Quiet walks in cemeteries
November is the month when we give special thought to those who have died: All Souls and All Saints are the two most popular days for going to the cemetery to tidy up graves, take flowers and light candles.
The living can also find peace and quiet in a cemetery and even discover cultural treasures although most people probably think that cemeteries are not the happiest of places to choose to spend their free time.
When on a camping trip abroad one should not miss the chance of visiting the local cemetery, read the inscriptions and thereby learn something about the burial practices of that particular country. You learn a lot about the living from the dead.
An article in the club magazine of Nederlandse Kampeerauto Club (NL) draws particular attention to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris/France which has to be the most famous cemetery in Europe if not the world. It is in the east of Paris and easily clocks up a hundred thousand visitors every year. There you will find the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Fréderic Chopin, Honoré de Balzac and many other famous people and personalities.
Highgate Cemetery in London/Great Britain is more like a park with gravestones, wild flowers, trees and small gardens. Take a stroll around (accompanied only) and you will come across the grave of the philosopher Karl Marx for example.
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague/Czech Republic dates back to the 15th century. One’s first impression is that it is a somewhat disorderly jumble of graves. The 12,000 grave stones that are visible are rarely neatly laid out and pathways are marked out by ropes. Because of lack of space and overcrowding, the dead are buried on top of one another, several layers deep. But it is an interesting cemetery that radiates peace, much appreciated and visited by tourists.
The Zentralfriedhof in Vienna/Austria is a huge burial ground covering 2.5 square kilometers. After Hamburg in Germany, it is the second largest cemetery in Europe. Here 3.3 million souls have been laid to rest however most visitors come to pay their respects to Vienna’s musical past. Memorial tombs of famous composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Johann and Richard Strauss and Franz Schubert may be found here.