A Travellerspoint blog

Dortmund, Unna, and Eindhoven

~Andrea


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In Dortmund we stayed with our special friend Marina (and we thank you for your hospitality Martina!) We took trains, went for a beautiful hike, met new people, and had a small group dinner around a raclette grill for the first time (thanks Tammy!).

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We spend Sunday afternoon in Unna where there was a festival going on, and a big outdoor marketplace.
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In Unna we visited an open studio in one of the oldest houses in Unna. They create art that incorporates movement and interaction using vintage and antique pieces. It was a very creative and inspiring space, and we enjoyed briefly talking with Freuke and Dietmar.
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Then it was on to Eindhoven Netherlands for a day. We stayed right in the heart of the central area and there are some beautiful green spaces nearby. We picked up some Chinese take-out and had lunch in the Anne Frank Park, which we learned of only upon arrival.
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Next stop Lisbon Portugal.

Posted by woa 00:59 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Who Mourns for King Leopold?

George Ranting...

overcast 48 °F
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Traveling throughout Europe, and other countries, I am struck about how little I know about history. Or rather, how little I know about how much history there is in the world.
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In Europe, there are plenty of beautiful green spaces and parks and within those parks are statues and monuments to somebody I've never heard of. In most cases, these people lived hundreds of years ago and had something to do with the early beginnings of the city. For instance, there is a giant statue of King Leopold I in Brussels. Leopold I was a German prince who became the first King of the Belgians following Belgian independence in 1830. He reigned between July 1831 and December 1865. He established the House of Saxe-Coburg yadda-yadda, blah blah blah.

After being 'tidal-waved' trying to comprehend Scottish history and then trying to take in Irish history, I started to get a little exhausted trying to follow each country's long history of foundings, wars, revolutions, independences etc. etc. Don't get me started on the myriad of Saints that seem to be mentioned in some church somewhere. St. Giles? Never heard of him until I got to the U.K. where there were about 3 churches and two hotels and a square named after him. His story? Apparently St. Giles was a vegetarian hermit from Greece whose humility was so revered that some rich people built a monastery after him. After his death, a cult developed and spread through parts of Europe including Ireland. That's it!
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So after awhile I begin to think "So What?" "Who Cares about St. Giles or King Leopold?" "What does they have to do with the 'here and now' and being in the "present?".

If either one of them came back to life and walked around, would they still be worshiped? Would anyone even care if they even came back to life? How relevant would they still feel? In St. Giles case, he might even be upset that his likeness is everywhere and that people would know who he was because, after all, his original intend was to be a hermit and get away from it all! What could King Leopold I do? Would he walk around and proclaim, "I made this country!" To which others might reply, "Who cares King Leopold! Get the hell out of here already!"
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I think I can partly understand the need for some young people here to react against this old history of their home country. European history is (by and large) bloody, old, antiquated and filled with folks with massive egos and delusions or mistaken for being some kind of divine/magical creature. what does their past, perceived "great" deeds have to do with the 'here and now' of our lives? Of course there are the big names that are known around the world and for very good reason like Napolean, Jesus and St. Francis. These people really did change the world with their actions or ideas. But folks like Leopold or St. Giles and many, many others, are relegated as simple footnotes in history unknown to most except to certain historians and, of course, Wikipedia. But who needs them now? Their time has come and gone and all that is left is another statue or church that young people pass by while staring blankly into their smartphones hoping to see something new and "fresh".
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Posted by woa 12:06 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Love Locks

~Andrea


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On our visit to Cologne, Germany in 2010, we put a lock on the Hohenzollernbr├╝cke bridge over the Rhine. George found our lock nearly five years later and most of the paint has washed off.
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I used a sharpie and gave our lock a touch up for 2015.
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The entire gate along this bridge is now a sea of locks. Maybe we will check back in another five years.
Our 2010 post can be found here: http://george.aguilar.com/chapter4/Default.html
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Posted by woa 01:08 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Tactile Aliveness

by Andrea


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On this blog we share our travel experiences through stories, updates, and photos. 'WOA' is also about traveling into 'aliveness'. For me, that also means waking up dormant senses. I tend to describe things mostly using sight/visual description, and writers are told to engage more senses to try to "show" instead of just "tell".

One time, back in Santa Fe, New Mexico I had a massage treatment where I received a suggestion that when you get too caught up in your thoughts/head, to go "put feet on it." For example, literally rubbing your toes within your shoes to reconnect to the present and "come back to earth". (It helps me, try it if you like.)
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One time, in a cenote in Mexico, I was keenly aware of the density and smoothness I felt swimming in the clear blue water. Later on our travels, as we walked along Orange Beach in Pensacola Florida, I noticed how the densely-packed sand felt under my shoes. I also liked how the sand felt at Cocoa Beach, Florida which was solid with a softness on top.
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In Reykjavik Iceland, we visited the newly built HARPA Concert Hall/Conference Center which opened in 2011. Its geometric-shaped glass invoked a sort of bubble-plastic texture for me. I also liked the sporadic placement of pastel-colored glass.
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I can also remember how the icy snow in Boston felt crunchy when I stepped on it, sort of like a snow-cone. BOS_crystalcove_snow.jpg

Recently, as we hiked up 'Arthur Seat' in Holyrood Park (Edinburgh, Scotland) I felt the stability of the solid stones on the path up the hill.
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We both felt the smooth ICE train gliding on the tracks to our next destination.
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I consider this new tactile awareness as the sense of touch waking up in new ways that help to remain present, while adding more to my experiences and impressions.

Posted by woa 11:48 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Till we meet again

by Andrea

52 °F
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Our time in Dublin is coming to an end. We had a wonderful stay, saw as much as we could, and learned more about this beautiful country.
We loved the lush green spaces here along with cherry blossoms and tulips in bloom.

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I met the lovely Freda at Adelaide Road Pres. Church, who makes and sells this wonderful tea 'Intelligent Tea' here in Dublin. You can learn more here: http://www.wildirishfoods.com/

On Friday, I ran into my friends Joan and Philip from San Francisco unexpectedly even though I knew they were here for a wedding! It was brief but awesome. Then I had the best pistachio gelato, and saw a fire-juggling unicyclist.
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We found surprises and inspiration just turning corners, and walking down alleys.
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The weather was on the colder side, but the days were beautiful and we only had one rainy day, yesterday. But that didn't keep me from walking downtown again anyway. We also had a chance to skype with friends and family.

And now it is time to pack up the bag and head to Brussels for a couple days. Looking forward to some waffles, and chocolate! And then.... heading to Germany to see our 'creative-foster-daughter' the one-and-only Martina Pfeiler.
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Our hearts and thoughts are with the people and travelers in Nepal during this tragic time.

Posted by woa 08:43 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

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