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Disappearing Currency

In 1969, my mother took her five children to Europe for 10 weeks, using a Volkswagen van for transportation.  The trip was challenging enough, crossing many country borders and navigating the languages but a particular problem was the currency.  Credit cards were non-existent.  Some U.S. dollars were brought but most of the money for the… Read more »

75th Anniversary of Crazy Horse Monument

In the southwest corner of South Dakota resides the Black Hills, a cool, beautiful site of respite.  It is best known for Mt. Rushmore’s gleaming carvings of four presidents as well it should be. But down the road is another monument, much slower in the making, that recognizes a Native American icon – Crazy Horse… Read more »

Galapagos Islands – 50 Years Ago

My sister-in-law recently asked if I wanted to travel to the Galapagos Islands.  A presentation about conservations efforts to protect its animals inspired her.  I love to travel with Jan, but I hesitated.  I was there fifty years ago in 1973 with my mother and four brothers and felt a later experience may not compare… Read more »

The Finns – A People in Between

I don’t know why Finland has always beckoned.  Its location between Russia, that looming communist country to the east and the very liberal Scandinavian presence on the west was intriguing.  Both sides have claimed its territory – Sweden for 700 years between 1150 and 1809 and Russia from 1809 to 1917.  Even as an independent… Read more »

Scandinavian Churches Reflect Its History

Churches are constantly repurposed.  In Istanbul, Turkey, St. Sophia’s began as a Christian Church, morphed into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453, became an historical structure in 1934 and is once again a mosque as of 2020.  Even in Paris, we’ve seen churches change their allegiance from one denomination to another and commercial… Read more »

Sleeping With a Hippo in My Bed

In the spring and fall in Paris, I like to sleep with windows open, with an occasional owl’s hoot accompanying my dreams.  Only dogs barking interrupt the night’s peace.  Morning sounds expand with greetings from the local birds – cardinals, wrens, and robins.  Migrating birds announce their arrivals on schedule.  And cars and trucks from… Read more »

Memorable Train Rides from Around the World

When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, passenger trains in the U.S.  were numerous and popular.  One even transported my kindergarten class between my hometown of Plainview, Tx. to Lubbock, 45 miles away. But with the advent of good roads and increased income, cars dominated and train routes dwindled. In other countries… Read more »

Funiculars – Funny Name – Fun Ride

I don’t remember the first time I heard the word, “funicular.”  Inclined Railroad or an Incline are more widely used words for the steeply tilted contraption that lifts passengers quickly up to a much higher destination – a kind of mountain side elevator. The oldest funicular in the world continues to operate in Hohensalzburg Castle… Read more »

The Trip Not Taken

I’ve always wanted to go to the Christmas markets in Europe.  The promotional photos look appropriately cheery with rows of booths filled with handmade toys, clothes, Christmas cake, and hot mulled wine.  Light snow may be falling. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose are available experiences. With travel… Read more »