Page 4 of tfsnews Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice August 6th 2013

Geo: 45.4345, 12.3384We woke up to another 90 degree, humid day in Venice. We were happy not to have an action packed agenda for the day, though by its end, we felt like we got in quite a bit. Our morning began with another apartment-kitchen-contrived breakfast of champions. Not in a hurry to head out into the heat, we took our time.Finally, it was off to the San Marco vaporetto stop to figure out how to travel across the lagoon to Campo San Georgio. It was one stop away, but there were three stations and it took us awhile to find the right one. In the process, we each shed more water than our portable air conditioning units. One stop away and we found ourselves in front of Campo San Georgio. Directly across from the famous ... read more
One of these things is not like the other...
Looking out toward San Georgio
God on top of the new spherical world

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice August 5th 2013

Geo: 45.4345, 12.3384Temperature, that is, centigrade. Good morning, Venice.Our day began early so that Barb and Rich could head off to San Marco Basilica in hopes of avoiding long lines. Fortunately, they had shade. We enjoyed a cooked breakfast of eggs, sausage, cheese, rolls, tomatoes, cereal, coffee, tea, and orange juice. At the grand cost of 3 euros each courtesy of a grocery store called COOP.Rich and Barb headed to San Marco and were very impressed by the amazing mosaics that told the story of Adam and Eve through the Resurrection. The total effect was bringing light into the dark interior of the awe inspiring building. They paid extra to see the four horses that had unwillingly galloped all over Europe through the centuries as a symbol of power, from Constantinople to Rome to Paris and ... read more
Jeannette Feeding San Marco Pigeons
Our Bacari Tour Group
Apartment Ambience

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice August 4th 2013

Geo: 45.4345, 12.3384On our final day in Vienna, which reached a high of 99 degrees, we decided to take in the Third Man Museum, which was indoors. We arrived a little bit early and took in the Nachstmarket as we waited for the museum to open. It was full of fresh produce, fish, meats, and octopi. Walking alongside, Jake was hit by a tomato bomb that someone had decided to discard by throwing it over the back of their stall onto the street. Or, perhaps it was another case of facial profiling. We'll never know.The Third Man Museum was a collection of film and historical artifacts related to the post WWII period in Viennese history. The two guides we met were especially enthusiastic about the collection, which is only open to visitors on Saturdays. The film, ... read more

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 2nd 2013

Geo: 48.22, 16.37We met Michael Dorsch as expected at Most. His girlfriend couldn't make it because she wasn't feeling well, but we had a great time nonetheless. It was an interesting study in degrees of separation as Michael is the son of Rich's college roommate (Tom Dorsch), cousin to Jim who Jake taught, and friend of Natasha, both Jake and Mandy's friend from high school.Dr. Dorsch is a newly appointed professor of economics at Central European University and is launching a new interdisciplinary program in public policy studies. The program will include experts in philosophy, economics, political science, history, and sociology.We had great conversations about a number of topics including the impact of economics on political decision making (for better or worse), the state of modern Hungary, and his excitement at launching the new degree program. ... read more
Jake and Justin
The Wilde Maus

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest August 1st 2013

Geo: 47.4984, 19.0408We began our day with our usual breakfast fare at Casati Budapest Hotel and were again happy with the quality and presentation.Then we were off to catch was a bus to Memento Park. Our walk to Deak Ter Plaza was a little more direct than our walk home yesterday. The bus took us across the Chain Bridge and under the hill to a more rural setting outside of the city. During the Communist fall in the late 80s and early 90s, some had the foresight to preserve Communist-era statuary and gather these items for the sake of historic preservation. We all recall images of toppling statues when regimes change, such as the famous image of Saddam Hussein during recent times. In fact, no statues of Stalin survived the 1956 Hungarian Uprising except for a ... read more
Memento Park
Memento Park
Memento Park

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest July 31st 2013

Geo: 47.4984, 19.0408Tuesday was to be an uneventful day of travel. We had time to enjoy a leisurely morning of breakfast, coffee, conversation, and packing up our gear for the trip from Kaunas to the Vilnius airport. After a hot ride, we sought out our gate for LOT Polish airlines that would carry us from Vilnius to Warsaw and then on to Budapest.At the gate, Jake was again a victim of facial profiling. "Can you open your bag?" And so it went. One of Irena's gifts, a bottle of Lithuanian firewater called Zalgiris was confiscated. Apparently there was too much fire in the water for LOT Polish airline policy. Nevermind Barb's identical bottle, two bags behind, went right past the same security checkpoint. The guy behind the screen was probably texting someone about his new “score” ... read more
Alpine forest on our tour bus
Overlooking Budapest from above
Geographic graffiti

Europe » Lithuania July 29th 2013

Geo: 54.9, 23.9We got picked up at 10 after the supreme breakfast buffet and were soon on our way to Trakai Castle, about an hour and 15 minute ride from Kaunas. We switched up the passenger order so that Barb and Irena could spend more time together along with Diana and Rokas, our faithful and talented translator.Soon we found ourselves headed toward an island castle, walking across boardwalk bridges and past numerous musical entertainers. The castle dated from the 14th century and was largely restored during several periods of the 20th century. We gathered in the castle confines for an English guide and saw several interior rooms, a courtyard, and learned a lot about the impact of Vytautas on creating the kingdom of Lithuania and of various plots to prevent said kingdom from happening. We were ... read more
Vaulted Ceilings
De-moated
Castle Confines

Europe » Lithuania July 28th 2013

Geo: 54.9, 23.9We began the morning with one of the best breakfast spreads we've experienced in Europe. Our past tradition had been to maximize breakfast in order to minimize daily eating. Two plates later, we were ready for a tour.Outside the hotel, we met Rokas and Saulas and a Mercedes-Benz minivan thinking we were bound for a tour. The tour took us straight to Alvydas and Irena's house, where there was—guess— a spread of food. A huge spread of food. And a birthday cake for Barb! It never really stopped from that point forward.We then, with our interpreter, Jurgita's aunt, set out for Kaunas Castle. It had been reconstructed, but like all castles, met us with a spiral staircase of many steps. We took a nice picture with all of Barb's relatives with the castle in ... read more
Kaunas Castle
St. George of the Martyr
Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Kaunas

Europe » Lithuania July 27th 2013

Geo: 54.9, 23.9After a limo ride to O'Hare, we departed for Frankfurt and arrived at the time they thought was breakfast but felt like bedtime to us. Jake, as usual, got pulled from the security line, this time to have his hands swabbed to check for bomb-material residue. It must have been the beard or the NHS t-shirt that had the letters shown in sign language. (Maybe they thought gang signs?) Upon arriving at Frankfurt, we were confused about when to drink our beers and when to take our pills. So, we did them both. For a German breakfast of hot Italian sandwiches and radler.Following a slightly longer than expected layover, we were off to Vilnius. On the plane, Barb met a lady from South Carolina who had, literally, traveled the world and shared her thoughts ... read more
Old Town Kaunas
Old Town Kaunas
Jesuit Gymnasium (School)

Europe » Poland August 10th 2011

Geo: 52.2449, 21.0119Our last day...We began with breakfast this morning with Pawel, our B&B host, gathered around a table set for 10. Over locally grown food, he talked with various guests from Ukraine and France as well as us, making sure to engage with everyone. Next, we boarded our third Mercedes van for a tour of Poland's capital city. Even though our guide was difficult to understand, we were able to learn a great deal about Warsaw. A highlight of the morning was a stop in Warsaw's palace gardens. This was a nice, green space in the middle of a large city with a number of palaces, peacocks, a Greek amphitheater, a monument to Chopin in the middle of a rose garden, and many well kept hedges.We also toured Old Town and had many things explained ... read more
Uprising Memorial
Symbol of Polish Uprising
Church wall kamikaze-tanked by Germans




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