Austin, Texas, Day 6 — September 30, 2019

Nick had brought a belt buckle that he has had since before I met him 45 years ago on the trip.  The belt can’t be repaired but it can be replaced. We called Allen’s Boots, and they  said they could help him. So, after packing and saying good-bye to Nicholas, whose flight was before ours, we  took an Uber to Allen’s Boots on South Congress Street. Continue reading Austin, Texas, Day 6 — September 30, 2019

Austin, Texas, Day 5 — Sunday, September 29, 2019

Nick and I ordered breakfast to share: poached eggs on potato cakes, pork belly, jalapeno hollandaise, and sliced tomato. Even with us sharing it, this was such a huge meal  that Nick wanted to return to our room for a nap.

We went to the Bullock Texas State History Museum, which begins with
dinosaur bones and ends in the present day. Continue reading Austin, Texas, Day 5 — Sunday, September 29, 2019

Austin, Texas, Day 4 — Saturday, September 28, 2019

Nick and I awoke at 8:30 AM, late for us, but early for Nicholas and Carla on a Saturday. Dawn texted that she was awake. Our breakfast place was only open on weekdays, so the three of us decided to eat at our hotel. Dawn and I shared a spinach and mushroom omelet that we both thoroughly enjoyed. While we were eating, Carla joined us.
Continue reading Austin, Texas, Day 4 — Saturday, September 28, 2019

Austin, Texas, Day 3 — Friday, September 27, 2019

On Friday morning, Dawn and Carla were awake when we were. We took them to our our Mexican breakfast spot, where everyone enjoyed   tacos with a variety of fillings including eggs, bacon, and refried beans. We were beginning to recognize patrons from the day before. Actually, they made it easy, because they were very friendly, welcoming us to their city and making suggestions for things for us to see and do. Continue reading Austin, Texas, Day 3 — Friday, September 27, 2019

Austin, Texas, Day 1 — Wednesday, September 25, 2019

It was a lovely fall day in Connecticut, with a temperature of about 75 degrees. Getting to JFK Airport is often stressful because of traffic conditions, but this afternoon, even with lots of construction, our driver knew some short cuts.  The drive took about an hour and a half.  We had no problems at the gate and looked forward to a quick and quiet flight. Continue reading Austin, Texas, Day 1 — Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Eastern Europe, in Conclusion

The Rick Steves tour along with our fellow tourists and tour guides created a memorable experience for us. Many thanks to everyone. Our photos are ready.

Here are photos of our trip: http://pisarro.org/Europe2019.

We have separated out our photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps: http://pisarro.org/Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory Museum: http://pisarro.org/SchindlerFactory.

Eastern Europe, Day 18 -Saturday, June 1, 2019

Paris

I awoke after a wonderful night’s sleep. Nick and Jose-Maria had gone out to pick up some  things for a picnic lunch. When they returned, Nick was glowing. I have seen that glow in two locales. One was on his friend’s boat the first time we were invited to go sailing. The second is in Paris. Paris is Nick’s favorite city. He glows when we are there,  and having friends to be there with is the icing on the cake. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 18 -Saturday, June 1, 2019

Eastern Europe Day 17 – Thursday, May 31, 2019

Bled, Slovenia to Ljubljana, Croatia to Paris

On all of our previous trips, our departure flights have been  scheduled very early in the morning. However, this time our plane was  taking off in the afternoon. When we said our farewells to our group last  night, we learned that many were heading back home, but others were continuing on to different destinations in Europe. As for us, when we made our travel arrangements, Nick asked, “What do you think about stopping in Paris on our way home?” Of course, I said yes. Continue reading Eastern Europe Day 17 – Thursday, May 31, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 15 – Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rovinj, Croatia, to Ljubljana, Slovenia, to Bled, Slovenia

We were leaving our island paradise and heading for  Slovenia, the final one of the seven countries on our trip. We breakfasted lightly. As I did yesterday, I enjoyed polenta with chocolate sauce, while Nick ate cake.   We were both wide awake for the bus ride. This was one of the few times on the trip that our passports were stamped.   And it was raining again. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 15 – Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 13 – Monday, May 27, 2019

Plitviče Lakes National Park, Croatia to Istria, Croatia

Plitviče Lakes National Park is a 100 square mile forest reserve in central Croatia.  Yesterday we saw a waterfall near the entrance of the park. That was just the beginning. Plitviče is known for its sixteen  terraced lakes joined by  countless waterfalls that extend into a limestone canyon. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 13 – Monday, May 27, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 9 – Thursday, May 23, 2019

Eger, Hungary

After seven hours of sleep, we awoke refreshed. Katerina offered  all of us a choice of spending the morning either going to town to explore on our own, or staying at the hotel. Most of our travel mates chose to explore the town, but we opted to remain at the hotel. At 11:45 AM both groups met Katerina at the Dobó Monument (István Dobó saved Eger from the Ottomans in 1541). Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 9 – Thursday, May 23, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 8 – Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Krakow, Poland to Levoča, Slovakia to Eger, Hungary

What an amazing day this would be: breakfast in Poland,  lunch in Slovakia, and dinner in Hungary!

We had an early breakfast so that we could be in the bus by 8 AM. Because the road was filled with hills, twists and turns, I asked for a seat in the front. This was not a problem. There were enough seats in the bus for almost everyone who so chose to take two. Nick and I prefer to  be together.  As usual, Katerina provided activities to keep us involved, as well as quiet time. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 8 – Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 6 – Monday, May 20, 2019

Krakow, Poland

Katerina had advised us that breakfast would be more like brunch, and she was right. The array of food was even bigger than the one we enjoyed in Prague, with many hors d’oeuvres, veggies and pastries in addition to all types breakfast foods. It was fun having breakfast with different members of our group each day. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 6 – Monday, May 20, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 5 – Sunday, May 19, 2019

Prague, Czech Republic, to Krakow, Poland

Last night was Saturday night, and the young people were out in full force at the dance club outside our window. The techno music was so loud that our room seemed to be vibrating. We texted Katerina, who told us that she had called the police twice, and the front desk had called them three times. The police came after each call, but after they left, the music started again, with  the door of the club open and the crowd spilling out into the street. What a night! Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 5 – Sunday, May 19, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 4 – Saturday, May 18, 2019

Prague, Czech Republic

We expected to get a great night’s sleep. Surprise! From the window of our hotel room, we could see a dance club that was so full of young people that they spilled out onto the sidewalk. As for the music, Techno Dance music, “loud” does not sufficiently describe it.  This continued until about two AM. At breakfast, we learned that several of our travel companions had the same experience as we had, while others never heard anything. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 4 – Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 3 – Friday, May 17. 2018

Prague, Czech Republic

Our tour would begin at 3 PM. We began the day at the breakfast buffet that  was served in the Italian restaurant across the street. There were literally dozens of choices including eggs prepared in a variety of ways, cereals of many kinds, a selection of yogurts, and Italian cold cuts and cheeses, as well as a variety of  breads and cakes. We needed to find an ATM to get Czech money, and we figured we would find one while we explored the city. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 3 – Friday, May 17. 2018

Eastern Europe, Day 2 – Thursday, May 16, 2019

Prague, Czech Republic

There we were in Prague on Nick’s birthday! This trip will be quite a birthday celebration! Desk clerks often have wonderful restaurant suggestions. We asked ours for a restaurant that would have typical Czech food, and off we went. The restaurant, decorated with black and white photos of actors of the 1920s, was aptly called Nostalgie. Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 2 – Thursday, May 16, 2019

Eastern Europe, Day 1 – Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Westport, Connecticut to JFK in Queens, New York, to Prague, Czech Republic

Our driver called and asked us if he could pick us up to take us to the airport an hour earlier than we had previously arranged. This was really fortunate, because the traffic getting to JFK was even worse than ever. After crawling along for more than two hours, we saw that a manhole cover was in the middle of the highway, blocking two lanes of traffic! Continue reading Eastern Europe, Day 1 – Wednesday, May 15, 2019

China, Day 22 – June 17, 2018

Liang, the driver who had picked us up at the airport two weeks ago, would be driving us to the airport today. Julian and Eric woke up early to help us with our luggage, and to say good-bye. Liang took us out for breakfast. He ordered twelve dumplings, fried bread, chicken soup, and more. Even though we knew that if we didn’t eat everything, he would think we didn’t like it and order more, we were too excited to  eat too much. Continue reading China, Day 22 – June 17, 2018

China, Day 21 – June 16, 2018

On Saturday , we were going to the Forbidden City.  a palace complex in central Beijing.  Containing more than 900 buildings, it was the home of emperors and their households from 1420 to 1912. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having the largest collection of preserved wooden structures in the  world. It was given its name because ordinary people were forbidden to enter it.  Today there can be up to 80,000 entrants each day.
Continue reading China, Day 21 – June 16, 2018

China, Day 20 – June 15, 2018

Now my back was  completely normal.  As I mentioned, today was to be a special day at the preschool. This was the weekend of the Dragon Boat Festival, which  commemorates a Chinese poet who lived more than 2,000 years ago. It is a cultural festival as well as  a public holiday. It was also Fathers’ Day weekend. Today, the children’s fathers had been invited to visit the school. In some cases, mothers attended, and in other cases, both parents, but every child had a parent present. Continue reading China, Day 20 – June 15, 2018

China, Day 18 – June 13, 2018

Several years ago, while trying to lift a student, I felt a pain in my lower back. That was the beginning of a problem that  has popped up occasionally,  for years. I always travel with my medication and heat packs, and typically, I feel better within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. During the night I felt the familiar lower back twinge, so a I applied my heat pack and took my medication immediately, hoping for the best. Continue reading China, Day 18 – June 13, 2018