British Isles Accents

I came across this video recently which I thought was interesting. Lois and I both mentioned that as we traveled across these areas that we could tell a difference in accents. Not that we could necessarily figure out where they were from, but that they were distinctly different. It would be interesting to see the US mapped like this!

httpv://youtu.be/-8mzWkuOxz8

Europe Trip 2012 Links

In case you haven’t read them all and want to start at the beginning, or you’ve been reading since the beginning, but it’s taken me so long to blog that you’ve forgotten most of it, here’s a list of the links to our trip. 🙂

May-June 2012

Part 1 – Scotland

Part 2 – England, Lake District

Part 3 – England; Yorkshire

Part 4 – London

Part 5 – England in a Day

Part 6 – Wales

Part 7 – Ireland A

Part 8 – Ireland B

Part 9 – Ireland C

Part 10 – Ireland D

Part 11 – Poland & Friends

Part 12 – Krakow [FINAL]

Part 12 – Krakow [FINAL]

Krakow is one of the oldest Polish cities and the brick and mortar of the city was largely was untouched by the Nazis during their takeover. The Nazis used this as their headquarters. It also became the site of a very large concentration camp. We ladies took a trip down to visit this area. Lolita came with us and Lavern blessed us by making all of our lodging arrangements for us.

We took an older train south to Krakow leaving very early on Monday morning. It was fairly crowded and did we ever rock on!! Literally. As I said it was an older train but it traveled at the speed of the newer trains so because it wasn’t built for those speeds, it bumped back and forth every time it got over a certain speed. It was quite a bit cheaper but on the way home we knew we’d be tired so we took a better train with private compartments. It worked out well because we really were  pretty much worn out by the trip coming back! 🙂

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[train on return trip]

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[Polish countryside]

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Our first plan for the day was catching a bus to the Auschwitz concentration camp. There are 2 sites to this large camp. The one site has many buildings which had been a military training camp for the Polish army. The Nazis took this over as well as adding a site several miles away where the masses of people were trained into.

I’m not going to add much information on this. This is the second concentration camp I’ve seen and it is hard to put into words, well, actually, it’s hard to even comprehend a smidgen of what happened in these camps. It is just as hard to put into words what visiting a place like this does to you.

You can read more at the Auschwitz website.

[One way in. No way out alive.]

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[latrines]

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[bunk house]

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This next set of pictures are from the site that had been the Polish army compound previous to Nazi takeover.

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[a sign of false promises over the entrance below: works makes free]

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Items from prisoners

[prayer shawls]

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[suitcases & shoes]

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[eyeglasses]

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[prostheses]

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While Jews were the main target, they were not the only ones imprisoned and killed.

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We stayed a cool European apartment in the old town. I forgot to take any pictures of the apartment. Lolita had hoped to have us eat at a restaurant they’ve eaten at before but we couldn’t get in.  We found a Georgian restaurant.

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I had some kind of chicken dish smothered with mushrooms and cheese. It was delicious!

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We wondered around the square for a while, chatting and de-compressing after the nearly overwhelming evil depicted at the camps.

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I went all paparazzi on them (I can’t remember what started it) and even though they aren’t good pictures technically, is a good shot of what is right and good in life.

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The second day we visited some salt mine. In Wales, we descended into the slate mines via a tiny car. In the salt mines we walked down wooden steps. Down, down, down. There were lots of other people touring this day and surprisingly it didn’t feel claustrophobic.

Some of the rooms of the salt mine were huge!

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This mine is around 900 years old.

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Because salt is good and not harmful to the lungs, working down here could be considered therapeutic! In fact, there is a sanatorium for people with asthma & allergy problems 300-400 ft. down.

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This is a small restaurant deep down in the mine.

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Here’s a closeup of the chandelier. All of the “crystal” are made of salt.

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We went into an undground cathedral. See the 3-D Bible scenes carved into the salt walls …..

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When leaving we went through a large room used for formal occasions including concerts. We were funneled down into a small room. This was probably the most claustrophobic room of all. While we were waiting for our turn to ride the elevator up, they brought a lady through who was having a panic attack. They took her to the front of the line. When we finally made it to our turn, we discovered they “squished” the cages full before sending them. It was so funny! There was us 5 ladies, an older couple, and 2 cute guys who looked Italian. The doors swing in so whoever was in front of them had to squish into the group to close it. Thankfully, it really was cage so we could see out, kinda, and there was plenty of air. We giggled our way to the top and the others in the cage with us were laughing too. When we got to the top, the exit door opened on the opposite side of the cage from the entrance door. The look on Lita’s face was priceless when she realized she would have to “squish” into us for the door to swing open. So squish we did and as we walked out through the groups of people waiting to go down, we were still laughing. I’m sure they were wondering what in the world was so humorous about a salt mine!

There is much more to Krakow than just salt mines and a concentration camp. We didn’t have time to see much else. There is a castle which had been the residence of kings for centuries …

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And we saw the bus of the soccer team from the Netherlands. They were probably doing a little sightseeing before the Euro Cup in Warsaw.

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One of the first days were were in Poland we visited a local market. Peonies were starting to bloom and I was delighted to buy a big bunch for everyone to enjoy at Lavern & Lita’s house. This was taken about 4:30 AM on the Monday when we left to go to Krakow. I think I was still sleeping, even if my eyes are open.

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This is the conclusion of the trip. At long last I’ve gotten it all posted, even though there are many stories and details un-posted. I hope you have enjoyed following along, despite the way it has dragged out!!!

Part 11 – Poland & Friends

The final leg of our trip was Poland. Adding it on to our trip added little cost compared to what it would cost to fly from US to Poland. It is with the EU so the flight from Ireland to Poland was considered a domestic flight. Our flights cost about $1100 US. We flew into Glasgow, Scotland. A few weeks later we had a flight from Dublin, Ireland to Warsaw, Poland, and then from Warsaw back to the states.

Our purpose in going to Poland was to spend time with friends. Sightseeing was on the list but not the priority. It was a great way to end the trip. We stayed with Laverne, Lolita and family. Lita grew up in the same church that I did until I was 10. I’m a few years older so though I haven’t seen her much in the last 30 years, it only took 2 minutes to see she is a “kindred spirit” as Anne of GG would say.

They welcomed us with open arms and we made ourselves at home. 🙂 Totally!

Carolyn stayed across the road with Anita. I’ve kinda “known” Anita through the blogging world so it was delightful to actually meet her in real life. The other teachers, Matt (a cousin – 3rd?) and Maria made us feel welcome as well.

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I guess I only got a picture of their whole family when they were singing. They sing beautifully! Their daughters did a “What a Wonderful World” puppet song a la Louis Armstrong and we four travelers did a skit based on our travel experiences, greatly exaggerating everything. 🙂

We made supper for them one evening, a Mexican style meal, with Fiesta Lime Chicken, rice, re-fried beans, etc. I was grateful for Anita’s help at the grocery store. Otherwise, there’s no telling what we might’ve ended up eating. After all, the picture on the box doesn’t guarantee that’s what’s inside. It may be an ingredient for the final product. I can’t remember who this story happened to, but we know of someone who emigrated to the US years ago. They were delighted to find a can of fried chicken on the shelf. Imagine their shock and disappointment when they found shortening instead!!

Another evening we singles were together and solved the world’s problems. Imagine that!!

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Backing up a little … when we flew into Warsaw, Lita braved the city driving and came to pick us up. She did well and we only had to circle the block maybe once?

We started with lunch at the Gessler Restaurant. It was a unique experience!!! I wish I had pictures of the open kitchen. Here are  few pictures.

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Most of us ordered the special, which gave a bigger variety of Polish flavors. We started with a horseradish soup ^that was very tasty!!

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The restaurant itself is unique because it had been an apartment building and they opened some of it up and turned it into a restaurant.

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In looking for information on it online, I’m not seeing much. In fact, on trip advisor, from several different contributors, I’m seeing that it either moved or closed. Bummer.

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We went to Piłsudski Square, the largest city square and a good place to stretch the legs while experiencing Warsaw.

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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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And beautiful gardens …

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One of the days, Anita, Carolyn, Ruby & I took the train back into Warsaw for a closer look.

I joked that we ate our way around Warsaw. It was kind of true!!

We started out at E. Wedel, a place with chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

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We discussed many issues including singleness (is that a word?). And I we daintily sipped chocolate drinks that were exquisite. Think candy bar/hot chocolate drink in an elegant setting. There were many different combinations and this, I believe, was a chocolate caramel variety.

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We ate a Polish meal later in a touristy area.

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Pierogies!!!

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We stopped for dessert late afternoon in a coffee shop. I totally forgot to get pictures there.

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It was  a bit of a rainy day, which was good because there were fewer tourists around. It was also bad because we had to dodge showers and outside vendors were closed down.

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The flowers were gorgeous!

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The architecture beautiful!

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Apartment buildings nestled in a corner of the city.

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The presidential palace:

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Poland was gearing up to host the Europe Cup the week after we were there, so there was some activity and excitement in the city. I believe it was the first time Poland has ever hosted it which made it an even bigger deal for them!

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At some point we trained past the stadium.

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More of Poland coming soon!

Part 10 – Ireland D

The last part of our trip we spent in Dublin, Ireland with Gabriel & Jenn and their adorable babies. I didn’t know Jenn very well before, even though she grew up in the south, only 4 hours from where I live. And I hadn’t met Gabriel before this trip. They opened their home up and just made us feel so welcome! And we hadn’t had little children around much so it was treat to spend time with them too!

[Carolyn reading them stories]

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I had been emailing Jenn before the trip to get some ideas of what were some highlights to see and do in Ireland. Several suggestions she had included Dingle Peninsula and the  Bunratty Castle.

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There was a beautiful walled park near their apartment, and we spent a bit of time there.

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We made time to take their family pictures.

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Too bad you can’t see Carolyn who was doing some very funny things to keep their attention on me and the camera! 🙂

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Isn’t she just a doll! 🙂

We enjoyed a meal on their back veranda. Another evening we played a couple of (verbally energetic) games of Clue. 🙂

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A beautiful rose on her veranda.

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One afternoon Jenn joined us on a trip into the city. We caught a bus and went first to Trinity College.

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This is also where the Book of Kells is located. We all opted to not tour it. I kind of wish now I would’ve. Like I said earlier, after you tour so many places in such a short amount of time, you get to the place where you can’t take in much more. And you have to decide where you want to spend your money because most places cost to get in.

Jenn took us to some fun shopping spots. Unfortunately I had long since quit taking notes of things so some details are a little sketchy by now. I can’t remember the really cool store we shopped in that also had a bakery/restaurant in the lower level. Jenn, if you read this, can you help me out?? 🙂 We also walked to a cathedral but again, opted not to tour it. And I forget which one. I did get a picture of a celtic cross, though. 🙂 You know when you have this visual that you want to capture or create?

Well, I had one involving a Celtic cross and a sunset.

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Yup. You’re right. It didn’t happen.

This was not sunset, and I had to shoot through a wrought iron fence to get this one, thus leaving me one option in the use of available light. Yeah, it could be worse. Like glaring mid-day light.

They also took us to their favorite place on the edge of the city, high up a hill and in the country, kind of, overlooking the city.

Yeah, no. I either didn’t get any pictures of that either or I accidentally deleted them.

In all of our penny-pinching travel, we had not made time in Ireland for pub food. We’d heard lots about it, and about halfway into our trip I said we mustn’t forget to do that. I would be most disappointed if we missed the chance. Gabriel and Jenn took us to one near their place that they had a carvery lunch. This is kind of a buffet. You choose a meat and whatever sides you want to go with it.

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That was delicious even though you might not think so looking at this picture!  There is roast beef underneath. The mashed potatoes which they call something different (Irish mash??) are at 1 o’clock. The orange strips are rutabagas (I think).  There’s stuffing from 9 to 11 o’clock, and cauliflower at 7 o’clock and above 6 o’clock.  The carrots are obvious. I don’t think I need to tell you their time. Have I thoroughly confused you yet? O yeah. All times noted on plate are in Dublin time. har har

Gabriel had helped Lois return our rental car to the agency so when it was time to leave, it was a trip to the airport to leave for….

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Coming up next.