Week 235 September 29, 2018

This week we heard from family and friends, all who we had met on our journey, who are enjoying their own travels right now.

First we heard from friends who live in Shanghai, China who we met in Lumbini, Nepal when they were on their honeymoon. They are now walking the French Way, the most popular of the Camino de Santiago de Compostello. It was nice to reminisce with them about the great memories of our walk on the Portuguese Way last year. These are three of their photos, we again wish them Buen Camino!

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We also heard from our friends who live in Verona, Italy, who are visiting one of their sons and his girlfriend who are working in Toronto, Canada. Loren has not used his Italian in a while and I found his comment to them quite amusing after I translated it in Google, maybe you will too: 

    Andate con gli occhi verso il giro con grande gioia.

Google reports it as “Go with your eyes to the lap with great joy.” What Loren had wanted to say was more like, “Go with your eyes towards the world with great joy.” I imagine our Italian friends also had some chuckles from it. 

And, we heard from my cousins who live in New Hampshire who are enjoying a weekend getaway with their two sons and their families who live in New Jersey. Two of their three youngest grandchildren have just started Kindergarten, while their oldest grandson from New Hampshire has started college in New Jersey this year. He reminds me of my niece who has just started college in New York this year, and I am looking forward to seeing her and the rest of my brother’s family in New York at Thanksgiving. 

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On a more local level this week, from our bedroom window at the AirBnB where we are staying Loren and I appreciated seeing the full moon risings. Also, I started attending a drop-in group at the nearby Community Center. It is called “Shakespeare Cultural Literacy.”  I felt it was high time to learn more about the Shakespearean characters and phrases that are so much a part of our culture. I learned that he wrote 39 plays, but two of them are presently lost. However, this week the group was viewing Episode 2 of Ken Burns’ series West. It definitely was worthwhile to see, but now I am more looking forward to learning a bit about Shakespeare’s play, Pericles this next week. 


On our date night, Loren and I went to see a local production of the musical Once Upon a Mattress. The main character conjured up a living image of Judy Garland with her enthusiasm, smile, and voice. The plot had me laughing at several points, and at the end it brought tears to my eyes. Again these are my measures of a great performance. 

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Speaking of theater, that is Loren’s word for this week’s events in the Senate Judiciary Committee process. It had me wondering whatever had happened to a High School classmate who was a pitcher for our school baseball team, and, after college had joined the FBI as a Special Agent for a few years. He has an impressive resume online now, since leaving the FBI. 

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Tomorrow I am honored to introduce a visiting Bikram Yogi instructor friend at her request to the Unitarian Church near where she is staying in Oakland, which is 20 minutes from where Loren and I are staying. Her collection of bumper stickers attests to her devotion to the yoga!


And, the sermon writeup could not be more appealing:

     “Life is a journey of twist and turns, ups and downs that cannot be totally planned.
      What do we do when the unexpected, the painful and the mostly uninvited aspects
      of life, join us on our journeys?”

Week 126 August 27, 2016

“How could it possibly be the end of August?” I ask. Loren has remarked several times, “We only have so much time in life and we don’t know how much time we are going to have.” That is true both of life and on our journey. In the meantime we are having the times of our lives and are so very grateful to be realizing our dreams of travel now. We will just continue to take it one-day-to-three-months at a time.
This week began with us attending Sunday service at the Kolozsvar 1 congregation in Transylvania, also in Cluj, Romania. This needs a little explanation, and this is what we were told: Kolozsvar, is the name of the city in Hungarian, which is the language of Transylvania. After World War I the region of Transylvania was taken from Hungary and given to Romania. For a brief time during World War II Transylvania was returned to Hungary, then at the close of World War II it was again turned over to Romania. To the Romanians, Kolozsvar is named Cluj, and the Romanians do not understand why the Transylvanians do not speak the Romanian language. The Transylvanians prefer to retain their Hungarian language and heritage, though are content to be in Romania.
Kolozsvar 1 is one of three Unitarian congregations in the city of Kolozsvar. This one is near our AirBnB, in the same block on the same street as the Unitarian Headquarters building, and, the Unitarian schools – both the seminary and the primary-through-high-school, school. We felt fortunate that the current intern at Kolozsvar 1 was able to sit with us during the service and to translate the concepts of the sermon, as had been done for us in Arkos and in Medias by each minister’s wife. As you might notice from the sign on the door which is as historic as the whole area I might add, how different the Hungarian language is. I can make out words, what I believe might say “Worship 11am” and possibly “Preaching Today:” and the minister’s name, but with little to no certainty.  
Sunday was also the finale of the Hungarian Cultural Days in Kolozsvar. We attended part of a marathon org – organ, concert, then with our AirBnB host we saw an operatte – a performance of popular songs which included in Hungarian what we could recognize as If I Were A Rich Man. She also helped us purchase a local favorite langos – said longoosh, which is a pastry filled with cheese and sauce. Loren and I then saw a brass performance – the musicians sat high over us on the balcony of the large church tower.
We met up with our host again for the evening concert which ended the festivities. In all, Hungarian Days are a delightful, family friendly community gathering. Our friend, the Unitarian minister had warned us that the concert would be “many people – like 30.000, celebrating together.” We were happy to be two among them!

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The next day we met our friend for a tour of the Unitarian school where she had attended herself and where she now teaches Religion and Social Studies. The building was built in 1900. Fortunately the two early museums inside have been preserved through all the turmoil during that century. We enjoyed a meaningful visit over lunch with her afterwards. It is sad that Transylvania is so far from California as we would be happy to spend more time with her and the other fabulous Hungarian Unitarians who we met and visited with too briefly while we were here.
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It was fortunate thst the weather waited a day for the Hungarian Days events to finish before it let loose with a storm. Our afternoon hike planned turned into a visit to one of the malls in Kolozsvar. I needed to replace the camera I have become so fond of but with the sands from Namibia still causing it to act up more – or rather neglect to act properly at all, it was time to bid it farewell. I want to mention how often we have been asked on visiting in parts of Europe and Africa, “Where you come from?” Loren likes to respond with playing a guessing game. He encourages the person to enumerate with him where the English speaking areas of the world are: Australia, Canada, England, Holland also sometimes comes up in the list, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, The United States of America, and, then have them pick. The United States is usually not their first guess…
It took us all day to travel from Kolozsvar/Cluj, Romania to Split, Croatia, due to limited airline scheduling. In the waiting room for the first of our two flights, I heard chatter, then smiled at being part of the world community when I heard “email” and “internet” interspersed in otherwise unrecognizable words. It reminds me of years ago when on a business trip to Canada and, sitting in a restaurant by myself I overheard “income tax” within a French conversation… Coincidentally we actually spent most of our travel day to Croatia in France – at the borders of Germany and Switzerland, but, in the technically non-Schengen Basel/Freiburg International airport in Mulhouse, France. We were glad to successfully pass through immigration with our knowledge of the Schengen visa.
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Our day ended with a night flight into Split, Croatia. So Loren jokes, “We split for Split!”
In Split, our AirBnb is situated next to the train and bus stations, which are next to the harbor. There are a vast number of sailing vessels, cruise ships, and tour boats lining the docks. It continues to be August – when most of the people of Europe are still on holiday, and Split is definitely a popular destination. I totally understand why! We have spent time exploring the city centre which spills out and around the preserved and restored ruins of the Diocletian Palace, built during the Roman Empire.
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We have also hiked around the end of the peninsula and over Mount Marjan to put our feet in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Well ok, so I did that, while Loren swam in it. All along we had the pungent smell of pine, the relentless sound of cicada, the sun shining in the blue sky over breathtaking scenery… in other words, all pleasant experiences. 
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My cousin, who’s daughter-in-law hails from Croatia, had warned us about the food and needing to work off the additional extra weight we will gain… Cherry grappa, yum! Fresh fruits, soup and veggies with garlic and oil that our AirBnB host has provided for us, yum! Yum! So, we also did a bit of hiking around the spectacular vistas of Krka – said Kirka, National Park. It is so impressive that we plan to return before we leave Croatia.
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Tomorrow we will take another hike around the peninsula at least – our extra calories need to be worked off!
PLEASE NOTE: While this week we have sufficient internet access, we may not have service in the countries we are visiting in the coming weeks. Please visit again, I will add my weekly post when it is possible.

REPOSTING in Progress: Weeks 2 to 109

This place holder is for the entries from our original blog to be added, eventually. Please check back – this re-creation is a labor of Love and will take a bit of  t-i-m-e- which, while still traveling, we do not always have a lot available to devote to this.