Joseph Dispenza talks about the stages of travel in his book The Way of the Traveler: 1) dream the journey; 2) preparation; 3) journey; 4) homecoming; and 5) recounting the tale. We love every part of travel, from dreaming to research to getting there to being there to returning and especially telling stories about our travel. This blog is a chance to tell the story while its happening.

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Assisi September 26th 2019

What a day! Ursula and John were up early and hiked up Mount Subasio to St Francis’ summer campsite, the Hermitage, arriving around 10:00 as it opened. To get to the area where St Francis and his followers camped it was necessary to go through the monastery itself, down a set of stone stairs and through a series of rooms, each smaller than the last with a smaller doorway than the last, until you finally squeeze out onto the walkway overlooking the ravine and a small stone bridge across to niche where they set up a covering to protect themselves from bad weather. The area is extremely peaceful and as you walk further along the path you find small sitting areas and serene pathways for silent contemplation of nature. At the end of the main path ... read more

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Assisi September 25th 2019

As usual John was up early and walking the streets looking for the perfect light. Lots of great pictures but one stood out because it was taken as the morning sun hit Perugia a lit up the entire city. Wow. So very sorry that the lens was not telephoto. Needless to say, it was quite special. John stopped on the way back to the flat for sweets which were consumed with a high level of satisfaction. And so began the day. Peggy was not feeling too well so decided to stay close to home for the day. So Ursula, Chad and John walked to San Damiano down the hill and outside the city walls. This little monastery was the place where St. Francis had the realization of his path in life, and later it became the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Brandenburg » Potsdam June 13th 2019

Up early to catch the train to Potsdam to do a tour and see the Sansouci Palace and Park. Upon arriving for our train at the Berlin Central Station we discovered that there were multiple trains to Potsdam, even some of the locals we pick up near our hotel. Oh well, over planning is OK. We arrived early in Potsdam and walked to a park near where we were meeting our guide, had a nice cappuccino at a café that favored 60s US music. Fun. We walked the area and were impressed with the small signage that keeps the area looking neat and attractive while allowing for commerce. Met up with our guide, Till from Seg2Go, and had a nice practice session in the local park before going out on the road. We settle on the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin June 12th 2019

Today is HOT and HUMID and we slept in to avoid the heat. But not for long as we went out so Peggy could have a last look at Nefertiti and the Neue National Gallery Museum’s Egyptian collection. While she was communing with the Egyptians, John rented a bike and went off to find a hat he could wear in the sun that was cool as in breezy. Both accomplished their respective objectives and met up to go to the Reichstag for lunch atop the dome. When we finally got in and up we were amazed at the combination of historic with modern. The dome over the parliamentary chambers is arranged with mirrors looking down so you can see the representatives in action. And there is a fine restaurant, Kafer Berlin, on the roof with views ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin June 11th 2019

It was a rough night: hot, thunder and lightning, NO air conditioning. The room (the same room we had when we were here 10 days ago) has a system on the wall that has all the dials for a heating/air conditioning system … but all you can do is turn the fan on as the temperature dial does not work. This was discovered when John asked the front desk to fix the system. “We don’t have air conditioning; most hotels in Berlin do not have air conditioning.” John told them we would be leaving and went off on a rented bicycle to find another hotel! Turns out most don’t have air conditioning and there is a huge convention coming into town today. Like Oliver hew would get off his little bike and go into the lobby ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 10th 2019

The sun was up and so was John. Last day in Amsterdam and a walk around the city was in order. Walking past Anne Franks house, discovering the Tulip Museum, the Cow Museum, the Duck Museum and watching people arrive by ferry from the north island. A busy place for a holiday! We checked out of the hotel and found our way to the train platform at Central Station. And then we waited for the train to arrive … 35 minutes late! The train was originally designed with first class at the front and at the last minute we were informed that first class would be at the back, so there was a mad rush for everyone on the platform to get to their coach at the opposite end of the train. We found our seats ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » Gelderland » Zutphen June 9th 2019

Today was devoted to Peggy’s family and a visit to Zutphen, the small town south of Amsterdam from which her relatives departed in the late 1600s to avoid various bloodbaths resulting from battles with the Spanish, the French and the English. Most of the time the residents of Zutphen were the victims of the battles rather than the aggressors or defenders. Hendrick Rycken came to New Amsterdam in 1663 and was the progenitor of a huge family (12 boys). As part of coming to the New World, Hendrick added “von Zuytdam” (south of the dam) to his name as a distinction and it became Zuytdam and then Suydam. Back to the present, we took an early train from Amsterdam, changing at Arnhem for Zutphen. Walking into town was quick as the station was right on the ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 8th 2019

After breakfast, which was quiet and peaceful with so many of the guests sleeping in, we made our way to the Waterlooplein Market to check out the local goods. It was a cold and blustery and rainy day so we had to bundle up and there wasn’t much to see at opening time of 9:30. However we did a have a nice conversation with a Israeli woman who had children spread all over the world. Note: your life is in your hands as you make your way around the city. The order of importance is: trams, bicycles, cars and people. If there were room on the wheels of the bicycles it would show the number of people run down, like the number of cars destroyed in a demolition derby. You have to look both ways, for ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 7th 2019

Peggy slept, recuperating from the fall last evening on the street outside the hotel. So John stayed in and didn’t go walkabout. We went together for breakfast at the hotel around 9:00 and hit the high period for guests. Lots of people and few tables but John snagged one as people left and bussed the dishes etc and reset the table. Then the issue was getting up to the coffee and tea machine (located in a corner with a long line out front) to take whatever we can get. The food is actually pretty good (other than the sausages) and we had a nice breakfast. Then off to Van Gogh Museum for our prescribed visit. We arrived a few minutes early and went into the Modern Art Museum shop for a colorful pair of socks. On ... read more
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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam June 6th 2019

Not today … John slept in after a raucous night of thunder and lightening and heavy rains. But upon opening the curtains it is cloudy but clear. Maybe this is Camelot. As we traveled around the city we found that there were some high winds last night. Five or more large and old trees fell on one canal alone. We saw the result, including crushed boats and damage to the sidewalks and canals. Global warming. We made it to the Rijksmuseum just as it opened and scooted into the Rembrandt special exhibit of almost all of his drawings and a number of his paintings, laid out over at least seven galleries. What a thrill to see all of his most intimate work. His drawings bring you into personal relationship with the people he was observing. You ... read more
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