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.