Sunday, November 11, 2018

Charleston, SC - 11/4 - 11/9/2018

Place I had wanted to spend some time in and was lucky to go to FFI Conference there.  Vicky and I went together and she got us a room on Edisto Island for 3 nights.  Great place, peaceful, beautiful beach, good food.  I spent two mornings at sunrise picking up shells.  Second day there was not a soul on the beach.  I'm not used to no humans or dogs and and it was so peaceful.

We drove into Charleston on Monday and took a "free" walking tour.  Had an excellent guide and saw a lot of the historic area.  It misted, rained softly and then poured down rain like I could not believe.  My tennis shoes were soaked.  Glad we did have our umbrellas, but it didn't help the lower half.

We toured a cemetery from the old days, visited the only French Huguenot church in the United States.  Thousands of the French Huguenots were killed in France and some escaped to the US. and Canada. (  Had a wonderful lunch and dried off some.  Enjoyed a favorite of mine, She Crab Soup.

Next day we visited the Angel Oak tree which was huge.  It is on John's Island and  estimated to be 400-500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft tall, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length.  

On our way to the conference on Wednesday  we stopped at the Charleston Tea Plantation which is the only tea plantation in North America where you see hundreds of thousands of tea bushes stretching out acre after acre for almost as far as the eye can see.   We learned how they pick and process the different kinds of tea which was interesting.  We enjoyed their wonderful gift shop too and it was so hard to resist buying stuff we wanted, but didn't need.

Spent a few hours in the late afternoon  at conference and then we went to dinner.  This was my "down fall".  Upon leaving the restaurant there were some tools in the area by the door and I tripped on them and fell flat on my face and lost my two front teeth.  Got a wonderful black eye, face scrapes and then day after sore ribs, elbow, arm, headaches, but just carried on the best I could.  So thankful I had Vicky by my side to help me.

We still had Thursday and half day Friday to attend the conference.  It was a good one and I learned a lot.  I'm the Membership Chairman and feel the conference was helpful to me for my new position.  Made friends and overall our trip was wonderful.  We left at 11:00 a.m, drove straight through and I got home at 8:00 p.m.  Thank goodness it didn't rain (as it had on the way there in day light hours).

So now to deal with teeth...…..but Vicky and I really enjoyed Charleston and I hope to go back someday and see much more of it.  We just ran out of time.  Highly recommended city for a 4-5 day mini vacation.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Budapest - a tale of two cities

Budapest - 9/5/18 - 9/7/18

I had a short visit here due to my flying back to Berlin to fly to Moscow.  Could have used more time, but glad I got to peek.  We actually did a lot with the Hop On Hop Off, an entire ride through the City which was nice to get the feel and the boat ride.

Went on a river cruise today on the Danube River (just sounds so normal huh, the Danube)....well anyway.  The trip narrator said that Budapest has been named the second most beautiful city and it made me wonder which city was first.  (you can look it up...a surprise and actually there were a few listed depending on which list you look at).  There are no words I can use to describe the grandeur and stateliness of the city.  We started our first day with a Hop on Hop off and toured around the city center area.

We had to take the underground Metro from the Opera house, which is close to our place.  The Opera house is undergoing a full restoration so no pictures to share.  Always a challenge, but manageable as we got our tickets and the lady indicated that to get to our destination we had to be on the other side going the opposite direction.  But all went fine and we were successful.

Arrival at the bus check in was the Heroes Square (Hősök tere) that was mind boggling.  There are statutes of the Seven chieftains of the Magyars (or Hungarians) leaders of the seven tribes of the Hungarians at the time of their arrival in the Carpathian Basin in AD 895.  That is AD 895!!!!!!

Along the route, we saw and also stopped at St. Stephen's Basilica. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975-1038).  This place is colossal and in such pristine shape.  

So we enjoyed our day and drug our bodies home for some rest.  We will do it again tomorrow using a different line to drive and see new things.  I vote yes, yes, yes and agree that this is truly a very top city.  I never feel I can judge since I haven't seen them all, but I'd return to Budapest in a heartbeat and spend much more time trying to discover more secrets.

We found the Metro!!!!

What a time we had together.  Much laughter.

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the Danube between Buda 
and Pest, the western and eastern sides of  the city.  It was the first permanent bridge 
across the Danube in Hungary, opened in 1849.

Budapest Parliament Building

It was supposed to rain, predicted.  I took my umbrella and big coat 
and it was a very warm and sunny day.  Best to be prepared though.

Hungarian National Gallery
Exhibit of Frida Kahlo and citizens were
upset as they said it promoted communism.
Interesting.  Frida was a communist.

Liberty statute, erected in 1947 in remembrance of the Soviet 
liberation of Hungary from Nazi forces

The city’s newest sight, the whale "Bálna" opened in November 2013

I must get this posted..........hope it is OK.  The main point I suppose is to not miss this fantasic city full of beautiful architecture and history.