More on Bucharest (posted for Don via email)

More on Bucharest, which I still can’t spell.. The mountains were beautiful when we woke of yesterday AM, but by the time we hit the huge valley after a 3 country crawl we were ready for this fine hostel. As written yesterday, I tried…unsuccessfully to blow up the kitchen and now I am back at the machine

Sammy is off with a group to explore and I will take off soon for the embassy, but a couple more comments on the city/country first

Just took a 2/3 mile walk and find a couple of things that exemplify the problems facing Bucharest as an ex soviet subsidiary, There seemed to be sewer problem in a number of the Mountain towns and villages we passed. The effluent from the antiquated disposal systems went down stream, by the time we got to the valley, those beautiful waters were a questionable greenish gray. And then the join the city’s canal system. Don’t go near the water.

THE REVOLUTION DESTRUCTION HERE IS REALLY MINIMAL, THE PROBLEM IS GENERAL DETERIORATION OF EONS OF NEGLECT. Streets and buildings have suffered, but not as much as the people. The country could use some of Paulson’s dollars, and even a few of the Obama stimulus too.

The RR bed and the roads seem to suffer the same neglect, however there was freeway construction in the Mountains and oodles of maintenance ties stacked neatly, and unused along the tracks. Ballast piles were also evident, perhaps the mountain resorts and access are more important to the decision makers

not one coffee shop
buildings in disrepair and downright dangerous
a messy/dirty public park
a lovely canal that can not have boats because of too low bridges
Traffic of the oldest cars I have seen since we started, Cabs through out the trip have been clean and tend to Mercedes and BMW’s, and these were all in socialist countries, but here it is much different, I even notice the older folks walk like they are all tired out

ROMANIA SUFFERED THRU NAZIS, COMMUNISM AND A VERY DIRTY DICTATOR BEFORE THEY REVOLTED

I think/hope they will regain some life under the current socialist democracy, there is a growing market economy that will probably deteriorate like ours, but hope springs eternal, unfortunately there is a hell of a lot of rebuilding to do
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More observations

Honey, thank you so much, the trip is great and your Granddaughter is a jewel, one who is not totally enamored with morning, but has other attributes, far more valuable.

I just noticed the underline, but am not going to mess with it,

We were leaving the Krakow station when a jovial drunk stepped up as we were about to check the hostel desk and started a speak in English on his home, close clean and cheap, the same price as dorms. It was/is and other than his constant patter, most satisfactory. We met his long suffering wife, a fine woman who has tolerated him for 35 years. We accepted the room, had tea and tolerated his continuing monologue

After too many tales of past guests and a few more vodkas for him and TMI we went for a walk. The city is beautiful and more enjoyable without his too long and garbled commentary. We found a lovely plaza, a beautiful fountain and a good meal……no cooking privileges. Also checked ….unsuccessfully for wifi, checked a recommended hostel and decided to stay put.

The city is ancient, untouched by war, with a wartime industry, we will investigate today More of my black humor with apologies. But TED had the audacity to be proud that Hitler spared Krakow and claimed it as a future home for the 3rd riche???? This is a man who spent 6 years as a Toronto cab driver. His only mention of Auswitch?? Was an offer to be our guide………REFUSED

I think I left Berlin’s description a bit short. It was as I remembered, impressive with its historic untouched buildings, it statuary, lovely Zoological and other parks, It’s excellent transportation system and a bustling populace with a working/middle class and a continuing building boom. The city is refurbishing its monuments, has built the most functional train terminals, but not as clean as I remember and has a million clean and new cars following strict traffic signals…..Sammy and I caught a citizens ire by ignoring the pedestrian lights.

We walked this old man’s legs off as Sammy took pictures, including her requested visit to check point Charley. It has been fixed up with a special place to view the wall and a public museum under construction. Sam bypassed the one we saw as too commercial.

We walked areas that were as white bread as Walnut Creek, saw worker apartments, and showrooms for Mercedes an Lamborghini plus a street of designer stores which all signaled a growing economy, at least for some. Sort of USA redux with sleeping bums and some tenements. But in all it was a booming capital

This is a working class neighborhood with antiquated….1800s buildings, but it mostly clean and cared for condition, The after effects of it’s communist occupation are still prevalent, but it is busy and relatively clean, and a lot of police. The walled city is as expected, clean and bustling, we are a ten minute walk from museums, cathedrals and three synagogues, what were they in the 30s and 40s????

Our trip out was as expected with German tracts in perfect condition and the train at high speed, when we hit Poland there were miles of comparable tract and many miles of slow and bumpy. The slower allowed a better look at the terrain which was a lot like lower Michigan. Some hills, a lot of Saginaw type flats and also both evergreen and hardwood forests, Much agriculture and rust bucket towns and cities. Nothing as clean and neat as Norway, even the stucco buildings had a gray effect with minimal color. The fields were a mix of fallow and small/large with some evidence of some chemical assistance but no irrigation or drainage but also some rotation. Not many truck crops and nary a flower.

Evidence about the cities showed some of the squatter poverty, but also the garden plots for city dwellers complete with tiny houses, trees and gardens, There seemed to be a great deal of dilapidated housing and some abandoned. Stucco on cinder block was in sight everywhere. The coal electric system and train loads of cinders suggested good and historical use of the waste from coal/electricity. The forests were clear cut and uniform but mostly cut in under the 8 inch growth. The short use of chemicals in the fields allowed plenty of unwanted weed growth and the loss of $$$ suggests fewer corporate farms, but free enterprise will change that. There were some smaller subsistence farms with other huge fields, but always evidence of older farming practices. Michigan/Ohio farm colleges could make a difference……..go blue

MORE LATER

THIS IS BOTH LATER AND EARLIER. WE ARE STILL IN KRAKOW, AND WILL BE HERE FOR TWO MORE DAYS . TONIGHT I COOK A PASTA FOR OUR HOSTS

Sammy has a soft spot, drunks.

Our hosts are a couple, she has adopted. I think they are victims of the retirement scam used by Enron and the company that scammed Carl out of retirement. When the Russians left Poland the employees like Ted, the host, were scammed. He was a supervisor and like many, his retirement left with the Russians. So we stay another night, the hosts got morning$$$$$$$ for shopping and we leave tomorrow.

We did the salt mine. A tour of a mine operative until 1998 and started in 12th century. It is a state operation and a big tourist income…..together with the silent industry of the Nazis……NEVER AGAIN…….EXCEPT FOR DARFOR, NIGERIA AND A FEW OTHERS

We visit that industry today

On the visit down I was reminded of Hamtramick and my last visit. The city was the Rust Bucket center of the USA as it was devastated by the demise of USA auto. As we passed thru many cities the ravages of the rust bucket and socialist economy became blatantly evident. Deteriorated factories, stations is disrepair and tracks that slowed us to a crawl. There were bright spots, however, as we also saw large productive agriculture and a booming lumber industry, neat garden plots, busy retail areas and often oodles of car traffic. It seemed like the country was fighting back, and then came untouched and beautiful Krakow.

This old city where we live is a picture of old Europe with the bustle of a clean and prosperous city, buildings 2/3/4 centuries old and interspersed with a few renovated apartments that look a bit out of place, although there was effort to keep the old walled city historically correct. The place seems like one big park together with well kept buildings loaded with statuary, new windows and well maintained exteriors. If this home is an example, however, some of these antique exteriors house similar antique apartments, similar to Harrington’s OTHER AMERICA. And that still exists.

Where Berlin fountains were loaded with trash, these are places of beauty, pleasure and havens of fun for little kids. Mother and dads watch as kids have a ball. We listen and watch the joy over good food at good prices. Food out is at about the same level as home, with a range from the ever present MickyDs to the Manitou and beyond.

Sam is in the sack, so keep suffering thru the blog and blabbering

Back to the salt mine

The tour was my usual nightmare as the young, competent leader, spoke to the three in front of her and the 40 of the rest of us heard a jumble of words. Every now and then I got a century right so I then was able to put time and technology together with the depths of the mine usually available on the wall. The girl was a hell of a lot better than my hearing and deserved and received the attention of many of my 40 associates. Sammy got a hoard of pictures as we decended and saw tons…literally….of statutes of salt ranging from the pope to feudal images of

Villages, horses, workers, jeweled ballrooms, elves and panoramas of mine operations. The extraction of marble was a side industry and it was evident that the states attention to history was included at every level. When the product was extracted, art and history were added. The translucence of the salt and marble was in evidence everywhere as well placed lighting helped us see the veins of salt and marble,

It was hand and back technique until about 1850 when manpower was replaced. There were amazing examples of a labyrinth of pulleys and ropes thru out. Water and then distillation was replaced with crushing as the immense nature of the mine became evident. Hand star drill alla South America together with slab removal thru water logged wedges were the norm, back labor was the tool of need. Wages were adequate, I did not inquire about the contribution of the Auswitch industry.

The introduction of dynamite was also in the 19t century to be later followed by hydrolics but the markings on the walls constantly gave a chilling reminder of the sweat that went into the entire operation.

The timbered walls and overhead of the tunnels were extremely well designed identifying attention to safety. I did not and should have inquired about the math of injuries and deaths.Curt, remember the well kept records of 5 million and no retirement as no one survived the mines after 55. Neither did I get age and longevity data.

The size of the tunnels, use of horses, cart tracks and just the enormity of the place seems to give evidence of technology far superior to the Perue mines. There the 17 levels had no stairs, wood supported tunnel, or technology, only backs and muscles, from 11 year olds up until they joined the ranks of the 5 mill

The timber work and the fitting of the vertical and horizontal logs was fine work. In fact there was one large statuary exhibit devoted to the carpenters.

Use of water was also evident as there were huge pools where the salinity prevented death by drowning, except in one instance where a group got caught in a no way out tunnel . I should probably work on survival data, given the technology of the rest of the mine, its history and the state’s involvement. At any rate the town has not only survived but thrived, it has withstood two wars to end all wars and is still untouched. Also it currently has a wall of history around the old town, excellent, streets, thruways, mass transit and all whistle clean and busy. We have seen name stores, well dressed and busy people, a lot of fine cars and few with age or bumps, well preserved buildings a terminal similar to Norway and all in all a beautiful place to be

TODAY IT IS A NEEDED VISIT TO REMEMBER. NEVER AGAIN

The visit is delayed, but Sammy just got up to help me, plus it took five stops and an hour and a half to find meat for tonight’s pasta. Sammy decided we would stay another day and I have the sauce prepared after the search, two stores for garlic, a stand for veggies and four failed stores plus six directions including two travel agencies and a grocery for a meat store, found three blocks from the apartment.

We will get underway shortly for either Auswitch or photo shoots and here they are numerous. In the main square there is a community concert set up and a host of temporary shops like an art fair. Most are tourist and trinket stops, but some have fair craft articles, but the purchases just add weight and not
Quality

A NEW TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

After a depressing Auswich trip, all hell broke loose at the drunk’s house, buy now all is well

An experience worse than Dachau for me, the enormity of numbers, the vivid photos and descriptions plus the actual being their was overpowering. 115, mill Jews exterminated Plus thousands of others. Being in the area of death was depressing as was the knowledge of our destination, but when I entered the actual barracks knowing the progression to ultimate death, the result was too much. The gate, work will make you free, to the final ovens and crematory was a journey that drew tears, shame, and a reinforcement of my atheism that I felt throughout my body….and NEVER AGAIN… became an illusion. We still have not learned as we allow, and even assist in genocide. The we is USA as we turn our backs on Africa, belatedly intervened in Bosnia and then sit back while sunnies and shites massacre each other.

Yes it was a bad trip

From the entry movie showing the Eastern Army’s liberation to the closing the gate as two of the last to leave, it was a bad trip

The Poles have done an excellent job of preservation of the atrocity with well placed and explicit information both as guides for the experience and explanations of the painful displays. These were in Polish, Yiddish and English. The explanations, however, were all but absent in barrack #27 which is a Jewish memorial museum. There the walls of photos and artifacts had no/few descriptions and none were needed. A dirge and a Cantors voice was a more than adequate atmosphere of remembrance. Especially vivid was a steel sculpture depicting a furnace with souls rising out of the furnace into a light…truly a heart/soul/brain and physical experience, NEVER AGAIN. It should be a mandatory experience for all people,

The entire museum was dark with all black walls, DC”S Holocaust museum revisited in one overpowering moment. The grave stone at the steps of #27 was piled with remembrance stones, mine too.

When one does a bit of math and finds that 115 mill were exterminated and the 56,000 survivors were forced marched to their “freedom” in January it gives a skewed image of war and victory. Military/combat decisions take precedence over humanity…NO WAR

Sammy and I walked to the station and got a train that was a Tunnerville trolley, a 2 hour ride back and half that out. We walked in the apartment at damn near 11 and were expected at 9 and started to heat up the meal I had prepared before we left….Then all hell broke loose.

The wife came out drunk and screaming that we owed 400 more Zs, which was not correct, before leaving I had made a special bank trip, paid the bill, got groceries, prepared the meal and on departure we were treated like family. Nancy’s constant reminder that we were in a foreign country kicked in. With a drunken couple screaming Polish and Ted’s English, plus his stupid and ineffectual macho, I responded with 400Zs and said we were leaving NOW!!!!!

We did

The last train in our book was missed, but Nancy’s Cook schedule reminder got us, unfortunately, back to the train station to find, at midnight, the only way out toward Prague was a 3 AM with a 9AM change. Thanks to Sammy’s navigation we got to a Hostel, crashed and here we are at 930 and Sammy has another 30 minutes in the sack, We will leave our gear here, 5 blocks to the station and meet there for our Prague departure. I am on the way to the Jewish ex ghetto, now a fashionable area and then to the cemetery and Schindler’s factory while Sammy also does the city for photo shoots. She got plenty at Auschwitz and also at a timed fountain where children were getting wet, and a few adults too. Unfortunately her prime contest winning shot is of me sleeping on a train with my fly open. Thank you Winston, “ a dead bird does not leave the nest”

. A NEW DAY IN PRAHA

AFTER SAMS EXCELLENT NAVIGATION WE GOT ANOTHER DAY IN KRAKOW

And then on to the night train, sans food, no diner and we were there on time, next time I think Nancy and Curt have the best suggestion, at least give ourselves 30/60 minutes to take care of business. We got first class, but only a compartment, no bunk. The three seats were ideal for me, but poor Sam suffered and now making up for the lost sleep. The conductors were at her door too damn often but as usual I slept soundly thru it all.

KRAKOW REVISITED

A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DAY FOR ME. I NEEDED IT AFTER AUSCHWITZ

It was a lovely day. First was visit to the old Jewish cemetery. There was no need for one in WW11. Then a trip to the new ghetto and an excellent breakfast. The NEW ghetto still has three synagogues and a fine museum with little mention of the Holocaust

APOLOGIES, BUT I DO NOT HAVE THE SKILLS OR DESIRE TO DO THE SPELL CHECK, WITH MINE THERE IS AN ITEM BOBBY ADDED AND
I WAS GETTING ABLED TO DO IT, NOW I AM SNAPPING IN ON SAMS, PLEASE SUFFER THRU
THE NEW GHETTO is a posh high rent area that has top style and $$$$ names. Walnut Creek/Danville C ARTIER, PRADA. ROLLEX ETC.

LEAVING THE GHETTO I went to an absolutely excellent museum, the best I have been in including Chicago’s Rosenwalt and Mexico’s Folk. This one brought me back to humanity after The Auswitzch experience. If possible see the Schindler!!!!!

I had four plus hours and still had more to see and absorb, but time was called at six.

The museum not only included eyewitness testimony on the man’s greatness, but historically followed how he achieved the impossible by brazenly facing the top command with requests that were met. He hustled both farms for food for his people but also used the black market. His folks took home cookware from his multifunctional plant, with permission, and then traded for more food to assist the neighbors

When he moved to Czechoslovakia he had his entire staff moved too, claiming the need for expertise. He fed his slave workers too, and claimed that once trained he needed them, at that time he had gone into bomb timers, no argument from above.

Timely wake up for Sammy, The laptop went on reserve and I shut it off just as Sammy woke up. I now have the charger on and I can keep making mistakes

The Schindler museum also had a complete section on Krakow, superior from others. It used everything from sculpture to trash, films depicting the mass street round ups and the inhumanity of the Nazis with firing of weapons into crowds and truck/train convoys, sirens and screams. There were tons of special exhibits of pre/post Nazi life even including a streetcar with us as passengers. The historical portion included Krakow life from clothing to the mock ups of rooms once the rural refugees, families and the displaced started to crowd in. The uprisings were utilized as were the round ups in retaliation. Actual signs, underground papers and photos of the guerrilla heroes. To say complete is an understatement. A Schindler visit is not to be missed

TO THE TRAIN. I think the conductors just wanted to see Sam. Hell we never had that problem, except once when the troops barged in and Nancy saved my skin by shushing me up before I could really screw up the trip

All is well here, the machine keeps running in spite of two finger, cramped pinkies, poor spelling and continuing the context and continuity game for the long suffering readers

We have a neat/messy central city Hostel within our price range even tho it cost 7 euro to wait until an reservation from the Info booth was secured.

After a free breakfast I took off, Sammy typed and slept and I had a beautiful day. This city is I remembered and better, Nancy and I were wet as hell, roaming about lost until we saw a garbage man pull up to the President’s garage and then backed out without sirens, no gates, walls, shooting except a thanks…Speaking of thanks…………Nancy Lee you are LOVED….HUGS. And other good news, CitiBank Krakow helped solve the card/pin issue

So my day has been great After talking to 4 police, 6 storekeepers, 4 info experts, I found the Black Madonna, right where Nancy took us the first visit. The clock draws an appreciative applauding crowd like a sundown and green spot on the malacon, Charles Bridge, the plazas, cathedrals and buildings were as expected, only more tourists. I got to listen to damn good blues and jazz in CHEZ with the same excitement as Norway, only this time the oral music was in CHEZ not English, but the toneation, guttural sounds and happy horns, strings and drums were all the same, There was a washboard on the bridge that should have a contract in New Orleans or Memphis and a Banjo on a plaza who would get applause on the grand old opera

Tomorrow night it is a Symphony, a balcony seat, yes I am cheap. Sammy, however will have better shots than in the cheap seats and SRO

The walk and fun of navigating was great, but my guide is on the move and more later

HUGS, THANKS HEAPS, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR ALL

BACK AGAIN, SAM’S REQUEST IS TO WAKE UP BEFORE I LEAVE, TODAY WILL BE HER PHOTO SHOOT AND I WILL TRY FOR THE USA EMBASSY TO CHECK OUT EXCELON OPTIONS

After finally finding the Black Madonna I ran into two Nuns, asked them if they had seen the Black Madonna and they said NO, WHEN ASKED IF THEY WOULD LIKE TO THEY RESPONDED NO, WE ARE FROM GERMANY. So what do NUNS look for on a trip??

Got back to the Hostel and Sammy was here. She got wifi and communication with home, while I got visuals of a great city. As we left together for Charles Bridge and beyond she became more and more impressed with the city, we agree it is the most beautiful we have visited. A Greek salad …no pepperocini or olives, Greek? Sam had an excellent goulash, the gravy and dumplings, were shared and appreciated. That was after visiting a bunch of places and then A CONE FOR SAM….EXCELLENT.

Sam’s request, after her battery died, was that I wake her before I leave in the AM. There is no way that she wants to miss this place. She will take one of the Madonna for me. This place has a view, no matter where we are, even doors, doorways and windows let alone cathedrals and Charles. Sam was especially impressed with a cello trio on the bridge. I had listened to them earlier and stayed thru two more sets while Sam ran her battery down. In that it was dark, an excellent meal, the river and the boats and other than missing Nancy Lee, it was a hell of an experience.

Back at the Hostel a couple of games and to bed, except for a locked door and a gaggle of girls back from an exciting pub crawl, abrogated by no door key and a pursuing pack of macho men, it was a fine night/day….AND SAMMY IS UP SO I AM GONE

A new day, weekends and no embassy so the day was spent with a Sunday AA and then all sorts of exploration, just plain beauty and antiquity. Even the new construction is lovely. We go to a concert tonight and I do believe Sam is as excited as I. The Municipal hall is gorgeous, Sam took pictures of everything. The crowd was mostly tourists, the music opened with Vivald FOUR SEASONS and from then on we were entranced. THE MAESTRO WAS ALSO the soloist. He took three bows and never gave the cello her due. The first violin tried to compensate as she nudged him, but he was too satisfied with himself… As a soloist he needs to check in to Interlochen as a Maestro he needs lesson from the Baras

But it was a great evening. We also had gypsy and Hungarian dances and a dirge as a break.

A short walk to the hostel, a block and more cribbage. Tonight we leave at 11:23, Sam is on a river photo shoot and I am in a Burger king. We will meet on the track for Budapest I will get us a compartment and play sleep with a poncho and then watch for her. The night trains are crowded with youth…WHAT IN HELL IS THIS OLD FART DOING HERE.???

OH YES BACK TO THE MEDICATION. After a nooner..AA I got the info on a clinic and pharmacy. Three great walks. And I shot blanks, but the views were tremendous, new territory. Four pharmacies with necessary option of waiting for an order, till six and get a doctors prescription in the interim. I did not mind the time factor, but a fifth pharmacy assured me no deliveries…I chose to try Budapest. The Physician I checked wanted 60 US, I was reminded of Nancy in tears in Portugal…she had run out of Thyroid medication 3 days ago. On to a bus and a stop at a pharmacy, sent to a doc, a 50 US signature and 10 US for the medication and no more tears. I have patches for another week and will get help ASAP. Bobby, hold the mail and I will contact you in Budapest, Bucharest or where ever I get set up.. I think it means a quick doc and pharmacy trip on arrival with time for a delivery

Back to good times. Sam prepared a mighty tasty salad tonight with healthy goodies. I stoke up on Hostel free breakfasts….cheep traveler that I am… Cheese ham and coffee plus watered down juice is not Sam’s favorite, but she is doing damn good on a Grandpa grouch trip.
She is now doing her favorite time of the day shoots on the river

Yesterday and today I explored and shot blanks on medication while she took a day pass on the trams. We met at the clock right on time

By the way she is 24 games out…..Michele are you good for her tab???? She told me she had taken lessons from her American Cribbage Association Dad. He took lessons from Katy on our wedding anniversary

There is an outstanding colored display of European Wildlife and specific locations that are endangered with climate change, over hunting, fishing, development and the usual damn foolishness……KAREN GOSLING, you are appreciated. Your work is helping here and home

The photography was spell binding, I spent about four wet hours and did not miss an exhibit

I forgot…the concert hall was a museum of art and marble construction I also took in the Jewish ghetto and a couple of more synagogues and still can’t spell correctly

Off to the right track where I will meet Sam in about a half hour and then on to more adventure, I do think it will be a better sleep for Sam, she got bothered all night on the Krakow train, tonight she will cover up and I hope sleep better

Bothered she was, again. But after a few hour nap while I scouted for med…unsuccessfully….I am back at the ranch and Sam is hustling groceries. After that salad last night I will give her the appetite and take what she will prepare

Budapest had a few tramp camps but also very large, communist type apartment blocks on the way in. Also great corporate grain fields with evidence of managed farming

New factories with some evidence outside the city of rust bucket, but they seem busy now. I had a host of perfunctory problems today, no meds yet but hope springs eternal

I found a most helpful pharmacy and some great tourist sights, the Danube and parliament plus impressive statuary and government buildings, some striking old architecture surrounded by new, glass, aluminum monstrosities, I have noticed thru out that the old buildings have new double pane windows with modernized version of the swing outs with wood or plastic/aluminum frames which keep the weather out and heat it

There have also been individual ceramic room heaters with various artistic chimneys and wood piles in the living areas

I digress…Damn perfunctories. After the very helpful pharmacist I got to the right address…door locked and pointed around a corner, I went and got in, One helpful and one secretary busy with smiles and giggles. A nice guy comes up and says red building next door. I go. Man at front shakes his head, no Neurologist, spelling by kind pharmacist. I get pointed to Godzilla who explodes and starts swearing in English, grabs the phone and dials, out comes Godzilla 2 screams in Hungarian and writes an address. Stamps out. A neat telephone worker comes up and apologizes for his co worker s and proceeds to give me Docs name and current address….he did not make friends with his help, It was 4 so back to the ranch and Sammy in a dress, a first for me.

I start laundry and Sam is off for groceries and I hope another great salad

Tomorrow it is meds again and also embassy. I am not making a lot of headway, but I sure see a lot of the city.

I think Sam will hit the streets ASAP, and I will get to the laundry

THANKS AND HUGS

Another day and a good meal of Sam’s eggs and fruit. This Hostel costs more for the second day, a practice we have found in 3 countries. I found another pharmacy and new directions to a hospital, I will try now and will be on my way to try and get the meds, also to the embassy today. Sam and I will do a day pass on the trams etc and check out the sights, the castle , synagogue? Etc. Allis well, Sam will try another washer. My try ended up with clean but dripping cloths that are now trying to dry hanging here in the room on windows door and radiators. Two pretty Hollanders here with Sam and this old man.

With a watch that now works I see I have about a month left, Time flies when you are having fun. Great trip and lost 2 this AM

I HOPE WE FIND A WIFI TODAY, I STILL HAVE NORWAY TO THANK

HAPPINESS AND HEALTH

Budapest to Bucharest (posted for Don via email)

No I did not get to the embassy yesterday, so will try again tomorrow. After a good day of sightseeing and tram riding Sam and I met at the station and got on board a crowded train, 11:23 and off for Bucharest. Crowds ruled out a double so we shared with a Romanian travel scammmer. Sam tolerated his music and BS for awhile,settled into earplugs, eye shades and her Excellent sleep sack OK BOBBY YOU WERE RIGHT

The guy had done time in Germany and Holland, a”trumped up charge got him seven years”..then his ex-girl made off with an ex cell mate and when he went, and failed to get her back, she hit him with a restraining and six hours in an Amsterdam jail. He left town and is now a hustler. He was successful coning the first conductor …no ticket. However there was no sign of him after the Romanian border. We had our own compartment by then and Sam slept through the confrontation, As I remember Romania was with the Nazis in WW11 and now we use them for Gitmo Type retainers…let them compromise out Constitution

11 pm to 5:00 pm is a hell of a long trip, But we are now in a great hostel, had a fine dinner and a couple of guests, took a left (not a right) and so spent 2hrs going in a circle. Well worth it, except for a minor problem when I was cooking, the stove blew up. NO PROBLEM

SAM AND I AGREE BUDAPEST WAS NOT OUR FAVORITE, HALF THE MONUMENTS WERE IN RECONSTRUCTION AND THE WEATHER WAS MIXED. We did see a lot, the Danube is not blue. The Nazis got rid of about 600 citizens using some interesting methods. Why waste time and ammo, tie the folks together and push the first of the wall and make sure their shoes are left on the bank. There were memorial brass and iron shoes, but also oodles of pairs of regulars in all types of styles and degrees of new/old.

There wee some wonderful sights, I got to the Opera, just in time to gawk at the entry before I was told visiting was over. So I went and watched a movie being made, just outside the door, how many times do extras have to do a choreographed 100 ft scene?

A lot of beautiful buildings and the antiquities were excellent, but the exciting for me was the communism collection of statuary that was removed during and after the up rising. Especially obvious was the worker theme and enormity of the displaced works, Stalin’s boots, replicas were the rallying sight for the short and successful revolution. A small and agree kid with anAK47 became a rallying photo. An interesting aside that Lovely Nancy Lee caught in China………….We were visiting the 3 Gorges Damn, fifty years of Soviet expertize. Nancy tells me to watch out near the edge of the viewing area… Right she was, The great Soviet communes, learned cheat the system by shorting the concrete by a bag of cement a load. The weapon manufacture got their due too as their stainless steel was all short a bag of zink. Rust and crumbling were all over the damn sight.

The beauty of the soviet system is that they did not discriminate. This was evidenced at the Memorial park by some of the bronze and metal statuary were falling victim to the bronze commune. Bronze statute parts were deteriorating fast. So if you want to see the place, hurry…WHOOPS you can’t hurry the damn place is so far out of town you need a visa to visit.

The trip had merits, however. The bus passed through numerous street of relatively new individual homes.. They were Walnut Creek, but very nice with many creative designs. They were primarily concrete and stucco and quite large with neat lawns and streets. The residents were busy with lawns or gardens, a lot of fine cars and people exercising. The story of failed communism never had a more effective counter argument.

After the trams, it was find a compartment, we did not until Romania and then lean back sleep, get a good train breakfast and enjoy the countryside, beginning with daylight. The train’s speed was determined by track condition, usually poor so we waddled rather than flew.

A lot of mediocre to poor agriculture. Tremendous company fields of corn and grain, but not much for drainage so most low spots were unproductive. Also weed damage was quite evident, not to mention large areas of fallow which at home would be productive would be used. Some rotation and chemical use could be seen, buy far more interesting were the horses and gleaners. Sheves were vertical cones and back work prevailed. Cars were conspicuous by there absence, Whole villages with no cars but a number of work horses. Housing ranges from huts to solid well built suburbia.

Grapes for miles, but the vineyards seemed messy compare to the peninsula. Sunflowers galore, beautiful. and then Sammy points to the train floor which is loaded with shells.

Those careless villages were not with prominent TV dishes and team drivers had cell phones. On highways tho, mostly trucks, tractors and wagons, That certainly changed in the cities where Mercedes, porches and plenty of newer models plugged the streets, They were kind to pedestrians

Intermittently there were prosperous company towns with flourishing industries, box stores and graffiti, Also rust bucket factories with rapidly deteriorating housing and the ever present Soviet apartment blocks

Probably the most frightening and disturbing sights were abandoned atomic energy plants. Cooling towers were not steaming, buildings were in various stages of deterioration and some burned but most just rusting metal heaps with none operating cylos, It gave me the creeps to think of Chernobyl and what about the unfortunates living in the regions. Carcinogens left over from soviet projects will infect those folks for generations

As we crept down the mountains to the wide Bucharest plain I kept looking to the shear mountain walls, but hell, I was just so happy to get off that thinking about all those cancer problems and our country’s answer to cruel punishment were not a factor…Sammy the navigator found us a winner. The place is whistle clean and great people….they did not kick me out after a stove blow up.

GOOD NIGHT, GOOD DECYPHERING

HUGS AND HAPPINESS TO ALL. missing days will be along soon

Laundry in Budapest

Seems that our world travelers have arrived in Budapest. Dad is complaining about the price of the hostel and Sammy is making friends everywhere she goes. They tried to do laundry and after 3+ hours the clothes were all gray and full of soap. I guess fixing a meal has also been an adventure. They had to use a cookie box for a plate. We hope to Skype with them sometime soon. They are off to see the sights today and get lost on the metro. Onward…

Travis’ new whip…

So Travis sold his BMW two three days ago and yesterday found what we hope is a good deal on another car. It seems that my youngest son has become accustom to riding in style. His latest acquisition is a 1994 black on black Cadillac Seville STS that he got for a great price. My only concern is that the big Northstar v8 will suck down the gas and he has a long commute to work every day. But, he is a big boy and will learn to live with his decisions. I doesn’t hurt that he will be riding in comfort as he is living with the decision either. I hope it works out for him. He looks good in it 😉

Skype from Krakow

I just talked to Sammy and Dad on Skype. They look good and seem to be having the trip of a lifetime. All is well and they have yet to kill each other; I take that as a great success. They have many stories to tell and pictures to show. They leave for Prague tonight. They have been spending about 3 days in each major city they stop in and take that time to explore in and around the country side.
More to come…

From last post up to to Krakow

Note- I have been writing as often as possible on Sammy’s computer and after everal days am able to post them all…. I hope you enjoy

More observations

Honey, thank you so much, the trip is great and your Granddaughter is a jewel, one who is not  totally enamored with morning, but has other attributes, far more valuable.

I just noticed the underline, but am not going to mess with it,

We were leaving the Krakow station when a joyvial drunk stepped up as we were about to check the hostel desk and started a speal in English on his home, close clean and cheap, the same price as dorms.  It was/is  and other than hies onstant patter, most satisfactory.  We met his long suffering wife, a fine woman who has tolerated him for 35 years.  We accepted the room, had tea and tolerated his continuing monologue

After too many tales of past guests and a few more vodkas for him and TMI we went for a walk.  The city is beautiful and more enjoyable without his too long and garbled commentary.    We found a lovely plaza, a beautiful fountain and a good meal……no cooking privileges.  Also checked ….unsuccessfully for wi fi, checked a recommended hostel and decided to stay put.

The city is ancient, untouched by war, with a wartime industry, we will investigate today More of my black humor with apologies.  But TED had the audacity to be proud that Hitler spared Krakow and claimed it as a future home for the 3rd riche????  This is a man who spent 6 years as a Totonto cab driver.  His only mention of Auswitch?? Was an offer to be our guide………REFUSED

I think I left Berlin’s description a bit short.  It was as  I remembered, impressive with its historic untouched buildings, it statuary, lovely Zoological and other parks, It’s excellent  transportation system and a bustling populace with a working/middle class and a continuing building boom.  The city is refurbishing its monuments, has built the most functional  train terminals, but not as clean as I remember and has a million clean and new cars following strict traffic signals…..Sammy and I caught a citizens ire by ignoring the pedestrial lights.

We walked this old man’s legs off as Sammy took pictures, including her requested visit to check point charley.  It has been fixed up with a special place to view the wall and a public museum under construction.  Sam bypassed the one we saw as too commercial.

We walked areas that were as white bread as Walnut Creek, saw worker apartments, and showrooms for Mercedes an Lamborginis plus a street of designer stores which all signaled a growing economy, at least for some.  Sort of USA redux with sleeping bums and some tenaments.  But in all it was a booming capital

This is a working class neighborhood with antiquated….1800s buildings, but  it mostly clean and cared for condition,  The after effects of it’s communist occupation are still prevalent, but it is busy and relatively clean, and a lot of police.  The walled city is as expected, clean and bustling, we are a ten minute walk from museums, cathedrals and three synagogs, what were they in the 30s and 40s????

Our trip out was as expected with german tracts in perfect condition and the trainat high speed, when we hit Poland there were miles of comparable tract and many miles of slow and bumpy.  The slower allowed a better look at the terrain which was a lot like lower Michigan.  Some hills, a lot of Saginaw type flats and also both evergreen and hardwood forests, Much agriculture and rust bucket towns and cities.   Nothing as clean and neat as Norway, even the stucco buldings had a gray effect with minimal color.  The fields were a mix of fallow and small/large with some evidence of  some chemical assistance but no irrigation or drainage but also some rotation.  Not many truck crops and nary a flower.

Evidence about the cities showed some of the squatter poverty, but also the garden plots for city dwellers complete with tiny houses, trees and gardens,  There seemed to be a great deal of dilapidated housing and some abandoned. Stucko on cinder block was in sight everywhere.  The coal electric system and train loads of cinders suggested good and historical use of the waste from coal/electricity.  The forests were clear cut and uniform but mostly cut in under the 8 inch growth.  The short use of chemicals in the fields allowed plenty of unwanted weed growth and the loss of $$$ suggests fewer corporate farms, but free enterprise will change that.  There were some smaller subsistence farms with other huge fields, but always evidence of older farming practices.  Michigan/Ohio farm colleges could make a difference……..go blue

MORE LATER

THIS IS BOTH LATER AND EARLIER.  WE ARE STILL IN KRAKOW, AND WILL  BE HERE FOR TWO MORE DAYS .  TONIGHT I COOK A PASTA FOR OUR HOSTS

Sammy has a soft spot, drunks.

Our hosts are a couple, she has adopted.  I think they are victims of the retirement scam used by Enron and the company that scammed Carl out of retirement.  When the Russians left Poland the employees like Ted, the host, were scammed.  He was a supervisor and like many, his retirement left with the Russians.  So we stay another night, the hosts got morning$$$$$$$ for shopping and we leave tomorrow.

We did the salt mine.  A tour of a mine operative until 1998 and started in 12th century.  It is a state operation and a big tourest income…..together with the silent industry of the Nazis……NEVER AGAIN…….EXCEPT FOR DARFOR, NIGERIA AND A FEW OTHERS

We visit that industry today

On the visit down I was reminded of Hamtramick and my last visit.  The city was the Rust Bucket center of the USA as it was devastated by the demise of USA auto.  As we passed thru many cities the ravages of the rust bucket and socialist economy became blatently evident.  Deteriorated factories, stations is disrepair and tracks that slowed us to a crawl.  There were bright spots, however, as we also saw large productive agriculture and a booming lumber industry, neat garden plots, busy retail areas and often oodles of car traffic.  It seemed like the country was fighting back, and then came untouched and beautiful Krakow.

This old city where we live is a picture of old Europe with the bustle of a clean and proporus city, buildings 2/3/4 centuries old and interspersed with a few renovated apartments that look a bit out of place, although there was effort to keep the old walled city historically correct.  The place seems like one big park together with well kept buildings loaded with statuary, new windows and well maintained exteriors.  If this home is an example, however, some of these antique exteriors house similar antique apartments, similar to Harrington’s  OTHER AMERICA.  And that still exists.

Where Berlin fountains were loaded with trash, these are places of beauty, pleasure and  havens of fun for little kids.  Mother and dads watch as kids have a ball.  We listen and watch the joy over good food at good prices.  Food out is at about the same level as home, with a range from the ever present MickyDs to the Manitou and beyond.

Sam is in the sack, so keep suffering thru the blog and blabbering

Back to the salt mine

The tour was my usual night mare as the young, competent leader, spoke to the three in front of her and the 40 of the rest of us heard a jumble of words.  Everynow and then I got a century right so I then was able to put time and technology together with the depts. Of the mine usually available on the wall,  The girl was a hell of a lot better than my hearing and deserved and received the attention of many of my 40 associates.  Sammy got a hoard of pictures as we deended and saw tons…littlerally….of statutes of salt ranging from the pope to feudal images of

Villages, horses, workers, jeweled ballrooms, elves and panaramas of mine operations.  The extraction of marble was a side industry and it was evident that the states attention to  history was included at every level.  When the product was extracted, art and history  were added.  The translucence of the salt and marble was in evidence everywhere as well placed lighting helped us see the veins of salt and marble,

It was hand and back tecnique until about 1850 when manpower was replaced.  There were amazing examples of a labyrinth of pullees and ropes thru out.  Water and then distillation was replaced with crushing as the emence nature of the mine became evident.  Hand star drill alla South America together with slab removal thru water logged  wedges were the norm, back labor was the tool of need.  Wages were adequate, I did not inquire about the contribution of the Auswitch industry.

The introductionof dynamite was also in the 19t century to be later followed by hydrolics but the markings on the walls constantly gave a chilling reminder of the sweat  that  went into the entire operation.

The timbered walls and overhead of the tunnels were evtremely well designed identifying attention to safety.  I did not and should have inquired about the math of injuries and deaths.Curt, remember the well kept records of 5 million and no retirement as no one survived the mines after 55.  Neither did I get age and longivity data.

The size of the tunnels, use of horses, cart tracks and just the enormity of the place seems to give evidence of technology far superior to the Perue  mnes.  There the 17 levels had no stairs, wood supported tunnel, or technology, onle backs and muscles, from 11 year olds up until they joined the ranks of the 5 mill

The timber work and the fitting of the verticle and horizontal logs was fine work.  In fact there was one large statuary exhibit devoted to the carpenters.

Use of water was also evident as there were huge pools where the salinity prevented death by drowning, except in one instance where a group got caught in a no way out tunnel .  I should probably work on survival data, given the technology of the rest of the mine, its history and the state’s involvement.  At any rate the town has not only survived but thrived, it has withstood two wars to end all wars and iis still untouched.  Also it currently has a wall of history around the old town, excellent, streets, thruways, mass transit and all whistle clean and busy.  We have seen name stores, well dressed and busy people, a lot of fine cars and few with age or bumps, well preserved buildings a terminal similar to Norway and all in all a beautiful place to be

TODAY IT IS A NEEDED VISIT TO REMEMBER. NEVER AGAIN

The visit is delayed, but Sammy just got up to help me, plus it took five stops and an hour and a half to find meat for  tonight’s pasta.  Sammy decided we would stay another day  and I have the sauce prepared after the search, two stores for garlic, a stand for veggies and four failed stores plus six directions including two travel agencies and a grocery  for a meat store, found three blocks from the apartment.

We will get underway shortly for either Auswitch or  photo shoots and here they are numerous.  In the main square there is a community concert set up and a host of temporary shops like an art fair.  Most are tourest and trinket stops, but some have fair cracft articles, but the purchases just add weight and not

Quality

A NEW TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

After a depressing Auswich trip, all hell broke loose at the drunk’s house, buy now all is well

An experience worse than Dachow for me, the enormity of numbers, the vivid photos and descriptions  plus the actual being their was overpowering.  115, mill Jews exterminated Plus thousands of others.  Being in the area of death was depressing as was the knowledge of our destination, but when I entered the actual barracks knowing the progression to ultimate death,  the result was too much.  The gate, work will make you free, to the final ovens and creamatory was a journey that drew tears, shame, and a reinforcement of my atheism that I felt throughout my body….and NEVER AGAIN… became an illusion.  We still have not learned as we allow, and even assist in genocide.  The we is USA as we turn our backs on Africa, belatedly intervened in Bosnia and then sit back while sunnies and shites massacre each other.

Yes it was a bad trip

From the entry movie showing the Eastern Army’s liberation to the closing the gate as two of the last to leave, it was a bad trip

The Poles have done an excellent job of preservation of the atrocity with well placed and explicit information both as guides for the experience and  explanations of the painful displays.  These were in Polish, Yiddish and English.  The explanations, however, were all but absent in barrack #27 which is a Jewish memorial museum.  There the walls of photos and artifacts had no/few descriptions and none were needed.  A dirge and a Cantors voice was a more than adequate atmosphere of remembrance.  Especially vivid was a steel sculpture depicting a furnace with souls rising out of the furnace into a light…truly a heart/soul/brain and physical experience, NEVER AGAIN. It should be a mandatory experience for all people,

The entire museum was dark with all black walls, DC”S  Holocaust museum revisited in one overpowering moment.  The grave stone at the  steps of #27 was piled with remembrance stones, mine too.

When one does a bit of math and finds that 115 mill were exterminated and the 56,000 survivers were forced marched to their “freedom” in January it gives a skewed image of war and victory.  Military/combat decisions take precidence over humanity…NO WAR

Sammy and I walked to the station and got a train that was a Tunnerville trolley, a 2 hour ride back and half that out. We walked in the apartment at damn near 11 and were expected at 9 and started to heat up the meal I had prepared before we left….Then all hell broke loose.

The wife came out drunk and screaming that we owed 400 more Zs, which was not correct, before leaving I had made a special bank trip, paid the bill, got groceries, prepared the meal and on departure we were treated like family. Nancy’s constant reminder that we were in a foreign country kicked in.  With a drunken couple screaming Polish and Ted’s English, plus his stupid and ineffectual macho, I responded with 400Zs and said we were leaving NOW!!!!!

We did

The last train in our book was missed, but Nancy’s Cook schedule reminder got us, unfortunately, back to the train station to find, at midnight, the only way out toward Prague was a 3 AM with a 9AM change.  Thanks to Sammy’s navigation we got to a Hostel, crashed and here we are at 930 and Sammy has another 30 minutes in the sack,  We will leave our gear here, 5 blocks to the station and meet there for our Prague departure.  I am on the way to the Jewish ex ghetto, now a fashionable area and then to the cemetery and Schindler’s factory  while Sammy also does the city for photo shoots.  She got plenty at Auschwitz and also at a timed fountain where children were getting wet, and a few adults too.  Unfortunately her prime contest winning shot is of me sleeping on a trin with my fly open.  Thank you Winston, “ a dead bird does not leave the nest”

Berlin to Krakow (posted for Don via email)

OK Berlin is no Oslo, or Copenhagen, maybe Detroit, but trash is a problem, Chicago was never like this. We leave in AM for Krakow

Copenhagen was a bit of Oslo in waiting, Not nearly the wealth, architecture or cleanliness, but better in all areas but antiquity with Berlin. Sam’s visits here to the book burning and wall were important but we skip a few museums but had walks galore and her photography museum was worth the trip.

Sam is a hell of a navigator, her sense of direction is the best, hell I could not

find a train without her help

The trip down was fun and informative, on time and fast,quiet and comfortable. The ferry ride was great and the efficiency made on remember the car ferries, a bit of difference in operations

Denmark’s grain basket continued and Germany’s was about the same. Huge tract of wheat, corn and other grains, it seemed corporate to me, not subsistence as in Norway. It was either corporate or damn well to do farmers, The use of fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides would make Monsanto and Dow happy as hell. The fields were uniform and looked healthy as hell. Machinery was modern and huge and seemed well cared for in both countries, The wood lots and forests were also interesting an evidenced excellent management. Clear cutting was evident every where as the growths were generally uniform in diameter and height and were well spaced and straight as arrows. There were family homes with the usual variations, but woodlots and forests were extremely well managed

OK, the trains were fast as hell and the above is eyeball. In the three countries There have been a couple of rough spots, but damn few. The railroads in the USA could use some consulting. I have also noticed the paucity of pot holes in the city streets. Bus drivers and citizens have been kind as hell. One grouchy cop, but what the hell who am I to judge, No one but Sam gave me hell for an open fly

None alcoholic beer is tasty…so I am damn careful, no way will I loose 27 years. I did fink out on a Berlin meeting. Krakow here we come

Oslo and Copehagen (posted for Don via email)

She is off to the photography museum and I have a chance to catch up with my two finger and correction speed. Norway was memorable in so many ways as we were treated royally by many in the family, but did not make Rudd contact. BBQs and general hospitality prevailed with trips thru breathtaking beauty The fjords never ended with one view superseding the last.

The trip along the Atlantic with engineering marvels, Lilliputian villages and roads that deserve motorcycles and Porches will by missed

Up and out of Ann Ingers to the train and into Oslo where Sammy, the tour director found close clean and cheap Hostel….an expert in that field. Our Oslo visits included, but not limited to Museums, neighborhoods and the Nobel House…It is evident why Gore and Obama too got the PRIZE. The environment awareness of Gore and the commitment to inclusion of Obama were recognized in weighty terms by the selection board….well deserved, now all we have to do is get the hell out of the war business and into the green with a concomitant national/international umbrella that even includes the separatists who drink tea

Back to Oslo where I got water on the knee while enjoying the architectural wonder of the Opera House. While admiring the geometry of this marvelous building, I failed to notice one of the angles, and went airborne. The damage to the knee and elbow are inconsequential compared to the self image

WE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE CITY AND SAMMY GOT A LOAD OF PICTURES

We went up to the Radisson bar for a view of the city and the 5.00 cup of coffee…yes I am a slow learner

Please note the intermittent pinky loss of control

The Oslo harbor is a view to remember with glass enclosed condos above posh eateries and retail, sidewalk cafes like San Francisco and an international flair for building remarkably beautiful structures, David Plunket take notice. There is a sharp demarcation between the antiquity and in many instances I think it was a sacrifice, but that water front is spectacular

Sammy accepted the trip to the Viking ships and I renewed the experience and got a harbor view to boot, we roamed a host of different neighborhoods and agreed the place has beauty enhanced by few/very few disturbing graffiti. A difference very noticeable in Denmark

We got the early morning train, Sammy had set up our Hostel and we were ready for the trip. The ride included a couple of bus transfers, but no customs or cops

We saw the bread baskets of both countries, it seems Norway had smaller family farms with both having excellent crops, Denmark had a much higher ratio of grain and much larger farms and fields, fewer cattle and sheep and a prejudicial opinion that the house/barn beauty prize went to Norway

Denmark had industry reminiscent of our rust bucket and in those towns the social was by graffiti

Copenhagen, however, is a beautiful city, vibrant and alive with citizens who enjoy the beauty and constant availability of a hot cup and/or cold brew. The beauty of canals,parks, antiquity of buildings from 17/1800s and an international sound and sight as the world seems represented by dress and sound. Our hostel neighborhood is representative of the city as we witness every possible color, dress and sound. We next door to the city museum which has a feature of graffiti with a heavy political context as the community united to stop urban renewal as well as demanding city infrastructure improvements. I think it represented local leadership’s awareness and willingness to deal openly with the political realities of a collective community power….Alinsky lives in Denmark

The hostel benefits were voiced last night by a Vietnam vet with dual problems of a brain affliction and a recent loss of a wife to MS. He was touring Europe by hotel, cab etc and found it necessary to use the hostel. He voiced appreciation of the experience that he had missed in his travels. The roughing it was compensated by the vibrancy of the youth and the comradeship not found in the tourist hotels

I am off to the National museum, we get together tonight and leave in early AM for Berlin via Hamburg

Thanks for the loan of my travel guide and cribbage partner

Sivesind farm (posted for Don via email)

We are now at Sivesind farm, Per and Ann Inger, Bryhild’s sister and their two boys are excellent hosts with smoked salmon, and a neighborhood BBQ that lasted well into the night. The people all ate and drank well. When I got up early and walked about, the place was deserted except for a dozen cars. A SIGN OF GOOD THINKING. The people walked home, to drive here a DUI is a long term of walking. The neighbors all preferred to walk home. THE PLACE, WHEN WE GOT HERE, WAS WHISTLE CLEAN with a hog on a turning grill, the turning was all by hand and the result was great food. A neighbor wanted to talk about THE USA, i HAD LEFT and Maria, early A. M. got me up to talk, I left for bed again with a yard full of cans and plates and bottles. The fire was out and the place was empty except for the left over cars and part of those are gone. Excellent hangover recovery for the Norwegians

Hospitality is again, family with Sam and I sharing a bed with all the decorum of a buddling log. I was up and walking at seven and breakfast was served, including LOX at1:00 and Sam et all looking quite normal.

The trip down was as expected with both Tom and Maria at the wheel with Sam, MartA AND ME SHARING the middle, non-seat in the rear. The beauty was as expected with the country’s mountains divide most evident. The water shed was split, East and West with geographic markings. All along, both sides of the mountain the streams were full of fisherman…woman

The furnishings range from a 1730 spinning wheel to this computer and manages and examples in between

There is all imagined modern accessories in machinery, implements and cars. A LOT OF THE BEDS, DRESSERS ETC ARE ANCIENT AND WELL kept with the most modern farm equipment equal Norwegian driving and reduces prison population. As before the tunnels are clean, lighted and walled as well as being frequent. HIGHWAYS DO ALLOW PASSING, BUT THEY are well and safely marked, you see few accidents and foolish drivers

We will stay here the night, Tom and Maria are on the way home. Tomorrow we will be in Oslo hostels fro two days and then on to Berlin rather than Stockholm. We were contemplating either Copenhagen or Stockholm, but a quick trip to Oslo on a commuter will suffice. I will now try a phone to Rudds and if possible we will also make contact there.

Please again excuse the lack of skills and pinky control, with Sammy alongside and giving advice, my work will slowly improve…..I HOPE
Thanks to Sammy’s skill we are set with hostels and will work on reservations at the Oslo Station. In the meantime we stay indebted to family, DAMN BUT WE ARE FORTUNATE!!!!!!!!!!!

THE SETTERBO MOUNTAIN (posted for Don via email)

THE SETTERBO MOUNTAIN IS THE HOME OF THE SUMMER cabin, the first, 100 year cabin is rubble, but the second, with Johns 1927 signature is still usable with beds and kitchen rustic at best, but furnished for travelers that use a near by walking path.

THIS OLD MAN WAS SHAMED INTO THE WALK, STRAIGHT UP, BY 75 iNGRID WHO LED. I was exhausted be fore we got to the cabin, and that was the road used by the family for eons. THE PASTURES ARE PARTIALLY GROWN OVER. DAMNED PINKIES..

OUR FIRST REST before tackling the real mountain. It was pathway with ingrid and Tom up front, Sammy following and me in the rear. It was like being the back dog because of what Tom the Sherpa that carried the food, and gear, poor Sammy drank creek water and suffered bad for 2…3 days, IRON GUT ME HAD NO PROBLEMS. We finally stopped for lunch, I slept and got enough rest to continue, Ingrid was awake and helped. Finally Sam got me up, a couple of cheese sandwiches and coffee and then saddle up for more abuse. Take me back to the Corps, it was easier

THE TOP OF THE mountain is rock, and finally we got to a stone piling with a place to sign in, which I used with a shaking hand, hell, i are treated as royalty with lavish attention which is embarrassing, but wonderful to receive. The Families assure us of a welcome with food and cheer. BART under the bay. Most of the tunnels are finished with lighting and all sorts of safety signs and turnouts for disabled or resting. There are electronic devises at the entry and exit that identify the cars for both tolls and safety, that is that if you go in you must come out

That of course was not the case in the tunnels we had on the two track. THOSE WERE CARVED OUT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT IN THE 20S TO ITS FIRST REBIRTH IN THE 40S AND AGAIN IN THE 60S. This 75 K road was built to access a series of damns and power stations that provide a lot of Norway but primarily an aluminum factory that consumes 4% of all of the Country’s electrical power in Sunndalsøra. THE TWO TRACK PASSED OFER THE MOUNTAINS damns and passed a motorcycle and two cars in the 75K. THERE WERE TWO DAMS AND POwer……I just lost two hours of typing and thanks to sherpa Tom, our chauffeur, sherpa and now tech wizard, I am back and you are suffering through more of my gibberish

Which I will soon end as we got back at 1:30 AM after the great Atlantic Coast, Fijord, Mountain, Two >Track trip.

We are blessed

Sammy and I chose the right parents, and me the right wife to provide us with such a grand adventure.

WE LEAVE THE sæterbø valley tomorrow. There is not anything that can possibly come close to this family hospitality. With good fortune, maybe we can convince them Michigan and Mazatlan are available, but nothing will equal the love, kindness and experiences for this old fart. It has been worth a lifetime of waiting, when I think of that wet and wonderful day when I asked the two strange ladies where I could find my Family and Brynhild opened her arms and said…………..you have found us!!!!!!!!!!! this life has become better. With Nancy’s help and tolerance I have really found our heritage….Nancy, THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART, and Bobby and Michele, yuou two did a hell of a great job…..Sammy is a true blessing

HUGS, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

MUCH LOVE NANCY LEE AND THE FAMILY TOO