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10/09  St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome Italy
08/27 Sevilla, Portugal
07/20 Burgen, Norway
10/11  Pompeii, Italy
06/11 Island of Skye, Scotland
08/11 Innsbruck, Austria
06/25 Northern Europe
10/22  Corfu, Greece
08/16 Train Rails, Spain
08/07 Lugano, Switzerland
11/27  Pamukkale, Turkey
12/06  Split, Yugoslavia
09/30  Freiberg, Germany
07/04 Amsterdam, Netherlands
06/21 Northern Ireland

10/09 St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome Italy

It was an early arrival into Rome.  I had in my pocket a few phone numbers and a couple of addresses handed to me along the way.  After two attempts at one of these addresses there still was no answer so I obtained a map and began walking towards Saint Peter’s square.  I jumped on to the subway surprised to see all the graffiti.  Unnecessary scars.  As I entered the St. Peter’s courtyard I heard whispers, like the voices of the past that never really left.  Each pillar that surrounded me gave me the impression they were watching my every step. 

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08/27 Sevilla, Portugal

I was up early to the sound of the alarm aside my bed.  Still half asleep my brain jumped into gear once it realized where I was.  I was full of renewed energy and headed south down the empty street where Ann had disappeared.  I sat behind a cup of coffee inside a small café across the street from where she had vanished.  I had knocked on one of the doors and then another but with no response. 

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07/20 Burgen, Norway

I wandered through the station lingering on familiarities.  It’s amazing how routines destroyed time and sped things up.  There were so many unexpected avenues, detours, new faces and outright pleasures that it seemed as if it had been months since I left here, not days.  I got talking up with a couple on the train that had been reading the same travel guide and discovered out we were going in the same directions. 

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10/11 Pompeii, Italy

I rose early to get a head start on the tourists and encountered a thief with a taxi.  Once we reached Pompeii he tried to double then rate we agreed on.  I wouldn’t give him a dime more so the argument continued until I was imposing on his next victim.  A few impolite gestures and more than a few choice works as he sped off.  I looked around and noticed I was the only person wandering about the ruins but it was still early in the day, which was kind of a weird feeling.  After about an hour or so I saw another individual and then two young men wandered up to me and inquired if I had any hash to sell.

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06/11 Island of Skye, Scotland

The West Coast of Scotland was absolutely gorgeous and we still hadn’t seen any bad weather.  Trekking along the coastal cliffs and the Island of Skye can only be described as a religious experience.  This is God’s country.  Gardens touched by the finger of God.  A clouded island littered with crofts and memories of the day before Culloden. 

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08/11 Innsbruck, Austria

We were up early, followed advice we received during the last night socializing and joined the “Club Innsbruck” for a day hike.  A young Belgium woman had crossed our path searching for the same location.  It was early in the morning and we were the first to arrive, so there was nobody gathered outside to identify if we had found our destination.  She seemed very nice but didn’t say much.  It was apparent she was very shy.  They began handing out daypacks and boots if needed. 

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06/25 Northern Europe

At first light, Jim took advantage of getting up first and had wandered off to the water closet to do his business.  In his absence, our late night compartment addition opened up mood tapes, the kind of stuff like mountain brooks and ocean waves.  When Jim returned and opened up the compartment door, he first thought he was in the wrong place but his expression of doubt left once he noticed me sitting over in the corner.  The mood tapes were nice, I could live with them.  But they were only a prelude. 

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10/22 Corfu, Greece

Even though all the other guys had paid for a room joining the ladies outside became a priority.  Good looking women typically have that effect over men.  We all traded stories and passed around a few bottles of alcohol.  By the time we reached Corfu we had assembled into an interesting group of travelers.  Once we hit Corfu’s dock an elderly lady persuaded us to check out her hotel.  I used our group’s size as a bargaining chip and obtained a better rate for the group.  

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08/16 Train Rails, Spain

We came to an unplanned stop at the border between France and Spain where it appeared the French weren’t about to share their trains with Spanish rails.  We had come to a complete stop and it was obvious they were ushering us through customs.  Well there was no way I would attempt carrying our hash through customs.  It just wasn’t worth the risk. 

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08/07 Lugano, Switzerland

I was awakened by the sound of sweeping in the distance.  It’s funny how things looked different under the light of the day.  I really thought we had selected an isolated location where we could be unnoticed but the fact was we practically slept on top of a monument.  It was comfortable and no one bothered us and would have been perfect if we weren’t sharing the space with a colony of ants. 

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11/27 Pamukkale, Turkey

A small mini-bus arrived and toted us off to Pamukkale.  I only knew what I had read in the bible and in travel brochures about Pamukkale.  I understood that it was one of the seven churches Apostle Paul wrote letters to and was coined the “Cotton Castle” of the ancient world.  There was an extremely old hot spring that was believed to have healing power and over time became a center of a pagan cult.  Large limestone steatite created a beautiful arrangement of pools. 

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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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09/30 Freiberg, Germany

I found a gorgeous room in Fribourg that overlooked the main square that surrounded the church.  It had a lovely café out front and was an ideal location to watch foot traffic and to catch up on my journal.  There was a gentleman who showed up playing the harmonica and really put on a show.  Talk about envy, “I wish I could play like that”. 

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07/04 Amsterdam, Netherlands

We wandered among its narrow streets that radiated out like spokes to a wheel. Bicycles danced across our path. Up one of these many streets we spotted a small coffee shop adjacent to one of the more picturesque canals. It was a good day for mischief. It had a large window and we noticed that the table upfront was vacant and had a nice view of a small flower market.

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06/21 Northern Ireland

It was raining a bit and we had a couple of open containers.  The roads were narrow with no extra space to speak about.   I knew if we got stuck behind another logging truck we could be here for weeks.  Once we managed to pass a couple of these trucks we began to make up for some lost time.  Jim began complaining that his bladder couldn’t take much more of this abuse but before I was willing to pull over, I wanted to put enough distance between ourselves and the logging trucks. 

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