National Geographic : 1951 Dec
TWA's New York-to-Rome flight. For several minutes we circled over Geneva to gain altitude. Looping Lofty Mont Blanc "Just give yourself plenty of room when you fly over those fellows," said Capt. Tom Dyer, looking toward the Alps. A few minutes later we were safely above and mak ing a loop around Mont Blanc's snow-mantled 15, 781-foot summit. "That little spot you see on Mont Blanc is a weather station," explained the cap tain. "You know," he said, reaching for my map, "I studied geography like any schoolboy, but I didn't really become interested in it until I began to read about some of the places I fly over." An Air View of Pisa's Leaning Tower He penciled our route on the map. It led from Mont Blanc to Turin in the Po Valley; to Colum bus's home port, Genoa: to La Spezia, the naval base, with its threadlike break water separating the glassy smooth harbor from the waves of the Ligurian Sea; and on to Pisa. "That's it right down there. See it lean?" said the captain, pointing to Pisa's tower. We looked up from the 727 National Ueographlc photographerr J. Iaylor Itoherts 7,000 Miles to Grandmother's House He Flew! To visit his grandparents in Amsterdam, 3-year-old Peter Geysen flew unaccompanied from Bangkok. The plane crew could not resist "adopting" him; passengers vied to keep him amused. Peter took his afternoon naps on an improvised bed. On overnight stops he slept with KLM hostess Hens Hamel, who here washes his face. Shy when he left home, the boy returned self-confident. Peter was flying back when the author met him. ancient landmark and, 40 miles to the south, we saw the simi larly shaped concrete cooling towers of the Larderello Valley volcano-harnessing project. Larderello Valley, like Alaska's Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, is an area of natural volcanic steam jets. Some of them have been capped and piped to steam turbines which drive generators that are now producing one twelfth of Italy's electric power (page 711). To our right we saw Elba, near at hand, and Corsica in the hazy distance. Rome was a scant 100 miles ahead, and we were already descending to land. Below were many mountaintop castles which would be difficult to spot but for the narrow trails or roads that lead to them. "Look for St. Peter's, Victor Emanuel Mon ument, and the Colosseum. They're all in a row and it's easier to find them together than separately," said affable copilot Charles McMills.* In Rome I was joined by NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC staff photographer J. Baylor Roberts who, with his camera, was to complete the world circuit with me. Amid the crumbling ruins of the Roman Forum, I listened while 15-year-old Sylvia Tagliacozzo compared her life in Rome with her life in Norton, Massachusetts, where, * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Italy Smiles Again," by Brig. Gen. Edgar Erskine Hume, June, 1949; and "Ancient Rome Brought to Life," by Rhys Carpenter, November, 1946.