Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Special pictures from Salzburg

To Mira from Gramma

To Martin from Grampa

To Saela from Gramma

These pictures were taken in Salzburg for the gKids.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Here we are in Berlin and it's Tuesday

Apr 29 nach Berlin via Munchen and Nuremburg

There were several water colorists selling their paintings along the street in Salzburg. Some of the work was not bad but nothing of captivating quality. We had a nice time visiting the galleries , but Salzburg in April is not a place with many opportunities for finding great art. I am guessing it might pick up as they move into the tourist season.

After a great day in Salzburg we decided to try out the happy hour at the hostel. We met up with two gentlemen, one from Trenberth, Australia and one from Chicago. Neil Wood is a rancher in the Trenberth area 300 miles from the coast. 100 cow/ calf - Angus cows - Charolais Bull x Santa Gratutis. Kind of your odd lot but quite interesting in that he had a 2 year visa for Europe and also planned to go to Canada where he had a friend with a dairy farm near Ottawa.

The other person, was a former science teacher who had moved on to being a Fireman. He apparently had property all over the place and now at the age of 41 expects to retire in 13 years. The common thing about these two guys was that they held women in low regard and did not trust them, but they wanted a queen for a wife. Go figure! Gramma Carol had to bite her tongue all night, but we still had lots of good conversation.

Last night we had planned to travel to Copenhagen but when we started to check accommodations it became apparent that something big was going on for May 1-3. Most rooms were full and the prices were jacked up so we changed our plans and decided that first we would go to Berlin, make our plans for Copenhagen from there and fit that in between Berlin and Paris.

We called and got reservations at a hostel in Berlin for tonight and are scheduled to arrive at 18:00. It turns out the big party for the May Day weekend is happening here too. It might get interesting.

btw, free WiFi here but no party room.

Monday, April 28, 2008


YOHO eats and drinks - last morning

Apr 28 - caution this is not a blog,it is a blurg ( I have no spell check, arrrg)---

On afternoon nap break at he YoHo, actually I liked my version, YoJo, better but I guess it is the Croatians that use a ' j ' not the Austrians, or maybe it is only the confused American.

It is a beautiful weather day for April in Salzburg---the official weather reporting station has been in the downtown square since the 19th century. So we went virtual on the bicycle tour and wandered the streets at a gawkers pace, wurst at a street cafe followd by fancy chocolat desset at a specialty shop for lunch. Ah these people know how to make fine mustard and gut brot. Schon. There are so many bicycles sitting and waiting for a rider here in Salzburg, many other places too. This calls for a new idea for sharing. I put it in a private note <-:)

I have been making notes for later writing ideas of the following kind,

First came Amadeus

In Franz Josef park,
Bronze pipers in their innocent nakedness
Announce peace for the world.
The smooth curve of the buttocks
Suspended . . .
Time for sweet music
love & harmony

This hostel concept is so much the better than hotels. The breakfast room is filled with energy and mostly fresh faces. One not so young Irishman from London (45orso) joined us to visit and share coffee. John Kingston who works with the tourist board in Rijeka and the nearby resort that the emperor of Austria used to visit during the summer after building the first railroad to Croatia. He said the place he represented was trying to get some of the Dubrovnik action and that it was a bit of a reflection of CRIVENCIA, at least in proximity to Rijeka, that we thought was so clean and nicely appointed for a stay and walk about. Apparently (Oplatia, sp) is about 30 km South of Rijeka but on the other side of the bay. I guess the details will need to wait for a later investigation.

He was quite interested in our story about the bus ride from Split to Rijeka, our ideas about piecing the trip by buying tickets on the bus as you go. We exchanged emails and for once I got a picture to go into the email address book. We asked about cycling on the Green Isle; Mr Kingston said he didn't consider bicycling in Ireland to be safe anymore. Too much fast, impatient traffic. A fact that is not hard to imagine in truth but still not pleasant to hear.

Truism of the day: Money ruins everything

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Salzburg? That sounds good

Grampa on the Ferry to Brac

Apr 27
Almost like an after thought, I added the quote below to the Apr 25 post.
After checking bus connections to Rijeka, Croatia that takes the road up along the coast we decided to go that way. Wecan use our time to explore the Istria peninsula instead of speding time traveling back throuh Zagreb and waiting for a train.
We arose early and took the 7:00 bus along the coastal highway. Eight and one half hours to travel 400 km (250 mi for USA readers) sounds like a long and boring way to get from Split to Rijeka Croatia. It was just the opposite. The road hangs on the cliffs above the Adriatic for about 85% of the distance, winding its way North with the Adriatic Sea and the coastal islands constantly in view and small villages tucked into every cove. Every cove is a docking place for boats and yachts of various sizes and configurations. Sail boats, speed boats, ferries, row boats, fishing vessels, cargo vessels, ocean worthy yachts, just to hit the various categories. This is like Highway 1 along the western coast of NA except that the Adriatic is like a lake because the island protect the coastline. This is a route that makes a cyclist drool. There were roadies and MTB bikes on the road here and there and the season is not really started. Got to come back and do that.
The coach was nothing special but the drivers were very skilled and took a 5 to 15 minute break every hour or 2. Carol almost cried when the trip ended in Rijeka. Three trips back and forth between the bus station and train station, about 500 m one way, led us to our next decision. We were a bit disappointed that only 1 train and no buses lead to Ljubljana per day plus there were no alternatives for other destination.
With the knowledge we had gain working up the coast by bus in about 3 days would be a nice alternative to staying in one place. The train was scheduled to leave at 20:45 and arrive at about 11:30, but it made connection with one from Ljubljana - Salzburg Austria - Munchen. We chose to go to Salzburg as it would give us a safe place to sleep and be about a 4 1/2 hour trip back to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Or 2 hour to Munchen.
That seemed pretty smart at the time we made the decision, and it wasn't too bad, but when we got off the train a Salzburg it was cold and dark. However there were 3 young travelers freezing their behinds off in the station and one had a reservation at the YoJo hostel. They decided to go there at 6:00 and see if they could check in. They invited us to come along and we needed to walk to warm up anyway. We made a reservation for the night; check in at 11:00.
They had internet so we paid our fee and did some work. There was breakfast at 8:00. It was great. We still had 2 hours before we could get in a room, our new travel friends were comepletely shelled and could not even begin to think clearly, so we decided to go to the train station and check the local schedules. This was Austria and like Switzerland and Germany the local trains are the best transportation alternative and go most everywhere. We had just missed the 9:42 to Bergesgarten, but there was another in an hour, in fact there was one coming and going about every hour. Back to the hostel (600 m walk) and charm the receptionist into an early check in. That was good and at 10:42 we left for Bergesgarten.
The Alps are spectacular in Austria too. The snow covered mountains were all around us. There were bicyclists in profusion. Everywhere we looked there were bicyclists of every type, age and motivation all along the route from Salzburg to Bergesgarten. We spent a leasurely day hiking a circular path around the village and ended the afternoon with a beer and pizza at a local place.
It had been 34 hours since we left Split on Saturday morning and although we weren't wrecked we were looking forward to getting back to the YoJo and get a nap and a shower.
It was better. I think we can still do this. I had to laugh at the young women in awe of Gramma Carol with her back pack walking quickly down the street.

btw, we never made it to Istria and I think were will have to rent bicycles tomorrow if this wonderful weather continues.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Day trip to a Dalamatian Island

Apr 25
Split to Brec(h) for a day trip.

Brec is a laid back island with some resort activity but is most well known for its Golden Beach which is a point the extends out into the Aridriatic. It was a bright and sunny today and there were a few sun bathers but most concession were not operating.

We traveled on the 9:00 ferry (Jadrolina) for a 45 min ride to the island of Brec. The ferry ride provided nice view of Split and the surrounding area. After the ferry docked in Supetar we took the bus to Bol on the south side of the island were the pebble beaches and Golden Beach are located. It was a great ride though the villages in the middle part of the island. We walked on the beach to Golden Beach, waded and took pictures, then returned to catch the 13:30. We even found a dog beach on Brec that Nickel would have loved. She would have had the whole place to herself!

As it happens, there was a taxi driver there who offered us the same rate as the bus. We accepted. He had talked to Carol the day before and we had a nice visit about the island of Brec on the trip back to Supetar where he lives with his family.We even had a discussion about what it would cost to organize a support vehicle for a bicycle trip in the off season (October-November).
We touched base with Neda as soon as we got back to Split but she has to work 19-22 this evening so we will not be able to make the dinner date but we gave her our email (Caribou.Projects) and she recommended a restaurant for fresh fish. We also made promises to see her when she came to Chicago to visit her cousin.

We are planning a next trip, of course, that expands on our nice introduction tha lasted a whirlwind 4 days and 3 nights. Although the visit was short it has been very relaxing; just the sort of thing one needs as a break from hard travel.

The trip to Ljubljana looks like it might be a bit of a struggle. It will take most of the day as we have to travel back to Zagreb then take a train back West. The connections are not good but so it goes, we may be able to check out a museum in Zagreb tomorrow afternoon before departing to Lubjanna about 18:00 for a 2 hour trip.

After checking bus connections to Rijeka, Croatia that takes the road up along the coast we decided to go that way. Wecan use our time to explore the Istria peninsula instead of speding time traveling back throuh Zagreb and waiting for a train<


Split, Croatia on the Adriatic

April 24
The market is only about 200 m from our apartment and it is huge. We have not really had an opportunity to quantify the size but the number of fresh produce stands must be 100 daily setup stands, surrounded by 25 fresh flower stands, then 50-60 semi permanent clothing, meat and bread, a few coffee & beer, fast food bars stretching off in every direction.
We spent some time just wandering and taking pictures in the market this morning. Went to an internet cafe and checked email and posted to our blog before coming back to the apartment for a 10:00 breakfast of the local pasteries. The owner, Miki and Frau Mcklin came by to meet us and we paid for another 2 days and told them it might be longer. Ana has the brightest brightest eyes and had this kind prescence of an older German woman who is not one of the gelt crowd. It was kind of cute first the washing machine was kaput, then she changed her mind and pulled a piece out of the cabinet that was essential for operation and proceeded to show Carol the worked.
We met Neda at 11:30 and she took us around the Diocletian Castle and shows us highlights of the city of Split. We talked and laughed while getting to know each other. She is one of those hard working girls who wishes to study more and take a while to have a boy friend and babies which her friends can't understand:
"Maybe our philosophies brought us to a common place for a time here in Croatia!"
She showed us the poet's square and the poetry in the city park. The audio CD from the accapela group Klape that sing the traditional Croat music is superb. I have copied into my music library. We listening to it as we relax in our apartment in Split looking out over the lights in the harbor.
We took a walk up through Marjan Park to get a beautiful view of the city and excape the hub bub of the city although that is not too bad anyway. Neda's parents grew up in a village not far from Split but back off the coast and go there every chance they get. Neda said she used to hate going to the village but the older she gets the more she sees the value. Her mother's parents lived in Muchen for 30 years for work, but have since returned to their home village in Croatia and this is where the family now has established its center.
Neda said she would be having a party in the weekend following this coming one for her graduation, but only one as the big event of the summer is the wedding of her brother (29) to a woman, Tamara, who lives in a big house on the beach not far from her. She said all the craziness of the wedding planning was going to take up most of the time until the wedding on June 7, but she looked forward to St. Duay, the patron saint of Split, celebration on May 7.
It was a blessing to hear about the dreams and aspirations of a young woman who is proud of her city and country yet tolerant of others. Her desire to travel the world yet remain loyal to family and friends. Neda is the kind of person that gives one confidence that the world will find a way to a desireable future that accomodates humans within the limitations of energy, climate change and over consumption. She has never gotten around to buying a bicycle even though she would like to have one and believes walking will pretty well get her where she wants to go in the meantime. She has traveled some in Europe and has a cousin who lives in Chicago that wants her to come there some time.
It was a nice peek into the lives of the successful working people who call this part of Croatia home year around.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Hallo Croatia

Apr 21
bye, bye Switzerland, "make photo preeze"
Here we are in Italy, Milan. No free internet connection but we are going to make do and keep heading East to Slovenia.
April 23
As it happens, all roads do not lead directly to Slovenia. In this case, a stop in Veniza, Italy to figure out how we should proceed revealed that only a night train was scheduled to go to Lubjanna and it would arrive at about 02:00 and by 4:30 the train would be in Zagreb. The alternative was to go on to Treste and take the bus. We could fnd no further information on the bus. Zareb by night train, a train that cotinues on to Budapest, looked like the best alternative.
btw, we thought we had left the Eurail map in Interlacken as it was not in the bag with the schedule and calendar so Carol asked the lady at the Venice train information if she had an extra. She gave us two. Later the map showed up in the Croatia guide book. Bonjorno! Now we have 3.
That gave us the whole day for Venice. In our previous visits we followed the crowd and crossed the Grand Canal at the first bridge you see right out of the Venezia St. Lucia train station (Pont degli Scalia) and follow the signs to San Marco square. We did the same thing this time looking for the bus information. When we came up without success, we had returned from the bus station to train station. We made the Zagred decision and chose to take a left at the first bridge and take that street. That street (Lista de Spagna) took us past the hotel we had stayed in 2002 in about 150 m. We went in again recalling how the air conditioning had lured us in to escape the incredible June heat. I suppose we took it despite the high cost, I don't recall, but the Eur 90 they quoted was quite competitive this year. It was interesting information but we had booked the night train East already. We continued north on the street and found the crowds to be considerable reduced from the most popular route. Actually it was more direct to San Marco even though it starts out in the oppisite direction and Realto bridge is but a side trip. It was raining off and on but this time we were able to get into the church which had been closed the last time and time did not allow in earlier visits.
There is more to tell about Venice but the story now is how we ended up passing through Lubjana to Zagred to end up in Split Croatian on the Adriatic by noon on Wednesday. On a shopping trip to a grocery store efore the night train, we met a young man from Boston who was celebrating his end of studies with the final semester at Cambridge after 4 years at Tulane that started in civil engineering until Katrina closed that department and sent him off in the political economy direction. In short he was also headed to Zagreb and somehow he would make Split. There was a 6:51 to Split from Zagreb. We made a reservation for that onet. A short walk around the downtown square in Zagreb made it clear it was a place where one could spend quality time, but the Adriatic Coast was beckoning and we had the reservation.
Train arrives at 12:17 and Mr. Miki Mcklin (McClean) was waiting with an offer for an apartment. Carol had her list of requirements, :) to scare off the scammers. It came pretty close. Here we are in an apartment with a view from the balcony of the Split Bay, 200 meters from the Docletian castle and the open market. The place has 3 bedrooms but so far at 19:00 there is only Carol and I.
We walked down and hung around the market for a while, got kroners, walked the water front and returned through the market to get a beer. We stopped in this place where Nadia, the boss' daughter who is 2 days from graduation from college, greeted us in English. We made plans to meet her at the burger place at 11:00 tomorrow to show us around, practice English and share good times. We look forward to a good time.
Later on an evening walk we came upon an artist at his shop. Wonderful color. Our only objective was to get the feel of Split and find out about water taxia and ferry service, maybe an internet cafe. We achieved that, but this was so much more. It will difficult to not buy some of his brightly colored and playful works.


Sunday, April 20, 2008


An April Sunday in the Alps

Click on image to make larger, bitte.

The weather was beautiful all day and the skiers and snowboarders were out to enjoy what might be the last of the spring season.

The views set a new standard for spectacular. We left the Rugenpark B&B at 8:00 after a great breakfast and with a couple sandwiches packed for the trip. From there it was all uphill until we reached the top at 11:00. The cable car rides are a very special way to climb into the rugged heights, but the cog train from Winteregg-Mürren is pretty special too. Everywhere we went the view of Jungfrau was the dominant feature on the landscape and it is now wonder it gets the center of attention. We were glad we choose Schilthorn though because it is the highest in the area and one can see all the other peaks in every direction. Watching the snow recreation was pretty cool too.

I will not go into the details of the trip until I get to the map making stage, but I will say the walks in and around Murren and Gimmelwald on the way back were especially pleasing. After we had taken the bus from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen we took an extra hour to have picnic of of sandwiches and a can of beer from the kiosk at the RR station. As we ate, the parasailors were framed by a veil of a water fall on the right, the white snow of the high Alps in the back ground and the afternoon light on the canyon wall on the left. What a treat.

We were back to Interlaken by 16:00 and pleasantly tired and glowing with the energy of the alpine environment flowing through us and pushing out knowing smiles. Knowing that we know nothing but we feel a special euphoria.

Labels: ,

Friday, April 18, 2008


Hotel Alexander - Lyon, France

Sometimes things just work out. We had not planned on coming to Lyon but decided at the last moment maybe it was the best way to get to the scenic railway to Interlaken. We thought we would be getting in late so we went online and made a reservation at the downtown hotel in the pedestrian district.

What actually happened is we decided that it was just not going to be possible to get to the Pont du Guard.
It was one of those things where we tried very hard but it did not happen. There was the bicycle rental shop closure on Thursday, the raining weather, the bus schedule that means a whole day or a big pile of money to go 15 miles. It is too bad but France has been converted to an automobile culture with all its attendant flaws that make it necessary to do anything. The bike deal would have been great but we happen to choose the one day in the week, and only this week, when the place was closed. We looked into the window and saw all those bicycles and read the ad about the maps and retrieval service and shook our heads. Better luck next time.

In any case we decided after spending many hours on the internet planning to go to the railway station and get a TGV to Lyon. Two hours later we were in Lyon (12:00).

We got to the hotel and found that we had made the reservation for Saturday night but it was okay. This is a great pedestrian city with all kinds of malls and streets without car traffic.
The map shows the general location on the peninsula and clicking on it will enlarge the snapshot, but for real detail it is best to google the map and take a closer look.

We had a great afternoon meal and the feel of the place points to a great place that says "you should be staying longer." It is a large French city that is not Paris, but a wonderful ethnic mix of people who call this place home. The city has its own charm and the streets are filled with people living their daily lives.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Hello from Nimes

NOTE: This was from this morning when we just thought we had the internet fixed. Maybe pictures next.

April 17

We were fortunate to change our afternoon reservation on the TGV to an 8:21am departure to Avignon. We had about 30 minutes to find the train an get on so it was quite nice. That made for an arrival in Nimes by 14:00 instead of 17:00 which was really nice. We were shelled :).

The Hotel Majestic may not quite be majestic but it is a large room by 2 star standards and has a balcony. We went about town this morning and found some places we had on our list. If the weather holds we plan to bicycle to Pont du Guard tomorrow. We are going to catch the 13:15 train to Avignon and spend some time there and maybe a lunch.

I was having trouble getting the WiFi to work in the hotel so I went down and reset the router which solved the problem and saved us from having to eat at Mac and Dons grease center to use there free internet ;->

Dear Saela and Martin and Mira,
Grandma and Grandpa miss you very much. I just talked to a French couple out on the street walking their dog. They were very happy to visit with me. The woman understood English very well so it was easy to visit.
On the plane, we had Karen as our flight attendant. We weren't in first class but she brought first class to us. Brought fancy dessert and a comfort kit with a toothbrush and airplane sox. So comfortable and cozy. I had my first kabob last night. It tasted sooooooo good.
The French countryside was lovely enough to keep us awake on the trip from CDG to Avignon. Cattle and horse both white.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


First Step Success

Security check was uneventful and everything seems to be in order for the flight from Minneapolis (MSP) to Paris - Charles DeGaulle (CDG)

Our schedule is to leave Minneapolis at 3:30 this afternoon and arrive at 7:20am (Paris local time) tomorrow morning. We have a bit of a wait for the TGV (fast train) to Avignon in southern France. We are going to see if we can go earlier but if not maybe take the local regional train, RER (see map), and go to Paris for a few hours before catching the train south to Avignon. We know the TGV goes to Gare De Lyon and that is pretty close to where we go anyway. The RER from CDG goes to Paris Nord and from there it is just a hop to downtown (St Michel-Notre Dame).

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Mapping with RunningMap

This mashup uses Yahoo Maps which is superior for rural apps where high resolution satellite images are necessary for identification of land features.

SD Bennnett

Click to enlarge image

As I was playing with the Map I moused over the point near the gate of the cemetery and low and behold the Lat Lon showed up on the left and I found by holding down the left button I could move the point and read off the exact Lat Lon location to about 5 decimal places which is about 1 meter resolution.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?