National Symbols

Every country that we have visited has many national symbols. Beginning with the capital letter A, here are the 1st 5 countries with some of the common objects and heroes associate with them.

Albania’s national symbol is a double-headed black eagle usually against a red background. Its presence is everywhere. We saw eagles on street corners, in museums, and on clothing.

Albania’s national hero is also a common symbol seen everywhere. His name was Gjergj Kastrioti, but he is usually called Skanderbeg. Outsiders are grateful for this pronounceable name. He lived in the 17th century and was a nobleman who led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Skanderbeg was a military hero who was often allied with Catholics. It’s as if he’s still alive and living in Albania.

Andorra is a mountainous European country 1/5th the size of Rhode Island. Its neighbors are Spain and France. We went to Andorra by bus from Barcelona. Its main symbol is a coat of arms adopted in 1969 but not officially implemented until 1993. It’s on every license plate. It consists of a shield with 4 sections. Two of its segments are red and yellow stripes that represent the royal sign of Aragon. The most interesting section shows 2 red cows, one atop the other, with blue horns, collars, and claws. I don’t know why. The upper left section contains a mitre. This is a tall headdress worn by bishops and abbots. Below this shield is Andorra’s national saying, “United virtue is stronger.”

Aruba is one of the 6 Dutch Caribbean islands that echo its one-time vast empire. The other 5 are Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius, which is near Saint Martin as is #5 Saba. Saba has the distinction of containing the highest point in The Netherlands far away from Amsterdam. In a minority, I was not impressed with Aruba. It has little rain and a desert landscape. Its main town Oranjestad has some faux Dutch colonial architecture and many upscale resorts.

Argentina has many symbols including tango dancers and the sun, which peeks over its coat of arms and is featured on its flag.

Australia’s symbols include green and gold, the colors of its national sports teams. Its sports centered culture will have trouble social distancing. Other symbols of note are the Golden Wattle tree, the Southern Cross, Australia’s Big Dipper, and the kangaroo featured on its national flag. Native Aussie John proudly showed Ruth and me our first wattle tree as we drove from Sydney to Canberra. The Golden Wattle blooms in late winter or early spring and is as common as palm trees in Florida. I wish I had taken its photo but did not. That’s why above is a picture of the Boab tree that is common in Australia’s Kimberley area.

Hank

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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