Patrick

 


Here is a photo we took last night (shot from the Pest side of the Danube) during our walk back to our rental apartment in Budapest’s 13th District.  The photo shows “Shoes on the Danube Promenade,” a memorial to Hungarian Jews shot to death and thrown into the river by militiamen belonging to the Hungarian fascist party (the Arrow Cross) at the end of World War II.   The shoes, all period appropriate and cast of iron, represent the shoes left behind by the victims.

We are getting a lot of interesting WWII history on our trip.  We found this memorial, though, as affecting (and chilling) as anything we have seen to date.

(In the background is the Chain Bridge, which links Pest with Buda.  The bridge was originally built in 1849, virtually destroyed by the Red Army during the Siege of Budapest in winter 1945, and then rebuilt and reopened in 1949.)

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Bliss all Thai’d up, Czeching out the trendy fish spa treatment in Prague.

We noticed an unusual and alarming trend during our recent stay in Prague: Czech and foreign women were voluntarily submerging their feet into tanks filled with carnivorous fish that would then eat (apparently superfluous) pieces of said women’s feet.  Continue reading »

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Bliss and Jude on Museum Island

Before we arrived in Berlin, we read that it had recently become the third most visited city in Europe, ahead of Rome, but still behind London and Paris.  Now having seen it, we can see why. Continue reading »

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Arriving in Ängholm

Bliss and I are both huge fans of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which, in gripping fashion, tells the story of a Scandinavian family (the Vagners) living on a small, remote, and largely uninhabited island (Hedeby), whose members have been feuding with each other for decades.

What we didn’t know, until recently, was that I am also related to a Scandinavian family (the Pippings, who are Swedish-speaking Finns) living on a small, remote, and largely uninhabited island (Ängholm, Finland), whose members have been feuding with each other for decades. Continue reading »

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Patrick, Patrick’s Mom, Leslie, & Jude on a boat tour in St. Petersburg. Patrick’s parents met up with us in St. Petersburg and are traveling with us through Finland and Estonia as well.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) revolutionized the way many Americans live, work, and travel.  This landmark legislative achievement helped Americans, and visitors to our shores, enter and exit public buildings and spaces with ease, regardless of whether they walked or perambulated by different means, by requiring that, in the case of all “new construction,” ramps or elevators be provided wherever there were also stairs.  The ADA had the added benefit of helping parents with small children in strollers get around more easily.  Unfortunately, there is no ADA in Russia, a fact of which we became acutely aware after spending 36 hours in Moscow, and three full days in St. Petersburg. Continue reading »

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Something fishy was going on with the guards on our train.  They, the Chinese men dressed in stately blue uniforms, didn’t care much about their official duties—our shared bathroom constantly lacked soap, and rarely had toilet paper (thankfully, we brought our own)—but they were busy doing something. Continue reading »

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Ulan Bator Train Station, Mongolia

After a tough night of bogie changing and border crossing, we woke up to Jude screaming for milk while the Mongolian countryside rolled by in all of its splendor out of our cabin window. Continue reading »

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Boarding the train at Beijing Station

Boarding the train at Beijing Station

Over the course of five and a half days, we are traveling by train from Beijing to Moscow, across China (for 12 hours), Mongolia (for 24 hours), and then Russia for the remainder of the trip, including large swaths of Siberia.  (In fact, although the train journey from Beijing to Moscow is commonly referred to as the Trans-Siberian Railroad, our train will travel over two separate lines: the Trans-Mongolian line, from Beijing to Ulan-Ude; and then the Trans-Siberian line, from Ulan-Ude to Moscow.) Continue reading »

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Sep 192011
 
Jude causing a minor sensation outside of the Forbidden City.

Jude causing a minor sensation outside of the Forbidden City

We made our first serious blunder of the trip. Continue reading »

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Stepping off the plane in Hong Kong at 7 p.m. local time, extremely jet lagged and blurry-eyed, we were approached by a man wearing a surgical mask, who appeared out of nowhere and zapped Jude in the head with what looked like a radar gun.  Continue reading »

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