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581 Recoleta Cemetery; Spooky Atlas Obscura; Near the Exit

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But you can leave something behind for everyone to remember you coming up we explore places that touch on the intersection between this world and the next the folks had atlas you can turn a walk-through Labrador cemetery into a life-affirming experience when you visit Recoleta in Buenos Aires you can't take your wealth with you when you die aries you lived in Buenos Aires and what is so unique about the Recoleta cemetery in the big city in Argentina I lived in Argentina for fourteen years rick and I I still remember to this day the very first time I stepped foot in that cemetery because it's like a little miniature city within a city it has sacred to creepy it's all just ahead on today's travel with Rick Steves where at eight seven seven three three three seven four to five cemetery important site in town Robert joins us now to talk about why he loves digging curious visitors to Buenos Aires Coletta Cemetery Robert Thanks for joining us but then you forget that there's the end of the road as well and the way that people build their mausoleums their family tombs that's how they want to be remembered they welcomed tourists Robert Wright is a guide who's lived in guided in Buenos Aires for many years and he considers that city's historic cemetery the most AH variety of tombs and mausoleums but it's like you're taking a walk through a just four city blocks the covers all of Argentina history you've got the founders it always kind of gives me a little bit better sense of the history of a place as well that I'm visiting because that way I can maybe learn about some of the important players in history that you don't really get access to back we're traveling with the NUTSO repairing our head on travel with Rick Steves this can be some of the most interesting moving and artistic sites in a city you can learn a lot about a society by visiting it's leading graveyards and what are some tips for travelers to recognize the importance of cemeteries in their sightseeing everyone makes a big deal about going to churches yeah and a lot of times that's where baptisms take place ready we leave behind it's not just dust when we're done with it and that's a lot of the rituals of mourning of death have to do with treating the body with the US what she's discovered in her travels with the grim reaper and we'll hear about some of the unusual places in the Atlas Obscure Cabinet of curiosities sites that run the gamut from so it's a great insight to a family's sense of their historical preservation also they're great repositories of art and architecture if you love thank you cemeteries are fascinating and a lot of people don't realize but they really give a fun insight we'll get to Buenos Aires in a minute let's talk cemeteries in general as you've traveled the city you've got all the first presidents that are there every single moment in history even like the very controversial period of the Perron Era Because Eva Peron is very there's really really is GonNa be you're the best bang for your Buck and the clergywoman tells us how her travels have shown her the ways different societies confront mortality and honored just in time for Halloween also stay in the day of the dead we're about to learn how people in different parts of the world honor the end of life and Episcopal Deacon from Iowa you in an art museum we have a very ethnocentric look at who matters in the way we learned history but if you go to a cemetery you can see by the nature of the thousands of that tomb who were the biggest unity I just always go to Europe I'm thinking everywhere in Europe every great city every single said now you have an experience in bonuses tire experience because you know you're walking into somewhere very important with through that large gate and then all of a sudden the whole cemetery opens up before you and you have neat little rows I would love to learn about that but I wouldn't know how if I went to that cemetery would there be a a guided tour available or there's actually maps that you can buy at the entrance gate uh-huh of not usually tombstones because the tombstones were from a previous era but once it became really popular to be buried in Recoleta cemetery eight if you want and there are also a guided tours available usually there are people there that you can do a tour with an any language okay so in English families in them were who am I going to bump into Pete the pitcher for us I think when you first gonNA walk through a very large grand entrance gate and it sort of sets the tone for the the is tourists who are areas you could do that let's the cemetery take me on a walk Robert what am I gonNa see is it a cer- cuff agai is little houses that have you know they started building larger and larger family mausoleums okay so instead of walking in thinking you refine grasp plots or crosses or tombstones there are Zillah few that are leftover tucked in between little corners but there are mainly large mausoleums ups pitcher and many of us travelers have been to the Perlis says in Buenos Aires in Argentina our number eight seven seven three three three seven four to five and Ed's calling in from Vancouver in Washington ed thanks for your call Hi Rick Standing is we have limited space here in our little ledge of land next to the lake or whatever and it's been centuries and your loved one gets a spot as long as his end this is so exciting to have this extra dimension of sighting in our travels this is travel with Rick Steves we're talking with Robert Wright and Robert A tour guide who for years has lived in guided around storage and the ideas that by the time great GRANDPA is in there you're gonNA have room for other people coming along and future generations because by the time wanted to be remembered my question had to do more about you know how do they decide how these these little buildings are built Africa the city because initially cemeteries were located far from residential areas but as the city grows the cemetery was actually surrounded by the city so the say these little buildings where you could look in and you can see well you can see you know the wealth of the families you can see you know what was important to them and how they yeah little level it actually has to do with space requirements okay so if the cemetery's four city blocks it's built into the Urban Harry has no space to expand so basically you're you have to reuse whatever space you have inside you'll build a very fancy mausoleum but you'll have undergone cemetery in Paris and you walk through this grand entry and it's got a street plan sure you know there's the main street there's neighborhood you have to know how to find your loved one a different container and then there's room for other family members so in that way you can continue to use these mausoleums overtime Robert I've been in cemeteries where the his great grandson is time to pass away there's not a whole lot left a great grandpa he's just basically ashes and so he's like one of the most famous corpses on the most famous residents of the cemetery was a woman named Regina what's the story so Rufina cumbersome find her completely passed out they tested to see if she was breathing they didn't feel the breath they thought she had passed away it's a tragic story in and of itself so they buried her and then the next day someone went into go in and check on her and actually they found that the top of the casket lid had but she had an attack on her birthday actually and she kind of passed out at home they were getting ready to go to an opera and all of a sudden they hulu dead who have loved ones who can pay the bill these mausoleum stay in the same family as long as they continue to pay the maintenance fee and there are caretakers of the cemetery that clean and race was the daughter of a very well to do family in fact it said that her mother was having affair with the president of the time nobody really knows for sure sure what better place to go it's an outdoor museum and every cemetery is free exactly you could book for one of the maps the tricia where the famous people learn and moved to the side and what they think is she hadn't Cadillac attack where she's actually basically in a coma and her breathing was so low and but she was actually as you do and and then you've got some people that just have a little slab and there's and there's a lot of these stone homes buildings mausoleums Muslims sisters or her ancestors want to pay essentially the rent for that and there's nobody around anymore that cares anymore they don't pay the upkeep they don't pay that rent right and the the great cemetery in Buenos Aires Recoleta Robert I'd like to have you tell a few stories as a tour guide you know this is Halloween time in cemeteries lend themselves to these stories and how many it's not just one person this is really a family and they're almost look like you could look into some of them and you almost see little bunk beds in there every coffin wherewithal family can sell it and then they'll they'll either reuse the same mausoleum just redecorate maybe a little bit or the whole thing down and build a new one I hadn't thought about that a couple of days just because they're not sure if you're not really sure worked into the traditional Italian kind of the wake also a Perron has as a very fortified a controversial she passed away in nineteen fifty two she had uterine cancer and her last public act was basically seeing her husband one peron reelected and she passed away right after the do minor repairs but what ends up happening is that if there are no family members left or if they decide or if what if their fortune is gone yeah they can't afford the maintenance fee then you're in the US much of a havoc and eventually they do bring her back but then when they bring her back because she's been stolen and moved around and mistreated in her death to they then ways less remembered and he takes up less space so you can move him into a different container and I know this sounds gruesome but it's it is what it is and then you move them into ended up in Milan actually in a cemetery in Milan under a false name so several decades later when Perron comes back to power one of the ways to sort of make amends yeah we were just there on a family trip last month and we actually went back twice to the cemetery it was just so interesting with all the lines body is such a big political symbol that the military dictatorship decided they wanted to hide it so they went in and stole her body it went on various trips everywhere but it life caring for these mausoleums and he eventually could purchase one himself and they say they say that he was so thrilled when it that and they embalmed her body and they decided to put it on public display and then when their government was ousted in nineteen fifty-five her later in the hour a clergywoman from Iowa tells us what she learned about the death rituals and beliefs of people she traveled around the world the meat and next one of the founders of Atlas Obscure joins us to consider some rather macabre places you can visit it's travel with Rick Steves if you dare tell us about place you've visited that gave you goosebumps we're at eight seven seven three three three seven four to five dylan how're you doing that tomb then is free to be uprooted and the bones go into an awesome areas or which is a big hole filled with bones of forgotten loved it's exactly the same with regular let you make room for the highlight the numerous noteworthy places their readers contribute to their website co founder Dylan throws is with us right now to recommend catacombs crypts end cemeteries that are worth of or any decided to make this as permanent home and to this day you can hear the keys of some people say you could hear the keys that he wore on his belt to open the world is full of fascinating and mysterious places and sometimes they might even feel a bit creepy the folks at Atlas Obscure have made it their mission to finally got completed that he committed suicide to just sort of be there forever it's it was like his lifelong dream was to remain in the cemetery so he was a grave digger points areas most historic cemeteries so many I guess the most famous one would be about one of the caretakers of Recoleta cemetery decided to stay there actually he worked agent set me up here the trip of a lifetime where's a place that you wanNA stop I well I think a good starting point Czech Republic I've been trying to make this I don't know but it's just a short train ride away from Prague and if you want bones I agree there's all of those teams that he was taking care of Robert Thank you for I was GonNa say bringing the Recoleta cemetery to life but no putting to death sorry to live she was trapped inside her coffin and she struggled down there she struggled they say that they're scratch marks on on the underneath side of her coffin it's a lot of cultures you let the corpse lay a church in which bones have been arranged in elaborate complex displays including a enormous bone chandelier return the body of Eva and so they actually wanted was living with his third wife Isabel and they were in Franco's Spain this is in the seventies and I'm ready I'm ready right let's grab the grim reaper as our co Guidon hop on a broomstick for some transportation and I'd like you to be my ghoulish travel bone architecture then said let's now that's in the town of couldn't Ahora if I remember correctly that's correct absolutely and you call it check yet which is the new term for the they Nala we can go there Halloween or not and be impressed having alloy rick taste of what's down there and it is also got some artistic arrangements you have different arrangements of skulls set into enormous walls of femurs family could sell that plateau it's real estate tough hard hard times ed thanks for your call sure thank you again this is travel with Rick Steves we're talking with Robert Passages for the sewer they stretch out all the sewers and Paris it would go all the way to Istanbul there's of course a lot of tunnels from the Metro and the underground much of Paris Parisians catacombs are certainly the most famous catacombs in the world and the little section open to the public is a wonderful mapping charting the illicit parts of the catacombs and even throwing enormous events in there there have been some famous stories about there being an entire underground I love that idea this entire kind of subculture there's actually tours of underground Paris that take advantage of the fact that it's honeycombed with passages there's a lot of oh better collection of human bones because it's done with a little artistic flair isn't it I mean wonderful wonderful challenge if you're the person making the chandeliers to take every bone is really but one of the things I love that captures my imagination about the Persian catacombs is that they are enormous and the part that's open to the public is actually very on the churches and what are you GonNa do with six million skeletons while you're going to arrange them in normal tunnels run underneath Paris so the secret societies doing their things down there and as you mentioned now it's the part that's open to the public anyways is just quite an interesting mall and there's a whole other part that is sort of the domain of Cata files of groups in Paris that are obsessed with exploring incredible things to visit but I know there are some wonderful vampire tours of perilous chance where you can be taken around by vampire historian who wants to give you the real story of is you can see her but you can't get very close to her Kano Robert this has been so fun talking about the Recoleta cemetery it's Halloween I would imagine there's a ghost story relating they shipped the body of a Perron to him in Madrid so he's got it he's reelected president then he goes back but leaves Ava in Spain because they they're like Oh this is GonNa create and to Paris deep under the streets after they decided cemeteries are a waste of space and they're not very hygienic let's under the cemetery's free up that land plenty of of options you should probably make us stop in parallel chase one of the greatest cemeteries in the entire world where there are all kinds of movie theater that when the police discovered the chairs and that there had been something going on it was quietly disassembled was all gone within a couple of days so upped what what's the story with a Perron and why the security you could probably do a whole program Rick about the The win and in the case of the catacombs of Paris this I understand was an old plaster of Paris Corey we've all heard of plaster of Paris while they had to quarry that and I was walking around Paris I remember years ago and I had white third on my feet on my shoes and somebody says oh you've been in the catacombs they could just tell that I'd been walking through that plaster looking at every tourist because you're not supposed to take photographs and every tourist is trying to get a photograph of all those skulls hanging from the walls and so on I think that what's really mystic displays you get your femurs over there and you got your skulls over here and any tourist can visit the catacombs of Paris and I should say if we're doing a spooky tour of Paris of which there is of Parisian Vampires Oh my goodness I love cemeteries have all the cemeteries in Europe this is the most interesting from an art and history point of view from music point of view you got great the Capuchin crypt in Rome is small as you said but the one in Palermo in Sicily is much bigger dylan do you have any thoughts on the Capuchin crypt of Italy added to build a tomb that was so super fortified that you you there's no way anybody could break in there a any any against it's very very deep and really heavily the world's most fascinating sites are the numbers eight seven seven three three three seven four to five and Scott is on the line from Chicago's got thanks for your call looms in each room is decorated with owns and different configurations and it's so creepy I mean it's the only place we all the visitors what we are today you will be tomorrow you know and it's just reminded us that half your vacation that we're all mortal creature yeah no it's just made me kind of like seek out these kind of places later on like the catacombs of Paris well you're right this is one of the ultimate bone experience the human body decorated in a way that where it all kind of comes together in a nice sort of beautiful fixture hanging from the ceiling that's right take me when we're thinking of bone can you describe it for us Scott tell us what it's like I love this idea that the hair on your neck would be raising oh take into it divided up into like I still like member the smell of dirt in there you know one of my first trips to Europe women are over here the children over here is a unique experience isn't it it is actually I think the point you made rick about this momentum right away they take the bones and they decorate with them and now one hundred years later they opened up for visitors and I know the smell you're talking about there it's just that fertile dirt would be in check Ya at the said let's also if you're going to see one also a structure filled with bones this is the one to go to it is so it's always good it's wonderful spooky experiences and then it's good to sort of take a step back and say right what was the reason for this what was the philosophy why was this created attention there and they're even dressed people decide what they want to wear for eternity and they're categorized where the policemen are over here and the brothers are over here and Dylan that is such a very important reminder in when I was at the Capuchin crypt just last year I made friends with one of the capuchin monks and we walked through there church I remember being in Romania made some friends and I noticed there was a human skull on the mantle above the fireplace and they said Oh that's GRANDPA in a lot of cultures people still go to the and there's something afterward to recognize that this fear of death is a little bit of a cultural hangup that we have here in our coast in Europe Scott it's the Capuchin crypt in Rome it's just a underneath a church and it's the Capuchin monks have this interesting habit of putting their dead brothers done the Krypton when all the flowers the monk and be being a place of joy because it's it's a perfect example of it's always worth trying to understand a place from its own cultural context and not just yours and Nancy's calling in from as scary place called Sandwich in Massachusetts Nancy thanks for your call I had a question recently I history musty nece and I've got a sort of a chill in my spine right now thinking about that because there's always a what seems not very friendly monk at the far end of the corridor Amora Rabin reminded of one's mortality is is really worth keeping in mind when you go to places like this because again America's kind of the on one out here most of the rest of the world has and he told me this place is a place of joy for me because it helps me not to be afraid of death you know he just wanted to remind me that this is just a little blip in time and yes I think to gain access there are sort of two ways some people just didn't ask permission but I think other people have gone out there you know I think it's symbol to get permission from the right people the Venetian municipal government but I think probably requires a little bit of footwork you could get to play again they'd probably send you there God said to have one bone from every part of the human body plus many more I that's an excellent place to begin you can't get much more elaborate condition right now they're finishing up Trivia Book Tour San Francisco Boston L. A. in Brooklyn there's more on their website Atlas Obscure Dot Com if you want sort of spooky religious sites Italy really is going to be your best bang for your buck and the one in Palermo it's interesting because it's it's S. of a sort of a strict ossuary where it's bone arrangements and it's a bit more of a a mummy fashion show because the bones are still intact own thing I think the putsch enrollments the most neck hair-raising place I've ever visited I would definitely fit that into my next trip to Rome. The Middle Ages was to quarantine people with the plague and Venezuela's the city that was seafaring trading city and you'd imagine they don't WanNa let somebody with the plan and it's not just Europe I mean New York is an archipelago which has both islands that were used for quarantine of tuberculosis victims and the bones of their ancestors and clean them you know family day it's it is America who is sort of so uncomfortable with this whole thing exactly that's good travel Scott thanks for your call welcome thank you thank you and happy Halloween right folded me is the message because as you leave you realize either not just making some stunt to charge for tourists there's a spiritual message here and there reminding very right away from the main part of Venice it's a fascinating opportunity to wonder through the historic cemetery of that great city but You know that was a big deal that tour travel with Rick Steves we're talking with Dylan Thrace and he's written atlas obscure that less obscure is a chance to uncover material on on special days and they light candles and they actually celebrate with their loved ones who are no longer in this world that's right I love that story about the posers from Chopin to Jim Morrison of the doors they're spurs musicians go lots of history and if you're interested in vampires you can be there for the right listen obscure co-founder Dylan is helping us look at some of the stranger places the world has to offer now on travel with Rick Steves their bestselling book is now out in its a much closer relationship to death and the idea of human and even human remains I mean Mexico and comic people go and they take out they come into their town because they know what happens then you could do a whole tour based on plague sites in Europe the plague would sweep through and kill a third of the people and they've usually the poor people doc ID wanted to go over there and then I heard that the public is allowed and there's no access and I was wondering how these other people it can point you to hundreds fascinating crypts and graveyards to visit all with their own stories to tell have you want sort of spooky religious sites and it has a cemetery island as well heart island is one of the world's largest pauper's graveyards and still an active use and this is called Heart Island Minnesota visited the three major island but I heard about the spooky island of Ovadia I believe it's twelve if played island behind there's an island about that Dylan you know about the Plague Island Paul vaguely ah in the video I do and I know that it is off limits to tourists Steve You know one island that you can go to is the cemetery island in Venice and that's very easy trip just five minutes of H. A. R. T. Heart island mostly off limits to the to the public about starting to open up a little bit more all right he will not next time you're in Venice sneak onto Leia and send us a postcard okay bye bye happy Halloween travel with Rick Steves we're talking with Dylan Thrace an world of information to help turn your travel dreams into smooth and affordable reality begin your next trip at Rick Steves dot com uncomfortable with that but I am in it's an exercise for us in our culture to not be afraid of death and realize it's part of life just like people in salary and today it's a very commercial venture with the Michael Jackson and Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin but Bali would have this memorial to their loved ones who still are with them You know one of the most interesting sites in Europe is Madame Toussaud's wax originally started out quite historic and it started out as quick a bloody tradition gives them the backstory of Madame Toussaud's Wax Gallery yeah I find this fast hard as iron from the sky and that is the that is the current consensus that the bones in Skeleton Lake were all travellers killed in a freak hailstorm thatched huts and overtime nature does its work and all that's left are the bones of your relatives and then and then these bones are taken up in there stumbled across this lake high in the Himalayan mountains and it was a little frozen lake that was filled with skeletons it was filled with skulls and bones and is the story of trespassers from another land and these people were actually travelers they were not local who were struck down by an angry goddess who reigned hailstones again a another example of cultural differences around death but at trending cemetery this small village when a relative dies there act at the base of this Banyan tree kind of reffing injury and you'd think that this might be sort of a gross place because they're our body you're out quite what had killed the people in Skeleton Lake and it wasn't until the mid two thousand two thousand five that team went out there they examined the skeleton can across a a lake on auto ferry ride and they're brought to this place where their bodies are essentially just laid on the ground in little thatched huts little sort of Straw it's quite peaceful and meditative and people come and spend time with the relatives there I've got the ashes of my mother in my living room on the shelf and at first I didn't know Skeleton Lake take us there this is one of these stories that when someone submitted it towels obscure I was sure it was a fake I was sure and supposedly would even wait at the base of the Guillotine for recently beheaded heads to roll down so she could do with what would have been an attack or a fight that they were just around like pummeled by golf balls exactly and it turns out that there is a folk song in the area that I thought maybe this had to do with World War Two and it turns out that the bones had been there for an incredibly long time they've been there for twelve hundred years but no one could be they were trying to get one over on us but it turns out it is all real so this story of Skeleton Island is that the nineteen forties a forest ranger and she took this and and translated at a particularly bloody time in French history which is basically she was there during the French Revolution and the forensic evidence was very odd all of these bones the skeleton that similar injuries which is blunt force trauma the heads and shoulders but nothing that matched he's kind of on the ground but in fact the tree itself puts out this like strong spicy sort of sent masks whatever other kind of bad smells would be there in the places that's amazing there's also an island in a cemetery in Bali Trenin cemetery that's famous tons of skulls on an island what's that all about ladies of them in cast a death masks and then go and turn around and create a wax model of that figure and She had a real because these sort of madam too so wax museums are so touristy and they feel like such tourist traps but her story great Halloween Story and she's France she left to kind of make her fortune she went to England and opened up a wax museum that was sort of half horror show half kind of in the seventeen sixty s and she grew up with the anatomist stepfather who taught her about bodies anatomical examination and it's just it's kind of one of these things that is hard to even wrap your mind around there it is and they're still up there and you can organize a hike up to the site and she examples of that in her Wax Museum and then she also had examples of King George and and other royal figures and would pay money to create really elaborate sense and a real flair for presentation and it's in one way it's something that connects her original work with these kinds of tourist traps today which is that after doing this work in clergywoman travelator takes us on a life-affirming trip with the not so grim reaper that's next on travel with Rick Steves building that matched their royal garb and so she understood that these were things that would draw people in for a while had the most popular tourist site in Europe criminals she made wax models of Birkin hair who are famous resurrection s who would dig up corpses and eventually decided digging up corpses too much work leaders murdered people under she's explored Mayan temples the value of the Kings in Egypt and even tourist destination graveyards. Laurie Eric's joins us now on travel with Rick Steves to share Dylan this has really been funded take atlas obscure all the fascinating sights and atlas obscure and see it through the lens of Halloween thanks for joining us and I hope you have it insights from her global tour of death and dying which she writes about in her book near the Exit. Laurie thanks for being with US thank you for having me Rick so you're an episcopal August view death but I do have a somewhat unusual combination of interests and specialties I do think that there are surprising connections between travel indepth I have always looked to journeys to help me figure out things and to help me see how other people have dealt with some of these big questions might be healing shrines but I think there are a lot more correspondences between traveling death than people might realize so when I introduce a radio show we're going to talk about family difficulties forced Episcopal Deacon Laurie Erickson to explore how our experience of the end of life varies around the world as it traveled thousands of life and many of the world's holy sites have a component of death in them and one way they might have been hallowed because of some tragedy or the out near the exit a book about death the not so grim reaper you write that it's about death but it's not necessarily depressing how can you give us a he can and you know pastors deal with life's stages and of course death but you add to that the experience of travel how is travel shaped the way you creepy thank you all of the CNN Ratto and about the lessons of having an open air cremation ground in this small mountain town and I felt like I had been given here the Great Sand Dunes National Park and so open air cremation ground is somewhat similar in some ways to Hindu traditions the banks of the Ganges in India where corpses are burned in public and it is not something that's part of the American way of death at all you have to be from crestone in order to ask that this be done with your remains after you've died and crestone is a very small town it has only one hundred and fifty people surrounded by hundreds of corpses in their their skeletons still clothed hanging on the wall all around you I was with a capuchin friar among who took me on a wall yeah of course but I think many many people of faith have a sense that death is not the end and that was one of the really fascinating things for me to explorer these beliefs as they travelled around the world for me one of the things I described in one of the chapters is about talking with a zen teacher in Crestone more joyful spin on death well one of the truth the perennial truths that I discovered rediscovered for myself in researching and writing the book is that the knowledge in my book is the chance to have a more philosophical perspective on debt to see the way in which other cultures have dealt with it does he mummies in Egypt for example that was and that it's a visceral sense of how we are not going to last in this form I did not see a cremation but I talked did that we're going to die paradoxically is one of the best things we can do to live life more fully and with more zest and I think to that part of the reason a Christian approach to death oh absolutely I think there are a lot of correspondences across cultures and across religious traditions you know the details vary but in the United States if you are Hindu there are places where you can have that done but what makes crestone unusual is that this is a resource for the people of the town strong experience for me and get the chance to think about it you know with a bit more of distance and to see it as part of this grand parade number of people whose loved ones had been cremated in this way and all of them talked about what an elemental sort of experience it was that they're often done at dot why death is set to problematic subject is that we usually encounter it in a time of great grief and one of the reasons I think to travel with the grim reaper is is eight of life that we all experience it's a big package and it's interesting you see that because just a couple months ago I was in the famous capuchin monastery in Palermo in Sicily and the strong belief in the afterlife this was just a celebration that this is a springboard to something else is that something that could resonate with other religions or is is that it can you give me a little sermon as we walked and he was joyful and I asked him why are you joyful and he just gave me the most beautiful comment about just as the first rays of donner coming over the horizon and I think the other thing about this ritual is that it it's communal one of the traditions they have is that every metaphor too for how death affects all of us we're all part of that disillusioned of spirit this is travel with Rick Steves ethnology and out back they had several exhibits one of which a house large enough incredible teaching just in our our afternoon conversation talking about what that meant tell me more about that what is an open air cremation ground we're talking with the travel writer and a Fiscal Deacon Laurie Erikson whose journeyed around the globe to explore issues connected with death and dying right now we're looking at what she shares in her long house were carved images of men and women obviously in flood tide elect though the men one comes forward and put some a branch of juniper wood on the fire and so everyone put something into the fire and I think that's a beautiful that was exposed in traveling to something I'd never seen before Santana Roy Vietnam and visited the museum and dot net or phone number's eight seven seven three three three seven four to five you can email us anytime at radio at Rick Steves DOT COM Marty's calling from Atlanta how all these corpses were a reminder to him that there's so much more to life than what we embrace here in our in our mortal little stint on earth and for him around and who uses it and what are the lessons people learned there too it's in a remote spiritual center in the town of Crestone Colorado Kristan is the big Irish community and I was very familiar with Irish wakes which are raucous and Bella Tori of life of the deceased Thanks for your call Hi Rick Hi Laurie thanks for taking my call this is a fascinating subject to me I grew up in San Francisco there are I think about fifteen hundred that live in the surrounding county and so it's not like they're having these all the time but when they do occur you asked me about the lessons that and that's a vivid example of that from the sound of it you know when you think of vivid and full of life also think of day of the dead celebrations on and it's a beautiful spot on the High Plains with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance and they liked the Pyre just a little more about this place and they are symbolizing fragility in verse which I assume completes the circle posed for thirty or more bodies but that really fascinating and shocking piece of it was around the outside of this that people learn from them I think the Zen teacher put it very well he said that to watch a body being burned his the ultimate lesson in impermanent folding mourning and death in to community life in to celebration and if there's one practice that quite that intertwining of death infertility but it doesn't surprise me I think a universal response to death is to want to embrace life and had huge Alice's women a lot of them were pregnant and it it looks like in order to to me I don't know if it was really an orgy but I've since read for towns in Guatemala and it was during this time and the towns were kind of ramshackle and pretty dreary but the cemeteries were just festivals book it's called the Exit Lori is also an author of book called Holy Rover Journeys in search of mystery miracles and God for website is Laurie Eric's that I could point to of all that I experienced in researching the book it's Day of the dead I think I think the rest of us should take this on there's a lot of wisdom built into it I was just flying over sprawled out and this was before the tourists were there so it seemed the whole town had come out and they so you wrote about that in Chicago Laurie the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen has the country's largest day of the dead celebration and I was fourteen of of life I don't know but I had never seen anything like this before it was fast and so this was a burial house and it was decorated with all of these in it to visit that as I was experiencing the grief of my brother's death and my mother entering memory care in a nursing home and it was a wonderful mutual support the fence of strengthening the cords of community connection the dignity the support steep and over the railroad tracks up to the high bluff cemetery I have just was so struck by the high above the water instead of down on the water yes and it was late winter and I saw a service going on in the church and standing on the outskirts discovered it was a funeral ceremony and after the service the church had been fall and there were also people's in some ways you know all the the day of the dead skeletons dressed like brides and riding bicycles and things like that and this combination of in children of the village everybody was present and I joined the throng and walking up that narrow lane and Ackman of a different sort of philosophy of life excuse me of death of really embracing it celebrating it the humor of it is well I think many cultures that have closer ties to their traditional roots do death much better than we do and I think part of that is bonds of community that time it's about her world travels to observe how different traditions help people deal with the realities of death she recommends a number of spiritual travel itineraries on her spirit got now that is the way I would love to grieve my loved ones who pass and anyone in the to the family the valuing of the individual I had never sensed or experienced anything that looked like this and bowls in in demonstrations of fertility lorry that sounds like an interesting insight into the culture and Vietnam absolutely I have not been there have not seen chill travels dot info website you'll also find links to our guests with each week show at Rick Steves dot com slash radio our phone number's eight seven seven morning customs in learning about Victorian mourning customs it made me grateful not to be a Victorian woman because there were a lot of them and they were properly you write about how Victorian Mourning Customs continue to influence us here in the United States is that good or not good what what's your take on Victorian so many countries and cultures as we travel to me in the Ching-kuo Taryn a village like you're talking about people are remembered after they've departed and every week loved ones go up to the very complicated and they would require that someone who had suffered a loss would

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