There could not be a finer place
Than a U.S. Military base
To celebrate America’s day
In new and old-fashioned ways.
Fourth of July! America’s spirit comes alive with bombs truly bursting in air. The public had the opportunity to spend this July 4th evening on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, along with the men, women, and families of active military and veterans. This is a place that oozes purpose, and tonight’s mission was to celebrate.
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What does one do on the last night of the trip? Consider that our 6:10am flight means a wake-up time of 2:30am, luggage placed in the ship’s hall by 2:45am, and all-aboard the airport bus at 3:30am.
Early to bed? Stay up all night? That debate was on-going when we learned the ship would be moved to another dock after dark and the captain was going to give us one last showing of Budapest’s best. Continue reading Night12: Budapest Bright
‘Tis our last day in Europe. The people here have been most accommodating; the streets sometimes not so much?
It is a marvel to encounter the English-speaking ability of the folks across Eastern Europe. I had very little reason to learn bits of Czech, Austrian-German, or Hungarian; it wasn’t necessary. How can they master their language and grasp ours so well? English is hard, as this example might demonstrate: Continue reading Day12: Bow, Bow, Budapest
The first question asked is, “Which is Buda and which is Pest?” Budapest is one city, but once there was a separate Buda from Pest (sounds like a limerick is about to begin, but no). It is quickly established that one side of the Danube, which the Hungary maps label Duna, is Buda, the other Pest. How is one to remember?
The dominant landmark of Budapest is the magnificent Parliament Building on the east river bank. At all times it is easy to discern if you are on that side. So our memory mnemonic uses that very name, Parliament, to remember that ‘P’ also stands for Pest. Parliament side is Pest side; it’s as simple as that. Continue reading Day11: Budapest beginnings
Winston Churchill said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I similarly found Bratislava, Slovakia, to be a perplexing conundrum of puzzling mixture, a stimulating stop.
As we sailed downstream on the Danube, the first offering of this town is an ultra-modern bridge tower. The town’s castle is atop a hill just across the Danube, each staring at the other. A sign at the loftier begins, “The Bratislava Castle has been inhabited since the late Stone Age.” Continue reading Day10: Bratislava is Churchill’s Russia?
One of the more historic cities in the world flaunts her art, beauty, and culture, presenting a character that must be all her own. At every stop on this trip we hear about the significance of Vienna in the culture, goods, and rulers across much of Europe. Now we get to see this grande dame.
We found that the fullness of Vienna cannot be absorbed in the day and a half that we have here; perhaps not in a week or two. It is a place against which we are destined to compare other major metropolises of the world (I would prefer to change that spelling to metropolii, but I shall conform to the dictatorial edicts of the dictionary). It is bustling, artistic, grandiose, friendly, and more compact than it first seems. We once again walk throughout the inner city on tour and on our own, seeing as much as possible and capturing a bit on our cameras. Continue reading Day8: Viva Vienna
A rainy day in Mozart’s birthplace can still be a fine day. Continue reading Day6: Salzburg
Where, oh where, is Cesky Krumlov? Repeating the word “where” is intentional, because this place has to be located twice, or once on the physical earth and again on a timeline it seems to defy. Two questions with homonyms for answers: Is it medieval? Answer: “Check!” … and is it in Europe? Answer: “Czech!” Continue reading Day5: Cesky Krumlov
Today we discover Prague. A guided tour and stump speech began our day. A local guide enhanced the sights of the two oldest portions of the city for us with her knowledge of the area, tales of her life here, and a sense for living in Prague as well as the Czech Republic.
A local professor of Physics met our group along the way, imparting a greater degree of knowledge about the history of the area through his personal experiences since 1968. He literally stepped on a stump to deliver his engaging talk. Continue reading Day3: “History” can be a long word (Prague)
We headed east from the U.S.A., and picked up time. Flying overnight through Detroit and Amsterdam, we land in Prague a little past 8 in the morning.
This is a Praguetically a free day to roam the city. The weather has cooperated greatly, changing from a forecast with temperatures in the 50s and some rain to three days of sun and highs consistently in the 60s. Continue reading Day2: Wish-I-woulda-packed-a… (Prague)