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

Eastern Europe, 2019 – Introduction

Westport, Connecticut

Have you wondered about how we choose our trip destinations? We discuss many ideas about where we would like to go and what we would like to see and do, but in the end, we take turns deciding upon our destination. I got credit for last year’s trip to China, so this was Nick’s year to choose. Continue reading Eastern Europe, 2019 – Introduction

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

China, Day 17 – June 12, 2018

Today we were going to the other  Pleasant Preschool, which is in Langfang, about an hour from Gu’an. It is situated  in a city, among rows of restaurants and businesses. In the lobby, we were greeted by Candy, a teacher at the school and our contact person with whom we had been corresponding. This school had fewer students than the one in Gu’an, so of course the staff was smaller. Candy began to take us on a tour of the school. Continue reading China, Day 17 – June 12, 2018

China Day 10 – June 5, 2018

We were picked up at 8:10 AM and brought to our “office” at the kindergarten.  Arla has tried to find things we would enjoy eating and drinking. She  had asked if we would like coffee, but we aren’t coffee drinkers, so they ordered milk for us. I was touched by their efforts! It came in a plastic pouch, like Capri Sun juice drinks.  The rest of our breakfast consisted of vegetables, chicken and celery,  a bean paste filled bun,  something we could not identify but tried nonetheless, and rice porridge. We enjoyed our meal. Our main concern was that the temperature outside was predicted to be 106° F. Continue reading China Day 10 – June 5, 2018

China, Day 9 – June 4, 2018

This would be our first day at the preschool in Gu’an! We were picked up by Yaya, a teacher at the school and our local driver.  The school was a few miles from our residence,  and we were met there by Arla. The school’s entrance gate is majestic and imposing! The preschool is called a kindergarten, while at home,  children go to kindergarten after they finish preschool. Continue reading China, Day 9 – June 4, 2018

China, Day 7 – June 2, 2018

We awoke at 4 AM and were in the hotel lobby, ready for our cab to the airport by 4:30 AM. We weren’t tired; we were excited to think about the schools we would be visiting in China! All airport procedures went smoothly.  At our gate, we met a young  American woman who had taken time off from her job to backpack through Southeast  Asia. Our son has the same adventurous spirit, having done that a few years back. We conversed happily until boarding time. Continue reading China, Day 7 – June 2, 2018

Day 4 – May 30, 2018

I always wear two watches when we travel. One is my traditional Boccia watch. It is set to the time back home. I didn’t need to reset it, because Hong Kong and Connecticut are 12 hours apart. I also wear a Fitbit. In addition to telling me the time, it keeps a record of the steps I take each day, and also of how much sleep I get. When we crossed the International Dateline and “lost” a day, the Fitbit got confused. Nick was able to straighten it out. Continue reading Day 4 – May 30, 2018

China, Day 2 – May 28, 2018

We awoke to a sunny San Francisco morning. Soon we discovered that my Fitbit charging cable  had been left at home. We walked to two Walgreens stores, and  then to a Target. It was at Target that we found a charging cable that fit my Fitbit.


Nicholas was taking the train to meet us on Market Street. There was a mall there that we had never entered before, but we learned that it’s one of Nicholas’ favorites, Continue reading China, Day 2 – May 28, 2018