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08/22 Algarve, Portugal
11/19  Lindos, Rhoads Greece
08/31 Toledo, Spain
08/01 Gloriette, Vienna Austria
11/07  Tel Aviv, Isreal
12/03  Belgrade, Yugoslavia
10/08  Siena, Italy
12/06  Split, Yugoslavia
09/24 Countryside, France
07/27 Bruges, Belgium
08/05 Salzburg, Austria
05/19 Los Angeles, California
10/04  Flornance, Italy
10/26  Athens, Greece
12/05  Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia

08/22 Algarve, Portugal

I’m an early riser and that provides advantages.  Like in the morning, there were no lines leading to the showers.  I walked around until breakfast and then took the shuttle down to the beach where I planned to spend that entire day on the sand.  When I reached the bluffs I began exploring.  Jim followed duplicating every picture I took.  It is just better to ignore his competitiveness than to give it thought it doesn’t deserve. 

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11/19 Lindos, Rhoads Greece

I planned on taking a bus over to the ruins in Lindos but Jenni wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t too motivated to go anywhere.  “I’ll see you tonight” I told her.  The thought of missing something changed her mind and she decided to come along anyway.  It was a nice sunny day with a cool breeze.  A gorgeous little white washed village lodged under a Roman acropolis.  

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08/31 Toledo, Spain

We both had traveled through Madrid on our way into Portugal but neither one of us had our mind on sightseeing.  We had planned on traveling through into Avila and then on to Toledo so we only got off the train to stretch our legs and find ourselves some food.  When we first arrived in Toledo we walked around its outer wall.  Ann was sporting a t-shirt minus a bra and again my mind began orbiting. 

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08/01 Gloriette, Vienna Austria

One thing was for certain, I needed a shower.  Sleeping out with element guarantees one thing, we were up early, so we took advantage and started searching for a room.  Luckily we found a room in the area that accommodated our needs, but we couldn’t check in until later that afternoon, so we reserved a room.  They were kind enough to watch our bags, allow us to scamper off and tour the city. 

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11/07 Tel Aviv, Isreal

The clouds parted when we reached Haifa’s harbor.  It was impressive passing right up next to aircraft carriers and battleships.  That time they passed me right through customs but not Jenni.  They couldn’t pin point why somebody would travel from New Zealand to Moscow, to Cyprus, to Israel and detained her for about forty-five minutes while the rest of us waited outside.  We read travel paraphernalia for ideas and to pass the time.  Once she got released we all wandered the waterfront in search of the train station and discovered that if we wanted to exchange currency we would need to find ourselves a bank.  

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12/03 Belgrade, Yugoslavia

I was told I still had family in Belgrade.  My grandmother had given me addresses of relatives so at one point I considered visiting, but the negative idea of just showing up on somebody’s doorstep crept in.  I ran it by Jenni.  She didn’t have any plans of her own and kind of reluctantly agreed to follow, as long as we were heading north.  We spent the rest of the day seeing some of the sights and roaming the streets.  The one thing I didn’t want to do was to visit another museum. 

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10/08 Siena, Italy

After packing up my clean clothes I headed off early into the city, sat behind a cup of coffee just off the main square, with pen in hand I watched the city wake up around me.  I found myself staring at the unique inner walls of the St. Catherine’s church.  The inside was different from what I expected from its outside.  It captured my attention and soul.  The contrast between the dark and light was not like others churches I have visited.  I sat off in one of the corners and for some time stared at the many faces looking down on me.  

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12/06 Split, Yugoslavia

We charted a bus north up the coast into Split where I was able to see the beautiful coast line.  One of the advantages of traveling in baby steps is that we could stop at those beautiful places and not neglect the details that make each special.  When we reached Split we headed through the walls of the old city seeking a room for the night.  We either were appalled at the high prices for a room or they didn’t have any available.  Since our budget was deflating I posed an option to Jenni. 

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09/24 Countryside, France

I wandered about the northern coast of France skipping from hostel to hostel and enjoying their fine cuisine.  Finding excellent food was easy but locating a smile or a friendly gesture from the locals was sometimes impossible.  I felt that the rudeness the Northern French dished out actually provided the glue that bonded us tourists closer together.  I came across a nice room in Blois and utilized it as home base to visit the chateaus in the area. 

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07/27 Bruges, Belgium

We found ourselves a small room above a bar not far off the main square of Brugge, claimed ourselves bed, dropped off our stuff and hit the local canals for a little sightseeing.  We roamed among the flower vendors, chocolate shops, lingered behind a cup of coffee and smoked a cigarette while standing on a humped-backed bridge.  I enjoyed the mood of the weeping willows and gazed endlessly at the reflections painted by the water.  

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08/05 Salzburg, Austria

First words out of Jim mouth were a story about last night’s kiss and he presented it in such a way as if it was supposed to disturb me.  He had the idea I was interested in a particular lady and as the night wore on, that he had won the war.  I explained first that we are not in a competition, second I had no interest in either of the young women or I wouldn’t have retired alone early and third that he was an asshole to even consider it.

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05/19 Los Angeles, California

Imprisoned by my own curiosity. I felt as if I was looking up through trees that encircled my view, staring at the many branches and the fruits suspended beyond my grasp.  I knew I could no longer be satisfied simply to lie here on my back, closing my eyes and dreaming of things out of my reach.

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10/04 Flornance, Italy

I was out at first light and headed toward Bologna.  While standing in the train station in front of an electronic schedule I noticed three young ladies behind me looking over my shoulder.  They were three young Americans also looking for the train to Florence, so I introduced myself.  Since the four of us had three hours to burn until our train departed, I accompanied one of the young ladies through the streets in search of a sweater.  Her mother had purchased her father a sweater from Bologna years ago that he had always enjoyed.  

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10/26 Athens, Greece

One irony in my life is that I had very few women friends.  Most relationships with women were always aimed toward romance and when that didn’t work out or when we experienced an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome, we’d move on.  Mostly I have had male friends, sharing common experience and growing up like all normal boys.  But I’ll have to admit, women make pretty good friends.  Once that it is understood that not everything is sexual, we get along wonderfully.  They make much better traveling companions, easier to agree with, better conversationalists, not as competitive, better sleeping arrangements; they attract a different type of crowd, and if there were benefits attached all the better.  

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12/05 Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia

Our train ended in Karajevo where we were left to wait for a bus.  There was nowhere to hide from the cold so we all had to move around a lot and it seemed like the bus was ever going to show.  We had scattered moments of sleep, moving here, moving there, trying to forget how cold it was.  That was one bad night.  The bus eventually showed up late and wasn’t scheduled to enter Dubrovnik until around breakfast.  I just dazed out looking past my reflection at blackness that was the sea passing by in a blur.  

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