Happy New Year!

Hope this finds you staying well and not too overwhelmed with the increasing speed of time. When I consider 100 years ago, I think of it as an important reckoning point for Europe and America, the bloody end of monarchies and the rocky beginnings of, well, however you want to describe what we’ve got going now.

Lots of movie watching on my end–still trying to understand the cultures and the history of Ireland, the UK and Western Europe. Scotland will vote this year on whether or not they want to withdraw from the United Kingdom. The bus driver on my highlands tour was very excited about this. What do you think about the potential complete dissolution of the UK? Is it possible?


This blog is nearly complete with new pages of the cities I visited after Prague. I will be adding more in the next few weeks that will include Genova (Genoa) in Italy, and Nice, Marseille, Arles, and Bordeaux in France.

Thanks much for checking in–it will be great to hear from you!


New Pages added

Getting back into life in Sonoma county, and being away has helped me remember again how truly special this sweet location is in the world.

I’ve been adding pages from places in Italy, and should have this pretty well complete in another couple weeks.

Meanwhile, the tablet has been fixed and returned to me. And I’m still trying to contact the shipping company in London that (I hope) has the box that got shipped back to them from California in March. Do wish me luck on this endeavor. And thanks for checking in!



Tablet Troubles

In Florence, my tablet started to act up — Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 — it won’t start its WiFi capability — a glitch in this model. Bummer.

So I may have to beef out this blog with photos when I return.

And it has been a great journey. From Prague, the stopping cities have been Frankfurt, Bern (Switzerland), Venice, Florence, Rome, and now Salerno. Very cool to be in a slow beach town with plenty of history and far fewer tourists.

Thanks for checking in, and I’ll keep trying to get the tablet to be a happy camper again.

Prague, Czech Republic

Easter weekend in Prague at the Blind Eye hostel was real good. So glad my brother Pat told me I should visit this old medieval place full of character. I crossed the King Charles bridge with its wide variety of limestone sculpture statues, art vendors and musicians. Then up the hill to St. Vitus Cathedral inside the castle walls. The old square was crowded Saturday night–hot wine for sale at 45 crowns (about $2.70). Absolutely devine!


It snowed in Dresden on Good Friday. Most shops were closed observing Christ’s hardest day. The unusual famous Frauenkirche Church, round and rococo, was really something. A bronze statue of Martin Luther in front, and this character.


front of building close to my hostel

It is cold, snow on the ground and a real bite in the air. With no handle on the language, I am at the mercy of these public servants who are generally friendly to me. Middle age has its advantages–either I remind them of their mother or their crazy aunt.

Berlin has a peculiar effect on me. This place is the origin of the madness whose remnants of destruction I have seen elsewhere, not to mention the multitude of memorials. But I truly admire the straightforward presentation of facts at the Topography of Terror (location of central Nazi offices, a university they took over) and at the German History Museum.

One of my favorite artists is Kathe Kollwitz who lost a son in the first World War and lived in Berlin her whole life. Her images were used extensively on posters during the brutally hungry days of the 1920s. Herbert Hoover was sending food to both Germany and Russia during this period–helped him get elected.

. . . and you'll be wearing this!




One of my favorite sounds here is the non-stop pedaling of bicycles, old ones, with the fenders rattling a bit. They are EVERYWHERE, locked (or not) to nearly every vertical bar. Another is the bird calls. And then there are the inspiring aromas that surround the neighborhood coffeeshops.

It was sunny this morning, and now there are snow flurries. Beautiful and unusual as they are, especially the way it looks on the canals, I’ll take the sun.

I toured Rembrandt’s house yesterday (in his etching and printing room along with his painting studio) as well as enjoyed a solid collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings! Snow flurries or not, this indeed may be heaven. . .


Tasty Tasty Whisky

Loch Ness

This is certainly some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. You probably know that Scotland has that incredibly deep diagonal fault line that creates the four lochs. Get the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth for that “ch” when you say “loch”–it’s not “lock.” And they are really something.

The first photo here is of the most northern (and famous), Loch Ness. I got to visit the Dalwhinnie whisky distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland, where they proudly use the water from their nearby loch. And they get their wooden casks from the USA.


The Elephant House

This is the cafe that JK Rowling hung out in (Edinburgh) while she was writing the Harry Potter series. A very cool, friendly place, and its large back room has three big windows, one with a full view of the castle.

There are several LIVE LARGE posters of various designs using this elephant graphic. Elephant statues large and small are everywhere.

Elephants with raised trunks symbolize manifestation of desires

one variety of this poster logo

Where Severus Snape and Mad Eye Moody were imagined?