Tag Archives: trips

Vienna and beyond (posted for Don via email)

Travel day, Vienna and then West and South

Last night a buddy played he bagpipes on a white bread pedestrian boulevard and was well received be the audience including a number of dancers in Vienna for a festival., Fun for the audience, free with applause and too often too free to contribute.

Had a great walk thanks to Sam who had us thru the palace gate and the Museum square with all the beautiful lighting of the statutes and buildings. Worth a visit just for that night time view. The lighting on all the columns and statuary with special highlights was a head turner/turner/turner. It was a sight too often missed. The daytime crowds allow a hurried and noisy view as the tour leaders tell the sheep where to look and foul the air with inane comments in ten languages, all increasing their volume to allow themselves to pontificate louder and longer than the competition

But beauty, Vienna has. And in spite of my aversion to having me hear a guide wax enthusiastic about a visual art I have just passed or not approached, or having the same guide (S) break my-reverie of absorption of the moment, the trip is beautiful

Even walking the streets and seeing the retail excellence and the sophisticated presentation is a pleasure. I do not have to be interested in the objects or specific presentation, the mannequin’s or the descriptions that include previews on what is to be IN next season, or bother with the film approach as to what is available, for a price, inside some of the more overt venues. It is the ambiance of the stroll, not enlightenment or desire to buy or rent. It is just the sophistication of the area.
And then it gradually changes to the more mundane as we approach our hostel and Banhof district. I wax to damn much about nothing

Which brings back my concerns about agriculture. Hell I can grow nothing but weeds so what right do I have to write about national differences??? NONE….but I do note a national economy correlation between the Austria and Hungary/Romania

The subsistence farming, poor villages sans cars and fewer dishes, I can understand. But even the large, corporate farms, miles of sunflowers and grain crops are different Management and ownership varies and it is mirrored in the the cars, cleanliness and citizen outlook and presence. The people at this hostel who are the employees even seem different. The politics of oppression and the decimation of the Jew seems to be forgotten here, Maybe that is not a good thing….no there should be more evidence of WW11 Generational guilt is not all bad. But the feudal remnants of Hungary/Romania sure aren’t good and either is the economic recovery…..Whoops, am I looking at a national image? YES, but let the agriculture mirror the retail and street scenes and the economic might benefit. I keep thinking back to our Scandinavian visit where prosperity and smiles pervaded….and so did a strong economy and beautiful fields. I again have made the error of categorizing and generalizing based upon my own shallow observations, experience and education. OK, I have thoroughly enjoyed Vienna, could it be built in guilt for a 36 hour mistake in Bulgaria?

Sam is on the way down, a 10 AM check out, then breakfast and storing the gear at the Banhof. I am off to a 6:45 meeting and then back to the station for parts unknown and more adventure. NO Bulgaria or Serbia, how in hell we got Poland in and out is a gift, but what the hell, so is this trip

The languages, families and camaraderie seem to overcome the smoke, Ligget and American tobacco are doing well

Other than a minor tea mishap, life is good, Nancy prepare to buy a used Mac, NO, I am pretty sure I caught it

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

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



GRUMPA’S RAMBLINGS (posted for Don via email)

Sammy is recovering.  This AM she was up and prepared breakfast for Tom and Maria, I was out to the farm and then to Brynhild for email.  My continuing ignorance prevents my use of technology without help

This trip with FAMILY is magnificent.  Tom’s Maria just adds frosting to the cake.  After recovery from the Saeterbo Mountain, that is if I ever completely recover, off we went for another adventure.  This time it was to a paradise cabin that Maria’s family has another mountain, a lake and a row boat away from civilization.  The cabin/ three bedroom home, is so secluded all the material for the building and superb furnishings were brought in by helicopter.  There are four (CABINS) ON THE LAKE WITH A RIVER OUTLET TO A FJORD.

In winter they access by snowmobile, but we climbed and slid and then row boat to plush and beautiful serenity

The Saeterbo Mountain was a great experience in history, Marias was a most modern experience in a new world.  Where the Saeterbo 100 year old cabin was replaced with another, Maria’s was a haven of luxury.  LIGHT WAS BY CANDLE, WHEN NEEDED, BUT THERE WAS A GENERATOR, only used for a final vacuum before we left.  There was telephone communication for emergencies and photoelectric power. There was a chart complete with coordinates to give to medical, emergency sources if necessary, but Sammy seems to be on the way to complete recovery….that means her Setterbo Self

We had a bar b q complete with a trout caught by Tom by net, the fish will not respond to a lure.  All was delicious with all other  consumables taken in by TOM THE SERAPH.  Tom is a hell of a man, his pack was at least 75 # as he lugged it up and down and then helped row.  Maria and Tom put out the b r b q while I added a little breakfast, and scorched the bacon.  Sammy slept and we were all worried, but today she is herself, we will keep watch, no way in hell do we want to tour with her sleeping across the continent

Once we left the idealic cabin..home, we walked, slid, rowed out and then to another beautiful ride.  It is amazing, the views are wonderful from every angle but the many tunnels, and even those are a technical and engineering fete.  MILES OF THEM AND ALL WELL LIGHTED, TILE AND CONCRETE WALLS AND CLEAN AS A WHISTLE…damn the pinkies

We got to Maria’s home where her Mom and Dad….both as expected with a daughter like Maria.  Handsome, kind and most hospitable with a meal fit for royalty .  A fine home, overlooking a fjord, it seems all of Norway is either on a lake,river or fjord.


We saw boating and fishing, beautiful farm houses, all clean, painted and pristine …Joe, Dave and the rest of you tea drinkers take notice.  The farms, housing, field, boats, farm equipment and highways would even make Glenn, Rove, Sarah and the druggie be damned ashamed of their neoconservative stupidity…..enough political education

The views were spectacular as we were either overlooking fjords, rivers, lakes or mountain views throughout the trip.  Even tho Sammy slept through most of it she did get some sights that will help her want to return. The sunset was a fireball visible through a fjord opening with mountains on either side.  A sight to cherish

We got back to the farm about 2AM again Tom was a Saeterbo man mountain with Sherpa muscles and endurance and a race car drivers competence.  And it was still daylight

This day we eat a special meal with Ingrid.  It seems my weight loss program has gone to hell.  Although they have me hiking straight up or rowing a BOAT, THEY FOOD ME LIKE i WAS EMACIATED.  Unfortunately, the belly is growing.  At the farm BBQ there was enough food for a thresher’s convention including four cakes and enough meat and fixings for a platoon, even with Tom’s buddies from all over Norway and all the neighbors, the tables were never empty

Both Sammy and I were given gifts.  We are damn fortunate to be family

More adventures to come as we have more family visits before we leave, I am not sure that I will need bigger pants if this keeps up and I am too damn old and tired for more mountains.  I will settle for long flat walks, car rides, and ferry boats….and also a bigger belly



Don and “Donna” Reunited in NORWAY

I left San Francisco on Monday the 28th at 8am, and arrived in Trondheim, Norway (after 2 days of layovers and flights) to meet Grandpa Don and the rest of the clan on Wednesday the 30th, at 5pm Nor. time. This place is amazing and so is the family. We went to Ingrid’s farm, just across the way, for a quick visit and I saw pictures of great great aunts and uncles and grandparents and great great great etc.. I will later post a link for a blog I have yet to make. Goodbye for now. (WARNING: I will now log grandpa Don in, his typing may lead to mental insanity.)

7/1/10 – email from Trodheim

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Don Setterbo <setterbo@yahoo.com>
To: Bob Howe <rphowe@hotmail.com>
Sent: Thu, July 1, 2010 11:45:56 AM
Subject: Re: To hear “Taps” played by this young lady is absolutely awesome

I am using one letter to a number of people, with all the errors and voids of intellect….I lost this one three times, I am using cousin Brynhilds laptop, It is bad enough with mine, so please forgive tolerate my multiple weaknesses and the multiplication of the errors

Bob Howe  No trumpets, but smiles.  Sammy got to Trondhiem on time and we are now at the family farm.  SUCH WONDERFUL HOSPITALITY!!!

We are treated like royalty rather than family, but I am also allowed to cook.  These Norwegians eat twice as much as we do.  I prepared a creole for eight and Maria, Tom’s sqeeze, haD ME DOUBLE THE HAM AND CHICKEN, AND WE JUST HAD ENOUGH TO FEED THE FAMILY AND A TOUCH FOR BREAKFAST FOR TWO.

You see my pinkeys are still not working right, but the medicine has me at about 90% normal

Rather than correct, please tolerate my errors

The farm is in a beautiful valley with the mountains on either side in coniferous and craggy cliffs plus oodles of waterfalls.  THERE IS A SMALL HYDROELECTRIC STATION ON THE PROPERTY WITH A HARNESSED WATERFALL IN A 36 INCH TUBE THAT POWERS THE TURBINES AND THEN INTO THE RIVER.  iT POWERS MOST OF A 6,000 population county.

The trails give witness to the condition of the elderly.  At 80, I joined five in their 70s and they walked straight up and I damn near couldn’t keep up.  Ingrid, my closest cousin in a 75 picture of beauty and health.  She is the family leader, a retired nurse who could still wear her first uniform. It is important to include her in all activities

There is more of the family for Sam and I to meet in the area, there is also a village at the mouth of Baevor fjiord
which is the family home of Dr Pauline Baver.  THE vALLEY OF sAETERBO HAD A FEW UNRELATED FAMILIES and these had immigrants to the USA which accounts for the two unrelated Setterbo families in Suttons Bay.  It seems upon USA arrival, the immigration workers gave the naMES THEY SAW ON PASSPORTS TO THE ARRIVALS.  It accounts for so many with same names but no family relationships, only an area, county, or valley Like Saeterbø or BÆEVORFJIORD

i APOLOGIZE FOR THE CAPS, BUT THIS DAMN FINGER DOES WHAT IT wants and I have yet to learn how to control the finger or the laptop.  My typing and spelling was never too damn good and now I complicate the weakness with old age and a still youthful desire to communicate

Sam came with the 25 pound pack, but she also lugs a similar 25 pounds in cameras, laptop and related gear.  WE WILL EQUALIZE THAT PROBLEM AS i AM TRAVELING pretty light this cruise

The housing here, for the most part has a similarity of using natural building materials.  the exteriors are mostly board and batten     I just screwed up and lost the whole letter, but found it in sent….so now I continue….THE INTERIOR OF THE HOMES ARE IN FINISHED woods, some painted and others natural, a most satisfactory combination that in complimented with a combination of traditional and modern furnishings.  The exceptions are wood stoves with electric wall heaters and kitchens that surpass ours and equal to the Beidlers.  The appliances are either Seimans or Bosch or other electronic masterpieces.  I had to have lessons in how to use the stove and even what pots to use.  No iron or magnatic pots are allowed.

THE DISHES and silver are both traditional and modern.  A lot of cheese, eggs, cold meats are used.  All food is damn near twice the price of USA and vegies and fruit are all imported with alot of same sources as Glenns and Save a lot.

There is a USA,  The blues and <jazz concerts I attended in Oslo could have been on basin or beal streets.  The music was authentic with the ethnic sounds of voice perfect, it could have been <<<<<armstrong, but then the patter after the music was Norwegian and that was disconcerting as  I was transposed back and forth beteewn color, culture and reality

Cleanleness is the rule, however in Trondhiem I did see graffiti and <in <oslo alot of youth on a chenical high as well as a bunch of druggy derelicks near the RR station.  GAYS ARE OPENLY TOLERATED,   And there are other lessons for the USA to learn….like 4 Norwegians killed in the shrubs/ now obama’s afgan war.  why in hell did’t the shrub listen to thoise who said terrorists are not nationalists….remembe Oaklahoma City and a guy from Michigan or the Hillsdale group….by tyhe way Hillsdale college is the home of pseudo intellectual neocons

So I had to close with my political prejudices.  Please enjoy the other sections and forgive my spelling, caps, context and email ignorance



On Jun 30, 2010, at 12:11 PM, samantha setterbo wrote:

Hello Family!

Just arrived at the farm and had some dinner. Boiled eggs, fish, cheese, tomatoes. It was good. This place is ABSOLUTELY breath-taking, even with the rain. its supposed to clear up Friday from what I hear. I’m going to go to sleep, and if not I’m going to pass out involuntarily. Email me back and I’ll try to check it tomorrow morning so we can Skype. Its 9pm here and i think we r 10 hours ahead of you. <3 Here is Gpa

The world smiles. My beautiful Samy shows up on the curb, waiting for Tom, Marcia and me to pick her up after a shopping tour if IKEA

My heart jumped and tears came. Thank you twp so damn much for getting Sam into our family. She fits like a glove

WE WILL have her explore as soon as she wakes up

It is like gonghome again. I got chills crossing the bridge and finally seeing the family farm and remembering Brynhild saying….you found us

More after I heal up my hernia frpm carrying Sams two packs


A weekend in Reno with Travis

Michele, Travis, and I went to Reno for the weekend to celebrate Travis’ 21st birthday.  I was able to use Priceline to get a room at the Grand Sierra Resort for $35 a night.  The resort has 1995 guest rooms and is one of the biggest casinos in Reno.  We left Walnut Creek in the early afternoon as soon as Michele got off work.  I was in the middle of an online poker tournament and had to log-off and leave even though I was chip leader.  Turns out that I came in 4th and cashed even though I was only posting and folding.  We stopped in Vacaville so Michele could shop at the outlets and then continued on to Reno.  Travis slept through the whole trip.  We got to the resort late, went to our room, and crashed.  Saturday morning at 11:00 Travis and I entered a poker tournement and Michele hit the slots.  Trav was an early chip leader but in his words was “knocked out by a donk”.  Michele won $120 at the slots and I won the tournament and cashed $630.  With our trip paid for we went downtown and visited a few casinos.  Travis sat down at a 3/6 NL table at the Cal-Neva while I got a $3.99 breakfast special.  A 93 year old woman sat down at Travis’ table and her antics were well worth the price of admission to the table.  She was a firey black woman from Oakland that was staying in Reno for several months.  She wore no glasses or hearing aids and used a walker to get around.  She had a ton of stories and even more energy.  We pulled Travis from the table to go check out the rest of the strip.  After an afternoon going to most of the downtown casinos we left to find a nice restaurant.  We had a great meal at a fine Italian place and headed back to the hotel.  Travis headed downstairs for more poker and the night life while Michele and I turned in for the evening.  Travis got back to the room around 3:30 the next morning.  When we woke Michele and I walked along the Truckee river, did a little shopping, saw Gigi Ouf, and finally woke Travis at checkout time.  We went to the Peppermill for one last effort to lose money to all the casinos in town.  Travis and I entered a NL tournament and were both knocked out.  I won $100 at blackjack and then Travis and I each lost at the craps table.  It was the first time at craps for Travis but he picked up up pretty quickly (but not in time to save his money).  We hit the road home around 6:30 and made it to Walnut Creek around 9:30.  It was a great time and Travis had fun.  Life is good 😉  Michele and I are planning to drive to Michigan via Canada on the 17th.  Look for more posts and pictures.

Back from Beau’s graduation

We just returned from our trip to see Beau graduate from USD Law School.  Travis and I drove down to San Diego on Friday May 15th after our softball game on Thursday night.  I gave Beau and Alison the hotel room for Wednesday night, the night my parents arrived from Mexico.  Kate, Mary, and Colton arrived on Thursday along with Chris and his friend Kyle.  Michele and Samantha arrived at midnight Friday night.  Saturday morning we all met at the school to watch Beau graduate.  I’ve posted pictures on facebook.   I think everyone had a great time.  It was really good to see all the kids together.  I think this was the first time since 1999, which was much too long of an interval.  After the ceremony we all went to the Stone Brewery for a late lunch.  The evening was spent at Beau and Alison’s apartment playing with the Wii Alison got Beau for graduation.  Beau, Alison, Grandma, Grandpa, Michele, Travis, Samantha, and I all had pizza while playing Wii fit – go figure.  I dropped Michele and Samantha off at the airport at 5:00am for their flight.   Mom, Dad, Mary, Kate, Colton, and I met at a local restaurant for breakfast and Beau and Alison joined us late.  After breakfast and our goodbyes, we picked up a sleeping Travis and hit the road back to the bay.  Around Coalinga the turbo blew up on the VW wagon so we had to limp back home.  Other than the car problem it was a fantastic trip.  It was great to see Beau, Mary, Samantha, and Travis together again.  I am very proud of each and every one of them.  It was really enjoyable to see each of them of the interact with Colton.  He will not lack for doting aunts and uncles.  Mary makes a fine mother.  Not bad for such a dysfunctional family.   Beau has a Bar review course starting and he and Alison still need to find an apartment within a week.  I hope they find something nice and affordable.  Although it is nice to be back in the bay area it was even nicer to be together with all the kids for a while.  I hope we can get together more often.