Categories
Destination

Then They Came for Me and There Was No One Left to Speak for Me in Destination

Auschwitz and Auschwitz II – Burkina are the 4th and 5th concentration camps I have visited and the shock, horror, and palpable suffering of these monstrous places never diminishes.  The ladies and I were in Krakow over the weekend primarily to tour this most heinous of places, and at the risk of getting too political, the timing could not have been more appropriate. They came for me at my destination.

It is places like this that remind us to love each other, stand up for what is right, and choose compassion, understanding, and empathy over hate, bigotry, and blind, unquestioning consequence.

This first set of pictures is from Auschwitz.  What you might not know is that this camp was originally built for Polish prisoners of war and as such, the dormitories were relatively decent.  The camp is also quite small.  So small in fact, that soon, a larger facility was required to house the displaced Jews and other undesirables.

This was how Auschwitz II – Burkina came to be built.  In time Auschwitz III and additional subcamps were added as well. As is the case with all concentration camps, the perimeter was heavily fortified with two sets of electrified barbed wire.

Guard houses were interspersed at regular intervals and armed men would be housed in them, always watching.  Something particularly sinister about this camp was that a group of prisoner musicians was required to play upbeat nationalistic music here by the entrance day in and day out.

In a moving series of exhibitions, the visitor gets a visual slap to the face regarding the number of people who died here.  It is one thing to hear that 1.5 million victims died here, but to see the mountains of brushes, glasses, suitcases, and shoes is truly staggering.

The most horrific example I saw was the unbelievable piles of human hair.  We were asked not to photograph this exhibit in respect for the victims, but believe me when I say it was by far one of the most terrifying and deeply saddening things I have ever seen.

Piles, easily 10 feet high and 15 feet wide composed entirely of a disturbing multicolor quilt of a human hair (some in braids others in tails), were displayed like the most macabre haystacks ever known.  And this, of course, was only a small percentage of the hair collected.

As we listened to the guide tell us these things what came to the forefront of my mind was how the Germans, who despised the Jews and thought them so far beneath them, we’re able to use not only the stolen personal property of the Jews (things like their underwear) but were able to wear the Jews themselves.  The hair was knitted into socks and blankets.

How incredibly chilling

Photographs like this of Junkie Freedman show how little time the victims were here at the camp.  Originally the SS photographed the victims like criminals for record-keeping, but the number of victims quickly became overwhelming and the practice stopped.

The photographs also made you realize that in those pictures of the victims finally being liberated; those poor, starved, and sick individuals were the “lucky” ones who had only been deported to the camp in the final month or two of their existence.  It was clear from the photographs that very few people lived past a month in the camp.

Categories
Destination

For My Mother Who Loves and Supports Me for Destination

It’s been a while – it’s also like the fifth time I’ve said that this year.  In my defense, it’s been a tough couple of months, and I am just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Speaking of light, how glorious are these photos of the Acropolis in Athens?

I spent a delightful 10 days over Easter break with a gal pal from Texas soaking up all the archeological sights, orthodox churches, wacky GPS free driving, beaches, feta, and souvlaki as possible.

I might ruffle a few feathers here, but Greece, and Athens in particular, has the “devil may care” and general shabbiness I associate with much of South America.  It’s a bit like the armpit of Europe, but as long as you are prepared for the stink, you can get along just fine.

The main thing to see in Athens is the Acropolis, which I found out is the large plateau that is the site for the Parthenon and additional ruins.  This plateau has been home to temples for basically ever and dominates the hilly landscape of Athens.

On your way up to the main event, you pass by shrines and amphitheaters perfectly preserved. I also discovered that these lady columns are replicas – the original ones are in the Acropolis museum down below (and one is in the British Museum because of ancient site robbing and all that).

In between dodging all the selfie sticks I took a moment to recall my art history courses and debated the types of columns I was seeing.  Doric, Ionic, and the other one  I also, as usual, marveled at the engineering and sheer brute strength it would have taken to move and shape these massive stones.

The Parthenon is in a sad state of disrepair.  Again, most of the beautiful carvings and friezes are housed in the museum and the temple had a solid stone roof at one time, now it seems that the scaffolding is a permanent addition to this iconic building.

After feasting our eyes on these lovey ruins, we ventured down to the museum after a wonderful lunch that featured what would become my favorite food of Greece – the feta in phyllo with honey and sesame seeds.  Guess who was at the museum with us?  Angela Merkel the German Chancellor! Say what! I got real close to her as we both appreciated the same piece of statuary.

The afternoon and evening were spent in search of a Byzantine style ring I was obsessed with and with checking out the goods for sale in the Plaka – the tourist-heavy but charming shopping area of town.  I ended up with that ring, and as usual, far more than I originally set out for.

Categories
Destination

The Navel of the World Destination

The joy of fleeing the city of Athens was only somewhat diminished by the truly deplorable service at Europe Car.  Two and a half hours later (and after walking up and down the arrivals hall of the airport looking for the Europe Car kiosk only to eventually be pointed to a gentleman eating a sandwich in a cafe who dared to proclaim “what, you didn’t see the sign” while pointing to the placard lying face down on the counter when we asked if he was the Europe Car representative) we were blissfully taking in the hilly vista on our way to Delphi.

The ancient temple site of Delphi is located on the beautiful slope of a verdant mountain overlooking a stunning valley.  The hike is entirely uphill and your approach is just as the faithful did thousands of years ago.  The first stop is the shopping arcade.

At one time, the perimeter of the square was roofed and merchants kept their shrines and offerings in the arched storage rooms behind their shops. After purchasing your offering, you traveled uphill past small shrine temples to the bank.

Here worshippers would leave a sum of money for the maintenance of the site

Higher up is the once-glorious Temple of Apollo.  This was the sanctuary of the Oracle. I was deeply disappointed that I didn’t see any writhing virgins like in the movie 300 – such is life.

Further, still, you can see how imposing the temple must have been and what a prime view of the valley it has.

The theater and the stadium were the final structures to see and I think that you will find the fact that the athletes competed naked to be just as interesting as I did.

A bit further down the road from the temple site is the Tholos and the sanctuary of Athena. Ruins of earlier temples littered the ground.

Up and over the imposing mountains we traveled, making sharp turns with stomaches clenching as sheer drops loomed ever closer. It was about two hours into our journey when we realized our GPS wasn’t working.

Lost in the remote and deserted mountains of central Greece we stumbled our way to Meteora relying on the (thankfully) working GPS on my phone.  The drive took much longer than we expected, but as the incredible rock formations loomed in the purple twilight, it was more than worth the effort.

Categories
Destination

The Destinations Glass Beach in California and Wonderful Places in Italy

In the early twentieth century, the residents of Fort Bragg in California regularly throwing waste on the beach which today is known as beach glass, so this place used to be “eternal” numerous types of waste, glass, household appliances, and cars… But today this place is a real tourist attraction!

When Glass Beach in California valid for certain landfills, as they called locals, it was owned by the company “Union Lumber”. At the moment when the beach became completely buried, trash pallets to release new space for more waste.

Even this beach was closed and it was forbidden to throw garbage and originated and mass actions for its final cleaning, so over the next few decades and waves have tried to completely clean up the beach, leaving behind only small smooth pieces of glass in all colors, so today the whole beach is covered with glass, and once again, what we consider to be junk, nature has turned into an amazing landscape.

On the beach was bought by the National Park of California, and additional cleaning, it became part of the park MekKeriher. In the past few years, beach glass has become increasingly popular among tourists who come here looking for the most beautiful piece of glass to take home with him as a souvenir. However, this activity of tourists is a kind of crime because today is strictly forbidden to remove the glass from the beach.

Wonderful places that are forbidden to visit

Letters of Michelangelo the application of Henry VIII annulment of marriage and many other papers here have found their place, and do not believe that will ever be available to them “ordinary mortals”.
Some are wrapped in secrecy, and to some, it is impossible to get to. One thing is common to all these places, and that is that we can visit and look.

The tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang

Surely you’ve heard of the popular terracotta warriors who guard the tomb of the emperor in China. So far a total drawn two thousand statues of soldiers, all of which are different, and it is believed that underground is eight thousand. However, research and excavations are still ongoing, and while the soldiers can be seen, perhaps the grave will never be able to see it because the Chinese observe the rites of burial.

Cave of Lascaux, France

This complex of caves in southwestern France is painted with drawings from the Paleolithic era. In other words, the drawings here are up to 17 thousand years. Caves are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to preserve the last few years they have been closed to the public.

The volcanic island Heard

This volcanic island belonging to Australia, but are placed quite far away from its coast, making it one of the most remote places on the globe. He is a true oasis of life because it found its place penguins, seals … But the island is interesting because ten years ago it was discovered that it exists and an active volcano. Indeed, it would be interesting to see, but the problem is that it is supposed to sail at least two weeks from another land.

Island of snakes, Brazil

Not far from Sao Paulo is settled this famous island, which almost completely inhabits many species of poisonous snakes. They have almost about 4 thousand, but the locals swear that it has more, so the claim that every five square meters island comes after a snake. Here accessible only to scientists because of their research, and it only every few years.

Vatican secret archives

Hidden deep within the Vatican walls, it is difficult to believe that these documents would ever become available “mere mortals”. Letters of Michelangelo the application of Henry VIII annulment of marriage and many other papers can have found in this place.

Categories
Destination

You Should Go to Your Dream Destination

What is your dream?

Do you even have a dream destination?

As I’ve discussed on the home page, I went for a long time without a real dream. Without something that I wanted to do with my life without something that would challenge me. Without something that would give me a sense of purpose in life. Without something that would challenge me to reach beyond my comfort zone and accomplish something truly worth accomplishing.

That’s a lot to do without.

What are you doing without?

Do you just go through the motions in life with nothing to challenge you to reach for excellence and strive for something that will change you, your friends, your community, your family, or some other group of people important to you?

Do you have something that has been nagging at you for years — or decades — and you just haven’t stepped up and done your best to make it happen?

Or, are you much further along? Have you started making plans on how you will make your dream come to life? Perhaps, you’ve already started working on that plan and you’re ready to tell the world what you’re going to accomplish.

Maybe you’re making progress, but you’ve hit a slump and you need help or advice on how to deal with an obstacle.

Perhaps you don’t even know how to get started.

A Year from Now is dedicated to the belief that we can make substantial progress on achieving our dreams in as little as a year from now.

In the early year, after months of thinking, I identified my dream and what I want to accomplish with the next phase of my life. I’ll be talking about this in a section to be called My Dream…

This section and our A Year from Now Forum is where we will help you share with others, ask for help, and offer advice and help to others who have chosen to share their dreams.

This section is for you

Our e-zine, “Act on Your Dream!” will feature stories about your dream and the dreams of others who participate here. It is my goal to feature success stories and stories from people who are working resolutely to achieve success by acting on their dream.

This site will grow only with your participation. Nobody wants to hear me talk about nothing but my dream month after month after month — well nobody but me.

What are your 1 most important dreams?

What are you doing (or going to do) to make it real?

Some sample dreams that are shared by many people:

Start your own business — Not everyone is suited for owning and managing a business. What does it take to create and manage a business of your own? Is this for you? Here is some home business information to help you get started.

Get out of debt — How can you achieve your full potential if you are drowning in a sea of debt? As your debt grows, you continue to mortgage your future and decrease your options. How are you going to get out of debt?

Further your education — So, you want to go back to school. Why? What do you want to accomplish? What will you study? How do you plan to use what you learn? What obstacles are you trying to overcome?

Visit your favorite travel destinations — Do you want to travel and see the world? Or, would you rather help others by telling them more about your corner of the planet? What do you want to learn about traveling and what can you tell us about your travel adventures?

Start or expand your family — Perhaps you’d rather improve your relationships or strengthen your family ties. What are your goals for your personal and family life?

What is your most important dream? — There are thousands of things you may want to do that aren’t listed here — yet. Let’s discuss it.

You’re welcome to tell us about your goals and plans on our A Year from Now Forum. It only takes a moment to register to participate on the forum — no charge — and then validate your registration by clicking a link that will be sent to you via email (to verify that you are a real person with a real address and not someone who is trying to spam the group).

Where can we be a year from now if you and others come and share your dreams and work together to help each other succeed? I truly believe we can make substantial progress on achieving our dreams — whether they are huge dreams or small goals — in as little as a year. But, and this is very important, you must Act on Your Dream.