Europe


Best amusement park in the world – people-powered!

In the forest about an hour north of Venice, Italy, is a 100% people-powered amusement (theme) park built by one local restaurant owner named Bruno. The story, images, and video is inspiring and amazing.

I certainly don’t want to visit Italy again without dining at Pioppi and trying some of his 40 electric-free rides amongst the trees. I think it must be one of the most unique restaurant/theme park experiences!


A town square in Zakopane Poland

Scenes of a day in Zakopane Poland

Dorota and I spent our days in Zakopane simply walking around and enjoying the sites, sounds, and foods — despite the rain. (Remember you can click an image to enlarge it.)   One of the things you can’t miss is the local cheese. It’s sold in each of the main areas of Zakopane and comes in many sizes, shapes and nuances. Notice it’s not refrigerated? It’s all quite salty and doesn’t need  refrigeration. At least not until cut info or for some time. I brought some back to Warsaw as a gift to my host and hostess there. The Square Food stalls surrounded a local square (well circle). The potato pancake stand was irrestible as our lunch. They serve these hot crisp beauties covered in cream.   I got to people-watch as we joined others sitting on a low stone curb to enjoy our casual snack or meal. The entertainment included this […]


Cell phone SIM for travel in Poland

I got a Polish SIM card for my iPhone today. I went with Play at the recommendation of a Polish friend. The Starter Kit was 19 zl ($6.50).

The man at the Play store popped it in for me and it worked. It simply worked. Phone, data, done. Not like the configuration needed in Central America.

But is that a result of the Polish system or being on iOS7 instead of iOS6 or having an iPhone 4s instead of 3gs? I guess I have to return to Central America to find out.


Krakow town square & area

My Krakow friend Dorota had a work appointment the afternoon I arrived, so we walked together to the entrance to a park near the main square — a medieval square — and arranged to meet at the same spot later. This gave me the opportunity to wander by myself and get a feel for the area. As this was my first walk in Krakow, every storefront, ever vehicle, every sign, was new to me.

I’ve got some photos of this medieval square for you.


Bus from Warsaw to Krakow

I awoke at 6am to the sound of Joanna cooking. I was in for another truly home cooked meal. Today was the day for me to move on to my second place in Poland. I was Krakow-bound and a friend was meeting me on the other end of the ride. I sat in a red high back seat on the upper level of my first Polish bus, PolskiBus. It was a very clean, new-seeming, beautiful double-decker. For approximately 5 hours I watched the scenery and did some writing. No friendly conversations with locals on this bus ride.


Warsaw day 3 – Driving & the Uprising Museum

On this rainy Sunday, Michal and Joanna took me to the Warsaw Uprising Museum in the part of Warsaw called Wola. We drove as it was our only stop — and because it was raining, of course.

If you’re curious about some of the roads in Warsaw, here’s a slideshow of photos from our drive from his suburb to the museum. Then I’ve got a slideshow of some of the museum, of course. I can show you the photos, but can’t even begin to tell you about its impact.


Warsaw day 2

Michal and Joanna took me out to see and know more of Warsaw each day. Today we went by bus rather than dealing with parking as they had a few locations planned for me. The day was warm and beautiful. A perfect day for a bus and a lot of walking to get to know a city.


Warsaw day 1

As I traveled to Warsaw for the first time, I felt like a VIP knowing my host, Michal, would be waiting for me at the airport — holding a white sign with my name on it. As he drove me home, he told me of his girlfriend Joanna (Yanna) and that she was making me a traditional Polish meal of Pierogi (but with berries)l for my arrival. Wow.

My first outing in a new country is always exciting. Even if it’s just walking to a food market. But in this case, being taken around by a life-long resident of Warsaw was particularly nice.


Balearic Islands trip research via Twitter

I’m still in Los Angeles, a break between travels, as I write this. But I’ve been thinking about the places I’d like to head to next. A writer acquaintance living in Minorca, got me thinking about heading there, to the Balearic Islands of which Minorca’s a part. I don’t normally do much research into a place before I go. I like to discover as I go. But this time I’m using  more “social media” and see what kind of relationships I can form before I go anywhere. In this post, I shall share all good or interesting information that I find on Twitter. Why? Because I’m curious as to what can be found using Twitter as a research tool. Using TweetDeck as my Twitter client, I created several columns, each its own hashtag search. One is a search for #Mallorca as it’s the largest island in this group of islands. Mostly there […]


Carry light, give light

I think that we who live in cities, be it on any continent in any city, tend to not realize that there ARE places in the world where there is NO electricity and people do not have light — other than that of the sun. And we who live in cities have so much light in the sky at night that we don’t even realize… how very dark the night really is. Those who live in non-electrified places can wake with the sun and go to sleep with the sun — but there are still issues such as: going to the bathroom before bed or in the middle of the night a mother needing to get up in the night to feed an infant a parent needing to tend to a child a person needing to work until dark and then find his/her way home boats needing to cross a lake or ocean or […]


3% international fee on credit card purchases — not!

This post is for American travelers who plan to use an American credit card while traveling outside of the United States.  It’s great to be able to travel with a minimum of cash in your pocket but did you know that when you use your credit card outside of the United States, you incur a 3% fee on top of your actual charge? As I travelled, I saw many people pay huge fees to access their money. I work hard for my money, as most of them did too, so I want to hold on to as much as possible with which to actually live and travel. To that end I did some research to find the best ways to travel without carrying money and the best money-access solutions. So far I have found only two card options that don’t charge an international fee: Chase Sapphire Visa Card — The Chase Sapphire […]