Friday, September 23, 2011

Well I made it back from my 16 day trip to Europe and beyond

As you can easily tell with my absence from writing on the blog, it was a challenge to access the internet for a variety of reasons. So I arrived back on Thursday around 12:30pm after a 9 hour flight from Munich. Well as you can surely imagine, I saw a lot of new and interesting and unbelievable sights. Each stop on the trip brought new insights and memories into my life. But if I had to declare a mantra for the experience, it would be the following: I went, I saw, I shopped, and I conquered. There were high hills to climb. There were sights that I had only seen in pictures. There were sights that I had never imagined and they took my breath away. There was the immense size of the oceans, the seas, and the straights that proved to me how small I am in the entire scope of the world.

Living on a movable ship for 12 days was very relaxing and refreshing. In fact, I have returned thinking that I was easily gone for 3 years rather than 16 days. Because each town and country was new to me, each day seemed to last longer than the hours and minutes indicated. I didn't have to cook a meal or make a bed for 16 days. Now that is a vacation. I read two books: Sarah's Keys and Cutting for Stone. I walked and walked both on the ship and land. I kept track of how much I walked. Are you ready? 248,543 steps! There was a walking/running track on the 11th deck, so I ended walking there as often as possible, plus of course all our trips on the shore.

My two favorite cities would have been Amsterdam, Brugge, and Athens. I took over 1000 pictures. Both Don and I went through them yesterday. I will consolidate them and put them on a DVD if anyone is so inclined to view them. I kept a written journal as I traveled so that will help bring back the memories.

Touring the Anne Frank House was an unbelievable experience. It gave me chills seeing the actual place where this young girl and her family hid for those two years. Seeing the book case and walking up those stairs was a surreal experience. Listening to her Father explain about his daughter in a recorded video was also incredible.

My last full day had me in the morning seeing the stunning jewels, the expansive grounds, and the massive buildings of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and in the early evening being a part of the happy, boisterous, unbelievably joyous celebration of the Ocktober Fest in Munich. What a day!
What surprised me during the experience is how many cultures learn several languages; one of the being English. So there were not too many times during the weeks where it was difficult to make myself known. What also surprised me is there was so much graffiti on the beautiful buildings in some of the countries.

I will write more as I reflect during this next week. Until then.

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