I have a fascination with cemeteries. Do you? Whenever we’re in a new port, I specifically try to locate the local cemetery and we make time to visit. I like wandering through the rows of gravestones, reading the epitaphs.
When we visited the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, I was amazed at the size and grandeur of what can only be described as a city of the dead. Huge, ornate mausoleums dedicated to generations of families who have lived in the area and have been buried here. Dead family members lay waiting for the living to join them at some point and I ponder whether they all got along amiably when they were alive because they’re certainly in close quarters now.
In Puerto Williams, Chile, at the bottom of the world, a peaceful cemetery overlooks the Beagle Channel.
Weathered, gray gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries, some toppled, some leaning precariously, mark long forgotten graves in the lonely burial grounds that dot the New England countryside.
Gravestones on the Isle of the Dead at the infamous Port Arthur Prison in Tasmania reflect only those people fortunate enough to have their graves marked. Hundreds of prisoners were buried in unmarked graves.
Because of the high water table and low altitude, Cook Island graves are all above ground and located noticeably close to their families who seem to visit often.
I think I prefer the simple gravestones in old country churchyards to the grandiose monuments in upscale cemeteries. Perhaps the fascination is not so much with the dead, but rather the way the living in each place remember those who have lived before them. All that said, the Egyptian pyramids are definitely on our bucket list.
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