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Ranunculus glacialis, one of the white-floweri...

Ranunculus glacialis, one of the white-flowering species (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alpine Ibex

Alpine Ibex

English: Jungfrau seen from near Interlaken

English: Jungfrau seen from near Interlaken (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Digital relief of the Alps; France, Italy, Swi...

    Digital relief of the Alps; France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Lucerne is a city in the Swiss Alps on a lake of the same name. It has a beautiful, old covered wooden bridge

  • Switzerland has four official languages.

  • German is spoken here.

  • Der  Vierwaldstättersee, what the Swiss call Lake Lucerne
  • Interlaken another beautiful town in the area
  • Mount Pilatus a 7000′ (2100m) mountain overlooking Lucerne
  • Die Schweiz German for Switzerland
  • I visited here in 1975
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Europe Madrid 1974: More on one of my popular blogs


Europe Madrid 1974








Now, I’m asked tell us more about that first trip to Europe in 1974. The one when you were 17. The one forty years ago.

Madrid was the first city I visited in Europe.

Well, actually I was supposed to go when I was in 8th grade with my PE teacher, but that one fell through because we didn’t get enough people to sign up. There were other trips to choose from including ones to Germany and Salzburg.

The great thing about that Madrid trip was we spent a month  studying the art, history, and culture of the countries before we left. Europe has some great art museums. We spent time in Madrid just walking around looking at shops and supermarkets. They had interesting  soft drinks and coffees for sale. I am very excited. It is so much fun just walking around the hotel looking at things. We also visited Retiro park, the Rastro, Botins, a bullfight, and my favorite department store in Madrid el Corte Ingles. We also visited  the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.

There is no king. Other landmarks include the great post office and telecommunications building and plaza mayor.Our trip also included a side trip to the ancient capital of Toledo. Madrid is a lively city with a great nightlife. I returned there in 1975, 1978 and with my wife in 1992. Well with the death of Franco in November 1975, Juan Carlos became King of Spain. He served until 2014 until he

abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI.

We ate most of our meals in the hotel, chicken I think, a few times we got beef. I went to my first discotheque in Madrid. Some of the girls got their nails done at Elisabeth Arden.  After a few days in Madrid we flew to Rome on Alitalia.

Madrid has a different culture. Everything shuts down after lunch. Shops close. Dinner often isn’t taken till after 10 o’clock at night. The national delicacy is pulpo in su tinta squid in its own ink.

Edie’s big five art museums, two are in Italy.

  1. The British Museum, London a little different no paintings
  2. Vatican Museum, Rome the atlanten,  Gallery of mosaic maps, and of course the Sistine Chapel
  3. Uffizi Gallery, Florence Botticelli, Leonardo, and Raphael. Now you have to wait in line forever. In 1974 you could just walk right in.
  4. images


    Hermitage, Leningrad/Saint Petersburg I went there twice.

  5. Louvre, Paris the word’s most famous and most visited museum with all those goodies. O, where to begin? You can visit the Louvre for free any day until your 18th birthday. Closed Tuesday.

Runners up

The Prado, Madrid


Goya Clothed and Naked Maja


KHM Infatada Maria Thersa

Museum of Fine arts (Kunsthistorishes museum) Vienna

Old picture gallery, Munich (Alte Pinakothek)

National Museum, Tokyo

  •  What is your favorite museum?
  • Do you remember your first trip abroad?
  • What interesting drinks or foods do you remember about that trip?
  • What was your favorite thing of memory about high school?
Leonardo Alte pinakotek

Leonardo Alte Pinakothek


Travel Post 2970 My View

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What is your favorite travel destination? Please share your travel experiences.

Who is your favorite painter?

Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day?

Berlin and Istanbul are both considered divided cities, but in a different way. Explain.

I Spent a year in Germany Part 2

Bakery for Dampfnudeln in the Baumburger Turm ...

Bakery for Dampfnudeln in the Baumburger Turm in Regensburg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The spring term brought the opportunity for more travelEnglish: Twilight panorama of Regensburg, Germany
English: Twilight panorama of Regensburg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andorra la Vella

University of Regensburg, Germany.

Semmelgebaeude University of Regensburg, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For spring break I had trouble finishing my term paper on Effi Briest. Ten pages in German. Effi Briest is a German novel by Theodor Fontane.  I read it for a class in German literature. Most of my friends were already gone, when I left for Paris by way of Frankfurt.  I was headed for Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I had a semester of Arabic under my belt and was looking for a chance to use it.

Effi Briest (1974 film)

Effi Briest

Paris was nice, my second time there. I have found Paris is best taken in small doses, besides I had other places I wanted to see.

I went to the Louvre. I got to see all of those ancient art things, I had studied last year. It wetted my appetite for Egypt even more. The train through the Pyrenees at night was fantastic with snow and bonfires. When I got to Andorra I was disappointed to find I wasn’t the only traveler there. I bought a pair of shoes and  some stamps and got my passport stamped. It’s quite a place nestled between France and Spain.

Spain When you cross into Spain at Port Bou you have to change trains because Spain uses a different bogey. Barcelona was nice.

Visited the University of Madrid which has another Vanderbilt Exchange program, one of four at the time.with others in France and England, the students were also out on spring break but I had a nice talk with the director. He seemed to appreciate my visit. This is a larger university than Regensburg. On the way back from Morocco I stopped in Cordoba and a festival at Valencia, where I saw a bull fight. I had to wait till 1992 to get to the Alhambra in Granada with Katie.

After Madrid, the train broke down on the way to Lisbon. We had to transfer to a bus. The trip took forever. Lisbon is a beautiful city on the Atlantic ocean. It’s the western most city in Europe. After a few days in Lisbon, Portugal LIS Portela Airport I flew to Casablanca CMN مطار محمد الخامس الدولي on TWA.

Morocco Morocco is on the Atlantic Ocean. I could see the Atlas mountains in the distance. Someone needed my help.  A man was trying to write his girlfriend in English.  After I helped him he invited me to visit his home. I was taking Arabic so a visit to an Arabic speaking country was essential. Both of my grandmothers had been here. One loved it the other not so much. So I had to see for myself. Actually depending on your point of view, they were both right. More on that later.

English: The Atlantic Ocean.

English: The Atlantic Ocean. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Casablanca is a large port on the Atlantic ocean. There is nothing left here from the movie. I spent a lot of time just walking around looking at things. It is very interesting.

MSA you can only understand educated speakers

My first time in Africa, I also had time to visit the cities of Merakech, Fez, Rabat, and Tangier. Morocco has a shameful 40% literacy rate.

My dad’s friend Buck Morse had worked for Purina in  Tehran. The first time I saw Persian writing I was about nine. I thought you’ve got to be kidding, people can’t really read that. I must admit as a left-hander I was intrigued by the idea of a language written from right to left. No Hook. It is because the ancient stone writers held the hammer in their right hand and the chisel in their left.

When I told people I was studying their language they’d say,lets hear you read Arabic very nice Iqra!  I bought an Arabic book for kids called Iqra! . Things are different here.  The week ends on Friday. I love the music. Arabic music is based on maqams with a seven tone scale, unlike the western scale of eight tones.

On the way back to Germany I stopped to visit my friend in  Chalabre, France  near the medieval city of Carcasonne.

Carcasonne France

Carcasonne France

The train along the Mediterranean is beautiful. I also stopped in Geneva and Zürich, where I bought a watch for my birthday. I had that watch till I was 40  years old. It was a good one. It was a left-handed Heuer with the winding stem on the right side. I fell asleep by accident in the train and woke up in Milan. The closest I ever got to seeing Leonardo’s Last Supper.

Liechtenstein is located between Switzerland and Austria on the Rhine. also German-speaking country. Vaduz is the capital. Located on the Upper Rhine, Liechtenstein has a valuable art collection. So by now I had visited three of the five smallest countries of Europe.

Principality of Liechtenstein

Principality of Liechtenstein

I still haven’t made it to Monaco and San Marino the other two. By the time I got back to Germany my backpack was destroyed. Called our director to let him know I was fine. I couldn’t repair the backpack, so I had to borrow a suitcase. I also loaded up on supplies. Then took off for Scandinavia, the second part of my trip.

I was in Aachen for Easter. Then I left for Scandinavia. Stopping in Cologne, Bremen and Hamburg. Bremen is the home of the famous town musicians.

Denmark. Copenhagen and Hamburg. I met my friend Hilde in Hamburg and we took the train to Copenhagen. We had arranged it before. Her father worked for the Bundesbahn, so she got a discount and can ride anywhere in Germany for half price. I saw a special Iraq exhibit of Eshnunna statues from Iraq. I’ve been to Chicago twice and they haven’t been on display. This was a traveling show from Baghdad.  

Tivoli is a famous amusement park in Denmark. It was closed for the season. I went back with Katie, the kids, and Margaret in 1999 and got to see it. We had a great time. It just goes to show if you don’t get to do something the first time, there is always a chance for the future. I have learned in traveling if you try to do too much and see everything in one time you are just going to end up making yourself and everyone else miserable. When you get to a place that you have come along way to see you should see what there is to see there and not go rushing off somewhere else.


Stockholm: Gamla stan (Old town)

Norway and Sweden In Oslo  I visited Nazi defense resistance museum. and home of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Stockholm was the farthest north I got that year.

regensburg ratisbona

Regensburg graffiti


Union Station Saint Louis
Carl Miles Meeting of the Waters

The downtown reminded me of Regensburg. Downtown Stockholm is an island. The city hall Stadshus  looks like the Anheuser- Busch brewery in St. Louis. The best part of Stockholm was the Milesgaarden home of Swedish sculptor Carl Miles. It displays many of his works in an outdoor park setting. Miles did the design for the famous Meeting of the Waters sculpture outside the St Louis Union station. It is still cold here and things are expensive. I can’t wait to leave.  After a month of intensive travel I’m ready to get back to my studies and see my friends.

Austria  Later that Spring we went on a Uni sponsored trip to Vienna and Hungary. There is a direct train to Austria that passes by Melk Abby, and through the Wachau on the way to Vienna. I had a better visit to Vienna than the last time.

Italy  That summer I took the train to Rome, looking for Katie. It seems odd but at the same time she was in Germany with her brother looking for me. My daughter said what you were each looking for each other at the same time? Why didn’t you just email each other. Actually at that time snail mail was the only way and you had to write at least three weeks in advance just to be sure you had time to get a reply. Actually, I had a system worked out. When I had an idea about a place I wanted to go, I would write to the national tourist office for information and would read about the highlights, and others things that sounded interesting, before planning my trip. No internet in those days. Also a trip to the library was invaluable and just talking to someone who had been to that country before.

While in Rome the strangest thing happened, I got a telephone call in my room. I thought how odd, no one knows I’m here. It was my high school teacher. They invited me for dinner. Katie and I stayed at that same hotel on the Via Sistina on another trip to Rome years later.

My travels

My travels

My friend,Ted and I set off in search of our friends Roberto and Marisa, whom we had met in Turkey. We made a stop in Verona, the home of Romeo and Juliette.Verona is a medieval town on a river just like Regensburg. We Found Marisa in Arco a small town on Lake Garda the largest lake in Italy.We had to go to Bologna to find Roberto, where he was a student .

On another trip to Italy I visited the port city of Trieste. It was fantastic. I stayed in a youth hostel and saw a dolphin in the Adriatic. Home of James Joyce in the 1920. Near the border with Yugoslavia and hotly contested. I wish I could have stayed longer. Once part of the Austrian Empire. Remember captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music? It was the port of the Austro-Hungarian EmpireSitting on the border with Slovenia in northeastern Italy, it was annexed by Italy after WWI.


Austria Europabruecke

View through the Alps and the Europabruecke in Austria was fantastic. Italy seems irresistible to me. I’m studying for finals on the train. There were just too many distractions in Regensburg. The Summer semester in Germany was a short one. May was full of holidays. No one feels like studying much in July.


Tower in Regensburg, Germany part of former ci...

Tower in Regensburg, Germany part of former city wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Germany Erste Teil

images images I spent a year abroad in Germany 1977-8

Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The ...

Occupation zone borders in Germany, 1947. The territories east of the Oder-Neisse line, under Polish and Soviet administration/annexation, are shown as white as is the likewise detached Saar protectorate. Berlin is the multinational area within the Soviet zone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Morocco and Spain (NASA, International Space Station, 12/31/11) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)6950477589_4e4194a937_s

 I spent a year abroad  in Germany.

I flew from Chicago with a group of eight for Luxembourg LUX on Icelandair with a stop in Reykjavík KEF.

I left in August 1977. It was the summer Elvis died. I set out to visit every country in Europe. The only place I didn’t go was London. Many people in my group were sceptical. You can’t just get on a train and go somewhere by yourself. You’re in Europe. Others disagreed.imgres

You’re an American. You can go anywhere you want. Why are Americans so unpopular? It wasn’t always the case. I never believed in the Ugly American. The tangled history of Germany after WWII left Germany partitioned among the four victorious allied powers including the Soviet Union. In 1953 they  Illegally made their zone into the German Democratic Republik or East Germany. I asked my friends, if they thought Germany would ever be reunited. Never in my lifetime. Regensburg, in the Fulda gap was closer to Prague than Cologne. They figured if the war  ever started, it would be run over before we knew it had started. Poland received one-third of former German territory East of the Oder.

Our director met us at the Bahnhof (train station.) He took us to our dorm two at a time.That’s alll that would fit in his car. A blue Audi. It was one of the few times we got to ride in his car that year. Most of the time we took public transportation or walked. I was the only American on my floor. I’m staying at the Vitusheim.  All dormitories in Germany are student managed. I share a kitchen with the other students. We do our own cooking. There is a student cafeteria or Mensa. The meals are subsidised. It is German food. Bavarians eat lots of starch and potatoes but Sauerkraut-not so much. It is about a 15 minute walk from the dorm. I do have a sink in my room which is nice and a large wardrobe.I brought a calculator  and three cameras from home including an old Zeiss Ikon and a mini Minox spy camera. I inherited a radio and some pots from the previous occupant. I’m making good use of them.There is even a pub. There is one TV and one telephone for the whole dorm. Cell phones, video games, PC’s all in the future.


Minox mini spy camera made in Lithaunia

Minox mini spy camera
made in Lithuania

If you want to call the States you have to go to the main post office downtown, book the call then wait for your turn. I only called home three times that year. We do get mail three times a day. Snail mail, of course–no email or internet. I’m Sharing the facilities with the girls. I’m the only male on the floor. They don’t seem to mind it’s going to take some getting used to for me.

I’ll be studying three things here, chemistry, German and Linguistics. Unlike many American programs I’m enrolled at the University and can register for any class. All classes are taught in German. Although the Biochem class is using an English text, Lehninger. My Chem class doesn’t have a text, just the Professor’s lectures. He is fascinated by Bismarck, ND. I don’t know anything about it, but if I ever get there I’ll be sure to send him a card.
 Of course you can take American literature and read Huckleberry Finn, but what fun is that. The one thing they warn you not to take is philosophy. It’s too hard, even for the Germans. My friend didn’t listen and boy was he sorry.
My first day of philology/linguistics the professor wrote something on the board in Latin, half the Americans quit the class. Most of the Germans also know French and English. At that time Germany was divided into East and West. I was living in Regensburg in the West zone. There was no free access between the two zones, especially for East Germans. btw They don’t like the term East German’s. It’s the German Democratic Republik, while those in the West are the Federal Republik. Each country had it own flag and currency, too. There was also an inter-German border marked by guard dogs, machine guns, and barbed wire.
East Germans drive their vehicles through Chec...

East Germans drive their vehicles through Checkpoint Charlie as they take advantage of relaxed travel restrictions to visit West Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There was a group of exchange students studying German from Lyon in France. They were all girls except one boy. They are nice. They are all in their twenties like me. The Americans are taking a special six-week intensive language course. Most of the German students won’t arrive until classes start in November.

Holland The first overnight trip I went on was to Amsterdam for a local festival. Not well publicised How did you hear about it, Nikolaustag? St Nikolaus is not the same as Santa Claus, who makes his traditional return from Spain by boat in November. OriginallySt. Nicholsaus is from Turkey, his feast day is December 6th.

The train follows the Rhine. We got off in Düsseldorf, to look around. It was nighttime it was beautiful. On the way back from Amsterdam the customs got on the train with a drug sniffing dog. We met the world’s oldest hippie in a bar in Amsterdam. I wonder if he is still alive?

Freddie Heineken greets you at the Heineken brewery tour. It’s a video tape. Back then it was something new. Before you leave he offers you one for the road.

We get many sponsored trips. In November we went to Berlin. It was awesome. I must take my parents here. On the train through East Germany my friend offers the young border guard an orange. He shows it to the other young guard and brags, I’ve seen these I know what this is. You eat it. Once you cross the border and iron curtain there is no stopping or getting off the train until you reach West Berlin.

Reichstag building seen from the west, before ...

Reichstag building seen from the west, before sunset Français : Le Palais du Reichstag coté Ouest avant le coucher de soleil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Checkpoint Charlie was on Friedrichstrasse, near Kochstrasse. It was the only crossing between West Berlin and East Berlin that could be used by Americans and other foreigners, and by members of the Allied Forces. The other six checkpoints were for residents of West Berlin or West Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Sign at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

English: Sign at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We decide to do something nice for our German friends. We held a Halloween party. In November we cooked Thanksgiving dinner. We had to order the turkeys and pumpkin from the local army base here. Not common foods in Bavaria. The pies were the biggest hit. We had to be sure to clean up the mess. That’s a big thing here.

We took a trip to Neuschwannstein and the Alps.

Germany Austria Switzerland 
A map presenting Poland and the Curzon Line (W...

A map presenting Poland and the Curzon Line (World War II). Version with English labels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are four countries in the world where German is spoken Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Germany of course. Germany lost a lot of territory in both world wars.

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Please share to show my pupils how far a photo can go (even if you don’t want it to!)

Could be an important lesson here. What do you teach? Be sure to let us know how it turns out!

Not about everything

Sharing this, because it seems an interesting lesson.

I am teaching E-safety to my pupils at the moment and wanted to try a little experiment. Please share this photo and see how far it gets, I want to show my students how easily photos etc can go viral, even when you may not want them to. Share it and see how far it goes!


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What Are Isinglass Curtains? | eHow

What Are Isinglass Curtains? | eHow.

One of my most popular blogs, What exactly is Isinglass? My grandmother’s first car had  removable Isinglass windows.

Listen at 1:10

Actor Shirley Jones Oklahoma!

Removable Isinglass Windows
When it rained bottoms went up!


Actor Shirley Jones

We decided to go to Turkey for Christmas, Germany 1977-8

Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Pudding Shop restaurant, Istanbul.

English: The ceiling of the Basilica Cistern (...

English: The ceiling of the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı) in Istanbul, Turkey, mirrored in the still waters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I spent a year abroad  in Germany.

Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

Ambassador Jack Matlock

Deutsch: Die Bibliothek der Hochschule Regensb...

Deutsch: Die Bibliothek der Hochschule Regensburg am späten Abend. Kirundi: The library of the University of Applied Sciences of Regensburg, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Germany Switzerland Italy
I did a lot of traveling with my friend Ted D., also from St Louis. Oh, you’re both from St Louis are you brothers? I had a friend at the bank and at the train station. They knew we liked to travel. I had the train schedule memorized. We were always looking for the best deal. He’d say where are we going this time boys.
Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We decided to go to Turkey for Christmas. If we could be with our families we wanted to go somewhere that wouldn’t remind us of home. The train was very crowded. This was going to be an adventure. The train left Munich for Austria and didn’t stop till we crossed the border.

Getting the visas and crossing the bordernew-years-count-up5

They tell you can get your visa at the border, but it is better if you get it ahead of time. This is done by visiting the consulate in another city  before your trip, filling out  a form, showing your passport and paying a fee. You might also have to give a photograph.

Yugoslavia, yes it was before the breakup. Slovenia, we had crossed the Iron curtain at Klagenfurt Austria for Maribor. The first of many times that year.

Jack Matlock told me although the Croatian  language is essentially the same as Serbian it is written in the Latin alphabet. I know many will dispute that statement so don’t get angry. When he met Germans who complained Americans couldn’t speak German he asked oh where do you go on vacation? Dubrovnik, then you speak fluent Serbo-Croatian.


Croatia: Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. It was our first stop. It was nice. It was also one of the coldest places I have ever been. The cathedral reminded me of Vienna. Zagreb consists of an upper and lower town. People gave me money for my coin collection.  I try to get the smallest circulating coin or billon from each  country I visit, also a cigar and a newspaper.This is a catholic country. Many Serbs are orthodox.
1922, Departure of Mehmed VI who was the last ...

1922, Departure of Mehmed VI who was the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Zagreb (Photo credit: Morton1905)

It has a beautiful and impressive fortress at the confluence of the Danube and Sava
Christmas in Belgrade was a Tuesday, besides being a communist country the few Christians celebrate on January sixth. A man smiled and handed us a pack of cigarettes. We smiled and took them. We didn’t smoke so later we gave them to the maid in the Hotel. The hotel was really far out by bus. In Belgrade we discovered the wonderful dish of kebapcisi. It is winter. It is cold here, but it is a fun city.

Even in those times Belgrade had a reputation for an active nightlife, especially in the Skadarlija (Скадарлија) area. I remember the Republic square, equestrian statue of Prince Michael, Art museum, and parliament.

St. Margrethen - Switzerland / Austria

St. Margrethen – Switzerland / Austria (Photo credit: Kecko)

They don’t have Santa Claus in Belgrade. He’s called the New Years man. they still have colored lights and New year’s trees and a nice outdoor market. It’s very festive. We enjoy looking at the things for sale in the shops.
Before we got to Niš an argument ensued. Half the people said the train was going to Athens the other Half Istanbul.


We rented a car and driver and personal guide for twenty dollars. I know they thought we were some kind of big shots. The woman was nice. The highlight was the Rila Monastery. We also went to the opera.

When I told my neighbor about my trip she said,I don’t even know where Bulgaria is and you’ve been there.

English: Belgrade Railway junction

English: Belgrade Railway junction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
The train pulled into Istanbul Sirkeci station exactly a week after we had left Munich.

In Turkey we met two Italians from N. Italy who spoke German, Roberto+Marisa. They became our friends. I corresponded with them for years.

We visited the great Istanbul Grand Bazar. The Pudding shop is a great place to meet people and exchange information. The food’s not bad either even the pudding. It’s loaded with hippies. Istanbul is truly a crossroads between east and west.

We visited the famous underground Basilica Cistern Yerebatan Sarnıcı

We stayed in a cheap hotel in Istanbul. It was clean and the people we nice and helpful. They had a full-time cook. I had fried eggs cooked to order everyday for breakfast. We celebrated new Year’s Eve at the hotel with our new friends. The movie Midnight Express had jut come out. Our friends in Regensburg were sure we would never make it back alive. It snowed that year in Istanbul. It get’s dark about five o’clock the same as St. Louis this time of year. Traveling is nice because the crowds are low.

Before we left my friend Beth gave me a language guide Turkisch fur auslander (Turkish for foreigners.) Turkish is an Altaic language, not related to European. At one time the Ottoman Empire occupied half of Europe.

On day when we left our hotel a black car pulled up. A window rolled down a man asked, would you like to  go to Asia? Istanbul museum bust of Alexander the great. At the Istanbul Museum we met some students from  Pakistan. They told us how much they liked the United States. When I looked at a globe later I realized we where closer to Pakistan than St Louis. The idea that you could drive across Asia. We met a lot of people from England who were doing just  that. We met others who were on their way back to England from Hong Kong, India, or Iran.

Topkapi palace is an unbelievable. It has the largest emerald I have ever seen, 3.5 kg. It was the home of the sulltans of the Ottoman Empire. Tea is served in little glasses, just like the ones I bought in Jerusalem. University it wasn’t safe. The hammam is the turkish bath. It is really nice.

Golden Horn Istanbul

Golden Horn Istanbul


We got to the bus depot at night we had to ask for help. It was very crowded. An argument ensued. Somehow we got on the right bus. I wonder ow it would work out today.

Taking the bus to Izmir our Italian friends decided to join us. They don’t speak English. We communicate with Roberto in German. He translates into Italian for her. She is mad at him. He has always told he speaks English, but he doesn’t. They are dating. We got a guide and visited the caravanserai and a carpet shop. People are nice they really want to be your friends. We saw some kids watching the Jetsons in Turkish in a shop on an old black and white tv. We took their picture.

Greece it was winter it was cold in Athens. I took a bus from Istanbul to Athens it took 26 hours. They Parthenon is fantastic. I met some friends from Regensburg and had lunch at her apartment. We played cards and talked. It was great. I was tired of walking around in the cold. the high was about 5 C.
Back in Germany
I got back to Germany just in time for classes to begin. Reversing my route for Athens to Thessalonica, Nis, Belgrade, Munich

The one day I got up early to see the Domspatzen they were having a guest  choir from Ukraine.


TRRA Terminal Railroad Assoc

The American Queen, a recreation of a classic ...

The American Queen, a recreation of a classic Mississippi riverboat, in front of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, MO, US. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis from the Riv...

The MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis from the Riverfront. Self-taken photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi ...

English: The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River under construction in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1874 or earlier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Does anyone know history of the Terminal Railroad Assoc TRAA of St. Louis? Owning only 12 miles of track, the TRRA is one of the shortest RR in the country and also one of the most profitabble. Trains are taken over the river after 11:00 PM. The Mississippi river. There is a staging yard in Dupo, Illinois and another at Compton Avenue in St. Louis. Trains are hooked together taken across the Mississippi and charged, when they are unhooked. Making it one of the most profitable railroads in the country. Trains then head to California and other points west.

The railroad was the brainchild of New York robber baron, Jay Gould  and was the result of a feud with the Wiggins Ferry Company. Before the Eads Bridge Wiggins hauled freight and passengers across the river for a nickel apiece. The delay in

English: An 1875 drawing of Eads Bridge by Cam...

English: An 1875 drawing of Eads Bridge by Camille N. Dry. Copyright has expired. From Pictorial St. Louis, the great metropolis of the Mississippi valley; a topographical survey drawn in perspective A.D. 1875, by Camille N. Dry; designed & edited by Rich. J. Compton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

building the bridge allowed Chicago to get a leg up over St. Louis and started a rivalry that continues to this day. Including the 1904 Worlds fair and 1893 Columbia World’s Exposition. Cardinals Cubs rivalry.

Ushering a vast period of economic and industrial growth known as the guided age including, a stock market crash, easy credit and free silver.

Inspiring the play War of Wealth

The bridge between Chicago and Rock Island, being the only way across the Mississippi, beating St Louis by twenty years.


English: Union Station and meeting of waters s...

English: Union Station and meeting of waters statue. Photo by poster in April 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Louis already had a Union Depot, but it could handle only fourteen trains daily, so Wiggins continued to prosper. Gould, still in control of the Wabash and Missouri Pacific roads, created a monopoly of trans-river movement so he could set the tariff for trains to cross. Responding to this “arbitrary,” as it was called, the Merchants Exchange organized an effort in 1886 to build a Merchants Bridge at Bissell’s Point to break the Eads monopoly and to operate competitive lines open to any operator.the_war_of_wealth_print-r4251880ef22349a392715c405900bfca_26gi_8byvr_324

Not to be outdone, Gould organized the Terminal Railroad Association in October of 1889. The TRRA consolidated freight terminals and Union Depot via Eads Bridge and the St. Louis tunnel. Wiggins Ferry had a strong competitor, as did the Merchants Bridge which opened the following year. The Merchants had problems connecting with freight lines, though, and offered no passenger service to Union Depot.2 After the Panic of 1893, Merchants was broke. The TRRA took over its debt and property August 13, regaining its monopoly over rail connections into St. Louis. The arbitrary continued into the twentieth century.

The TRRA used this “arbitrary” to set rates for freight entering or leaving the city by rail, so it had a direct impact on the cost of using St. Louis as a shipping terminal or warehousing center. It gave a certain impetus to businesses in Illinois, who chose to not pay extra overhead to bring goods into the city. It also provided a motive for businesses to relocate north or south of city, where it could ship goods without the heavy hand of the TRRA and its arbitrary.


Cupples Station attempted to remedy the problem for freight. After opening in 1891, Cupples handled most of the heavy wholesale trade in its warehouses (eighteen of them built over a thirteen-year period, ten of which remain) with its tunnel connections from the Eads Bridge via the TRRA. Some $200 million in freight passed through Cupples Station by the turn of the century. Some 93,000 trains entered and left St. Louis annually by the 1920s.

Cupples Station handled freight well enough, but travelers remained problematic. Union Depot opened in June, 1875, between 10th and 12th on Poplar, but was always restricted in capacity by a design that limited the number of trains it could handle. Its 52 daily scheduled arrivals and departures meant that it could not handle the volume from the day it opened.

The answer to the problem was a new rail station. When completed at 18th and Market in 1894, the new Union Station was the largest passenger station in the United States. It became a symbol of connection with the rest of the country for St. Louis travelers for eight decades. After World War II, train travel began declining. As air travel and expressways made trains seem old-fashioned and slow, rail travel and Union Station fell on hard times. Down to just six trains a day, Union Station closed on Halloween in 1978.

The St Louis tunnel still exists and is in use by the light rail metrolink and Amtrak for passenger train to Chicago  as the Union station which reopened in 1984.The TRRA now sends freight of the MacArthur bridge, which has been closed to cars for years. Also known as the merchants or free bridge.

A new bridge will open over the Mississippi River next year, 2014. The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge

images imgres accessed 8/29/13 accessed 8/29/13