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This blog is about the adventure of traveling and especially the interesting people that you meet. We will share stories about people and places we have encountered from around the United States, Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, Mexico, The Netherlands, Belgium, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and more. This is not a travelogue -- we leave that to Rick Steves -- this is a collection of fragments in the journey of life.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

The Vatican and St. Peter's are not in Rome

     People will ask if you went to see the Vatican, St. Peter's, or Sistine Chapel when you went to Rome. The best answer is that they are not in Rome. The Vatican is its own country. It may be surrounded by Rome. People can walk in without a passport or visa to the place pictured above but there are walls around much of  the rest of it. If you go to the top of the dome of St. Peter's you can see it all. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trump Administration and killing elephants for sport

Mr. Trump's son likes to bring home trophies like elephant tails, but the elephants are being killed at a rate of nearly 100 a day - mostly for ivory and trophies. The governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe are working to bring back the population and reintroduce them to areas where they have been brought to extinction. Elephants are not predators, They eat plants. Why would you think it is fun to shoot and kill one of these. (I met him in the Chobe River in July. He was playing and bathing.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Manholes and other things in the road

Bayou, France
 Kinsale, Ireland
Madrid, Spain

     It is not like there is nothing up high to look at, but when walking on cobblestones it is a good idea to look down from time to time. And, while looking down, you will find a surprise now and then. Above are three things that I found interesting in three trips to Europe. Some folks did some good casting to make these. It would be a shame just to walk on and walk on by.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A380

     On an Air France A380 there are cameras on the tail, front and belly. You can watch as the plane takes off and lands. With the front camera you can see what the pilot sees. The photo above is a capture of the seat back screen. A view from the tail, you can see the plane at over 35,000 feet.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Favorite Irish Street Sign

    The folks in Kilkenny are serious about picking up after your pooch. This sign is not very subtle. I had heard that the French were bad at letting their dogs "foul". At least in the areas we have been in Paris and other French cities we saw very little of it. Also people complain about the dogs in Spain. Didn't encounter much. On the other paw, we were not looking for it and we are accustomed to some of it on our sidewalks. At home, we buy bags now because our state has pretty much banned plastic bags or charges for them.  In any case, our dog (Duncan, a good Scot) would not foul. He reads the signs.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Not Big Ben and now silent

     This is Elizabeth Tower, newly named after the present queen. The largest, deepest bell in the tower is called Big Ben. You can hear Big Ben, but hardly anyone gets to see it. But, right now you cannot hear it at all as the clock is shut down for repairs. None of this makes the tower over Westminster less important.  It is not only beautiful, but a symbol of the great City of London. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

American Cemetery, Normandy, France

     On a rainy day, a couple of years ago, I walked with my wife and granddaughter through the crosses in the American Cemetery in Normandy.  We laid a wreath at the memorial and heard our National Anthem played. After that, we just walked silently and read the legends on each cross or Star of David or Muslim marker. I recalled watching "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Longest Day" and remembered how loud those films were as they showed the bombs and bullets. I was taken by how quiet this place is with only whispers. It seemed to me to be sad that someone chose to take over the world and make it theirs and these young men had to stop that.  It also seemed sad as things have not changed that much. There are still people who want to rule the world using the bodies of others.