Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 30 May 2014

Back in the U.S.

Sarasota, Florida

The flights back were fairly pleasant. I watched five movies on the Atlantic leg from Amsterdam to Atlanta. Mrs. Phred hit the courts at The Meadows the morning after we arrived.

We're ready to pull out and go see the USA on Sunday morning.


Today I replaced the RV tires and the two big six volt "house" batteries on the RV...I hooked them up incorrectly and killed all the 12 volt and AC power in the coach. After calling around, I found a tech person who managed to reset several obscure breakers and get the RV out of darkness....it's discouraging to get more stupid with each passing year...

The first thing that happened on the Europe trip was that in Barcelona I stumbled on a traffic divider and skinned up my hand badly, broke my camera and bruised my ribs.

After that I left a white dress shirt (handmade in Bangkok) in the Florence hotel room...

The loss of my green English umbrella (that cost 50 pounds) in Venice has been previously reported.

The security in the Budapest airport found my favorite switchblade knife in my carry on and confiscated it...

In Atlanta Mrs. Phred made me pitch a corkscrew/knife combo before proceeding though yet another luggage inspection.

Acceptable losses in exchange for memories...


On our last days in Budapest we went to see the Hungarian National Museum and the bronze shoes on the bank of the Danube....to see the shoes, you go to the Parliament building and look left along the Danube River. About 400 yards down the river bank are 50 pair of bronze shoes.


These shoes are a subtle reminder of the Jews who were handcuffed or tied together, shot, and dumped into the Danube by the Arrow Cross Hungarians in 1945. Also, check wiki about the siege of Budapest, which might be the most horrific thing that you've never heard about...




Friday, 23 May 2014

The Most Dangerous Thing in a Combat Zone

Is an officer with a map.


We split up in Budapest in the morning. Mrs. Phred wants to do the Synagogue tour and I want to see the Terror Museum which discusses the excesses of the Arrow Cross movement during WWII and the Soviet occupation which ended in 1981..


 In the afternoon we get together and walk across the Danube to Buda. We take the funicular to the top and eat lunch in a quiet restaurant in a courtyard not frequented by tourists.


 Most everything we see has been rebuilt after being reduced to rubble by allied bombing.


 The Hungarian Parliament on the Danube. .


 Both the Nazis and the Commies used the building that houses the Terror Museum as a place to interrogate subversives. A lot of people disappeared here.


 437,000 Jews were sent from Budapest to Death camps in the final days of WWII.


 Mrs. Phred's Synagogue pictures are very beautiful.


 This is a symbolic tree with the names of a few of the victims.


The Arrow Cross people were very nasty. To save bullets they would tie a bunch of Jews together and shoot one and let him drag the rest into the Danube.


It will be so wonderful to be home again on Sunday...


 Mrs. Phred does not really care for Hungarian plum brandy.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Budapest

Today we walked out to Hero's Square and the Zoo. I ride the old wooden roller coaster twice. Mrs. Phred is satisfied with one time.

Love me two times, babe
'Cause I'm goin' away
Love me two time, girl
One for tomorrow
One just for today
-The Doors


Everywhere we walk I'm imagining soviet tanks rolling down the street.


But the music and goulash soup is very good.


 The opera house..


 This statue of Franz Listz has very long fingers. I consider him to be the 2nd greatest virtuoso piano player of all the. The greatest is, of course, currently living as a semi-recluse in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


 Buda castle across the river on the hill.


 I forget what this is...


 More castle


 Mrs. Phred in Hero's square...a fitting backdrop for an aging Civil Rights freedom fighter.


 City park and swimming hole...setting up for summer...


 Ivy.


 We bought our tickets home this week...can't wait to get on the road with the RV...


Duck pate with green pea paste, raisins and fava beans.


Gizzard salad.



Sort of meatloaf flavored potato soup with little rabbit burgers.


 Mrs. Phred orders a pig knuckle.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Mozart Konzerte at Schloss Schonbrunn Palace

Vienna, Austria


Georges is the French-Canadian we met on the boat who works in Bahrain. Following his advice, we navigate in the morning to the Cafe Mozart and try the best chocolate cake in Vienna (or possibly on Earth)...Thanks Georges for the tip. It was very good...


It's still very cold and raining after three days, but our colds are getting better...


 Tonight they had a special Mozart concert in the Schloss Schonbrunn Palace which was built by the Hapsburgs as the seat of the Austrian empire...


 They do some waltz music that I recognize..it's an experience...


 The room for the concert would neatly enclose four copies of the large two story house we used to live in...


It's not Jimi Hendrix, so after awhile I start estimating how many light bulbs are in the room. I count 44 chandeliers with 8 bulbs and 26 with 16 bulbs...In addition the two large central chandeliers have 80-100 bulbs each...they are hard to count...


 Somehow listening to Mozart tunes in Vienna make me think of all the people I knew who died young in one foolish adventure or another and never got to check this one off their bucket list...


On to Budapest in the morning...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Vienna


The night train from Venice arrives about 8 AM. It's raining and about 45 degrees F. (8 C.) with high winds. The weather won't change much the three days we have scheduled to be here.


 We figure out the underground system. It's numbered like German submarines (U-1, U-4, etc.).


 Both Mrs. Phred and I have developed bad colds, which doesn't help.


 The hotel is very nice. Sort of a modern business hotel called the Falkensteiner. It reminded me of a computer game I had 20 years ago called "Wolfenstein"....Argie stayed up all night playing it on a summer night in my old RV.


When you take a long vacation, not all the stops work out.



 Something to eat back in Venice.


 Breakfast on the overnight train...


With all this rain, it would be nice to have my old green umbrella. We borrow two umbrellas from the front desk but the wind destroys them both as we turn the first corner...the hotel is very nice about it...


We take a taxi to an Austrian restaurant...wienersnitzel and stuff like that...the modern art museum is very disappointing compared to many others we have seen...dull..sterile..unimaginative...all Tom's stuff is better than anything they had here...very curious..



Goodbye Venice, Hello Vienna

Margaret comes to meet us in Venice with her daughter's new puppy. Her daughter has a new job so Margaret is puppy sitting and trying to get her daughter to pick up the puppy whose name is Le Meu...


 Mrs. Phred and Margaret in Venice..


 More reflections...



 Appetizers at Gam-Gam's


 Mrs. Phred's pictures from January 2008 at carnival in Venice...