first sign of WELCOME TO PARIS.

Yusef Srouji
November 2014

Cyprus:

Approaching strait of Corinth

Sami and Yusef in Larnaca drinking cocacola 1st time ever

Sami and Yusef on  Board the ship to YMCAS Cent. 1955

Sami and Yusef on the Acropolis in Athens

Sami at the Gate of the Royal Palace in Athens

Strait of Corinth

The four Nymphs of the Acropolis in Athens

YMCA Cent '55 Before Boarding the ship

Yusef at the Gate of the Royal Palace in Athens

Yysef in one of the streets of Larnacy-Cyprus 1955

Roma:

Acropolis of Athens Greece

Yusef on the steps of St. Peter Church Rome 1955

Yusef in Fontana Di Trevi in Rome wishing. 1955

YMCA Cent 1955 Rome Flag

Visiting Pompeii Itgaly 1955

Sami in Fontana Di Trevi in Rome 1955

Sami and Yusef with a Papal Guard in the Vatican 1955

Rome, The Vatican City and St. Peters Church

Rome, Foro Romano

Pisa Tower and trhed church Italy

Paris:

Friends and the Sacre dCoeur Paris Frane

Louvre Museum in Paris. A jpg

Louvre Museum in Paris

Notre Dame De Paris Church '55

The Louvre Museum in Paris

YMCA Cednt. '55 Under Tour Eifel Paris

YMCA Cent '55 On the Frontier France Switzerland

YMCA Cent. '55 In Nice slept in the car

YMCA Cent. '55 In Paris

YMCA Cent. '55 On our wasy to Nice France

YMCA Cent. '55 On our way to Nice France

YMCA Cent. ,55 On a bridge in a small French Village