Prague, then Home

We have been home for 2 weeks and I never signed off. Ah well.

Kutna Hora, the bone church, was our first stop on the way to Prague. There are 60,000 people’s skeletons displayed, draped and artfully decorating this crazy church!

I want to return for Halloween!

Seven of us continued on to marvellous, picturesque Prague. It really is as lovely as they say.

We arrived home happy to see our family and friends again… and ready for the next adventure!


Our family gathered in Vienna to see the Palais Ofenheim and our great, great grandfather’s tombstone.

Then Aleš gave us an amazing tour of Jevišovice. He is a judge in the Czech Republic. His grandfather knew our grandfather and engineered all the remodel to these castles.

Traveling with my family is so much fun!

Xon, Cindy, Caylin, Candace, Riley, Phil, Rachel, Aleš, Meeshell, Ernest, Ronin, Rob

(more photos will be added later…. we are having too much fun right now!)


We say good-bye to our favorite restaurant in Split: Fig. The waitress gave us a hug! Such a feel-good place!

Everything was served with mache. How have I missed this lovely leafy greens piece of heaven?!

From the balcony

I see a small orange rowboat. The gentleman rows standing up, ferrying people back and forth from this breakwater. He starts at 6:30 am and finishes way past sunset. Everyday.

On the rooftop a few buildings over, there are two baby gulls whose parent comes to feed them. They are exercising their wings, not ready to fledge yet.

And the amazing Swifts fly in all day long feeding their babies, well hidden under the roof gutters next door. (See Wm’s video)


Croatia! It is beautiful!

We arrived in time for the glorious sunset, renowned due to Hitchcock’s comment in 1964.

Our apartment is brand new, however, funnily, the lobby & elevator seem a bit war damaged.

We enjoyed Budapest, though a deep sadness fell over everything when a small tour boat hit a Viking cruiser and sunk in 7 seconds. It was a horrible stormy night. Wm and I listened to the thunder for hours. We heard the news the next morning. Seven people were saved out of 35, mostly South Korean families on tour.

A lovely concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica was dedicated to those families. They played Mozart’s Requiem.


Beloved dictator of Yugoslavia is memorialized in Belgrade, Serbia. Some people say things were better when he was there. He carefully played the west and east, while doing his own thing. The joke they told: Tito is in the car and his driver asked if he should go left or right. Tito considers this and says “Signal right then turn left”. We still saw big ugly blocks of apartments (why did communism mean the sacrifice of beauty and color). But Tito only had one home (not 88 lavish palaces like Ceaucescu).

Our young guide (in his 30s) said that in his life, Serbia has changed governments 4 or 5 times. Each time, he would have to redo all paperwork: driver’s license, passport, titles, certificates… and he would have to pay for this change. It is now the Republic of Serbia and he hopes it stays for awhile.

A Proper Castle

We sailed up to the 13th century, reconstructed Golubac fortress at the entrance of the Djerdap Gorge. It had only been open for a week. Sixty five percent of it was reimagined. This is a good model for further sandcastle building!

Our ship then picked us up for the journey to Belgrade. At dinner we met a couple from Cedar Mill, Oregon! In fact, Beth Giles has a newsletter I used to receive called NW Organizing Solutions (a guru in organizing!)


On Wm’s first day of freedom (and retirement), we moved to a fancy hotel to meet up with our group.

The next day we toured Bucharest again on a lovely sunny day.

They drove us to our cruise ship on the Danube river. During dinner, with floor to ceiling windows, we moved across the water to Rousse, Bulgaria.

More photos to follow soon.


It all started with this.

What is in Queen Elisabeth’s hand? I started asking around. I discovered that this Queen of Romania was a poet and author. Her pen name was Carmen Silva (song of the trees). Queen Marie, her daughter-in-law from England, was also a prolific writer.

I went to my favorite bookstore, Cărtureşti Carusel, and asked the young clerk if she had any English books by Queen Marie. She asked, “Our Queen Marie?”. Yes, and no books. But I found everything online:

Did you figure it out? (and, by the way, don’t you love this book stand!)

A tatting shuttle! She was making lace! And I am not alone in this art today. Many Romanian women make lace. Be sure to read Queen Marie’s The Country that I Love and The Story of My Life. Great stuff!

Bran Castle

We found our next Halloween party venue.

The Romainians bill this Castle as Count Dracula’s. False in everyway. I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and terrified myself. But the Castle is lovely, not spooky at all.

A few of our decorations with Candace’s help and Presto! Viola! A party that you will never forget! Get your ticket now!


We spent a very cold day visiting Peleş Castle (King Carol I & Elizabeth’s home) & Pelişor (the home they built for Ferdinand & Marie).

Queen Marie visited Portland, Oregon in 1926. She came to see her good friend, Sam Hill, and his home, Maryhill, overlooking Cellilo Falls in the Columbia Gorge. She donated artwork and furnishings to his museum. (Another little bit of home!)

Junii din Scheii Brasovului

The Young Men of Scheii festival in Brasov, always begins on the first Sunday of May, for Easter & Spring. This tradition started before the 18th century. The men and their horses in full regalia, parade to the main plaza.

The rest of the day is filled with special songs and dances of the region.

We heard tunes that sounded Greek, Hungarian, Balkan… but we were told that they are all truly Romanian.

The old section of Brasov is lovely. Some buildings date back to the 1500s.

We will miss our usual trek to Northwest Folklife this year. But it felt as though we participated in a mini version. You can see Wm dance here: