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Archives > Kelly's Europe trip 2018

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message 1: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 13, 2018 12:57PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments status:
Current location: Bulgaria
Currently reading: A Ballad for Georg Henig

Country Points:
England 1
Ireland 1
Scotland 1
Iceland 1
Norway 1
Sweden 1
Denmark 1
Germany 1
The Netherlands 1
Belgium 1
France 1
Spain 1 non-1001 point
Portugal 1
Spain 0 points for revisit
France 0 points for revisit
Switzerland 1
Italy 1
Austria 1
Slovenia 1
Montenegro 1 non-1001 point
Kosovo 1 non-1001 point
Macedonia 1 non-1001 point
Albania 1
Greece 1 non-1001 point
Turkey 1

Landmark Points:
Brandenburg Gate 4
Alhambra 4
Mont Saint Michel 4

Other Points:
Avignon Festival 2
Creativity Point 7/24 1
Creativity Point 8/6 1

TOTAL:
1001 Score: 34
Overall (non-1001) Score: 39

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps
Iceland - Independent People
Norway - Hunger
Sweden - Pippi Longstocking
Denmark - Quicksand
Germany - All Souls Day ** visited Brandenburg Gate
the Netherlands - The Twins
Belgium - The Parable of the Blind
France - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Spain - Tales of the Alhambra ** visited Alhambra
Portugal - The History of the Siege of Lisbon
Spain - The Sun Also Rises (no points)
France - Old Bones (no points for country) ** Mont Saint-Michel
Switzerland - Smiley's People
Italy - I'm Not Scared
Austria - The Third Man
Slovenia - Veronika Decides to Die
Montenegro - The Black Mountain
Kosovo - Field of Blackbirds
Macedonia - The Time of the Goats
Albania - Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
Greece - The Song of Achilles
Turkey - Snow

*****************



Potential Itinerary:

Bulgaria - A Ballad for Georg Henig (dropbox)
Romania - Forest Of The Hanged (playster)
Serbia - Dictionary of the Khazars (library ILL)
Bosnia and Herzegovinia - The Bridge on the Drina (library ILL)
Croatia - The Albanian (purchased amazon)
Hungary - Fatelessness (audible)
Slovakia - Embers (library)
Ukraine - Everything Is Illuminated (library)
Belarus - Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (library ILL) (NOT A 1001 BOOKS)
Russia - The Master of Petersburg (library)
Estonia - Purge by Sofi Oksanen (library ILL) (non-1001) (not on Goodreads?)
Latvia - The Dogs of Riga (library) (non-1001)
Lithuania - The Corrections (library ILL)
Poland - The Tin Drum (library ILL) OR The History of Love by Krauss (library)
The Czech Republic - Ignorance (library)
Germany - Measuring the World (library ILL) (NO POINTS FOR CHALLENGE)
USA - The Big Sleep (library)


message 2: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 04, 2018 10:46PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Potential landmarks:

Croatia: Old city of Dubrovnik
Greece: Parthenon
Turkey: The Gran Bazaar (Istanbul)
Hungary: Buda Castle (Budapest)
The Czech Republic: The Charles Bridge (Prague)


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments On my way to London!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: In England
Current location: England
Currently reading: Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There
Current score: 0


message 5: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 02, 2018 01:53PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: Moving on to second country
Current location: Ireland
Currently reading: The Story of Lucy Gault
Current score: 1


I have never been to Ireland IRL. Would love to actually see the County Cork, but for now I will enjoy the scenery in William Trevor's book.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: Loving Ireland! I will linger here for a bit while I read the Diversify challenge book and then I will head to Scotland
Current location: Ireland
Currently reading: n/a -- completed the Ireland book
Current score: 2

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: doing a little more genealogy research until I head to Iceland. I visited that country a couple of times in the early 1980s with the Air Force. I am excited to do some literary touristy things! I will read Independent People
Current location: Scotland
Currently reading:
Current score: 3

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I am back in Iceland after 34 years! It is still lovely!


message 9: by Liz M (last edited Jul 05, 2018 05:30PM) (new)

Liz M | 194 comments

How I did this:
1) Clicked on link in post 11; it opens in a new tab
2) Clicked on "(some html is ok)" above the comment box
3) Copied the html code for images:
{img src="https://www.goodreads.com/image..." width="40" height="100" alt="description"/} (For demonstration purposes, I've replaced the angle brackets with fancy brackets so y0u can see the code in this post) & pasted it into the comment box
4) Clicked on the tab with the map
5) Right-clicked on the map
6) on the menu, selected "Copy image location"
7) Clicked back to GR tab & pasted URL into html code, between the quotes:
{img src="https:// map1.maploco.com/ visited-europe/ ml/ GB-IE-IS.gif" width="40" height="100" alt="description"/} (Spaces added to show full URL here)
8) Deleted width="40" & alt="description", changed the height to 300:
{img src="https:// map1.maploco.com/ visited-europe/ ml/ GB-IE-IS.gif" height="300"/}

Previewed the post to make sure the height was abut right & then posted.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: preparing for a trip over to Norway
Current location: Iceland
Currently reading: planning to read Hunger
Current score: 4

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps
Iceland - Independent People


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: preparing for a trip over to Sweden
Current location: Norway
Currently reading: finished Hunger -- I will read Pippi Longstocking next
Current score: 5

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps
Iceland - Independent People
Norway - Hunger


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: a travel delay in Sweden due to a lost passport and a headcold
Current location: Sweden
Currently reading: finished my current read, Pippi Longstocking
Current score: 6

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps
Iceland - Independent People
Norway - Hunger
Sweden - Pippi Longstocking


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I have my passport back, I am feeling healthy and the weather has lifted! I will be off to Denmark at midnight. Looking forward to my next leg of the journey. I will read Quicksand.


message 14: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 15, 2018 06:33PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments

This bridge scares the pants off of me. It reminds me of the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan. So high and over water...


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Status: Loving Denmark
Current location: Denmark
Currently reading: Quicksand
Current score: 6

Books completed:
England - Through the Looking Glass
Ireland - The Story of Lucy Gault
Scotland - The 39 Steps
Iceland - Independent People
Norway - Hunger
Sweden - Pippi Longstocking


message 16: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 16, 2018 05:56PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I am from Colorado, so I am loving all the water! And an off-shore wind farm is such a cool thing to see!




message 17: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 16, 2018 09:54PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Denmark was such a lovely place. I spent all of my time in Copenhagen and was surprised by how clean, colorful and beautiful it was.





I sat under these lovely, old trees read my book and ate a delicious lunch.




But I kept looking at the castle! Yes, castle. I know its Europe because I can eat lunch on castle grounds! This would not happen in Colorado.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Jen from here out I will be keeping my tally in the top post. All updates about my journey will be posted both here and on Litsy as I have been doing.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Back to image posting problems... so this will just be descriptions.

Berlin feels very urban and hip to me. There is street art everywhere, including all along the old wall. Restaurants and bars line the streets and appear to be very busy. My guide suggested dinner at 10pm. I am girl from Colorado! We eat at 6. :) That is way past my dinner hour. But I want to experience the world on its own terms and these are the terms of Berlin.

I caught a glimpse of the Brandenburg Gate out the window of the car. It brought back memories of watching the wall come down. I look forward to returning where I can stand in its shadow and remember.

I don't know German food so I am anxious to discover.

I am only a few pages into the book as I am dealing with a crazy week. My son is having surgery and that is affecting me IRL and in my imagination too.


message 20: by Charisma (new)

Charisma (deadlikeme) | 96 comments Kelly wrote: "I am only a few pages into the book as I am dealing with a crazy week. My son is having surgery and that is affecting me IRL and in my imagination too."

Hope it goes smoothest and he's back home soon.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I am much, much too old for Berlin and its crazy nightlife. In fact, I was probably too old when I was only 21. These people go all night and into the next day!

I read an article about Berlin's best nightclubs, and the number one club was listed as Berghain & Panorama Bar. They refered to it as the Church of Techno. I didn't go, but I found some of the comments interesting:

"Bouncers are strict; the chances you won’t get in are considerable. Here are some hints for you: Do not go in big groups, do not wear your best clothes, do not laugh out loud or have too much fun in the queue – they simply don’t like that. Be as discrete as you can and make sure you know what you are getting into. Oh, and don’t dare to take your phone out of your pocket."

I did however visit Sisyphos. This was a modern, hippie dreamland. "t’s a festival, it’s a club, it’s a beach, it’s a bar, it’s Alice’s Wonderland. Here you will find diverse ways of having fun. With a huge chill out area, an abandoned bus, a small lake surrounded by sand, a pizza place and a labyrinth of dance floors, you might lose yourself for hours or maybe even days inside this abandoned dog food factory."

But now I am back to the old-woman backpack tour and today I am visiting the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate with my book-mate, Daane.

Jen, Daane visits the Brandenburg Gate specifically in the book so I am planning to take those 4 points.




message 22: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 18, 2018 05:18PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Today Arthur Daane and I both visited the Brandenburg Gate. It is an imposing and beautiful feat of architecture. It reminds me of some of the things I saw in Morocco.




Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments My visit to Berlin was quite surreal. Arthur Dane is very introspective. He has entire conversations with himself! He lectures on the history of the city and expounds upon the cultural and social norms of Germany, Russia, The Netherlands and more. The latter part was my favorite. I really enjoyed it when he described the personality of Germans compared the Dutch. He seemed to have a great love and respect for both.

I am exhausted. He walks, and walks, and walks... and walks some more. And there is a never ending commentary on WW2. I combined it with my memories of the Cold War and came away with a far better understanding of Germany.

We spent a good amount of time at Brandenburg Gate. I learned much about the history of this 17th Century marvel.


message 24: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 21, 2018 04:43PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments My visit to the Netherland was a bust. I visited a spa and met with Anna and Lotte -- elderly twins who were separated as orphaned children. One was raised as a German and the other as a Dutch Jewish sympathizer. They didn't meet again until both were 80 years old. At first I was enthralled with their discussions of history. It is the closest I have ever come to understanding how the war really affected people. Unfortunately though, little of the talk was personal in nature and I soon realized that I had no emotional connection to either woman. And we never left the spa! Not once. The most I saw of Holland was the hike in and now the hike out.

Maybe I will find my way back one day. I would sure like to see this:



and someday even this:



But for now I am off to Belgium where I am going back to the Victorian era!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I arrived in Belgium intent on reading Villette by Bronte. I stuck with it past the halfway point but decided it wasn't the tour of Belgium I wanted to take right now. I didn't love Lucy Snowe, and I disliked the fact that Ms Bronte wrote about Brussels but hid that by giving it a fictional name. So, I put the book down and changed course. Instead I visited Brussels with Gert Hoffman's The Parable Of The Blind.

I enjoyed this odd little book because I know nothing about art and it was fun to put a story to a painting. Hoffman made me curious about the place and the painter. He made me interested in the biblical story of the blind leading the blind. It was a quick read with a wonderful glimpse into things I know nothing about.

I also visited the Gran Place! I went to see Pieter the Elder's art, hanging in the Brussels City Museum. I hope to one day see the painting that inspired the book. The Gran Place is incredible, by the way. Absolutely lovely.




Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I may quick finish Villette as I was more than halfway through. But then it is off to France!


message 27: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 23, 2018 02:35PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Avignon Festival -- Upon arrival in France I went straight to the Festival to catch it before it ended. I watched Clouds of Sils Maria, which was quite beautiful. Juliette Binoche and Chloe Grace Moretz were wonderful as always. For me the real surprise was Kristen Stewart who was so much better than I expected. I actually liked her in this movie.

The setting -- the Alps -- is exquisite! And the premise -- examining age and beauty for actors -- is unique. At times the movie felt confused, but it seemed like even that was purposeful. I felt as though the director was commenting on the world of arts. Just like I am intrigued by books about readers I was also interested in this movie about actors.





message 28: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "I arrived in Belgium intent on reading Villette by Bronte. I stuck with it past the halfway point but decided it wasn't the tour of Belgium I wanted to take right now. I didn't love Lu..."

These landmark points are rejected. Sorry, not a strong enough link between the specific book and the landmark. We rejected someone else for these book-landmark pairing. You can try again for the landmark points with a non-1001 book if that is easier.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Jen wrote: "Kelly wrote: "I arrived in Belgium intent on reading Villette by Bronte. I stuck with it past the halfway point but decided it wasn't the tour of Belgium I wanted to take right now. I ..."

Thanks Jen -- I may get back and try again. For now I will just move on and continue having fun!


message 30: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Congrats, you also get an extra point for creativity this week


message 31: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 25, 2018 07:16PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments This was my first trip to Paris and I spent nearly all my time listening to two incredibly intelligent but depressing people. This was a tough thing for me as my own son struggled with severe depression so I found it quite triggering. I love intelligent females, but sometimes depressions sucks the life out of me. Luckily I had a little extra time to eat croissants and crepes, and to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc du Triomphe and a tiny section of the Louvre.

I loved seeing the Arc as when I was in law school at NYU I lived across the street from its twin.



Of course everyone wants to see this:



I am off to Spain where I will read Tales of the Alhambra on my way to Portugal and The Sun Also Rises on my way back out.


message 32: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 26, 2018 06:18PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Wow, the Alhambra is incredible! It has so much history, and I learned all about the leaders, cultural groups and religions that have affected it. One can see and touch things that are hundreds of years old! The art of its architecture is absolutely breathtaking, and it was so much like some of the places I saw in Morocco.

(Washington Irving wrote a book that completely transported me... so much so that I had a very true picture in my head of what he was describing. I stopped the book in the middle of the night and went to Google to see if it looked as I pictured -- which was just like those Moroccan places. It was so exact that I was able to put up side by side photos on Litsy! I was so excited to know the book was so true to life.)

I also love the countryside of the Andalusian region of spain. It is mountainous and reminds me of home. It is cool in the evenings, and temperate in the daytime.

Last night's sunset!:


The Alhambra:


The ceiling:


I am taking the 4 points for the landmark as the entire book is about it.

Off to Portugal!


message 33: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 27, 2018 09:30PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I had such an interesting visit to Portugal. My guide was the author Jose Saramago who made it his mission to teach me the history of Lisbon. The problem was with his teaching style! The man speaks in sentences that are 500 words long and never takes a breath! He just talks and talks and talks and I get lost in the words and stop learning. I like history. I like history that is told with fictional stories mixed in with facts and he did that. So it should have been wonderful. But if he were a professor and I were taking his class I would drop out. Or teach myself...

This wonderful painting depicts the Siege of Lisbon:




Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments This man was the King of Portugal at the time.




message 35: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 27, 2018 09:41PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Today, downtown Lisbon is lovely! This photo shows part of it:



I am headed back to Spain, for Hemingway's running with the bulls and bullfights!


message 36: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 29, 2018 04:43PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I am back in Spain and Hemingway expects me to enjoy(!!!) this:



and this:



I am not an adrenaline junkie enough for the latter, and the former is just torture to me. But, I will continue on...


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments What can I say? Traveling Spain with Hemingway is not for me. He drinks way too much, and only wants to talk about the majesty of bulls or the heart of me when at war!

I am headed back to France where I will be spending time with an anthropologist and will visit Mont Saint-Michel. This has to be better... right?


message 38: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Jul 31, 2018 04:34PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I have spent some extra time in France on my way to Switzerland and was able to visit Mont Saint-Michel with Dr Gideon Oliver. He said that I am the third or fourth tourist who has visited him this month alone! I hope that we have made a good impression

Mont Saint-Michel is so unique. Because of the tides it is only accessible sometimes. I loved learning about the history of this place and the significance of its structure. "The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers." This is one of those places that is still so close to its original form that one can actually feel the history of the place! It really blew me away.

This photo shows that structure off perfectly!



I am now on my way to Switzerland!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Jen - most of the book Old Bones takes place at Mont Saint Michel so I am taking landmark points. Let me know if I shouldn't.


message 40: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 02, 2018 05:13PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Visiting Switzerland in the company of Cold War era spies is a very strange thing. They are constantly on edge and looking for the "bad guys". And they bounce around Europe like rubber balls. I was asked about 100 times to leave Switzerland and go to another country! In only 2 days. I stayed behind and each time I saw them they relayed their stories of other places and other spies. I used my time wisely and soaked in the loveliness that is Switzerland. Mountains. Flowers. Gondolas. Trains. Colorful homes. Castles. This place is paradise...






message 41: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 02, 2018 05:13PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments An Alphorn concert at 10,000 feet!




message 42: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 04, 2018 07:52PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Southern Italy is so different than the North, which unfortunately I have only seen as I traveled through. No visits to Rome, Venice, Florence... not this time. No I stayed in a tiny village -- 5 houses! located in the middle of endless wheat fields. I spent most of my days in the company of a 9 year old boy named Michele and his younger sister and 4 other children. Michele was smart and kind, full of heart. When we met he was a very typical 9 year old child worried about his tagalong sister and his bossy friend more than anything else. But, unfortunately we found ourselves embroiled in a tragic, mysterious situation that I cannot even bring myself to share. It is enough to say that this boy lost his innocent view of the world and may never trust again.

This is a glimpse at the area in which he lives.



I saw views like this as I traveled through Northern and central Italy:



I did get to sample the local specialty (gnocchi), and it has ruined me forever.




message 43: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 04, 2018 10:11PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments In Vienna I traveled back in time to post-WW2 occupation by the Allied Forces. The map looked like this:



I spent my days in the company of Rollo Martins who was attempting to solve the mystery of an old friend's death. Unfortunately he kept finding more and more information that indicated his old friend was no longer very likable... and he didn't want to believe it. But we were out and around the city quite a lot so I did get to enjoy the historical beauty of Vienna. (It makes me happy to know that this place is as pretty as The Sound of Music made it look!)

Check out these sights!







There was a part of this trip that I didn't like and that was seeing and hearing how the Austrian people were treated and talked about. I am certain there was a lot of this in Europe at this time and I found it really difficult.

I am off to Slovenia!


message 44: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 05, 2018 02:41AM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I spent much of my time in Slovenia with a young suicidal woman who learned that she wanted to live! While the end of my stay was uplifting some of the time there was quite stressful. I saw doctors and nurses breaking every tenant of modern psychology. It was obvious that some of these people had zero compassion for those with mental illness. And, worse, they simply wanted the patients to either die, check out and leave, or stay sedated. It was a sad and shocking experience.

However I did spend a bit of time in the capital city of Ljubljana and it is lovely! I had never even considered Slovenia as a destination but wow this place is incredible.

This is a photo of the coastline:



The ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse right near the university.



A view of the city from the nearby castle:



Preseren Square:



And look at this lovely white bridge!



And I am off to Croatia!


message 45: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 07, 2018 03:51PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I just visited Montenegro during the time it was ruled by Tito and was part of Yugoslavia! I went there with a detective named Nero Wolfe, and although he seems to be a bit of a hermit who lives in NYC, he is originally from Montenegro. We traveled here to solve the mystery of what happened to his old friend who was murdered. The thing I will take away most from this trip though is the political atmosphere of the place. The craziness of ruler made for a dark, gritty, scary visit!

But, I also found it to be a beautiful place. I would like to return now that they have their independence.

Look at this:







Off to Kosovo, another of the ex-Yugoslavia countries.


message 46: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 07, 2018 11:53PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Kosovo is more than one tenth taken up by the Sar Mountains!



This view of the green lake in the mountains reminds me of Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park near home. Funnily enough, it is in a national park too.



This monastery is lovely:



And this one:



I hate coffee so I didn't partake in their famous hot beverage. I could have used the caffeine. This is the second stop in a row where I am expected to help solve the mystery of a murder!

I am now headed into Macedonia.


message 47: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 09, 2018 04:16PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments A young boy was my tour guide of Skopje, Macedonia in the late 1940s. The communists were just taking control and the people of the city were starving. Babies were dying. Children were not being fed. And goats were the only way to provide for their families. Unfortunately the men who ruled the party at the time decided to kill the goats! It was heartbreaking and shocking, and made no sense. I did get to know the city at the time.

The place that was most intriguing to me was "the Kale".







The views of the city from this fortress are spectacular!



The children ride their bikes and hike up to this fortress and play often, and it was my first introduction to the place. It was incredible.

Up next: Albania!


message 48: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 10, 2018 01:14AM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments The Balkans has been a crazy place to visit! I keep finding myself in dangerous, gritty, strange situations. In Albania I found myself in a small mountain town with an artist named Mark The Hoxha regime has just fallen but with Tito's influence and all of the rumors, fear, and the influence of history and politics everything is a mess! Mark did teach me a lot about the country though. He kept telling me stories, showing me documents and forcing the conversation onto whatever he seems to have found to think about and fear at that very moment.

There are more than 150,000 old Communist bunkers in these mountains!



The terrain reminds me of home:



Except they also have beautiful water nearby!





Snow capped peaks are exactly like home.



As you might expect, the sunsets are extraordinary.



I am headed to Greece!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I visited ancient Greece and spent my time in the company of a young man named Patroclus and through him I met the god, Achilles. Unfortunately though they were first wrapped up in each other and then in war. It left me little ability to tour the country. If I ever return I plan to make sure I am in a more modern era!

It is interesting to be in an era so different from my own. Despite fighting a war, the men were dressed like this:



I did know a little of Achilles story prior to this visit so it was fun to watch him learn to play the lyre.





This piece of pottery depicts both Achilles and Patroclus.



I am moving on to Turkey now.


message 50: by Kelly_Hunsaker_reads (last edited Aug 13, 2018 12:42PM) (new)

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I visited Kars, Turkey with a poet named Ka. This place is full of history and quite lovely -- I only wish that Ka had not been so entrenched in politics and religion as I really do not enjoy discussions of either.


This bridge has stood for almost 300 years!




This building is many hundreds of years old. It was originally a church and is now a mosque.



The history of this place is fascinating as it has been subject to war, and to possession by the Ottomans, Russians, Armenians and others. The dominant religions have changed, and it seems like I would learn a lot if I stayed for more time.

But, for now I am off to Bulgaria!


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