Home and Away's Guestbook

26th March 2019

Wonderful to read Bob. Funny I was looking at how long I had been a member of this friendly group of travellers and was shocked at how many photos I had put on and how many words I had cobbled together. I didn't imagine way back when I joined I would still be enjoying the site so much. What wonderful memories you have of travelling .
10th November 2018

Sorry I'm a bit late to this blog entry. Congratulations indeed on your achievement of the Testimonium. I completely agree that you deserved it, the achievement should be related to the amount of time and effort a pilgrim puts into the walk, and it seems you have put plenty of both of those in. Well done! And what a remarkable time for the Parable of the Harvest Workers to come to you, sounds to my mind that this was meant to be. An enjoyable read altogether, thank you for writing up. It looks like you were able to see much of Italy, as well as achieving your third pilgrimage in a row. Well done Bob 😊
11th October 2018

Amalfi Coast
Wow what an adventure! We caught a bus to the Amalfi Coast and it was a thrilling ride with many near misses. I'm very goal orientated too, so I understand how you feel about this... onwards and upwards :)
10th October 2018
Rome - Trevi Fountain

Roman Water Works under the Trevi Fountain
Hi. Do you think you could tell me a bit more about this. I've been to Rome but have not heard of this. It sounds interesting and I'd like to see it next time I go to Rome. /Ake
10th October 2018
Rome - Trevi Fountain

Roman Water Works
With your back to the fountain walk towards the street to the left or the right exiting the plaza. The Roman Water Works are in the middle of the next block
10th October 2018

A sign of things to come
I'm sorry you lost your walking stick. I imagine it held some good memories. I do believe things happen for a reason and we will never know what might have happen had you taken the walk but I'm glad you changed plans. Glad you made it to San Marino. We have not been to southern Italy but hope to follow in your footsteps at some point. You've had some nice reflection during this trip and I think you've closed the circle on the need for these trips. I imagine that feels like the goal is complete. Really enjoyed this blog. Thank you for sharing. MJ
10th October 2018

Sign of things to come...
Yes, I have closed the circle on the need for pilgrimages. Another reason this is so, is that I don't really get into the spirit of a pilgrimage in just a week of walking. The Camino de Santiago was my best pilgrimage, indeed life, experience. Many return to walk the Camino again and again, but I am not the type to recreate experiences. There is so much more to see and do in this world.
10th October 2018

Thanks everyone for your comments...
I must admit I felt like a failure, so your comments are an encouragement. Sorry about the length, but it was impossible to separate the blog into two or more coherent blogs as my decisions regarding the Via Francigena was interwoven throughout the whole time, from loosing my walking stick at the beginning to flying over Finisterre at the end.
10th October 2018

Pilgrimage indeed!
It took me a while to read the whole episode, a detail journey from 10th Sept until 1st October, blended with flavour of history - fascinating! The journey rekindled my love for Venice - I visited once only! I have always admired your tenacity and continue to do so....hats off Bob! You are an example to all of us!
9th October 2018

I have read your step by step pilgrimage in two instalments as t'was not one to not allow time for contemplation. You have earned your Testimonium many times over, Bob. Well done. Not only did you 'do what the Romans do' but you endured and rode the bumps in the road and recorded your footsteps for posterity. What a pilgrimage...what an adventure...what a treasure trove of tales to share among your friends and family for years to come.
9th October 2018

Modes of Travel
Bob, you certainly completed your journey by what ever means , well done . Just reading about in is exhausting! Maybe I should try that pilgrimage ...I think I could manage 9 km or even a bit more . I was in Positano 12 years ago just after my husband died and took a walk in the hills above ...The Walk with the Gods it was called , I stopped at a very rustic restaurant there , sounds like the same one you did.
9th October 2018

I feel your pain...
...about forgetting your pilgrimage staff, I would have been devastated if mine hadn't come home with me from my pilgrimage in Japan. Despite abandoning the pilgrimage it sounds like you and Will had a good overall trip trough. I liked your revelation about the purpose of the pilgrimage.
9th October 2018

sounds like the trip changed direction but you still had a good one
thanks for bringing back some great memories from places we visited while in Italy as well as seeing and hearing about new ones. Had heard about that drive along the Amalfi Coast - glad we didn't drive it but instead sailed by it - much less stressful. Sounds like you already have your next trips planned - sound like good ones to me - will be sure to follow along
9th October 2018

Changed directions...
Sailing is definitely the better option for seeing the Amalfi Coast. I look forward to reading about your next sailing season!
24th August 2018

What a beautiful thing to see some photos of the true Thailand, I am so sorry to be born so late and when I have been in Thailand in 2009 it was already different, the tourism changed dramatically this beautiful country. great blog by the way.
25th August 2018

Thanks for commenting....
Yes, Thailand has changed significantly since I was born there in 1949. The first big change cam in the mid-1960's with the Vietnam War bringing the U.S. military; not only those stationed at the airbases, but also those on R&R from Vietnam. When I returned to Thailand after college, it was still mostly the traditional country I had known. But the massive increase in tourism starting in the 1980s, and the Thai adapting all their traditions to cater to the tourists was so very disappointing. But when I took my children to visit the country in 2007, nothing was the same. My wife refused to go with us as she didn't want her memories of how Thailand used to be to be replaced. But the impact of tourism is being felt all over the world, with huge crowds with their selfie sticks at all the "must see" places.
22nd August 2018

Documenting all your travels
I've just started reading about you after the comment you left on my post. What a fantastic idea to retrospectively document all your trips. My parents took me out of school so we could travel to Europe for 4 months in 1964, and I kept a diary of sorts and we had some black and white photos, so you've planted the seed that maybe I could try to do the same, for that trip at least. Many thanks.
22nd August 2018

Retroactive documentation of trips...
thanks for reading some of my blogs and that they inspired you to document some of your past travels.
6th August 2018

Survey Section, SHAPE
We can rest assured that NATO allies did not have access to TS/SCI. Perhaps the USDEL as a U.S. government entity did have access. The CINC in Panama, and all the CINCs, have an assigned POLAD, Political Advisor, that has the rank and standing of ambassador. I recall seeing teletypes from a high level in NATO that used the RW**** routing indicator. We received these but could not send teletypes to these RW**** routing indicators. I've never seen these routing indicators in the listings on the internet. This is strictly a communications mystery that would only interest those working in communications centers. There are many stories germane to operations and handling of messages that would only interest people with a similar background.
7th August 2018

As I wasn't a communicator...
I can't say anymore.
5th August 2018

Survey Section, SHAPE
Bob, There was a special comms area in HQ NATO/OTAN. These were reading files available to the promotable to Flag and General ranks and those already Flag/General rank. They were disguised in the phone book as Survey Section, SHAPE. When assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona I met someone who worked there. The only officers with access were either American or British. The other Allies were not entrusted with access. The office got phone calls asking to survey a parking lot or such and were told the office did not do that kind of work. LOL
6th August 2018

Survey Section
We had a similar section at the USDEL to the NATO Military Committee. Every day they would share the black book with the Ambassador, DCM, Defense Advisor and Deputy Defense Advisor...all flag level. Everything was Top Secret/SCI so I never saw anything as my clearance was only Top Secret/COSMIC for NATO.
5th August 2018

Enjoyed your business and travel log and photos of your visit to Italy. Our family and I lived in Pinetamare, a one half hour drive north north west of Naples, Italy from 1/77 to 1/80. My duty station was at Bagnoli at Allied Forces South. I worked as shift supervisor in the NATO communications center (RXFEAA/RXFEAD) in the tunnel near Bldg. L. As you know, NATO/OTAN is a whole 'nother world. Great food and places to see in and around Naples. Pizza, mozzarella made with water buffalo milk, blood oranges, croquettes, and gelato come to mind. See re buffalo milk: https://www.cheese.com/mozzarella-di-bufala/ . We came to Naples with two children and left with five. Stepson Sy came to live with us in Washington, DC area and our daughter Amy was born in Virginia. Stepson Thanit and Sapun came from Thailand in 1978, and our son Jeremy was born there in 1977. All the babies born to American-Thai couples were males. This was attributed to the sulfur bearing stone surrounding Mount Vesuvius. One known attribute is that this material kept the cockroaches away. Northeast of Naples is an alternate war headquarters inside a mountain. This was similar in concept to Cheyenne Mountain but less sophisticated, about a one hour bus ride. Proto was manned during war games such as CIMEX/WINTEX. See: https://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/proto-former-nato-allied-forces-europe-southern-europe-afsouth-underground-hq/view/google/ . I'm probably the only person to works comms at both CINCSOUTHs. First, for the CINC (Admirals Turner and Shear) in Naples, and for the CINC in Panama (Generals Nutting and Gorman). I saw misrouted messages at each. One I remember is a man overboard from a US Navy ship transiting the Panama Canal that was sent to Naples, Italy; and an incident in Naples that was sent to Panama.
6th August 2018

Italy: NATO Infrastructure Committees Visit
I enjoy reading your reminiscences. If you read my blogs you will eventually red about my visit to AFSOUTH in Oct 1994, followed by Pompeii, Positano, and Capri. I will be walking the Via Francigena pilgrim trail from Tuscany to Rome with my son the second half of Sep this year and revisiting this area. Having our Thailand and DoD experience in common, I think you will find most of my blogs to be of interest. Please continue to comment.
5th August 2018

Panama City, Fort Clayton, Quarry Heights, and environs in Panama
Bob, that is quite a whirlwind tour. Yes, we lived on Fort Clayton 1981-84. We enjoyed my off-duty times as well as one could since I was a walking dead zombie much of the time. We fished in Lake Gamboa, a few miles north of Fort Clayton. Lake Gamboa had a split railroad and automobile bridge. I recall driving the family in our Dodge van to the automobile bridge where you waited for a green light to proceed on the one lane road across. Good fishing for peacock bass. One trip at Lake Gamboa the van wouldn't start. The Guardia Nacional gave us a jump start. We also went to a hotel casino in Panama City where my wife played blackjack and I would play the slots for pocket change and a big more. Local markets had a great selection of fruits, veggies, and meats, esp. seafood. Oldest son Sy went to Balboa High School, played football; youngest son Jeremy went to kindergarten and 1st grade. I worked the NARC (Non-Automatic Relay Center) in Corozal which was a part of the store and forward AUTODIN message switching era; and later at the CINCSOUTH communications center at Quarry Heights. We changed the keycards in the secure phone at the residence of General Nutting and later General Gorman. Our facility was an R/Y facility handling front channel and back channel messages using our DCT 9000, Model 40 teletypes, and older teletypes. We processed daily about 2,000 messages. This included making copies, a full box of 12 reams of photocopy paper per day. I worked 12 hour shifts as a shift supervisor. My wife didn't drive so I took our five children to their medical, eye, dental and other appts. That is why I was always a walking zombie. LOL We supported the ongoing exercises in Honduras which were in preparation for an invasion of Nicaragua. Family enjoyed the fishing, catching crabs in wire mesh traps, collecting mangoes/other fruits, and enjoying the tropical climate that was much like Thailand. Back to commo: We supported the British in the Falklands War in 1982. I saw the Atlantic Conveyor pass north thru the Panama Canal. This commercial ship was modified to be a helicopter carrier. The Argentinians sank it with an Exocet missing. Oh, sleeping on planes is next to impossible for me. Those 30 hours getting from Thailand to the U.S. and the return are hard on me. Our last trip to the U.S. in 2014: On our return to Thailand in August we were stopped at a military road block with one policeman in charge. He thought I was drunk! He asked for cookies from America. My wife explained that we had cookies in one of our many bags. My wife's girlfriend traveled with us so we had six bags/suitcases and our carry ons. We live in a benevolent dictatorship where the Thais have little democracy.

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