Tag Archives: Travel

No Translation Required

Some things are universal.

During my lifetime, the use of international symbols on signs has become more common in the United States. Think of the circle with a slash overlaying a sign to mean “NO”. Or the stylized figures on many public restroom doors.

This applies to words also. On my vacation, while admiring the interior of a Gothic cathedral, one of the daily masses took place. “Alleluia” is the same in both German and English.

But back to signs. While I may have been a little slow to understand some which I saw on vacation, this one I got right away.

I will not enter your yard to pet the dog.



Two Travel Necessities

Two things I’ve found helpful on vacations large and small. As a bonus, they don’t take up room in the luggage. So what do I want you to bring along?

Sense of humor. Every vacation contains a glitch or two. A laugh or a smile goes far to ease even the most tense of situations.

Sense of adventure. Vacations are for going new places. Seeing new things. Trying new foods or experiences. Try it – you just might like it!

The Yellow Church

Before I left home, I read travel guides and picked out a few things I wanted to see on my free time — dependent on hotel location. Well, as it turned out, it could not have been easier.

A short conversation with the hotel staff gained me a map with subway stops circled and which train to take. With a station literally yards from the hotel I was set. Until — I looked at the ticket machine. Okay, I expected it to be in German. But what zone was I in? What zone was I going to?

“Excuse me. Do you speak English?” I inquired of a young couple. Yes, they did and in a couple of minutes they helped me purchase a one-day pass and showed me where to validate it on the walk to the platform. They even got me pointed in the correct direction — and since they were on the same car — clued me when my stop was next.

I emerged from the subway to the sight of the church at the beginning of this post. And my sightseeing of Munich Residence and the surrounding few blocks began.

Imagine my surprise as I was looking for the entrance after purchasing my ticket. (That left turn was quicker than I expected.) When other tourists asked me about ticket prices. It was probably the only question I knew the answer to.

Courtyard at the Residence I wandered into before I found the actual entrance to the exhibits.

A Big Welcome

It’s always nice to be greeted when arriving in a new place.

Welcome to my city!

With a lion at her side and a laurel wreath in her hand, this lady welcomed the early arrivals of our tour group to Munich.

We arrived on a beautiful, warm, spring day. Most of us were dressed in layers for chilly airplanes and expecting temperatures ten to twenty degrees cooler. As we walked from the hotel to the Theresienwiese we shed jackets and sweaters. And dodged bicycles. (Note to pedestrians: the smooth portion of the sidewalk is for the hordes of bicycles. It’s safer to stay on the paving blocks.)

A large well-attended flea market was in progress on this late Saturday morning. Yes, one table was selling books. Another was filled with Hummel figurines and decorative beer steins. Plus many tables with glassware, crafts, and the sort of miscellany which accumulates in households the world over.

Later we learned we turned around too soon. Evidently we were only fifty yards short of the beer tents. Chalk it up as an experience. It was a great way to stretch our legs after long flights and to begin an acquaintance with a few of our travel companions.


Thankful — From here to there

People — at least the ones in my clan — are on the restless side. We want to move. Go from one place to another. And while sometimes we may go a little large on this – road trips or overseas travel – many times we go small.

Getting from here to there takes many forms. But we can call it all transportation.

Lets start small. And ancient. My morning walk would be an example. No extra equipment necessary. Shoes on the feet and clothing on the body are the basics. And then, one foot in front of the other and you’re able to go from one place to another. Into a store. To visit a neighbor.

Other transportation takes many forms. Skateboard, bicycle, automobile, train, airplane, or boat all have a time and place. Use with care. Obey the rules of the road to arrive safe.

Many places in the United States a dependable automobile almost reaches the status of necessity.

Open With Care

A good mystery catches my attention.

As an author, I ask and attempt to answer the question — What if?

What if the house really is haunted? Or a tornado takes the old barn? Or your sister gives birth to twins?

So imagine this, a girl is running away from an abusive situation at home. She sees lightning and hears the thunder coming closer. Will she open this door?

What lies beyond?

Good luck as you think about some of the “what if” possibilities.

Built to Last

Strong wood. Intelligent designer. Capable workmen.

The result is a structure which functioned for well over a century. After a few decades, the makeup of the burden carried changed in character. And grew in both size and weight.

Located in Southern Indiana, this covered bridge served the local residents from 1863 until the final decade of the 20th century. According to the sign above the entrance, it is 150 feet long and cost a total of $5,700 to construct.

I walked it during my visit. Imagine crossing it on horseback, horse-drawn wagon, or bicycle.

Carpenter’s Delight

The building trades have my respect. The skill and ability to work with metal, electricity, stone, and wood to create useful items and structures is worthy of much admiration.

On a recent road trip, my friend and I visited a fairly new tourist attraction. Based on ancient plans you can see the use of new methods and admire old-fashioned workmanship at the same time.

Size. Scale. Ingenuity. Use of simple concepts like gravity to the advantage of humans. Storage facilities using materials at hand.

I think if I visit this reproduction of Noah’s Ark again, I’ll bring a carpenter along to explain the construction details.


Power and Responsibility

For a good share of my life, I’ve lived close enough to the Mississippi River to be able to watch the barges with only a short drive to a viewing point.

It takes skill and attention to detail to control fifteen large floating containers (more on the Lower Mississippi) from a position of center rear. Other vessels, as small as canoes, share the same river. Pilots are also responsible for a crew. The men who ensure the barges remain cabled together, assist in all sort of ways when locking on the Upper Mississippi (or other rivers), and maintaining the equipment. It’s not an easy life. Perhaps an adventure for a strong, young person.

Not long ago, I happened upon the place on the Ohio River where many of these river pilots are trained.  Across the street from their training center a talented artist gives his interpretation of their “view.”

Sing Out a Welcome

American music. Think Country, Jazz, Blues, and Folk.

While is music is a form of entertainment and communication that crosses boundaries, it also has roots. And the Mid-South region of the United States has a jumble of them. The plants they support have grown, evolved, and even seeded new forms through the decades.

On our recent road trip (another great American institution) we found a state proud to proclaim their musical heritage.

TN Welcome Center

Yes, we make a point to enjoy a little music during our stay.

Second Look Required

Like most tourists, my friend and I sought out lunch. As we walked along, looking for and evaluating restaurant signs in the downtown area, I spotted this bright fellow across the street.

After a fine lunch a block away, we continued with our sightseeing. Hours later, our path again intersected this spot. And I discovered I’d not photographed a Red Bull. No, I’d captured a more elusive creature. A RED YAK!