Double entendre intended. My boyfriend, partner, lover, I’m not sure what a middle-aged woman is supposed to call her middle-aged beau, but Cameron and I are setting out across Europe for 28 days to experience the dual meaning of my newly made up word. Having said that, I truly jest and will not “get down and dirty” about bedroom antics, rather will focus on the travel. So don’t be afraid to come along for the ride.
When Cameron and I first started seeing each other, he told me that he was not good with dates and therefore did not tend to celebrate anniversaries. However, approximately one year after our first date, I felt inspired to celebrate the occasion after coming across the book, “The Empire of Death.” A glance through the manuscript was enough for me to confirm it would be a brilliant yet ironic celebration of our first year together. We have spent much time flipping the pages, wondering what it would be like to see some of the amazing works of art found within or in most cases, the simple evidence of deaths that will not be forgotten.
It is hard not to become more realistic about death the closer we are to it. Neither of us has a terminal illness, I just mean that we have had more life (and death) experience that we did when we were in our 20s, aka, we’re old-er than we were. Sane human beings comprehend the adage about death and taxes. We will not beat it to death, however, it is hard not to be fascinated with people’s reaction to death and dying, particularly here in the western world. It turns out that death is a taboo subject, yet we all know at varying levels that we are going to the same place. Our culture hides the dead by either cremating or burying them but the message is clear, out of sight out of mind. I posit that we might gain perspective on life by the constant reminder of death perhaps becoming more respectful of our existence as a direct result of remembering the departed more often.
In his book, The Empire of Death, Paul Koudounaris displays stunning photos of mummified bodies, intricately laid bones and in some cases, just big piles of them. He does a great job of explaining the origins of these catacombs, ossuaries and charnel houses and provides some interesting commentary. We plotted our journey based on a number of the European stops, but are still planning and booking even at this late date.
We have identified some ‘must-see’ places, such as the Paris Catacombs and the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. I’d say my next post will be a more in-depth itinerary, probably after the Christmas festivities die down. Once we’re on the road, the intent is to provide exciting play by play from the ground. So stay tuned and interested in our blog, Boning in Europe.