wwcitizen: (Cruise Ship)
Here are my pictures from our 6-day trip to Barcelona before embarking on our 10-day Mediterranean cruise in August. Enjoy!!

https://picasaweb.google.com/113791141813573302132/BarcelonaDays

(Not sure if this embedding will work here yet, but here's trying:)

Barcelona Days
wwcitizen: (Bavarian Bear)
When Matt and I were in Germany, I remembered Jacobs coffee, which I used to buy when I lived there and in Austria. There were other brands that were good, too, but a little more expensive or perhaps not as easy to get. Since we got back from that trip (end of 2008), I have been ordering Jacobs coffee regularly. Once in a while, I might get another kind as a one-off just for the fun of it, but more often than not, I stick with Jacobs.

Here are links to places from which I order Jacobs coffee online. It usually comes at the basic shipping rate within 2 weeks.

This site typically has better prices (per pound); right now its ~$7.00/lb:

12-pack shipment for roughly $6.50 a package (the website's math is wrong):

Currently this site has a better price (per pound) ~$6.50/lb! Their 12-pack shipment makes each package roughly $5.84! (And it's easier to order - from same page as the single package.)

There are other places, but these two sites are good competitors and I can't get a better price in Manhattan or anywhere in NJ for the same brand of coffee. There are also other kinds of coffee and countries from which I'm sure there are also good coffees, but these are by far my favorites - and I drink a LOT of coffee. Try it; you'll love it! Enjoy!


wwcitizen: (Default)
Well, after long last, I'm posting a little something. Haven't really been in the mood lately much, but here's something that's in the works.

Matt, me, and his sister's family are all heading to Europe for a couple of weeks this summer. We're all really looking forward to it, too! As I've written before, we've traveled with them before to L.A., Disney World/Land (3x), the Bahamas, and around NY / NJ. They're a fun bunch and we always have fun. Matt and I also find time to break a way a little for our own time together, too, which is important to the travel health of the bunch of us.

This trip will be interesting. Thanks to me and my big mouth, we're taking a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Ephesus and back for 11 days (we're getting off the boat in Naples). Before the cruise, I'm hoping that Matt and I can get to Barcelona for a few days. Once we get off the boat, we'll head to Peschici to spend a few days with Matt's and his sister's family for a few days on the beach - on the spur of the boot.

Here's a look at our cruise with the ports of call:


I haven't been to Europe in about 2 years, and am really looking forward to this trip! The ship looks beautiful and I really enjoy cruises. I also don't tend to gain a lot of weight on them because we're always on the go when we're at port.

Before that trip, though, we're already set for Bear Week 2011 in Provincetown, of course. It's our favorite vacation ever. This year, we're VERY excited that [livejournal.com profile] martini_tim and [livejournal.com profile] bigsabu are coming out for it, too! Really looking forward to spending a week with those wonderful men. BTW, who else is coming to Ptown for Bear Week?

Somehow with all this traveling, I feel like I'm playing hooky from my profession(s), but in the end, it's my life. In the end, if I have the time and the funds, I should use them. Goodness knows, I'm not getting any younger! Once in a while, I catch Matt and me looking back through all the pictures of the travel whirlwind that was 2008-2010. We're just extending it a bit.
wwcitizen: (Residenz Into Wuerzburg)
There's a connection I have on Facebook that is like no other. The man's name is Heinz and he's from Germany close to Leipzig where I lived for 2 years after the reunification of Germany. That time in my life was pivotal to who I am today. That time shaped a lot of my basic desires for social change, social movements, and a healthy level of activism in one's personal life. Each day that I happen to see one of his posts about social things happening in Leipzig and eastern Germany again, it truly tugs on my heart strings.

Heinz posted a picture today of himself in a forum at the Gewandhaus (a concert hall) in the center of Leipzig where I had seen my first concert there. Heinz was the moderator last week for a discussion of unity, rights, and freedom, basic law and peaceful revolution. You can see him raising his hand in the middle:



Close to the Gewandhaus is where Leipzig's (televised!) peaceful revolution in 1989 began, around the time that I was in school in Paris and traveling through Germany to go back to college in NC. I remember being glued to the TV in 1989 watching the demonstrations move from Leipzig out and throughout the GDR. I had just come back from Germany and WANTED TO BE THERE! I wanted to be a part of history.

A mere two years later, I became part of history, living and working in Leipzig during the young years of social and economic change for everyone around me. Everyone was an expatriate, no matter if they grew up in the town or not; it was a new country with amazing potential and possibilities. It was such an exciting time and place to be.

I wrote this blurb as a comment on the photo to him:
"Heinz, your stories remind me over and over that positive change is possible. East Germany and Leipzig in my opinion represent a worldwide example of freedom, peace, and the world's human rights. The world's people (in contrast to one people) through peace chose for itself freedom and basic human rights. It overwhelmingly surprises me that since the reunification, not much more has changed in this world in the name of peace.

My country and city have in contrast changed drastically for the negative since 9/11. I wish it were possible for us to begin a peaceful revolution (here) that would balance out our civil rights. I often yearn to go back to 1992; I would love to experience those changes in Leipzig again through older eyes and my current Weltanschauung (perspectives on the world)."

(Here's the German version:)
Heinz, Deine Geschichten erinnern mich immer wieder, dass positive Änderung möglich ist. "Ostdeutschland" u. Leipzig sind zusammen meiner Meinung nach eine weltweite Darstellung der Freiheit, der Friede, u. der "Weltvolks-"menschenrechte. Das "Weltvolk" hat durch Friede insofern für sich Freiheit u. grundsätzliche Menschenrechte entschieden. Es wundert mich grossartig, dass seit der Wende sich nicht mehr im Namen Friede in dieser heutigen Welt geändert hat.

Mein Land u. meine Stadt (NYC, US) haben sich im Gegensatz aber ja sehr negativ seit 11.9.2001 geändert. Wäre es möglich, dass wir auch eine friedliche Revolution anfangen können, damit die grundsätzlichen Menschenrechte wieder ausgleichen.

Ich habe oft Sehnsucht auf 1992, als ich nach Leipzig umgezogen hatte. Ich hätte die damaligen Änderungen sehr gerne durch ältere Augen u. meine jetzige Weltanschauung wieder erfahren.
wwcitizen: (Car in the Country)
These are GREAT! I found these from a friend in Australia with whom I worked in Germany. I owned a Trabant for about 6 months in Leipzig before I moved to Austria. That was the first car I worked on and fixed!! I replaced the starter.


I love how the "scientists" run to the car:


Good music to this one (and no German):


Trabi (Trabant) Safari through Berlin!!!


This is a Wartburg - cool car and heavier than the Trabant:

wwcitizen: (Airplane Travel)
Updated from previous versions - a WHILE back... Places I've been in the US and the world.

United States:

visited 34 states (68%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Countries of the World:

visited 33 states (14.6%)
Create your own visited map of The World
wwcitizen: (French choses)
Hitchhiking was never something I planned to do - ever. I had scary memories of different horror flicks highlighting hitchhikers dying. My father had told me stories from the 1930s of his friends and him hitchhiking up to New York City from rural NC for the Worlds Fair. My hitchhiking experiences started in the 1980s in the north of France. That phrase to me, "The North of France," now carries a chilly, though romantic tone of its own.

Normandy is a little chillier than one would expect in the summer. Even in the summer, temperatures can get down to about 55 degrees in the evening with a wind. The coastal towns are constantly shrouded with fog and haze from the English Channel. The tides are strong and in some areas run very shallow and later very deep.

Caen, Normandy, I learned, shoulders a lot of historical significance from the home base of soldiers in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (which also set England into the Middle Ages), and William the Conqueror (the Duke of Normandy), to Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc), and eventually WWII. Touring Caen, we passed by a statue of Joan of Arc in the center of town and went walking around the markets where I bought what became one of my favorite jackets in college.

Jennifer and this area of Europe taught me that hitchhiking was, in the 80s, still a safe way to travel. In order to begin hitchhiking, we found ourselves having to walk 2-3 kilometers toward the outskirts of towns and throwing up our thumbs ("Faire de l'autostop", as the French call it - make the cars stop). Walking backwards was never easy for me - even sober! I guarantee that my tripping over things and hitting a couple of vicious signs endeared drivers to pick us up. "If I don't pick him up now, I'll hear about him on the news and feel guilty!"

One day, Tuesday, we wanted to go to Omaha and Utah beaches. First problem: Trains didn't go to the beach in Normandy. In order to get close to the beaches by train, we had to stop in Bayeux. Second problem: We had to hitchhike to and from the beaches successfully timed to make it back to Caen for disco night.

The train ride to Bayeux was interesting (for me) because of all the eye candy. One cute blue collar guy going to work, wearing his dusty clothes from the day before, sat across from me. His jeans were already tight in that 80s way, but made tighter around his crotch because he kept readjusting himself. I lit up a cigarette, a Gauloise Rouge (a little tastier than a Marlboro Light), exchanged a couple of words with Jennifer, and took out my Walkman to listen to the Smiths, trying to nonchalantly glance at the cutey across from me and not be too conspicuous when his hand dove toward his crotch. I put out my cigarette and changed the tape in the Walkman, when I noticed the guy looking at me. With a steady gaze at me and his head bobbing left and right from the movement of the train, he motioned for my Walkman. I thought, "What's he trying to do?" I took off my earphones and asked him what he wanted. He wanted to borrow my Walkman and listen to some music. Cute.

So, I loaned him my Walkman for a few tunes. We exchanged a couple of words now and then, and I changed out the tape once from the Smiths to the Cure. He was moving his head to the groove of the music as he pulled out his light blue pack of cigarettes. I'd never seen these before and he offered me one. To my surprise, they were Gauloise, as well, but I didn't see the filter facing the opening of the pack when I pulled mine out. More to my surprise, there was no filter - on either side! Making sure to "man up", I let him light my cigarette and went to puffing away, stifling rabid coughs, while my face turned a little red. Jennifer, happily, was asleep during this entire exchange. When she woke up close to our stop and saw the guy handing me back my Walkman, I had to explain the whole thing to her. We got off the train before the blue collar cutey. He shook my hand very firmly, which instinctively made me look at his hand, grin, and glance upwards back at him. He winked, smiled, and said, "Bonne journée!" ("Have a great day!")

On our way to and from the train station in Bayeux - the town with a train station closest to Omaha and Utah Beaches - we hitchhiked. The little white truck stopped on the side of the road and the guys in the cab motioned for us to get in back. This was my first hitchhiking experience - ever! My initial excitement, however, was short-lived.

We got in the back of the truck when an overpowering scent hit us: very pungent paint thinner. There were two painters in the back of the truck with no ventilation at all, except from the flapping back door. The painters must have been heading to a job. We had to hold onto the door so that it stayed open for air, but carefully so that neither Jennifer nor I careened out to the speeding pavement behind us.

Jennifer and I smelled paint thinner on each other for the next two hours while we spent the day walking first around Omaha Beach. Then we hitchhiked again on the back of a different truck to Utah Beach. I was on sensory overload with the stories and visions of 3000 soldiers dying on the beaches. So, we walked through the rolling countryside for a while passing cow pastures thumbing for a ride. A local businessman picked us up in his Citroen sedan. He was heading towards Bayeux anyway and dropped us off right at the train station. Sadly, we didn't spend any time in Bayeux because we had to get back to Caen to meet up with the guys from the youth hostel for a night out on the town. We were heading to the American Disco! Couldn't wait.
wwcitizen: (Residenz Into Wuerzburg)
June of 1989 was a month that was wrapped up in travel throughout Germany and France. I was heading to start my summer French course in Paris at the beginning of July, but I first wanted to experience a little more of France than I had in 1987 during my German course in the Black Forest.

In my 20s, I stayed in youth hostels throughout Europe while dreaming of an America where that kind of accommodation was more prevalent and safer. Still hasn't happened. I took the train most everywhere. In France, I discovered hitchhiking and the 80s were still a pretty safe time to hitchhike. Strasbourg was one of my train stops into France from Germany. I stayed for a couple of days and got on the train for Paris. I thought that I would simply head on to Paris and get my bearings in the city. Fate had a different plan.

I sat down on the train next to another American. Slowly becoming an early 20s Gen-X Eurotrash snob, I spoke to her in German first, then in well-planned French. To my "surprise", she was an American studying Political Science and Journalism at Colby University, but traveling around Europe for the summer on her divorced dad's dime. We ended up having a great conversation on the way to Paris. She, Jennifer, convinced me to come with her to Caen, France, and spend the week there before heading to Paris for school.

I had never heard of Caen (Normandy), except from having found it on the map when trying to find Cannes (Provence on the French Riviera) the first time. Jennifer and I stopped off in Paris to change trains to Caen, which proved not to be an easy task. I also took the opportunity to dump my extra bags in a locker for the week - knowing that I'd have to pick them up from the station porters later.

We got to Caen Monday afternoon late. The manager (1/2 American, 1/2 French) of the youth hostel gave her and me the apartment at the end of the hallway with a little kitchenette! By Tuesday we'd met another American and a Brit at the hostel. During the day, I had found out about a disco we should visit called, appropriately, "The American Disco".

We got to the disco and were all wearing sneakers. I had left my better shoes in my suitcase in Paris and the others, well, they simply didn't have anything else. We were all students after all. We had to knock on the door to get in. The bouncer looked me up and down and said we couldn't come in and, after glancing around our foursome, slammed the door in our faces. Undeterred, I knocked on the door again and asked why we couldn't come in. He said, looking me up and down, "Vous portez les chaussures de mauvaise!" ("You're wearing the wrong shoes!") and went to slam the door.

I exclaimed, "Nous sommes Americains!" casually forgetting that one Brit was in our midst.

He replied exuberantly, "Pour-quoi tu ne m'as pas dit ça que la première fois?" ("Why didn't you say that the first time?") and let us in. He happily ran around the place telling everyone that we were Americans (not realizing that one of us was British). Everyone, and I mean everyone in the place was excited to hear we were there. People came over to us and bought us drinks. They got us on the dance floor to awful disco music trying tragically to teach us the Hustle. The evening turned out great and they showed us that not all French hate Americans. The people in Caen's American Disco explained that only the Parisians really hate Americans, but also that the Parisians hate everyone - even themselves. We found out that in Normandy, in particular, Americans are highly revered from our storming the beaches to save France from Nazi occupation.

We eventually made it to Omaha and Utah beaches, Jennifer and I, to see the remnants of the floating docks. There were great museums that depicted what Americans did during WWII to secure the beaches. It was deeply moving to know that my forefathers (my own father included - who thankfully didn't die) offered their lives to our country to save France and eventually Europe from such evil domination.

Granted, a free ticket into the disco wasn't really the resounding, "Thanks for saving our country!" anyone would necessarily expect, but at least our sneakers didn't fully stop our entrance, either. Having WWII discussions over French beer on a Tuesday night in an "American Disco" in northern France and speaking a mixture of Franglais was interesting. Meanwhile the Brit kept trying unsuccessfully to explain that he wasn't American.
wwcitizen: (Steve - Prime Colors)
On July 14, 1989, I was in school in Paris. The Sorbonne was running a 4-week summer course called "French for Foreigners". The opportunity came up for me to choose Cannes or Paris; I chose wisely that year. I had taken a similar course in Germany two years prior, which was two months long. In 1987, I spent three summer months in Germany with friends' families and in school in the Black Forest. Both of these summer abroad experiences were extremely eye-opening for me as a person about who I am and what I'm capable of doing. These periods also slung me into my deep interests in traveling, languages, cultures, and people in general.

The summer of '89 happened to be the Bicentennial of France. The celebration commemorated the time 200 years before when the French stormed the Bastille). France, and in particular Paris, celebrated for the entire year, but most focused that July. There were things going on all over the city that would either not happen again for a while or never again solely because it was the Bicentennial (in the 80s). For instance, many, many, many countries had entries in the parade that went down the Champs-Élysées. Of course I don't believe that for all the other years before or since, the celebration has been nearly this huge.

Friends of mine and I found a pretty decent spot to watch the parade, but we had to stand. I remember seeing the Russian, Swedish/Norwegian, US, and British troops and floats. The Russian float in my opinion was pretty interesting with three huge clocks set on an angle with people in strange costumes walking and dancing around on the clock faces. We didn't take any pictures of the parade, but while I wish we had, our spots weren't conducive to good photos. If we had had digital cams back then, we surely would have! Plus, we were forewarned about taking anything truly unnecessary with us, like cameras. Pickpockets abounded during the entire month and we heard of fellow students (who were alone in decent neighborhoods) getting mugged or assaulted for their money or belongings. So, we had minimal cash and our metro IDs all in our front pockets.

After 2 hours of standing watching the parade, we decided to get a quick bite and then head over to watch the fireworks from Pont Alexandre III. Most all traffic routes in Paris at this point were pedestrian zones. If they weren't set as pedestrian zones, there were substantial blockades along any route in the city center where we were. Even though the best options for getting anywhere in Paris were walking or using public transport, even those options were PACKED. People on the metro were pushing other people onto the packed subway cars - just like in Tokyo!

We got to the bridge I had suggested for us to see the fireworks - Pont Alexandre III - about 45 minutes before the fireworks and had to stand, of course, for that as well. We could see the Eiffel Tower (100 years old at this point with a lighted marquis on its side for the entire year), the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais (museums across from each other), and Les Invalides, the military school complex. It was a very historic location for an historic celebration, indeed.

About 15 minutes before the fireworks, a very handsome, rustic Frenchman pulled up on a motorbike and parked his bike to the side of the bridge. I watched him pull up, park the bike, get off his bike, take off his helmet, and stride strongly up the side of the bridge - to us. He saw me looking at him and noticed me watching him the entire time he pulled up on the bike. My heart and stomach were fluttering the entire time and got worse as he walked up toward us. He shyly stood to the side of us somewhat behind to the left, so that his bike was always in his sights.

The fireworks started and the crowd went crazy all around us. Each time I glanced back toward him, he either quickly moved his head to "check on his bike" or acknowledged my glance with an awesome side grin and head nod. I nodded back and glanced him up and down.

"BOOM!" A burst lit up the crowd around us.

Within 5 minutes, I summoned the courage to talk to him and said nervously in pretty elementary French, "If you want, you can stand next to us; we're closer. Put your hand on my shoulder if you want," which was supposed to be, "Si tu veux, tu peut te tenir à côté de nous; nous sommes plus proche. Places ton main sur mon épaule si tu veux.") and I put my hand on my shoulder. Unfortunately, I really said, "s'assois", meaning "sit yourself" instead of the construct "se tenir". Alas, we had just started learning useful reflexive verbs.

"BOOM!" The crowd went crazy.

He said something back to me very fast, which I didn't quite catch, and motioned for me to stoop down. So, I naturally stooped for the increasingly hot French biker man responding to me. He suddenly put his wonderful left thigh on my left shoulder. Then hoisted his wonderful right thigh on my right shoulder. Suddenly, this man I had watched park his bike and stalked while he took his spot on the bridge to watch the fireworks was sitting on my shoulders!

"BOOM! BOOM! Ba-BOOM!" Our faces lit up.

Of course, throughout the next 15-20 minutes as I slowly started sweating bullets from the weight of him, I had to stabilize him by holding onto his great thighs. He kept his hands on mine and held on. Once in a while, I scratched my back, which understandably made me tap his butt behind my neck. I kept picturing his jeans on my shoulders and neck and was certainly not really watching the fireworks, though I "commented" on them for my friends, who were equally as confused about the whole misunderstanding as I was. But, I was enjoying the result much more.

He noticed that he was getting a little too heavy for me after almost 20 minutes, so he told me to let him off. He got off my shoulders and back down on the ground. He stood there for a few minutes more with his right forearm on my shoulder. Then he tapped my shoulder. I turned around to him. He grabbed my head, planted a kiss on both my cheeks, then a quick one on my lips, and looked into my eyes for a second. He turned and walked like a jock down to his bike. Once on his bike, he looked back at me, threw up his thumb, and drove off. I never got his name nor saw him again.

Of course, the end of the storyline in my head culminated in something that ultimately and unfortunately didn't happen. What did that interaction teach me? It taught me that if I try to speak to a hot guy in his language, I might just come away with a lifelong fantasy. For some reason, none of my friends with me asked me about the kiss; I suppose they all thought, "Ah, those Frenchmen...".

wwcitizen: (Default)
Here's the UK collection of cruise photos. Trust me - I save you a LOT of grief - if you're going to look at them. I shaved off over 500 pictures for this - down to no more than 150 pictures. Plus, I tell you some fun stories.

Hope you enjoy! I enjoyed putting this all together. Was really fun researching some places, too!
wwcitizen: (Birthday Bear With Hat)
Copenhagen was a lot of fun for both of us. We had two very informative and not terribly overlapping tours of the city; one of them had a cool boat & harbor component. I fell in love with Copenhagen and the time we had there was perfect. When we had reached and gone through Tallinn, I had thought I wouldn't be able to find yet another city interesting - especially one I had visited already years ago with my brother.

However, the city proved me wrong. I got a new spring in my step. Maybe because I was officially going to be in my 40s whilst seeing the sights. Not sure. But I found myself walking and walking and walking and not wanting to be done taking in the city - even when we were leaving.

One interesting thing that happened to me in Copenhagen was while walking around town taking pictures on my birthday, August 5th. I was minding my own business looking at all the buildings and people, alone, not thinking of anything in particular when I passed this "guru", we'll call him. Well, he wore a turban, looked Hindu, and had a very Indian/Sri Lankan accent.

He spoke to me in English and said, "You have a very happy aura about you - a very happy and positive aura, but your focus right now is fully on someone else and not yourself. You are always thinking about this other person to make sure that their needs are met before yours; that's very selfless and good. In the next two months - by October - you will experience something new and different and your life will change. Can I read your palm? I would very much like to read your palm."

I've run into many fortune-tellers, soothsayers, and gurus (or clairvoyants) in my day, but none had ever been this forceful or approachable. Many of them want to read my palm - even for free - and you know they all want money for their information somehow. Didn't know where this was leading and when I'm alone in a big city I'm always wary about my surroundings (learned this in Vienna, Austria, of all places). If a stranger - like this - starts talking to me, I start looking (inconspicuously) around to see who might become my pickpocket.

Nothing happened and I thanked the guy. But of course those kinds of instances make an impression. Things he said were true. I am a happy person. I am a positive person. How'd he know that my focus was on someone else - my dad? I felt my "self" being selfless the entire trip with my dad - how does that feeling or exertion translate to facial or bodily expression when you see someone on the street? Maybe because I was looking around him to see who was with him. Dunno. It was all very interesting.
wwcitizen: (Cruise Ship)
I know; everyone's been thinking, "Where the hell are Stephen's Copenhagen pictures?? I can't believe it's taken this long!"

Well at long last, here they are. Just so you realize, I chopped out a massive 1023 pictures from my collection of Copenhagen pictures to make this small album of 184. THEN, since we did some touring on foot without the knowledge of a tour guide, I hunted around for explanations of what we saw. That was pretty cool. In this, the information age, it was pretty confounding to notice that everyone has pictures of Copenhagen, but not many folks have good collections of information about the city - in one or two places. Nope, I hunted for days for some information on certain buildings, squares, or statues.

One thing I hadn't expected on the cruise when we departed was passing by the southern coastline of Sweden. I got MANY more pictures of the coastline and the buildings and towns, but you'll notice some pretty cool things we saw gratuitously - just because we had to go that way. Very cool!!

Enjoy the pictures and the stories!
wwcitizen: (Cruise Ship)
At long last and with much tribulation, I'm finished with this album. I truly loved this city. I could go back and spend at least a week there exploring every nook and cranny of the Old City. The culture and the language really both intrigued me as well. The history of the nation and its people is fascinating. I can't really stop talking, thinking, and dreaming about this town, actually. Here's a small glimpse into Tallinn, Estonia. Enjoy!!
wwcitizen: (Cruise Ship)
At long last, here are pictures from our trip to St. Petersburg, Russia - no museums, just city views. The city itself is a museum. Palatial and stunning. Breathtaking and gorgeous. They're working hard to renovate and restore the city overall, so we did see a lot of construction everywhere. But, if you've never been there, these pictures will give you a feel for the city for sure. Enjoy!!
wwcitizen: (Photo Avatar)
Check this out - it's a video recording of my Dad talking about meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury. He recited this story to every British person he met, sometimes three or four times a day. So, I recorded the interaction a couple of times.

wwcitizen: (Photo Avatar)
Here's a video of an accordion player in Germany on the way into the town of Warnemuende. It was really cool hearing that music while watching all the people at the dock.

wwcitizen: (Cruise Ship)
Here are three albums:

Helsinki, Finland

St. Petersburg, Russia - The Hermitage Only

St. Petersburg, Russia - The State Russian Museum & the Church of the Spilled Blood (that's the church's short name)

I separated out my pictures from St. Petersburg into three albums (currently working on the third), so that if someone only wants to see museums, they can, or if they want to see city, they can, and neither will have to fast-forward through the things they don't wanna see. Hope you enjoy these.
wwcitizen: (Photo Avatar)
I certainly hope that no one's getting tired of pictures!! Here's the album of photos from northern Germany - two port towns that started as heavy trade cities with Scandinavia: Warnemuende and Rostock. Had a blast there and visited a local, lovely brewery.

Check out our touring! Enjoy and don't forget to comment on the photos!
wwcitizen: (Lion on Bridge)
Europeans are smart. Europeans prepare their minds, read, understand political and historical facts, are interested in the world around them, are not (in general) narrow-minded in order to allow themselves the freedom to think outside their own box(es). These, of course, are my opinions, but Matt and I also experienced these things firsthand for two solid weeks. I knew that when I got to the airport on Sep. 23, we would be confronted with questions from our European counterparts about the presidential race, the US economy, growing unemployment, lack of American ambition, and on and on. I tried my best to prepare myself and I have to say that I played well with the encountered pundits. However, I feel at times that my knowledge and fervor were sorely lacking.

Some things I learned from them that I believe we are forgetting over here are:
1) Hold our politicians and business leaders responsible when things go horribly wrong.
2) Keep our elected officials accountable for the things they promised to get themselves elected.
3) Listen to what people are saying.
4) Question everything. (if you click on this video, watch till the VERY end!)
5) DO NOT become complacent and enjoy prosperity so much that we turn blind eyes to blatant infringements of our inalienable rights.

I must admit that I am ashamed that I haven't been as well-educated on or as incensed about what's been happening in this country and it makes me sad and sick that we are so close to greater disaster: I can smell it coming. I personally have been so much more focused on the pettiness of a meaningless job and boss, looking nice, and watching useless TV that at times I feel like an ignorant Republican.

And Europeans have been jealous of us in America (up to now) because of our freedoms. But what freedoms do we have when we sit idly by and let them get stolen from us?

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wwcitizen: (Default)
Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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