Friday, December 21, 12

Phiian's baby, Baby.  No name as of yet.

It has been a long week, as I know it has been for all of you at home.  I just keep taking deep breaths.

I really do not know what to write at this point.  These last two weeks have been very disappointing.  But I don’t feel I have a right to complain.  I am grateful for having some time around Philan (my spelling is horrible on these names – sorry) and baby.  The connection between this mom and her baby is fierce.  Constantly I have watched Philan pull baby over using her trunk.  She does not want her outside of her distance.  When Philan went into labor Mr. Lee had to help her.  She was chained, by her tusks, to something.  Once baby was out, she was so steadfast on seeing her baby that she ripped one of her tusks out in order to turn around to see her.  Philan was not hurt, and I do not think it would matter.  Her baby is what matters.

I drank milk on Saturday or Sunday and it made me ill.  At first I could not figure out what it was.  I was starting to feel better and by Wednesday, I felt really, really good.  Until I drank milk with my cereal and became violently ill again.  I am sure it was the milk.  My abdomen has been rock hard and things are slowly starting to settle.  Lord, this has not been fun!

I made a PERSONAL choice upon arriving at Mr. Lee’s that I did not like that the elephants were chained.  Elephants are not a domestic animal, they are meant to roam in the wild.  Again, my PERSONAL belief.  Just as I do not believe dogs should be put in dresses and made to dance.  I have made many decisions based on my personal beliefs in reference to animals while I have been here, and my entire life.  And sadly, I have been shown that since I have a different view, I was left out.  Not by the native people, but the program I paid for.  I have spent a good deal of time reading and sitting around.  There has been not much else to do.  I guess it really doesn’t matter ‘who’ recommends what, to find a good, really good volunteer project, you have to do a great deal of digging.

I will be leaving on Wednesday to head to the airport.  I am excited!!  I am looking forward to going to Abbott Kinney and running in the sand and the ocean!  And looking in  some shops!  It has been a fabulous trip, but, as Dorothy says, there is NO place like home.  Except maybe for Italy!  🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!!

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Sunday, December 16, 12

Let me start by saying I have been keeping up with the news.  How horribly sad as I view the entire United States grieving.  We will never know the ‘why’, but its not important.  It’s been done.  Look about for the new angels that have been chosen for guidance and direction as we all slowly move forward in this harrowing time.  Their strength needs to be shown in all of us.

I am sitting in the guest house that we are staying at in Surin, in my bed feeling quite sick.  Have no clue what this is about, but it started Thursday and really decided to raise its ugly head today.  I just want some mashed potato’s!!  Not happening.  Gratefully, I have bread and there is a toaster.  I think it will be my staple for the day.

This past Monday, the same tomorrow, we will leave here and go to a small village, Tatit to stay with Mr. Lee who owns 6 elephants.  In Thailand, it is a sign of prestige in the number of elephants that one owns.  Because he has so many, he is included in many functions and looked to in dealing with matters.  He lives with his wife, his hired hand (Juan) and then us volunteers as we come and go the staff person from Starfish, currently Wendy.  We get to sleep on the floor on an older mattress and Juan cooks for us.  Are activities through this past week were varied, no idea of what is to come this upcoming week.

I signed-up for a program that I believed was about helping elephants that had been rescued from the streets.  Those elephants are not always fed enough, they have to do tricks for people that pay and then they get to feed them.  I do not see that this program is much different.  Everyones elephant stays chained to a post.  I accept what they say, but I do not agree with it.  And it is obvious that I am not happy with the situation.  I have done my homework — there are approximately 2700 domesticated elephants in Thailand and only 1500 wild elephants.  The domesticated ones are adequately fed.  And then they are trained their entire life to perform for people and allow people to ride them.

This past Monday, 10 other volunteers came to Mr. Lee’s and we were all suppose to ride the elephants.  I got up on the wall to mount the elephant and became violently ill.  I looked at the elephants head, directly into her eye, and I could not do it.  My body screamed from top to bottom, inside & out, that this was wrong.  It threw everyone.  I got down and they had all kinds of suggestions for me to get on.  I could not say NO loud enough.  That night Wendy (21, from England) asked me if I would ride.  I explained point blank that it was cruel and I would not be a part of it.  I placated and said I did understand the cultural aspect.  I still do not agree with any of it, or what I have gotten into.

That was the beginning of what I would say has not been such a very good week.  This program is a great money maker for Starfish founder and Mr. Lee.  And younger people think it is so cool to ‘ride an elephant’.  It’s not so cool.  The elephant is not a domestic animal nor should it be treated as such.  It is meant to be an independent, wild animal.  And an amazingly smart one at that.  The saddest part, all the people I am around will agree with you on all those points.  But I guess the money wins out in the end.

The people themselves of Thailand are wonderful.  They are very nice and considerate to all us foreigners!  They attempt to help as much as possible although the communication barrier is difficult.  I have been told that within the next 5 years Thailand will be changing their national language to English.  I just found that sad.  Just as I find it sad that a nonChristian culture, a Buddhist culture, is participating in Christmas.  Maybe its more so for the travelers, but it feels so very wrong.

I am 12 hours ahead of Ohio and find myself mixed-up at times when I get on the internet.  It’s more thinking than I want to do!  Temps are looking to stay in the low to mid 90’s all week with possible rain next Sunday.  I hope it does just to see.  Sounds dumb, but in these hot countries, rain is very different than at home!

New momma elephant, baby is about 4 weeks old!

Phylan, new momma elephant, baby is about 4 weeks old!


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Saturday, December 8, 12

Welcome to Thailand!!!  I arrived on Dec. 7th to a 34 degrees Celsius.  Whats the conversion??  92 degrees F.  And heavy humidity.  It’s going to be a fun one!!

Take a look at the pic at the bottom of here (couldn’t get it to stay at the top).  I think it sums up this part of Bangkok quite well.  The area we are  staying at is on Khao San Road.  Google it and it will tell you a lot!  There are street vendors of every kind — including fake ID’s, fake college diplomas from the University of Singapore, tattoo shops, food and on and on.  I think the best was the cart selling delicacies — cooked bugs.  We just laughed!  Not much more than that that you could do!

This area of Bangkok is the travelers paradise, or the backpackers heaven.  EVERYTHING is cheap!  I bought a big bottle of water, 1.5 liter, for a mere 50 cents.  For ~28 ThaiBats you spend 1 US dollar.  I bought a 24 hour pass for the internet for 100 bats/~$3.50.  But with all of this comes a great deal of people, noise, and smells.  Mouth breathing is a definite must!  I will be happy to leave to head to Surin tomorrow!

There ends up being 7 of us here heading out to 4 different sites.  There is one other girl going to work with the elephants besides me and supposedly we will be meeting up with 10 more volunteers.  As with any other ‘volunteer’ project, very unorganized!  But at this point in my trip, I am not surprised.  We were told we were going to go on a tour of Bangkok today.  Well, we did.  Walking.  And we paid for everything.  It didn’t take long for us to say NO.  We did not want to see another temple, we did not want to walk another 1/2 hour to wherever.  We had our chaperone get us back to the hotel so we could all relax before our meeting tonight.  This will be where we get to start really questioning what we have gotten ourselves into!

I will leave with Olivia tomorrow morning for what we have been told will be a 10-hour train trip to Surin.  Olivia and I both agree that the train is better than the bus, so rock-on!  We have to go tonight to get our stash of food for the ride.  And I believe somewhere in there, we have to buy food.  Hmmmmmmm . . . . . . .

I am looking forward to working with elephants.  I think I have kind of given up on the people part of all of this.  I am sure I have referenced it before, so allow me to be redundant.  I have seen many different cultures, but many similar people.  It is your educational level that will determine who you are, where you are going.  How open you are to life.  And in areas like the Road, you barter with these people, which turns into taking advantage.  I don’t see the joy.  I just don’t get it.  We bought some things last night and we just laughed, we did not feel like doing the barter.  It was cheap enough to start with, just give it to me!

People here are little!  As we walked around last night, I thought, I could take just about anyone of these guys if I had to!  Not that many speak too much English, but they know the numbers in order to sell and deal.  So I guess it works.  It is very crowded, no matter where we went, good and rougher parts of the city.  I was stunned when I saw Christmas decorations & trees — Thailand is a Buddhist country.  There’s nothing Christian about this place, but I guess it benefits them to play the Christmas card.  I’m confused.

I am going to sign-off and get a nap.  It was a 5-hour jump forward from Greece to here.  I believe I am exactly 12 hours ahead of Ohio.  And the noise last night — I’m tired!!  My next big jump (time) will be when I leave on Dec. 27th at 1:30 am and arrive in Salt Lake City at 7:30 pm on Dec. 27th.  They say its a 28-hour flight, but thats with the time changes.  I think it must be more like a 20-hour flight.  I have yet to figure that one out!  I just know I am grateful to have a few days in Salt Lake City to regroup before the next leg of the journey!!  Signing off . . . . . .

Sums it all up . . . . .

Sums it all up . . . . .

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DSC_0649I wrote this on Sunday, December 2, 12.  I decided to save it till today to send.  Buono Natale everyone!!  Have a blessed and joyous Christmas.

It’s Sunday afternoon, 16:45 to be exact.  I’m sitting here in my bed, in my hotel room, in Athens, Greece, and I have Christmas music playing.  I am exhausted, both physically and especially mentally/emotionally.  I don’t know if I have the words to define all of this, but I will try.

You see, I said goodbye to Guisi today as I put her on the bus to the airport to go back home to Italy.  For Guisi, this has only been her second time travelling — her first time alone.  She was excited, yet terrified.  She knows there is a big world out there and wants to be a part of it.  Trouble is, she loves home.  Big trouble isn’t it?

Guisi and I literally ran around Athens for the last two days, trying to see as much of it as we could.  Through the sunshine and the rain — and it rained!  No coat — Guisi has one!  No umbrella — Guisi will get you one! Not sure where we are at – Lynn will find out. Communicating between Italian, English, hand signals and a lot of laughter!  And even a little Greek.  One girl looked at us and said “Italian – English – how do you communicate?”.  We put all our ‘differences’ aside and shared our similarities.  We experienced probably what most people will never get the chance to – the other side.  And we laughed!

We all talk about things, wanting to do things, but we never get there.  The joy of being an American, we are always just too b  But life does not wait, even when things do need to end, or change.  My time travelling abroad is about to be my change.  My time in Europe is my end.  I am losing a piece of my heart.  Smile here, please.

My first ‘friend’ in Athens was a dog.  You see, the media, in its true form, has definitely not shown the loving side of this country.  There are dogs everywhere here that people have had to abandon.  YET, they are all well fed and even given medical attention if needed.  The people of Greece are angry, like some others we know, but they have not stopped loving and taking care of one another.  That’s where they fight!  What a beautiful Christmas experience for me to be part of.  Like having these last few days with Guisi.  Scared, but still giving.

I will be leaving on Thursday morning for Thailand and then back to the states on Dec. 27th.  I have people ask me about Christmas all the time, and then they do not know what to say when I tell them I will not be home for it.  I guess I have been greedy in that I have been experiencing Christmas for weeks.  The gift of seeing life, in all of its forms, is blessed.  No other gift could compare to what I have experienced.  I will be taking it all with me though, in my heart and my 7,000+ pictures!

My point of all of this to all of you reading – please share with your friends and your families for Christmas.  Take care of that dog in the rescue program that needs a sponsor.  Be like the NYPD officer who went and bought socks & boots for the homeless man – his first pair!  Find something IMPORTANT to you, and make it Christmas.  GIVE to someone who truly needs someone.  Or something.

As Americans, like it or not, we still are the richest country.  The biggest country.  The best country.  I could go on with what I have been told, but bottom line, the world is waiting on us.  And they need US.  Look again at “your” Christmas.

Thailand awaits and the beautiful elephants that had been living a life of abuse.  I get to help take care of them, as they will take care of me.  If you want to see more of what I’ll be doing, google StarfishVolunteers.  Learn something new.  I will not have internet availability so this is my sign-off.  For now.  😉

Have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sorry its been several days.  I have been very busy!!  Guisi and I arrived in Athens, Greece on Thursday and took off like a rocket!  The rain was pouring, but Guisi wanted to explore!  And so we did!  We spoke with many people, all very nice, everyday souls.  And then we came upon a travel agency.  We checked it out, booked a tour and got out of the rain!

Friday and Saturday led us to the Acropolis — first the actual Acropolis and 3 of the 4 sides.  We spent hours and maybe could have gone longer!  We were able to see Hedrins Arch and Zues’ Temple.  Then we got smart and just rode the bus through the entire tour to see the area.  MAYBE should have done that to start!  We were excited, what can I say. We did learn that we are in the PLAKA district of Athens.  I believe there are about 8 districts in Athens.  Anyway, this is said to be the ‘best’ district!  The Parliament house is just up the street, that may have a bearing on it!  I really came up lucky when I booked this hotel!!

We were able to visit the Acropolis Museum and the Agora.  We shopped on the main market street.  We walked through the National Park.  There is soooo much to see, so many places to go.

It is truly beautiful here.  The weather is upper 60’s to 70’s.  People here are everyday, nice people.  Many speak English which made it really nice for me.  We went out for dinner Friday night were Guisi worked on her Greek.  For me, it is just that, Greek!  I’m still mixed up with the Swahili and the Italian.  No more languages!!  Being in an English speaking country, I almost forgot how to speak English!  It just gets confusing and gives me that much greater appreciation for people that are bilingual let alone multilingual.

Guisi went home on Sunday.  I went back to the travel agency.  I booked an all-day cruise, visiting 3 islands.  Well, the weather was not so cooperative so we were only able to visit at 2 of the islands.  No complaints, it was a lovely day.  Spent time with a man from Amsterdam and one from Brazil, but who has travelled all over the world.  He has 38 states (US) to his credit, and no, I couldn’t beat that number!  There were also the two women from Philly!

I am waiting to see if I get to go to the Temple of Poseidon today.  Because it is December, numbers vary for tours and determines if it will happen.  Makes sense.

I have enjoyed my time and glad I made this part of my trip.  I can only imagine Greece in warmer months!  Something I think I would like to see.  As to the crisis, yes, its very real.  Greece’s, sadly is in a lot of trouble.  Does the media dramatize — yes.  These people love their country and they are fighting for her.  I’ve have come to realize that most countries are in this position, fighting for their countries.  We think America is a mess, we have no complaints in comparison to others.  Be grateful.

So, it is that time to get up and go!  I guess I should start with my breakfast and see if my tour is on.  If not, I am ok.  I have plenty to do to get ready with leaving on Thursday.  Although the temp’s here are great, I will be going into 90 degree temp’s!  I have to change out clothing and pack my bags accordingly.  I have learned it is much simpler to do preventative than try to adjust once you arrive!  Have I learned something???  OK.  Have a good day.  And be grateful!


Part of the Parthenon

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hi, guys!  And welcome back!  To me that is.  I have had no availability for many days, which has been frustrating.  Not just for this site, but for everything!  Oh, well.  I arrived in Milan last night and will be leaving tomorrow, Thursday, for Athens, Greece for a week.  Guisi & Krus were both so suppose to be going tomorrow till Sunday, but Krus was robbed in Belgium and has just gotten back to Italy, after 20 days.  She was waiting on her papers to be re-issued (visa & passport).  She has a passport, but not the ‘official’ visa so her agency, and I agree, said it is too dangerous to go.  I am, as she, extremely sad.  This was our last trip together . . . .

So, I am a bit fuzzy on where I left off.  OH!!!  Vienna.  Well, it was a nice city.  Very grand.  I imagine it is probably gorgeous in the summer with everything in bloom.  It is the home of Mozart and the Hapsburg family.  Who are the Hapsburg’s??  It was this family, I hope I am spelling it correctly, whose nephew was assassinated outside Austria and he was the heir to the throne.  So what did they do — started WWI.  Learn your history, I sure am!!  Germany took the fall, but didn’t do it!  Their palaces are obscenely huge and glorious.  I went past the winter one, went inside the summer one.  I had to laugh, you were not allowed to take pictures.  I am sure that is to push for you to purchase a book on the way out!  It is beautiful, but I cannot imagine taking all that time just to get around it!  And what did the poorer people of the area think when they saw such grandeur?  They say it rivals Versailles.  Haven’t been there yet, but will let you know when that day comes!!  Not on this trip.

After Vienna, I went to Venice for 2 days and had a ball!  Spent the afternoon on Friday with 2 women from England and spent the later afternoon/evening with 4 college girls from Portugal, studying currently in Rome.  What a great day!!

The weather has started shifting to rain.  A lot of it.  I left Venice Sunday to Trieste.  A stop I could have done without.  Now, Trieste is way over on the eastern side, next to Slovenia.  But, people were not so very friendly.  The middle-age/older ones the worst.  I used Airbnb for my lodgings.  I used them 3 times before, but this was the one that bust open poorly.  My host, because of ‘my age’ as he told me, put me in his apartment in the next building.  Not in the house he advertised.  I found a scorpion in my shower, so no, I waited to shower in Milan!  When I tried to talk to him, he became agitated and the story just kept changing as to the problems.  I was quite happy to get out of there and be here, in happy Milan!  I don’t know if it is because Trieste is so eastern, but it wasn’t like being in Italy.  Italians are nice, warm people.  These people did not seem happy.  The town is older, not the cleanest.  They just might be, lets say, more traditional than the rest of Italy. . . . .

My hotel is Idea Hotel by the Milan Marpensa Airport.  It is wonderful!!  I forgot how nice it is to travel using hotels!  The place is modern design, lights are all sensor motioned and your room key turns on your lights in your room.  The staff is great, friendly & warm.  I find it quite cool, and advanced!  You have to take your keys with you so all the lights will shut off.  Very green!

As I said, on to Athens.  I am happy to be moving away from the rains, a little warmer temps.  Everything I read says Athens is beautiful.  From there, I move on to Thailand.

Believe it or not, in just 4 weeks from today, I will be catching a plane to Salt Lake City, Utah.  The ‘abroad’ part of my trip will be over.  I don’t know how well I will handle being back in the states, but I do look forward to it!


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Saturday, November 17, 2012

First, I am not on my computer so a picture, sadly is not a choice.  Second, I will be leaving tomorrow for Vienna and then Thursday evening, night train!, for Venice, which is much dryer!

On this past Tuesday I went to Dachau.  The tour guide, Marcin, was very good.  He worked there at some point in his life so he really knew his stuff.  The history is interesting in that it was the first camp under Hitler, others have done it, in 1933 for the `reeducation` of people that did not agree with his ways.  The camp has very little left of it.  There are two barracks there that are not original.  The entrance building with gate is original and the bunker is original.  There are 3 other buildings also.  Much of the camp was burned to keep people warm in 1965 for those living there, displaced persons as they were known.  Parts fell down.  And there is also the Nazi´s offices right next door an just in between are the crematoriums.

There are 3 memorials, major ones, along with many smaller ones.  Things here have been destroyed and stolen from survivors to neoNazis.  Almost all original artifacts have been put away for that reason.  There are many pictures of things that went on and duplicates of original pictures taken by the Nazi´s.

The bunker started as a 5 room building that ended as a 137 room building.  It´s function — each room was a holding cell for torturing prisoners.  In many ways.  But that is what I think was most impressive with this tour — Nazi´s were not the first to torture prisoners.  Look at history and be amazed to see what you learn.  China´s Mao was brutal and actually has the worst genocide completed in history.  I forget number 2 and surprising, Hitler is number 3.

Hitler was so good at what he did that he had the world fooled.  Even before WWII started in 1938, an New York journalist visited Dachau and came back to recommend it for US citizens reeducation.  Was Hitler that good or was the world that stupid??

I am currently reading a book, A Winter in Prague.  For me, it ties in with all that I am seeing and gives a great deal of historical background to the war.  Czechoslovak was the first country ´taken´by the Nazi´s.  No one wanted in on what was happening and they attempted to believe Hitler.  Until Winston Churchill.  I now understand his statue in Prague.

The people in Munich have been very gracious and helpful  It was worth the time.  I am now in Salzburg, getting  ready to leave tomorrow.  There truly is not a great deal to do here, to see, which I have become grateful for.  I went up the fortress Thursday and walked down.  I must have stretched a muscle because my knee hurted terribly.  Friday was better, but I decided to head home and relax till my Sunday train trip.  Salzburg is a small, friendly quiet place.  They are starting their ChrisKringlemart so it´s a good thing I am leaving!  On to Vienna and hopefully, internet on my computer!  The fortress was very cool!

And I have done some checking, Venice appears to be un-flooded as I will be there by Friday morning.  What a relief!  Not really, just would have made new plans!  Oh!  And here and in Prague, I hear Ciao everywhere!  CiaoCiao!!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Franny, and to a dear friend, Jennifer.

WOW!!!  What a great day touring Munich!  But first, I need to tell you about the touring company.  If you go to you will find them.  They do tours in many cities.  What’s really cool is that this ~3 hour walking tour was FREE!!!  BUT, they do ask you to tip according to your wish.  I gave her 10Euros.  Cheapest one I’ve had and one of the best!

Question – why did many churches survive, or most of the structure survive bombing from WWII?

So, I learned a lot about Munchen.  If you look at per person capita of beer drinking in the world, Munchen ranks number 3 behind Dublin #2, and Czech Republic, #1.  BUT, take just Bavaria of Germany, and its #1 worldwide!  Important stuff, right?

I did learn a great deal about Germany’s history, back to its beginnings and the kings that ruled.  It is all very interesting stuff, stuff that I didn’t pay attention to in school!  It’s alive now so it can’t be ignored, especially the part of Hitler.

I learned today that Germany is not ‘ashamed’ of that time period, but strongly does not support it as part of who Germans are, especially the people of Munich.  Memorials her are simple.  Reasoning – enough info to make you go look it up on the net and get ALL the information.  Along with this, many of these memorials have the dark side of being there due to Nazi’s.

Oktoberfest is actually a celebration of the first anniversary of King Ludwig I.  His wedding was such a smash that people asked for a party on the first anniversary, in the same place, a field that was a wedding gift to his wife.  So he did and the tradition has carried forward annually, almost 150 years later!  But, now, because it happens, people get stupid and will due a “hyal Hitler” and salute!  IF you are caught, it is a 2500Euro fine, you are IMMEDIATELY removed and sent out of the country and your passport is stamped showing you are a neo-Nazi FOREVER.  They are very serious about their history, what happened and who they really are.  They have also just made the decision that Hitler’s Mein Kampf (spelling?) will no longer be published.  They ain’t playin’ here!

I will be going to Dachau tomorrow and am very excited about the trip.  People were sent there for any reason.  It is the first concentration camp, not a killing camp, of Hitlers’ design.  The guide today, an American, stated that she had been to 3 other camps and really was not that interested in going, but was required due to her employment.  She said she was very grateful she went.

Back to the question – the bombing.  As we learned – be a pilot going into a foreign country, many times at night.  How do you know where to bomb, where you are?  The church towers!  The towers became the landmarks for bombers to determine where they were at, thus, surviving much of the war.

I am unable to put up any pictures with my posts.  It’s just where I am with a poor connection.  I do put pic’s up on Facebook, as it is the ‘friendliest’ site for me to work with.  Technology is great, but it is has its flaw.  Facebook has become my friend!  Please let me know if you have not seen pictures and I will connect with you.

And how did Munchen get its name?  When asked where do you live, people would say ‘by the munches’ or as we would know it ‘by the monks’.  And of course they were beer-loving monks, thus came the name Munchen, or Munich!  To this day there is a symbol for the munches and is in police & fireman uniforms and is highly visible everywhere.  It is the symbol of Munich.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012 – Munich

Ok, so as I walk all over I here-and-there see these signs, WC.  Anyone know what they mean??

After not understanding my train ticket, I did make it to Munich!  Thanks to a young man,  a US vet, who helped carry my bag and get me to the right spot.  Then a very nice woman let me ‘follow’ her on the train & where to get off.  She even had some time before her next train so she got me most of the way to my lodgings.  People are looking over me!

And gratefully, my hostel is about a 5 minute walk from the train station, nice.  And as reported, it is raining today.  That’s ok.  Laundry is washed & drying and I am going to relax.  There is a pile of info on tours here at the hostel so I will be doing a walking tour & the Kistkindlemarket (sp??) tomorrow.  Tuesday I am going to do a tour of Dachau.  I remember the name, but forgot the specifics.  It was the first of Hitlers concentration camps.  They say there is a graphic film, not for children under 12.  Seriously, I hope I get through it.

Oh, the days of hostels!!  When I got in last night, loud, laughter & drinking!  Not exactly like the ones we stayed in ’06.  But it works.  Breakfast was doable, I am full.  And if the rain doesn’t let up today, it may be all I eat!  Again, doable.  I laugh as people are leaving and they are cleaning out rooms.  Piles of booze bottles and lots of stink!  Even my room has a bit of a smell — there are 6 of us in it, one leaving this morning.  It was the cheapest, most convenient I could find.  Give me a break!

Ok.  WC — toilet as they say, or bathroom as we say.  But what does WC stand for — water closet!!!  How many of you knew that one!?!  😉


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On the road again . . . .

From Sedlac, The 'Bones' Church

From Sedlac, The ‘Bones’ Church

Yes, its that time again, movin’ on!  Its Friday evening and I’ve had yet another good day.  Took a day trip to Sedlac & Kutna Hora, about an hour east of Prague.  The pic is from Sedlac — the bone church — literally!  Over 40,000 bones were used to decorate this church.  Long story, but people wanted it.  Kind of cool!  And then we went over to Kutna Hora, next door.  Kutna Hora was the big silver mining town back in the day.  St. Barbara is their patron saint so they built this huge, wonderful church to honor her.  Along with seeing some other really cool things.  But tonight it is time to get ready, get packing!

I have seen and learned so much while I’ve been here.  Again, the people have been great! I am so happy I took some tours for many reasons, but the best is that I got to talk to people about their lives, growing up under Communism and then getting their freedom.  What their losses have been and their gains.  The one guide was telling us how this area was originally founded by Celtic people.  And the history goes on from there, but, due to Communism, Czech people wanted to know more of their roots.  So, DNA research was done to determine true blood line and it showed that Czech people are Irish, Scottish & German.  She told us how happy the country was to find that they did not have genealogy with Russians — meaning no communistic blood!

They say that Prague is a beautiful place.  Even in pre-winter it is beautiful.  I can only imagine what it looks like in winter!  That may have to be my next trip . . . .

I have learned no language  from here — its way too hard!  The use of vowels in every word does not exist.  And only 6 weeks ago I was teaching the importance of knowing a vowel from a consonant in the English language!  They say to stress the beginning of the word — I didn’t want to insult anyone so I just stuck to my English vowels and did just fine, thank you.

So now its goodnight, and on to Munich and the rain.  This may be my time to re-energize.  Lord knows I need it!!

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