Sunday, December 4, 2011


Ajijic is a town about 3 miles from, and a part of, the municipality of Chapala, in the State of Jalisco, Mexico. Situated on the north shore of Lake Chapala is surrounded by mountains, Ajijic enjoys a moderate climate year round. The population is around 15,000 of which about 15% or American or Canadian.
This wonderful world is where my sweetheart and myself decided to spend a long weekend and by the third day we were visiting with the local real estate agents. You get to Ajijic by flying into Guadalajara and taking a taxi ride up over the mountains at the south end of the city. In about 45 minutes you cross over the mountains and view Mexico’s largest fresh water lake that forms in a basin that sits up 5100 feet in the air. Imagine tropical vegetation, coconuts, mangos, citrus and bananas in a high mountain valley.
National Geographic magazine rates it as one of the three best climates in the world. Most of the year, it is warm, dry and sunny during the day, and cool nights make it great for sleeping. This is not a place where air conditioners are running all the time, in fact, this is not a land of air conditioners. None, Nada. There is a rainy season -- which is the favorite of many residents because everything turns lush and green -- from June to October, but it usually only rains in the late afternoon or evening and at night. In the morning everything is fresh and clean, with blue skies overhead once again.
This is not an oxymoron. Ajijic is a traditional lakeshore village with a shady plaza, parish church and adobe homes. Ajijic is a magnet for expatriates all along the shore, and the foreign influence has given rise to a cosmopolitan offering in arts, entertainment and dining. Home to artists and writers since the early 1950s, Ajijic is the locale of the Auditorium for concerts and dance performances. Art galleries, restaurants and beer joints abound in the village. The vast variety of restaurants offers cuisine from traditional Mexican to Chinese, Argentine, Greek, Thai, German and much, much more.
Ajijic’s growing group of expatriates come for the foreign culture and the diverse, creative population living and working here. They also come for the very low cost of living. Obamacare stops at the border but you can still live quiet well on social security. Nothing about Ajijic feels contrived or fabricated: instead the village hums with authenticity. The village slow pace serves as a welcome change from the fast paced life in Guadalajara just one hour to the north. As I said, just forward my mail.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When I’m away from my blogging career, hopefully, I’m working hard at my real job, it helps pay the bills. . I’m back now to rescue my readers that I abandoned in the middle of the Czech Republic. We head north to another incredibly beautiful city. Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the larger cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.3 million people. My Sweetheart insisted we get a glance of the city by doing a short and quick city tour before we started roaming. The city tour occurred in a low roofed mini-van at about the speed of a Nascar race. I remember seeing Prague’s famous Crazy Building from ground level as a burr passing by quickly. By the time we reached the Prague Castle I was ready to bale and bale I did. Of course this means I would have to walk from the Castle District back across the Charles Bridge to our hotel in Old Town. The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and was constructed in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870. Today after my long walk up and down it’s entrance stairs, I have my own name for the bridge. The bridge is 1675 feel long and nearly 40 feet wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The steps leading up from the bridge and the Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas. The most popular is the statue of St. John, a Czech martyr who was executed by being thrown from the bridge into the river. Rubbing St. Johns belly is suppose to bring good luck and also ensure your return to Prague one day. During the day the bridge and all of Old Town is a very busy venue with painters, owners of kiosks, and vendors alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge, but at night Charles Bridge turns into a quiet place and it is in this area of Old Town we found a wonderful sidewalk restaurant for dinner and a glass of the local wine. Weakened by my long walk and the cooling night air, I slept in the following morning while my sweetheart visited the Jewish Cemetery. She enjoyed the guides tour of the cemetery and I enjoyed a much needed rest before we headed for Dresden, Germany.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Left My Heart in Cesky Krumlov

The last time I left my readers, after war damage in Europe, the Vienna woods and sunset on the Danube River, we were crossing the Alps in the snow to arrive in the Czech Republic. For those who are fascinated by that last sentence, it was designed to optimize my hits on the internet. A blatant act of self promotion by the blogger who travels the globe to educate his fellow man. I can feel the new hits already.
Anyway, we did arrive in Cesky Krumlov. Cesky Krumlov is a small city in the southern part of the Czech Republic and is best known for the fine architecture and art of the historic old town. The Castle in Old Český Krumlov is a World Heritage and was given this status along with the historic Praque Castle. During the communist era of Czechoslovakia, Krumlov fell into disrepair, but since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 much of the town's former beauty has been restored, and it is now a major holiday destination popular with tourists. The Old town is surrounded by the Vltava River with many cafes and restaurants overlooking the river. If the café is not overlooking the river it is buried in one of the many underground caves and wine cellars.
The Cesky Krumlov Castle is unusually large for a town of Krumlov's size; within the Czech Republic it is second in extent only to the Hradcany castle in Praque. Inside its grounds is a large garden with an extensive bridge over a deep gap in the rock upon which the castle is built. The castle itself, which has many different parts dating from different periods of time. Český Krumlov Castle preserves its Barouqe theater, built from 1680-82 and renovated with modern stage equipment in 1765-66. With this original stage machinery, scenery and props it is among only a few such court theatres that still exist. Due to its age, the theatre is only used three times a year (only two are open to the public), when a Baroque Opera is performed in simulated candlelight. My Sweetheart in her unsupervised wandering stumbled into one of the theater company’s practice sessions.
This town is the cradle of endless Czech culture and seems stuck in is own time warp. I would highly recommend visiting the restaurants, shops and Castle, and even staying a few days, because visiting Krumlov means visiting the old world in the Czech Republic, and it is an experience you will remember for a lifetime. It may be a little trying on old knee joints as you stroll up and down the narrow cobble stone paths but there is always a comfortable chair and glass of wine around the next corner.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On to Vienna

On to Vienna
Wait for a lifetime, dream for a lifetime and suffer an enormous disappointment. I'm glad that was not me. We arrived in Vienna on a cold, rainy day. There were some periods of sunshine but the overall feeling was depressing and gloomy. But my expectations for the capital city of Austria were never high. In fact my expectations were non existent. Because of the rain and our schedule of tour buses and sightseeing my enthusiasm for the city never got off the ground. With our arrival luncheon being a stop at McDonald's, shopping on the Ringstrasse never gained the feeling of grand excitement that I hoped for. Of course, we did the city tour, visited the Schonbrunn Palace and walked the Ringstrasse at sunset but my itchy feet kept wanting me to move on. And move we did.
Feeling we had not left anything behind in Vienna we hit the open road to the Czech Republic. We were shortly rewarded with looming forest and open fields that looked like they had been growing from the beginning of time. Somehow scenery like this always makes me hungry so we pull into local truck stop. No menu's, only a buffet so I order something that looks familiar and the lady behind the counter keeps asking me something in the local language which baffles me completely. After three try's the truck driver behind me say's "she wants to know if you want gravy with that". Don't let them fool you, they all speak some English. Back on the road, we get a light dusting of snow as we cross the mountains into the Czech Republic.
My advance reading about the area helped in my hasty retreat from Vienna. My guide books all mentioned a small Czeck town called Cesky Krumlov. Opposite my feelings of Vienna, I wanted to stay forever in Krumlov. This is a town out of medical times, a real Brigadoom. More next time on a city I wish you all could visit, Cesky Krumlov.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Out on our own or Which Way is Vienna?

After our days in Budapest, it was time to hit the road in our rental car and go out on our own to explore eastern Europe with no tour guide!. The road in this case being the one following the Danube north to Vienna. The drive would take us to Visegrad and the “Bend in the Danube”. Before the bend the river rises into the Black Forest in Germany and flows easterly north of Budapest. There the Borzsony Hills force it to bend sharply southwards through Budapest. The way along the river you can see delightful towns and the natural beauty of the area with the forested hills looming over the river. Being close to Budapest there are many lodges and guest houses along the river. We were told by a previous tour guide that the lovely homes along this beautiful stretch of river flooded every year. Yet they still come back after the river recedes. I don’t believe they have FEMA to help either.
It was still early in the day and I had had enough of natural beauty so when we reached Esztergrom, I decided it was time to cross the river into Slovakia. My only instruction to my Sweetheart, who was driving, was I did not want to spend the night in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. I had been warned in advance but sure enough on this side of the river there were no quaint lodges and attractive quest houses only open farm land and farming villages.
Shortly we arrived in the “cultural center of Slovakia” Bratislava, with its’ universities, museums, theaters, galleries and other important cultural and educational locations. But as the tour book said, it has very few hotels. The hotel we finally found was of the soviet era. There were Asian students with backpacks hanging around in the lobby, always the tourists. The hotel had an Asian restaurant attached, a step or two down to a beautifully decorated area. Many, many tropical plants, lush ivys hanging from the ceiling, a true jungle effect. The true restaurant wasn’t open for dining, but we were encouraged to try the buffet. Felt just like we hadn’t left Texas! The rooms were large plain suites and sparse furnishings, beautiful very bright overhead chandeliers and a balcony in both the living area and bedroom. Good modern bathroom, lots of hot water, industrial thin carpeting, queen bed & white naughahide couch and chairs in the sitting room. You could tell they were trying their best, but just hadn’t quite made it yet. On one balcony there was a single black fish net stocking left behind by a previous guest. The parking was in the construction area in the back, just don’t park in front of the huge bulldozers!
I missed the museums, theaters and galleries, most of our visit here consisted of driving through the city with me sticking the camera out the window. My major observation was of the famous soviet watch tower built over the bridge crossing the Danube. I don’t remember who they were watching for. It looks like the original invaders in the old movie “War of the Worlds”, it gave me the creeps but I understand that with the new capitalist influence it has been turned into a restaurant. I was happy to tell my Sweetheart to turn the car west and head for Vienna.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Scenery is looking up or Shakespeare Bloom arrives in Budapest

Sometimes we just have to skip over things. An organ recital in the cathedral where Joseph Listz was a organist and a Hungarian cowboy taking a bullwhip to my sweetheart. The recital was fabulous and the cowboy was flirting with my sweetheart for the amusement of two hundred onlookers. But all this was a prelude to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was not just the bikini clad girls outside my hotel window, the Budapest Hilton but the entire city of Budapest was beyond words. Of course, the girls were a nice touch. Said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest straddles the banks of the Danube. On the Buda side is the Castle District, with its narrow winding streets, old citizen houses and the Castle district of Budapest which reflects a medieval atmosphere. On the other side of the Danube, Pest or the flat side, is Heroes’ Square, the monument square at the end of Andrássy Avenue that sums up the history of Hungary. The millenium memorial commemorates the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin. It appears the rich, affluent and tourist lived on the Buda side and the working man lived in Pest. Both sides of the city had its own vibrant and interesting sites, after visiting the socialistic counties of eastern Europe it was refreshing to see a city of well kept streets and beautiful old buildings.
Budapest is the city if spas and geothermal springs. The Gellért SPA is one of the best known and most favored among the thermal baths of Budapest. It is in the same building as Hotel Gellért, which was built in 1918 in art nouveau style. The hotel is at the foot of Gellért Hill where the Citadel is located. It is from the Citadel that the best panorama of Budapest is available, Gellért Hill definitely worth a visit. The old fortress and the statue of Liberty can be seen from far, they are an important part of the cityscape The thermal water was already used in the middle ages, and during the Turkish occupation of Hungary in the 15th century a bath house was built on this spot. In the Second World War the building was badly damaged, but later it was reconstructed preserving its oriental decoration and atmosphere. Today it has a thermal bath, a swimming pool and an open-air section, supposedly for those girls in Bikinis.
We were lucky to arrive the weekend of the Antique Festival in Pest. The streets were alive with vendors and even a street side opera was going on. We enjoyed the festival and then stumbled our way to a local Hungarian restaurant. The restaurant was crowded with locals and the food was excellent at about one third the cost we would pay in a tourist restaurant. One must advice you about the taxi; always have the restaurant or hotel call for a taxi. The taxis you see standing on the streets are private taxis and you will have to save a lot of euros at local restaurants to make up for the outrageous prices they will charge. Unfortunately I learned this on going to pick up my rental the last day in town.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Ravages of War, your Reporter visits Vukovar, Croatia

The next morning we docked at Vukovar in eastern Croatia. The name
Vukovar means the town on the river Vuka, which is the river that flows
into the Danube here.

Before the war for Croatia's independence Vukovar was a prosperous small
town in the country. The town was an important objective for the
Serb-dominated Yugoslav army. Before the war Serbs and Croats occupied
the town in about equal numbers, then the Yugoslav army set about ethnic
cleansing. After a three month siege in November of 1991, Vukor was
completely destroyed. The towns' beautiful red brick water tower was used
for target practice
by the Yugoslav army, that tower has been left as a symbol of the Croat

Today the town is making a remarkable recovery. We enjoyed
the local beer at a street side café and noticed that a first priority in
their reconstruction was installing ATM machines for the tourists. It
seemed like there
was a "bank-in-the-wall" at every corner. The town did have modern shops and
stores but what was not seen was the
beautiful old architecture from before the war.

The planned bus tour of the day was to Osijek, Croatia which was about two
hours away and is the
economic and cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region. But, I was
one bus ride over my limit, so we soaked in the newly restored atmosphere of

My Sweetheart shopped till she dropped. I carried her back to the ship where there was a party going go. We dined that evening on local cooking and local beer. Of course, finished off with plum brandy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wag the Dog or A Day in Belgrade

The next morning we woke up in Belgrade, the capital and largest city of Serbia. The city lies on the banks of the Danube at the mouth of the Sava River. Our tour bus was waiting to show us the city. Belgrade, which translates in English to the White city, has a population of 1.7 million, making it one of the largest cities of southeastern Europe. It is a beautiful and totally modern city and as I looked out the bus window all I could think of was, OMG, we bombed these people less than twelve years ago. For those who don’t remember the Kosovo War in 1999, NATO’s bombings caused substantial damage to the city. Among the sites were that were bombed were the RTS (Radio, Television of Serbia) building, the Central Committee Building and another government building. Two of the buildings are currently covered with construction tarps, and one, the Central Committee Building, left open for all to see. There is talk of making it a monument. NATO’s bombing campaign in Kosovo has been the subject of much debate. One criticism was the timing of the NATO intervention, coming as it did on the heels of the Monica Lewinski scandal led many to suspect that the intervention was an opportunistic attempt to distract the American public. One great American movie put it this way:
"Why does the dog wag its tail?
Because the dog is smarter than the tail.
If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog."
The Cathedral of Saint Sava is an Orthodox church in Belgrade, it is named after a young monk who became a great leader in the twelfth century . The Cathedral is built on the location where the poor monk’s bones were burned by the Ottoman Turks some 400 years after his death. The Cathedral dominates Belgrade's cityscape, and is the centerpiece of the city. Construction of the Cathedral started in 1935 and today the exterior is complete but work continues on the interior.
After visiting the church, my sweetheart and I enjoyed lunch at a street side patio café. We had a wonderful garlic soup and the Serbian National dish of Ćevapčići, which consists of grilled ground meat patties, that are heavily seasoned. Meals, in Serbia and Bulgaria, are traditionally followed by plum brandy which was perfect on the cool, sunny afternoon.
After the brandy it was time to visit the fort. Fort Kalemegdan is a large fort that has been turned into a urban park in Belgrade. Fort Kalemegdan is the core of the oldest section of Belgrade and for centuries the city population lived only within the walls of the fortress.. The view from the fort is over looked by a large statue of a nude man called “The Victor”. The statue was originally supposed to be placed on a square in the middle of town, but ended up at Fort Kalemegdan after people complained about its nudity. Fortunately he faces out over the cliffs and not back into the park.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Syfogin Kostolac, Serbia and the Roman Camp Viminacium

For a history buff this stop has to be heaven but for someone more interested in the gastronomic delights of the area, this stop was a dog. The cute river weekend houses were interesting and the gypsy children play in from of their dilapidated apartment building added a touching photo op. We did not go into the town of Kostolac but landed on the banks of the Danube north of the city. Except for the large coal fired power plant, it looked like the residents enjoyed a quiet life fishing and cooking outside on their grills.
Kostolac is a small Serbian town slightly removed from the Danube river The remains of the Roman capital Viminacium are located some 15 miles to the east of Kostolac. Viminacium was the capital city and military camp of the Roman province of Moesia (today's Serbia). The archeological site occupies a large area that is in competition with the strip mining operation for the local coal. The city dates back to the 1st century AD and contains archaeological remains of temples, streets, squares, amphitheatres, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths. It lies on the Roman road Via Militaris, that’s the Military Road for most of us. It was built in the 1st century AD and ran from Belgrade to Constantinople.
Viminacium was one of the most important Roman cities and military camps in the period from 1st to 4th century. It’s exceptional strategic importance was reflected both in the defense of the northern border of the Roman empire and in turn of communications and commercial transactions.
To enter Serbian waters we needed to clear Serbian Customs. This had something to do with catching old war criminals and admittance into the European Union. My sweetheart came through with flying colors and I was the one in the line grumbling about state’s rights. This had something to do with the absolute lack of iced tea on this trip.
After this fun filled day it was back to the ship to contemplate my new sense of history over a cold glass of the local Serbian Chardonay.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vidin, Bulgaria and the Iron Gate

Vidin is a port town on the southern bank of the Danube in northwestern Bulgaria. Vidin's main landmark, the Baba Vida fortress, was built in the period from the 10th to the 14th century. In the middle ages, Vidin used to be an important Bulgarian city. Of course, I missed all this while looking for a cold local beer. The beer was good but I missed the historical tour. The beer only cost 2 Bulgarian Lev, not to be confused with the Romanian Lei of which I still have plenty of, or about $1.50. That would have been 150 Lei but the countries don’t take the others currency. Money changers make a good business in these countries but be advised, nobody, but nobody wants Romanian Lei. Mine are now part of my coin collection.
The Iron Gate is a gorge on the Danube River. The Iron Gate is considered the gateway to Transylvania. The riverbed rocks and the associated rapids made the gorge valley an infamous passage. This gorge forms part of the boundary between Romania and Serbia. To enter this region your riverboat must be raised to level of the river behind the Romanian-Yugoslavian lock. We accomplished this at about two in the morning. I woke up to loud crashing noises and reached for my camera. The only pictures I got were those inside the lock before I fell back to sleep. The construction of the joint Romanian-Yugoslavian dam that would finally tame the river commenced in 1964 and was completed in 1974. The construction of these dams gave the valley of the Danube below Belgrade a long reservoir, and additionally caused a 100 foot rise in the water level of the river.
Back on the ship we head for the small Serbian village of Kostolac, the site of the Roman Camp, Viminatium. The seventh Roman legion was stationed here in the first century AD. But before that it’s time for another dinner watching the sunset over the Danube.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

As we leave Bucharest the country becomes progressively depressing. Quaint county farms and villages that remind me of the west side of Calvert, back in the good old USA. For those who have never been to my home town, the west side is perpetually stuck in a time lock of the eighteen hundreds. After a two hour ride we arrive at Oltenita, Romania. Our river cruise ship, the Primadonna, is moored to a small dock on the banks of the Danube. Here I must point out that the word Danube, and all if it’s derivatives, means Brown. Forget about the “Blue Danube” that only exists in Schubert’s mind. As we board the ship and are handed our first glass of champagne, things begin to look up. The ship with it’s open atrium in the center is modern, spacious and comfortable. With room for only 140 guests we soon begin to meet everyone on board and at dinner time we all dine in the beautiful dining room with meals equal to any you will find on the large sea going cruise ships. The first nights cruise takes us to Russe, Bulgaria. The one problem with a cruise on this part of the Danube is that the sights you want to see are usually a two hour bus ride from the port. Today’s bus ride took us to Veliko Tarnovo. Veliko Tarnovo is one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria, having a history of more than 5 millennia, as the first traces of human presence dating from the 3rd millennium BC are on Trapezitsa Hill. After a shopping tour of the town we had a traditional lunch in the village of Arbanasi. Goulash served with the local wine and beautiful dancing girls in their native costunes. After lunch it was a sleepy ride back to the ship on the Danube.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Constanta and the Black Sea

Constanta, Romany, built on the ruins of the roman city of Tomis, is a treasure trove of artifacts for the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Attempts are being made to display the old finds but the day we visited their museum the plumbing was out of order. Such was the state of many of the facilities in Romania. Constanta is memorable in that the entry points into the city have large ships with the name “Constanta” on the ship hull. Nice signage!
All my life I have felt sorry for the folks who were forced to live under communism. You know, bad apartments, long lines, no food and dismal beaches. Now I find out I was wrong all along. Yes, they have those ugly concrete apartment buildings, they did stand in lines, but as for beaches, they are class. Although looking like Galveston six months after Hurricane Ike – patchy construction and reconstruction, vacant buildings that at one time were the site of many wonderful parties. We were there in early April and the beaches were deserted but I am sure by mid June they will look like Padre Island during spring break. (Floridian that I am, I always check out the beaches.)
The Romanian government didn’t seem to be stingy when they were building structures to impress the world. Their citizens, they didn’t really put too much thought to them. Down to each tour guide, we were told of the deprivation of the public. Romania in particular, under the agonizing oppression of the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, suffered greatly. While his subjects suffered severe hunger and cold for many years he sold the countries food and products to the world for money he would put into grand building schemes. His royal place in Bucharest , still unfinished, is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon Building. Dictated to be made exclusively of Romanian materials the palace is gorgeous. Five types of marble, huge crystal chandeliers to make the Queen Mother swoon and fabulous rugs made to cover the stunning pink marble floors. Acres and acres of rugs! The new Republic hopes to have it finished in six years. It is certainly a site to see. Sorry old Nicolae and his wife won’t get to see it – they were tried, found guilty and executed in the 1989 uprising by the people. Whoop!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Syfogin Bucharest, Romania

Our hotel in Bucharest was the Palace Anthenee Hilton, it was interesting having breakfast were Adolph Hitler actually held meetings. This trip was interesting and I must describe to you what we saw, both the beautiful and the ugly.

Romania suffered under Socialism for over forty years and it can be seen in the land and in the people. Bucharest, once considered the Paris of the East has many structures built in the art nouveau and Baroque style. The area around Revolution Square is a busy modern city. It is in this area we spent our first day in Bucharest. After exploring a little and trying to keep on a daytime/ nighttime schedule, we looked for a place for an early dinner. A little underground restaurant with very good local food & wine was just around the corner and also "just right".

After a restful fifteen hour nap, we were ready to see Bucharest for real. Our first stop was “Caru cu Bere” the famous beer garden in Old Town. A great place to enjoy sausage, beer and sauerkraut. Built in 1897 (the year the "Pink House that's Now Blue" was built) the woodwork and Victorian flair was absolutely beautiful. One local said you must see this most beautiful church and across the street visit the most beautiful beer garden in Bucharest. Food was good, beer was great!

After lunch we took in more of Old Town and then headed to the Museum of the Villages. This outdoor museum is a collection of old houses and barns moved into a park like setting in town. It consisted of structures dating as far back as the 1700’s. Homes built partially underground, thatched roof, handmade fences and structures of all kinds. There was one windmill, flour grinding stones, grist mills, and all sorts of things they used then.

By now we had figured out the good taxi, bad taxi routine and were able to take a cab back to our hotel to meet our Aggie friends for dinner.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Romania to Germany 2011

We are busy planning our trip from Bucharest, Romania to Dresden, Germany staring later this month. It has taken more advanced planning this trip to replace the passports I lost on the last trip. We will be joined again by our traveling companions Jack and Mary Jane. The first section of the journey is a river boat cruise up the Danube from Bucharest to Budapest, the capital of Hungary . On this cruise we will sail past the natural wonders of the Iron Gate region; visit the Serbian capital of Belgrade and the Croatian city of Osijek; discover historical treasures of Bulgaria; and admire the graceful charms of the Romanian capital of Bucharest. Before leaving Bucharest we hope to visit Dracula’s Transylvania and a quick run over to the resort-lined beaches of the Black Sea.
After reaching Budapest our companions head for other adventures and we head for Vienna, “City of Waltzes.” I want to see the Hofburg Palace and, of course, My Sweetheart wants to go shopping along the Ringstrasse. This is tentative since we will be renting a car in Budapest and she says Vienna, Prague and Dresden but I have the keys and all I can guarantee is that I will get on the plane home from Dresden.
I hear today it’s snowing and thirty degrees in Bucharest and I’m wondering what nut planned this trip. Anyway, I packing my camera and warm clothes and praying for an early spring.
It’s time to go Syfogin!

Friday, January 28, 2011

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE. Getting back up is LIVING