A Dove on a Zipline

06/12/2013 04:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I was doing my best to stay in my hotel room and finish some writing. But there was a Pentecost festival going on outside, and the energy was building. I could hear it out my window. I couldn't resist, and joined the multitude that had gathered on the square in front of the cathedral, as the citizens of Orvieto had for generations as part of their Pentecost celebrations. The tension built and built...and then, suddenly, it happened: A dove in a little plastic tube rocketed down a zipline and into a nest of fireworks at the front of the church, setting it all ablaze.

This ritual was almost comical. After the fireworks blew off, a fireman climbed up the little tower to see if the dove was OK. He was. And that was great news, as it brings good luck to the town and fertility to the last couple married in Orvieto.

When you travel, you can't help but bump into festivals. I have to admit, I don't plan for them. But they seem to come to me.