The Great Quarantine of 2020

6 Apr

I was thinking about this today.

I was thinking about this yesterday.  And probably will tomorrow, too.  So, maybe this is more for posterity and catharsis than anything else, but a year from now I’ll want to look back and not just remember that I was thinking about it, but what I was thinking.

About a week ago my wife had to remind me to shave.  And to change out of my pajamas.  It was a bit annoying, but the point was clear.  Right now it’s important to maintain a sense of normalcy in a world that is anything but.

As I write this we are still climbing the COVID-19 hill here in the US.  Only South Korea and Singapore seem to have gotten it right.  People are doing the “social distancing” dance and most are starting to wear masks.  We are still in Wyoming after a wonderful winter of snow, skiing, friends, dinners and so much that now seems so far away.

In about 10 days we will being heading home.  It will be three of us.  My wife and I brought our NY based daughter here about 3 weeks ago.  We hit two home runs with that move: we got her out of New York, which is the hot spot of the country, and we significantly upped our cook-at-home-very-night menu as she is an amazing addition to our kitchen!

Heading home will entail a new form of transportation: an RV.  (I keep wanting his to watch the movie but nobody will…yet.). Yes indeed, our own personal, traveling isolation unit.  We will have antiseptic wipes, masks, beds, a bathroom, running water and separation from the world.  Except for getting gas.  But we think it will work.

We did have to relocate three weeks ago as our winter rental ended and we couldn’t stay there.  So we found a nice condo that we have been calling home since then.  Our days consist of being on a zoom meeting for an exercise class (them not me). being on the computer looking at the latest daily coronavirus statistics, often talking a private walk or cross-country ski and being on Facebook.

I have noticed something about Facebook.  The number of my ‘friends’ that are online at any given moment in time has about doubled.  There are lots of serious post, funny posts, political posts and scared posts.  People have a lot to say without often saying much at all.  I guess that’s pretty normal!

It has been important, and helpful, to stay connected with real friends.  Phone calls, texts, emails, zoom meeting (who ever heard of zoom before this?) are all ways that we have been able to stay in touch.  I had a nice call with a friend this morning back east and it will be good to see them when we get back, even if it is from across the street.

How have you been?  What experiences are you having?  If you are willing, please leave a note in the comments that we can all share and look back on.

Someone posted a list of things that we could be doing during our collective quarantines. One of those it to find projects.  So last week I found a project to travel the world and see all the famous places that we all know, that are now empty.  The finished project, a short video, has been viewed over 60,000 times, I just checked.

Just click here to see it.

And since you are used to seeing photographs on this blog, here is one I took right out the back door a few weeks ago.


The moon will rise every day.  The sun will rise every day.  We will get through this together.  Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  Stay together.  Stay home.  Stay in touch.



O Canada

5 Aug

I always feel a breath of fresh air when I come to Canada and this trip is that and so much more.  We are in Banff National Park.  It was Canada’s first national park and wow is it gorgeous.  Lots of photos in this post and it will kind of be a “best of” of what we’ve seen so far, which is only 2 days.

So let’s get started.  It takes a bit of doing to get here.  Up at 4:30am for a 6:30 flight to Montreal, connect to Calgary on a tight connection, get the rental car and make the 2.5 hour drive.  We arrive at Lake Louise at 3:30pm Mountain Time.  First we must learn the name game…  Banff is the national park and is also the town.  Lake Louise is a lake and also a town.  Things can get confusing.

First, the lake.  It is gorgeous, with turquoise water, ringed by huge mountains and yes, glaciers.


I don’t think any photos do it justice but suffice it to say that most people drive up, take a photo and leave.  Ridiculous.  The first thing we did was to hike the Plains of the Six Glaciers trail.


We walked to the end of the lake, about 2 km (we are in metric land), and then up up up. About halfway to the glacier Marci was in the mountains, in the snow, and in her glory.  After going up about 4 km we reached the prize…the Six Glaciers Tea House…it’s a thing, ok?

IMG_4810 2

After tea and chocolate cake we went back down down down to the shoreline of Lake Louise.


After lunch on Day 1 it was time to take a drive to find the Takakkaw Falls.  Just a short hike in and we came upon this beauty.  I happen to love waterfalls.


By 5 we had 2 hikes in and we were tired.  So it was time for cocktails, and around here sunset is at 9:30 so a lovely late dinner and we retired.

Today it was up early to visit Emerald Lake.


How about that?!  But even better, we grabbed a canoe and went exploring in to the nooks and crannies of the turquoise shoreline.


A lovely and relaxing hour on the lake and we were back on the trail for another hike.  You might think my wife is trying to kill me, and I wasn’t entirely sure until she tried to push me off the edge into a massive whirlpool long the Kicking Horse River.


Fortunately I held on, pulled myself back onto the trail and made it to a tasty lunch of Alberta beef burgers at TrufflePigs restaurant.  This afternoon another hike, this time to the Wupta Falls.


Another beautiful spot.  If you get the feeling that there are lots of mountains, glaciers, aquamarine lakes and rivers, and that the place is just gorgeous, you’d be right.

Our last full day is tomorrow and we will drive north for more beauty.  Wednesday to Vancouver and I’ll post again then.


29 Jun

I’m sure there’s not a better word that can evoke terror.  Just try walking through it.

We did. And while I will try very hard not to make this morose and hopeless, the fact it that just walking on the ground that they walked on, just entering the doorways that they entered, just stepping through the gate emblazoned with the false promise each of them read is so debilitating that its very hard to keep this light.

Maybe I’ll start with what my wife wrote on Facebook yesterday:

It happened therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say” -Primo Levy

… no words for what this place looks like or the endless horrors that occurred here. It is beyond me how people could be so unimaginably cruel to each other. Remember before the war the men and woman that killed and tortured these innocent souls had regular jobs like farmers, bakers , cooks. Being here makes you realize how easily it could happen again.

Beware of the signs, they are all around us . Knowledge is power. Teach your children, teach your friends. Get involved. Never forget.


The photographs were all taken yesterday.  It has taken me the day to put my fingers on the keys to share some thoughts.  So much goes through your mind as you walk.  How could they do this?  Why is it so big?  What did it feel like to be there?  How could I have remained hopeful?  Could I have remained hopeful?  What would I have done?


Much is either as it was, or restored to as it was.  In the barracks, the beds…


the facilities…


the places they might put you if…


But it’s when you walk the grounds and see the guard towers, the barbed wire, and imagine the constant berating by the soldiers, the lack of food and water, that’s when it hits you.




Once you come in, they will never let you leave.


And we come here to bear witness, to tell others that what happened was not inconceivable.  It was not committed by a brutal race of people.  It happened, not very long ago, for reasons that the ages will have to determine.  But it happened.

You stepped through the doorway thinking you were taking a shower.


And they did not just kill you, or let you die.  There were so many, where could they put them?  Where would they find the room?  This is how.


And then you are gone.


Budapest, through a different lens

26 Jun

For longtime readers of this space, you will find it a bit unusual that we are travelling on a ‘group trip’.  If I were telling this to you in person, I might even demonstrate the ‘half-quotes’ with a little smirk.  But for this trip it is not only appropriate, but worthwhile.  Escorted by our temple’s Cantor, we are accompanied by about 20 of its members through three important eastern European cities to learn about their histories’ from a Jewish point of view.

To some, this may not be important, and even segregationistic, but to me it is not. The story of our people interests me, the activities surrounding the murder of over six million people during the war remains something I believe we must constantly study and discuss, and there is much to learn, and re-learn.

Our journey will be limited. First Budapest, a city of great beauty, warm people and a sinister Jewish story.  Then to Krakow, Poland where we will visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp (just think about that phrase for a moment, not a tennis camp or space camp…a death camp).  I will also endeavor to find my grandmother’s home town of Działoszyce, Poland, where she lived until the age of about 16 when she departed, alone, for America in 1917. And finally to Warsaw, the location of the Warsaw ghetto uprising when a few hundred Jews, armed with some pistols, stones and courage defied the Nazi army for a few days because they just wouldn’t go down without a fight.

I promise some new photos and reflections from each location, and I will try to make each entry enjoyable to read, even if the subject matter isn’t always.

This is my second time to Budapest so rather than review the city again, I’ll refer you to this previous blog entry.  Today though, I’m in Budapest in a different way.  The first thing that came into consciousness as we walked through the old section where the synagogue still stands, is a notion that we all take for granted.  That idea that family stories, traditions, recipes, photos get passed down from generation to generation.  Like my grandfather did for me, and maybe yours for you.  But the Jews of Budapest don’t have grandfathers and grandmothers to pass down stories from.  The Jews of Budapest they are writing their own stories now.  Just one of the reasons why is the story I’ll tell you now.  It refers to what happened after the Nazis left Budapest.  By the winter of 1944, the end of the war was near (it would be over in March 1945) and the Nazis needed resources on the western front.  As they departed Budapest to redeploy, they left in charge a Hungarian force known as Arrow Cross.  It had just been a few months since the Nazis had actually established a Jewish ghetto in Budapest, the last one they created in fact, but when they left the Arrow Cross in charge there was a new sheriff in town.

It was winter and in Eastern Europe, that means cold and windy along the nearly frozen Danube.  The Arrow Cross took the opportunity to march about 20,000 Jews from the ghetto between December ’44 and January 1945 and line them up at the edge of the river, facing the water.  Now remember this was near the end of the war and supplies were getting scarce.  Among the Nazis it was well regarded that a Jew wasn’t worth the cost of a bullet, so the frugal Arrow Cross tied Jews together, two at a time, so that with one bullet they could kill one and drown the other.

In they fell into the frigid water.  First two, then two more, and two more until there were 20,000 fewer Jews.  This action was memorialized by sculptor Gyula Pauer and filmmaker Can Togay in Shoes On The Danube Bank.  Here it is as it looked today.  Standing in silence as the water rushes by it does take me back to a time I hope we never see again.MSC-D850-Budapest-June2019-9226-Edit





Paris is, well, Paris.

23 Jun

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Before I tell you how spectacular Paris is, can I have just a teeny tiny rant?  France’s national airline, Air France, lost our luggage and took three days to find and return it.  Yup, three days.  I could go on, but really, wouldn’t you rather see this?


London has it’s Eye and Paris has The Big Wheel, or le Grand Roue, which has come and gone couple of times.  This is from the tippy top in one direction and…


this is from the other direction.  In fact, the Sacre Coeur you see here, in Montmarte, is very near where our apartment was in the IXme Arrondisment.  It’s one of my favorite areas of Paris, but really, every area is my favorite area. It’s Paris.

We’ve been here since Wednesday and are leaving tomorrow for Budapest.  We have eaten, walked, shopped (especially when you have no luggage, shopping is survival, at least that’s what Mraci says) in the beautiful Paris warmth and sunshine.  It’s springtime and that means everything is in bloom and the city is alive.


Of course, Paris is a photographer’s heaven so I did take a few photos I’ll share.  We spent one entire day walking the VIme Arrondisment and found ourselves in Luxembourg Gardens in the late afternoon for the quintessential Parisian scene.


By the way, late afternoon is about 8pm.  Sunset is at just before 10 so the day just goes on and on.  Cocktails at 8:30, dinner at 10?  Works for me.

There are a few things, though, that are the same all over the world.  Get on the subway and all you see is this.


What did people ever do before cellphones?  Oh yes, read the paper or maybe even a book.  What’s a book?

Of course, when she thinks I’m not looking…


Something new in many cities around the world, and fast entering the US and these electric scooters.  They are positively everywhere!  So today I downloaded the Lime app and tried it.  They are fun!  And fast!


And yes, this guy has his suitcase with him.  I’ve seen two people at once, bags of groceries, you name it.  On these speedy little scooters.

Here’s a moment in the Tuilerie Gardens.  A guy was making bubbles and the kids were loving it.  It was good to see them playing outside.


A stroll through the Marais for falafel is always in order.  Not everyone was enjoying their day like we were!


Maybe he was just lonely.  Paris is for lovers, after all.


And finally, my favorite moment of our time here, of course, at the water’s edge!


A revoir Paris…and to you for now.  Back in a day or two.  If you have friends who would like to subscribe, please forward to them and as always, thanks for joining us!

Time to Catch Up.

13 Jun


Hello, yeah, it’s been a while. Not much, how ’bout you?

If you recognize those lyrics, you aren’t getting out enough.  I know, it has been a while.  In fact, I think we were somewhere near the Hochalpenstrasse last time we talked.

And before we get underway with our next adventure, that starts next week…  we have some catching up to do.

So, here’s your speed blog through the last couple of trips.  As you scroll down we’ll visit Viet Nam, North Carolina, Oman (where?), and Cuba…oh, and under Cuba.

Viet Nam

Most of the time you see it as Vietnam, which it isn’t, actually.  Viet Nam is the two words that refer to the people of the area (Viet) and the area itself which south (Nam) of China.  Both are Chinese words.  We spent a month in a country that I was apprehensive to go to, but came to love very quickly.


We went from the far north, with my foot touching the line of the Chinese border, all the way to the south in the Mekong Delta.  Just typing that brings back too many memories of watching Walter Cronkite, but wow is it beautiful today.


We ate delicious food.  We met wonderful, kind and gentle people.  And immersed in a lot of history.  Not all of it good.  The Vietnamese people are hard working, clever, and doing their very best to build an economy that is, well, building.


And Marci was very generous to allow me to drive around aimlessly for three days to get the perfect photo of a rice field.  What a patient partner!


North Carolina

It was just me and the horses.  No that’s not the opening of a bad porn novel, it was four really fun days in the Beaufort area of NC to photograph the wild horses of Shackleford Banks and the Rachel Carson Reserve.  If you love horses, this is your vacation.  Here are a few images from that trip that I love to look at.  I hope you do too.

Headed Your WayOn The MarchSupermodel Stare IA Closer Look II


In almost four weeks and from one end of the county to another, I’m not even going to try to do justice to the wonderful experience there.  Mountains and deserts, bedouins and a Royal Palace theater, seaside and rock slides, Oman has it all.  And a sultan that pushed out his dad in 1970 and has plowed all the oil money he discovered into building a modern society.  People at home say “where is that?” and “why would you go there?”  Here’s why.


A neighborhood mosque in Musandam, adjacent to the Straits of Hormuz.


Following the leader in the low desert.


Living in a screen saver in the high dunes of the Empty Quarter.


Marci has the entire Omani army in the palm of her hand.


And I’m just back from my third trip to Cuba.  This time I spent most of it underwater in the Jardines de la Reina, the Gardens of the Queens, some of the most pristine reef systems in the world.  Living on a dive boat for seven days.  Beautiful above…


And below.


And how do you know the reefs are so healthy?  Two ways.  The beautiful colors, and the constant presence of apex predators…and you know what that means.


And if those teeth aren’t big enough…


So there you have it.  You’re up to date.

Next week, a new adventure begins.  Watch this space and invite your friends to come along.  We’re gonna have fun.

Shades of gray.

26 Oct

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When we last left you we had made it to Austria.  The final leg had us visit the edge of the Alps with it’s soaring peaks.  We tried to drive the breathtaking Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße (say that 3 times fast!), a road that takes you high into the alps but since our Audi A3 didn’t have winter tires we were not allowed to see what was just beyond this spot.MSC-OCT2015-EUR-1917

From there is was a short ride to to Zell am See, a lakeside summer/winter resort.

Yes, she loves the mountains, even a poster!

Yes, she loves the mountains, even a poster!

and then Berchtesgaden, Germany to see Obersalzberg which was Hitler’s home away from Berlin during the war.

Marci enjoys a beer at a cafe in Berchtesgaden before heading up the Obersalzburg

Marci enjoys a beer at a cafe in Berchtesgaden before heading up the Obersalzburg

The tunnel that Hitler drove into to reach the elevator at Eagle's Nest

The tunnel that Hitler drove into to reach the elevator at Eagle’s Nest

Eagle's Nest was a tea house built by Martin Borman for Hitler's 50th birthday. It is said Hitler visited only a handful of times.

Eagle’s Nest was a tea house built by Martin Borman for Hitler’s 50th birthday. It is said Hitler visited only a handful of times.

And finally to Salzburg.  If you haven’t been, add it to your list.  The home of Mozart and “The Sound of Music”, Salzburg is another of Europe’s great cities divided by a river, but much smaller, more manageable and beautiful.  Yes, they have a bridge with locks, too 🙂


And as I sit writing this final entry, we are home.  Back in our United States of America, in so many ways a sanctuary that most of the word cannot fathom.  What we have spent the last month learning is that even those issues that seem to black and white from the comfort of our couch in Boston are indeed very complex.

The rise of the Soviet bloc after WWII brought with it a communist society that we could never live under, but we heard, first hand, about how democracy has ruined the lives of those who were cared for and now cannot fend for themselves in a country that cannot afford to take care of them.  We saw, first hand, homes of innocent Germans (were there any?) that were destroyed by Allied bombers as the war in Europe drew to a close.  And we met people who have lived with ethnic fighting, neighbor vs neighbor and countries changed names, changed borders and changed allegiances.









Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Czech Republic

Czech Republic





These are the flags of the nations we traveled though.  We were fortunate, too, to meet the people of these nations.  People that have stories.

We are reminded that the people of a country are not the government of the nation they live in.  The impact of the wars, the instability and the mistrust of hundreds and perhaps thousands of years of history can be seen on their faces.

It has been good for us to see, and be reminded that the world is not as simple as we may prefer but instead comes in many shades of gray.

Until next time…

Prague and more….

20 Oct

After the last one, I think you deserve a little light reading and viewing.  Here are some snaps from the last few days in Prague, Cesky Kumlov and our current stop, Hallstatt, Austria.

We found a Cuban bar in Prague. There we found some Cuban rum. And we found some new friends.

We found a Cuban bar in Prague. There we found some Cuban rum. And we found some new friends.

And Marci found a hat after the rum.

And Marci found a hat after the rum.

One of the loveliest views I encountered in this very lovely city.

One of the loveliest views I encountered in this very lovely city.

Another moment.

Another moment.

The old jewish cemetary in Prague was in use from the 13th century until the 18th. There are 10,000 graves chock-ablock

The old jewish cemetary in Prague was in use from the 13th century until the 18th. There are 10,000 graves chock-ablock

Prague, too, is for lovers.

Prague, too, is for lovers.

Prague street scene.

Prague street scene.

Yes, a new way to get a foot massage!

Yes, a new way to get a foot massage!

One of Prague's side canals.

One of Prague’s side canals.

The Lennon Wall in Prague

The Lennon Wall in Prague.  Shot with my iPhone.  I love my iPhone camera!

M&M at the Wall

M&M at the Wall

A view of the ancient Bavarian town of Cesky Kumlov.

A view of the ancient Bavarian town of Cesky Kumlov.

Overlooking Lake Hallstatt and the epnymous town below from up atop the Salt Mine in Austria

Overlooking Lake Hallstatt and the epnymous town below from up atop the Salt Mine in Austria

Hallstatt drops right down to the lake. Just beautiful.

Hallstatt drops right down to the lake. Just beautiful.

The picture-perfect Hallstatt town square.

The picture-perfect Hallstatt town square.

Marci happy in the mountains!

Marci happy in the mountains!

They were clearly expecting me.

They were clearly expecting me.

Up at the Salt Mines in Hallstatt

Up at the Salt Mines in Hallstatt

In Hallstatt, the catholic church has this beautiful cemetery with hand tended gardens at each gravesite. Remarkable.

In Hallstatt, the catholic church has this beautiful cemetery with hand tended gardens at each gravesite. Remarkable.

We’ll have one more post as we near the end of our glorious trip.  We love hearing from you.  Thank you!


18 Oct

Marci had selected a few audiobooks for our drives on this trip.  The primary one is called “Prague Winter”, written and read by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, and born in Prague.  The book does a remarkable job of teaching, through the story of her family’s life, the Czech experience leading up to and during Word War II.  One of the main arcs is the story of Terezin.

The tribute to the mass graves at Terezin.

The tribute to the mass graves at Terezin

Terezin turned out to be the perfect place for Hitler’s transition camp for Czech jews and later, jews from all over Europe.  Built in the late 1700’s by the Austrian empire, Terezin is located just south of the German-Czech border in an area that was primarily German speaking before the war.  We spent the day at Terezin yesterday with Pavel Batel, an excellent and knowledgeable guide.

For three years, over 150,000 jews were brought to Terezin.  Upon liberation in 1945, there were just over 20,000.  The majority stayed at Terezin for a few weeks to a few months before dying of disease or torture, or being transported to an extermination camp, primarily Auschwitz.

Train tracks into Terezin were added after the Nazis discovered jews talking to locals during the 3 kilometer walk to the train station when being transported to Auschwitz.

Train tracks into Terezin were added after the Nazis discovered jews talking to locals during the 3 kilometer walk to the train station when being transported to Auschwitz

The Nazis called it Theresienstadt.  It was paraded before the world as Hitler’s gift to the jews.  When it was built it originally served as a giant fortress with a town inside where up to 7500 soldiers would live.  It also had a prison.  For Hitler, the town served as the jewish Ghetto where as many as 50,000 jews would be forced to live at once.

The entrance to the Ghetto.

The entrance to the Ghetto

More would come.  More would go.  Czech jews were told that they were being permanently resettled in this jewish town, with their own apartment and spa services.

A street in Terezin.

A street in Terezin

The reality, of course, different.

At first glance, the ghetto looks like a lovely Bavarian town.  And as designed, for just over 7,000 soldiers, it was.  But put 8x that many people with little water, food and sanitation, and the ghetto became a typhoid infested, death trap.

Living quarters.

Living quarters

Still, the jews of Terezin found ways to live.  Some jews bribed the Nazis to be able to create the Hidden Shul.

“Hidden Shul”

But rules were strict, and changed often.  If the rules were broken, the offender was sent to the prison.

Entrance to the prison at Terezin

Entrance to the prison at Terezin

In the prison, jews were deprived of all basic human needs.  They were locked in cells, beaten, and worse.

Up to 40 jews would be locked in a cell. Many did not even have a window.

Up to 40 jews would be locked in a cell. Many did not even have a window.

They would be marched through the labyrinth of tunnels only to be shot or hanged at the other end.

There are 30 km of tunnels in the prison fortress

There are 30 km of tunnels in the prison fortress

As the world began to hear rumors of Nazi activities, the International Red Cross was dispatched to Terezin for a look.  The Nazis delayed the visit for several months while they staged a perfect “show” for the Red Cross inspectors which consisted of well dressed, well fed, happy jews choreographed into a show that completely fooled the inspectors, though some say they saw what they wanted to see.  To complete the charade of how well the jews were treated, the Nazis prepared a fake cemetary to show how well they treated the jews, even in death.

Fake cemetery created for the Red Cross visit

Fake cemetery created for the Red Cross visit

In this park in the center of Terezin, a bench sits empty as jews were not allowed even to walk into the park.MSC_8615

Nearby, this old tree was surely witness to the horrors that occurred all around it.  If only the tree could tell us its stories.MSC_8617

Visits like this shed light on the atrocities that our people experienced during the Nazi reign in Europe.  We must tell the stories so that we do not forget what people are capable of.  Yet, there have been other human tragedies, and still others go on even today.  Can you be part of keeping the light on?

A single bulb lights where jews lived in Terezin.

A single bulb lights where jews lived in Terezin.


14 Oct

The Communist Gray skies could not extinguish the beauty of this magnificent eastern European city, though surely it tries.  A paradox of the senses is Budapest.  IMG_3675On the one hand it is truly beautiful to look at.  The ornate and opulent Hapsburg era Parliament building and cathedrals are just the most obvious examples, and the Buda Palace all take your breath away.  But as you get ready to once again inhale, you are frozen by the stories of Hungarian complacency and feigned innocence and death and destruction during WWII and beyond.  We have spent two days in this city, which I would recommend to all, and perhaps to spend a total of four, all while learning about Hungary’s rich but tormented history in the last 150 years.  No history lesson here, but suffice it to say that, as several tour guides have remarked, “we could have done more.”

It is a walking city and despite the continuous rain we’ve had, we’ve managed to put a few miles under our soles.  The Danube River (replete with Viking River Cruise boats) separates the hilly Buda with the Buda Castle and the President’s Palace from the flat and architecturally rich Pest side.  Hence together BudaPest.  Several bridges connect the sides with the most notable the Chain Bridge just at the center of touristic District V connecting to the Castle.  As most notably in Paris, many european bridges have become full of small padlocks placed by lovers to signify their commitment.  The appurtenances of the Chain Bridge are too thick to affix a lock to, but, as always, love finds a way.IMG_3682

A bit further down river, on the Pest side, is a tribute of a different kind.  During the harsh winter of 1944 into 1945, 9 months after the Nazi’s occupation of Hungary began with out a single bullet fired, just one of the means of disposing of jews was to line them up on the banks of the Danube and shoot them into it late at night.  Occasionally someone survived to tell the tale of this practice and in 2005, a memorial consisting of sculptures of shoes was erected at the river’s edge in tribute and memory.IMG_3686

Such small but meaningful tributes dot the city’s landscape.  Here, a statue of Miklos Radnoti, a Hungarian jewish poet who, when sent on a death march toward a concentration camp with no way to write, is alleged to have penned his final poem in his own blood.IMG_3687

Perhaps the most fascinating, and for me troubling, of the memorials is the one the Hungarian government put up last year.IMG_3685

It depicts the broken columns signifying both the death of so many during WWII including jews, and the angel Gabriel looking on innocently as the Nazi eagle swoops in and wreaks havoc.  This point of view of the Hungarian non-responsibility has been widely criticized by the people and there is a protest memorial directly in front of the government one.  These are not my pictures as the weather was too bad while we were there, but you can see the proximity of the two memorials I hope.  It is a small victory for truth, but an important one.M10

While it may be more than you are interested in, here is a document posted at the memorial with the “other” point of view.


Lest it all sound too depressing, this is a great city and we have enjoyed ourselves immensely.  The food is delicious, english is widely spoken and it is very easy to get around.  (Uber is here!)  There is also a very funky section with “RuinPubs” that are older buildings infused with artsy bars with lots of things are people to look at!  I will recommend a wonderful tour guide named Orsi and can be reached at


Tomorrow we head to Vienna just for one night and then to Prague on Friday.  We’ll see you from there!