Ancient Near East
I know things are a little hot there right now, but if you ever get the chance I recommend a visit to the cradle of ancient civilization. Mesopotamia. Including the ancient states of Sumer, Akkad and Babylon. Modern Iraq. Significant expeditions have been led over the years by various institutions and artifacts are on display at major art museums throughout the world. A good alternative given the political situation there now.
- University Museum.Philadelphia. http://www.penn.museum/long-term-exhibits/iraq-s-ancient-past.html date accessed 11/12/13
- University of Cincinnati. Department of Classics
- University of Chicago. Oriental Institute. http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/as/as6.html date accessed 11/12/13
- Louvre, Paris: Standard of Ur, Stele of Narum-sin, Law code of Hamurabi, Sargon of Akkad
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Ashurnasirpal II
- British Museum, London: Layard excevator of Nineveh and Nimrud, Assysia, Leonard Woolley
- Berlin Museum: Ishtar Gate of Babylon
- Ancient Near East 101: Akkadian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Near East 101: Ancient Egyptian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/meru/hd_meru.htm date accessed 9/18/14
- http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/diyala-project date accessed 9/18/4
Kallmunz was a village north of Regensburg on the Naab river a left bank tributary of the Danube, where Kandinsky lived a short time in 1904 during his formative period.
Napoleon was hospitalized at the Karthauspruell abbey after being wounded at Regensburg in 1809.
Kloster Pruefening west of Regensburg has the largest Roman cemetery in Germany.
Things about Germany that are German
- Max Beckmann
- Wasily Kandinsky-Bauhaus Desau
- German Expressionism
- Black Forest tort
- Beer and hundreds of kinds of sausages
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Empire. Sitting on the border with Slovenia in northeastern Italy, it was annexed by Italy after WWI.
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.
- Eshnunna Statuettes, Eshnunna, Iraq, 2700 BCE (17green.wordpress.com)
- Regensburg – An awesome tourist city in Bavaria, Germany (dianaabend.wordpress.com)
- Short trip to …. Lake Garda (joanaslittleworld.wordpress.com)
- We decided to go to Turkey for Christmas, Germany 1977-8 (mrted57.wordpress.com)
- Productions of the World: Lisbon, Portugal (resourcemagonline.com)
I spent a year abroad in Germany 1977-8
Morocco and Spain (NASA, International Space Station, 12/31/11) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
- US ‘bugged Merkel’s phone from 2002’ (bbc.co.uk)
- We decided to go to Turkey for Christmas, Germany 1977-8 (mrted57.wordpress.com)
- AP United States History-America in WWII Part 3 (fasttracktohistory.wordpress.com)
- Angela Merkel Tells Obama: NSA is Like the Stasi (rinf.com)
We are on the third week of our honeymoon. We crossed the Allenby bridge over the Jordan River to enter Israel. The customs was intense. They even took our shoes and magazines. They gave the shoes back, but kept the magazines. Our destination was the ancient city of Jerusalem. Israel is a country of 8,500 sq mi. The climate here is low 70’s and dry in June. Some places have air conditioning.
We found a nice hotel with a nice patio porch outside the Damascus gate. They had a nice breakfast. The food situation is still Middle Eastern, but with a twist. Many restaurants are small, privately held with three or four tables only. We are staying near the Arab quarter.
I will relate two coincidences. We met a man, who had a nephew who owned the Falafel House a restaurant in Clifton in Cincinnati. I met this man and talked to him before our trip. We also met an Armenian at a souvenir shop in the old city. He told us his name Karagesian meant black eyebrows. Bedukian a famous flavor chemist is also Armenian.
We know some Karagesians, he said they were related. The old city is divided into four quarters Armenian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim. The language of Israel is Ivrit or modern Hebrew. Arabic and English are also widely spoken. Known as Palestine it was a British mandate and before that part of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Sacked by Roman general, later emperor, Titus in 70 ad, destroying the second temple. Site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On medieval maps Jerusalem was considered the center of the earth.
Six churches share custody of the Christian relics.
- Armenian http://youtu.be/BsFtF8aTL1c
- Abyssinian http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/encyc01.html?term=Abyssinia%20and%20the%20Abyssinian%20Church
- Coptic https://sites.google.com/site/copticorthodoxjerusalem/our-church-in-jerusalem
- Assyrian-Syriac Chaldean
- The Russians and protestants got there too late
There are many religious sites in Jerusalem including the Mount of olives, site of the Last supper(Cenacle), Golden Gate, Solomon’s stables, Absalom’s tomb and the Western Wall.
We followed the Stations of the cross. Culminating at the church of the Holy sepulchre on Golgotha. The Aedicule shows the place of the burial of Christ.
Way of sorrows via Dolorosa we had trouble finding the sixth station. A man had to show us were it was. I t was hidden inside of the Ethiopian church
Here are some things we bought, an olive wood creche. A bible with an olive wood cover. A book form the British & Foreign Bible Society describing 900 languages, one of my favorite books. We went to the Hadassah medical center at Mount Scopus to see the Chagall windows. We couldn’t get in, unlike Peru they weren’t friendly at all. If you missed it by ten minutes that’s just tough, come back tomorrow.
Dome of the rock is one the Temple mount. Also the Al-Aqsa mosque site of the assassination of Abdullah the grandfather of the King of Jordan in 1951.
Stopped for a Gin tonic at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was so good after walking in the hot sun all day. We had two, even at $3.00. Worth every penny. It even had ice and a whole bottle of tonic, apiece. Next time we’re definitely staying here.
We visited the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron. The burial site of Sarah, Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac. We also saw Rachel’s tomb it is right by a bus sop in Jerusalem.
Bethlehem The birthplace of Jesus. We met a man outside the Church of the Nativity. He showed me a hand illuminated bible written in Syriac ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ and told us the sad history of his church. He invited us to come back and visit him in the winter at Christmas. The start of the Crimean was over custody of the keys to this church. The entrance to the church is a half-door to keep the Turkish from riding their horses into the church.
Milk Grotto, this is where Mary and Joseph are said to have stopped during the Flight to Egypt. Quite a day for an old Sunday school teacher/ http://www.syrianchurch.org/
It is impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. It was warm enough for me to go swimming, however. The Dead sea is 400 m below sea level. En gedi and Bersheba are near by. http://www.bibleplaces.com/engedi.htm
We spent the night at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv TLV, before returning home in the morning. We weren’t allowed to leave the airport because of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, which started that day June, 6 1982. We had to sleep on the chairs in the airport. This is the airport serving Israel.
- How many languages are spoken on Earth?
- What is you favorite book of the Bible?
- When is the last time you went to Church?
Egypt has been in the news a lot lately. That’s where Katie and I went on our honeymoon.
I had wanted to go to Egypt, ever since I had taken a class in ancient art at Vanderbilt. We studied the art of ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, Including the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of Egypt.
We flew from Cincinnati to New York Kennedy airport JFK. Margaret was still living in New York. We were looking for Margaret at the airport everyone sounded like Margaret. We flew on TWA to Egypt. When we told the stewardesses that we were on our honeymoon, they bought us a bottle of champagne. We really appreciated that.
My Greek friend from Regensburg had been to see the pyramids and told me how great they were. If you live in Athens with the Parthenon that’s quite an endorsement.
Athens We didn’t stay long in the airport in Athens, but I did want a cup of coffee. I had some change from other trips I had taken. I asked the man what kind of money they took. He replied, sir we take any kind of money you have! With that KT and I started a list of funny things people said to us on the trip. Another man came running up to us at the airport shouting, are you strange here?
The plane made a scheduled stop in Athens ATH then on to Cairo CAI. We cleared customs and passport control. Unlike Europe they really look at your documents here. You have to buy a $2 cultural stamp to aid the reconstruction of Abu Simbel even though weren’t going there. We got in at night. We took a taxi from the airport downtown.
With the help of a tout we found the Hotel Tulip. What a dump! The bathrooms were the worst. I hear it has improved. You still can’t beat the location, though. I think it cost $6 a night. KT held that over my head for years. Right in downtown Cairo at Midan Talaat Harb, not far from Tahrir Square. Tahrir square isn’t a square at all. It’s a traffic circle with a large pedestrian walkway. Even then they were using a computer for check in at the hotel. Common now but not in 1982. Most places were still using those little cards.
Athough it means third war in Arabic Talaat Harb was a person. He set up the Bank of Egypt in the 1930’s.
Travel in the middle East is not as easy as in Europe. You are marked as a take from the beginning. Kids follow you around asking for bakshish–money.
Cairo We began our walking tour of Cairo with Garden City the embassy district. We learned the Arabic word for notebook, daftar they also use the French word or bloc-note. I need one to record my photographs. They have all kinds of interesting shops here, including dentists and prosthetic arms. We saw a really old jar of Tang in a window. The company I worked for at the time made an ingredient for Tang.Even then the banks were protected by machine gun nests.
That night we went to the island on the Nile. It is very hard walking around here because of the traffic. Went to the Nile Hilton for a beer. The food situation is very interesting. We have been eating a lot of falafel and chicken. Even though it is hot here, we have to keep covered up with long pants and long-sleeved shirts because of the sun. It is fun walking around and looking at things, because it is so different from home. The farther South you go the hotter it gets. Thirty in Cairo, forty in Luxor, even hotter in the Sudan.
We saw the Mamluk treasures including the Mosque of Ibn Tulun and Sultan Hassan madrassa, near the Citidel of Cairo. One thing we missed which I wanted to see was the Coptic or Christian sites of Cairo. We just ran out of time. http://www.touregypt.net/cairo/cairoold.htm
Not far from Tahrir square are the headquarters of the Arab League and the American University of Cairo. The AUC has a wonderful press to purchase books in English and Arabic.
Even though I studied Arabic at Regensburg, I can’t understand anyone here. Arabic is a digloss and the vernacular is impossible. It’s a completely different language. I studied modern standard Arabic or MSA.
The Egyptian museum was one of the highlights of the trip. Mummy of king Tut. It is full of antiquities. It was not far from our hotel.
Luxor الأقصر or ancient Thebes is the home of the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and many other things such as the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut. The fifth pharaoh of the eighteen dynasty (New Kingdom) of Egypt. Wife of Tutmoses II, often considered one of the most successful pharaohs of Egypt and the first woman of history, even older than Cleopatra. She ruled 27 years in her own right after her husband’s death until usurped bby her son Tutmoses III. She lived 1550 bc. Her tomb was being excavated by the archeology society of Poland at Deir al-Bahri. One of the highlights of the trip for us. We had the whole place to ourselves.KT got her picture taken with the mummy for a dollar.
The Nile is fantastic and fits right in with my love of rivers. Like the Rhine the Nile flows from south to north. Luxor is in Upper Egypt, that is the south. Very important in ancient Egyptian history. The source of the Nile was unknown for centuries. It is one of the world’s largest rivers. Longer than the Mississippi.
There is no set fare for the ferry here. Everyday we paid half what we paid the day before and no one ever complained. We never saw what the Egyptians paid. You cannot drink the water or swim in the Nile for fear of contracting schistosomiasis. A waterborne disease carried by snails. Treatment is difficult. It is a tropical disease affecting over 120 million people, mostly in Africa and Brazil. It’s nothing to be taken lightly.
You have to cross the Nile by boat to get to the side with the monuments. We rented bicycles to get around. We rode our bikes by the Colossi of Memnon just like the 150 years old painting in the art museum in Saint Louis they haven’t changed a bit. Erected 1350 BC they are the first things you see on the way to the Valley of the Kings. We have to be more careful KT is getting sick from the sun.
Medinet Habu and Karnak are one the right bank of the Nile they can be explored in the evening. There is also a nice museum in Luxor. Small but not as cluttered as the National Museum in Cairo.
We saw the famous Winter Palace Hotel. For people who come by boat from Cairo, the boat docks right there. the people get right off and enjoy a cold drink before sightseeing. We should have done that too. We are trying too hard to save money. It is our honeymoon after all.
We are staying at the Hotel Luxor. We learned or lesson in Cairo, we looked at the room first this time. After exploring Luxor for a few days, we headed south. The train made a stop in the interesting town of Kom Ombo. The farthest south we made it was Aswan.
When we returned to Cairo we stayed at a hotel near the al Azhar University. The second hotel was much better. There was some kind of festival going on. It may have been Eid, the end of Ramadan.
We left Lima for Caracas, Venezuela. The plane made a stop in Bogotá BOG, Columbia El Dorado International one of the busiest airports in the world. Another high plateau with more samples of coffee. It’s really popular and all the countries compete with each other. I’m sorry but Columbia beats Brazil hands down. Katie remembered the beautiful emeralds they had for sale there. We would visit Cartagena on another trip.
Caracas CCS only 15 miles from the coast sits at the top of a high cliff. Fifteen miles at an altitude of 2200m It seems like the drive from the airport is straight up. We are back on the Atlantic side now. We are visiting Belgian friends who had transferred from Cincinnati. Jean-Pierre was with Procter & Gamble. They had a new baby. The baby’s name was Lucie. At 18 mos she was just learning to talk, French. She was a Belgian baby being raised in Venezuela. All she could say was qui, qui, qui or who? She is very cute. We stayed with them at their apartment. It was very nice. It was a high-rise. It is hot in Caracas.
Jean-Pierre had to work but on the weekend he took us to the German colony of Colonia Tovar. The original settlers from the Black forest in 1843. The efficient Germans were quickly isolated and kicked out of town to form their own colony by the people of Caracas. One day Dominique drove us to visit the faculty of chemistry at Ciudad University. The Capitolio is a small gold domed building downtown.
Well, the most important thing to know about Caracas is that it is the birthplace of the great liberator, Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of South America. He was raised in Caracas by his nursemaid Hipolita. During the Napoleonic Wars Spain was occupied by France. One by one, Bolivar picked off the Latin American colonies winning them independence. In sixth grade I wrote an oil company pamphlet asking people to come to work in Caracas.
Jean-Pierre is an excellent host. He gave us some gifts. Locally grown cocoa. two bottles of Polar, a local beer and a small reed bow and arrow. Use by the natives to shoot and poison frogs. He also gave me samples of the local coins and currency.