An Adventure A Day

Because "life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" – Helen Keller

As a child, I loved spending time on the farm. I have so many wonderful memories I’ve made there, but my absolute favorite thing to do was to wake early and bring the cows down from the night pastures. It was a highly sought after activity. My cousins and I would all vie for a …

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Travel Theme: Inviting

September 27, 2014


Once upon a time, schneeballen, snowballs were reserved for special occasions. Today, shops on nearly every street in Rothenburg ob der Tauber tempt you with windows full of snowballs.

These traditional pastries are formed by cutting a butter crust into thin strips, and forming the strips into a ball. The balls are placed in a special form and deep-fried, then they are covered with almost any topping you can imagine.

They look ever so inviting arranged in the shop windows, don’t they?

The travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack is INVITING. You can see what others find inviting here.

Friday Photos: Endurance

September 26, 2014

This week’s Photo Challenge from WordPress is Endurance.

The ultimate measure of endurance is Love. The endurance to grow, endurance to change, endurance to weather any storm. This endurance is seen in the of love between a child and their schmusebär, their cuddly Teddy Bears, their first loves.

These particular bears have endured endless car trips, plane rides, ferry boats, buses and trams. They’ve camped, rode bicycles, and waited patiently by the shore as their children swam. They’ve seen the sights of Europe and travelled a bit in the States as well.

They’ve comforted sick children, nursed skinned knees, and become empathetic listeners on the days when being the new kid stinks.

They are more than just a Kuscheltier, a stuffed animal. They are confidants, co-conspirators and travel companions. They hold within their soft little hearts every adventure, joy, laughter, and tear they’ve collected over the years from their child.

In the words of Winnie the Pooh, “As soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen.”

P.S. The pink bear has a twin who now resides in Arnhem. We hope he found a lovely Dutch family to live with!

Most summers, home is the place we do laundry between travel adventures. Most summers we sleep in hotels, live out of a suitcase and rarely stock our refrigerator. This summer was different. Over the past four summers, we’ve accumulated a long list of travels. This year, we travelled in the spring, but this summer we …

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I grew up on a road that skirts the edge of the beautiful Susquehanna River in Upstate New York. Near my home, the Susquehanna is still a youthful, vibrant, quick-moving river. It isn’t nearly as large and silent as it becomes lower down, and it was this hurried sound of the river that lulled me …

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Travel Theme: Strong

September 20, 2014

The travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is Strong.

I find the best travels are the ones that evoke the strongest reactions. The places that make you feel, make you think, make you question. These are the ones that remain with you. That change you. As a student sitting in my university history classes, I never imagined that one day I would have an opportunity to visit the places I’d studied.

In Prague, we visited the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The memorial to the 7 parachutists killed in a gun battle following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is a simple one, and extraordinarily moving. This represents so many facets of the word strong: strength of character, strength of belief, strength of courage, and a strong love of country.

You can read about Operation Anthropoid here.

Another Prague location sure to bring strong memories is Wenceslas Square. Always a place of strong resistance and emotion, it is the location where in 1918, the proclamation of independence of Czechoslovakia was read. Where in 1969, student Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Where in 1989, the Velvet Revolution occurred.

Read more about Wenceslas Square here.

In Budapest, Hungary I found another strong, simple reminder of the tragedies of the past. Not too far from the Chain Bridge in the shadow of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, you will find the Shoes on the Danube Bank. This moving memorial is dedicated to the victims of the Arrow militia, who were shot into the Danube River in 1944 and 1945. This beautiful, strong, quiet statement is the perfect place for reflection.

You can read more about Shoes on the Danube Bank here.

Not all strong travel encounters are historical. Sometimes it’s all about the food. Here are some of the strong flavors of Hungary!

Friday Photos: Humanity

September 19, 2014

I’m back after an unexpectedly long and unplanned for summer break with this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Humanity

We have been blessed with the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the past few years. One thing that we have enjoyed more than anything else over the course of the our travels is making a connection with someone along the way. We’ve been given French lessons from a waiter in Colmar, engaged in conversation with British tourists in Bratislava, and played with Italian children under the walls of Lucca.

My favorite connections have been with Europe’s talented and varied street performers, especially the musicians. Walk along the crowded pedestrian zones of any European city, and you’ll most likely hear them. We’ve listened to jazz on the Charles Bridge, Didgeridoos in Regensburg, classical music on a baby grand in Nürnberg,  folk music on an accordion in Überlingen and the beautiful melodies of the violin at the foot of the Prague castle. These musicians add a depth to the sea of humanity that bustles by each day, reminding us of the beauty in the world. If we just slow down enough to listen, because in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche “Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrtum”  Without music, life would be a mistake.