Pegontheroad in eastern Europe

Old Jul 28th, 2015, 01:18 AM
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have a great trip, lauren. I've never done a home -exchange - I'd be interested in finding out how you organised it?

looking forward to reading about your trip!
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 06:40 AM
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Lauren: Your trip sounds great. I don't suppose I'll ever do a home exchange. I mean, who wants to come to Spokane?
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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is that Spokane WA, peg? [no, I'm not a genius, I had to google it]

looking at the map, there are loads of national parks nearby, and Seattle is just an hour's flight away.

sounds great!
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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Okay, I'm going to finish the last part of this if it kills me. I just listened to another section of my little recorder and picked up the word "private enterprise" as the best word to explain why Poland changed so much and so fast after the break-away from Soviet control. I previously used the expression "self-determination," but the phrase that came to me immediately after my discussion with Stash was "private enterprise." I think that's the very expression he used.

Stash, the owner of the Radio Cafe, was a journalist who'd spent a lot of time in Canada and the U.S. He gave me a book he had written entitled "Israel: An American Catastrophe," and asked for comments on it. I read a couple of chapters but got a bit hung up. It's very hard to comment on a book written by someone you know.

Anyway, I enjoyed meeting him and hearing his ideas and experiences.

The next day I realized I'd lost little mending kit with the tiny scissors, my curling iron and my round brush, probably at Ketrzyn. I was really disgusted with myself as set off to replace them. I found a brush easily but had to go to the big shopping center behind the train station to buy a European curling iron. The old one had been a perfect curling iron because it was cheap and therefore very lightweight.

In order to cross the street I had to go into an underground passage and thence to the shopping center. That was not a big problem at first, but when I finished my shopping and tried to go back to my hotel, I was totally lost. I could see the Palace of Science and Culture wherever I went and using it as my guide, I located the street on which I was walking but I couldn't read the map well enough to get back to the hotel.

Note to self: Take your compass with you EVERY TIME you leave the hotel in the future! I wandered around, finally stopping at a Starbucks to rest my feet, then started off again and walked for a long time. Then I saw that Starbucks AGAIN! I'd walked in a circle. Or rather, in a square.

I swallowed my pride and asked a taxi driver if he could head me in the right direction. He asked if I wanted a ride. "Yes!" I screamed internally.

I was very tired from all that d@mned walking and spent most of the day in my room, with dinner being a Caesar salad in the hotel coffee shop. I was thoroughly disgusted because I'd planned on visiting the Museum on the History of Polish Jews.

I have to go work at a funeral reception, so I'll finish later. (Yes, I'm a "church lady."
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Peg, I've been out of the country for a while so am just catching up on your trip report, it is really great. I get a lot of inspiration by all the traveling you do.

You didn't mention this, so wasn't sure you were aware of the film "The Singing Revolution" which was a documentary that came out about 9 years ago about that event. It is wonderful, I saw it in the theater and also managed to find it on TV once so have it on my DVR. I think you'd enjoy it. I know you can also get it on Netflix. Here's a review of it
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/14/mo...revo.html?_r=0

YOu can also buy a copy on Amazon, of course, but it's a bit pricey
http://www.amazon.com/The-Singing-Re.../dp/B001CQS7M4

I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 01:46 PM
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PEG, still here.

"I am fascinated by the book about Poland that PatrickLondon recommended ..." Title? I must have missed it.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 02:45 PM
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Christina: I bought "The Singing Revolution" at the Museum of the Occupations in Tallinn. I really enjoyed reading it and would love to see the film. I'll find it on Netflix. Thank you so much for telling me about the availability of the film on Netflix.

I just wish there were books like this one on Latvia and Lithuania.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 06:22 PM
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"Putin's buddies who had wanted to go through Poland to Berlin so that they could celebrate the Soviet Union's triumph over the Nazis in 1945. "

Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad and
The Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery in St. Petersburg,
and Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow
were educational and moving.
The suffering of Russian people from tzarist times , through the Revolution, Stalinist purges, two World Wars, the Cold War, internal oppression and propaganda,
has been epic.
In the short time I was in the country, the Russians I encountered went out of their way to be helpful.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 07:43 AM
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Loving your trip report, Peg -- what a spirit of adventure you have! Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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Latedaytraveler: The book is "Heart of Europe: the Past in Poland's present," by Norman Davies.

Danon: I agree that the people I met went out of their way to be helpful. Also that the Russians have suffered--for centuries, really. And they, in turn, or their rulers, whether they be Tsars or the ruling clique during the Soviet time, or Putin and his allies have caused others to suffer.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 08:31 AM
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We could name many rulers ( elected ones as well) who have caused
others to suffer... be it by supporting oppressive regimes, arming the side they prefer, exploiting resources, abandoning their allies ...

Interestingly enough, in the Museum of the Contemprary History in Moscow
( mostly in Russian and for domestic consumption), there was no mention of the Warsow Pact and Russian
,de facto ,occupation of Eastern Europe since the War.
Just something about cooperation and keeping ties with EE countries. Not a word about the Berlin Wall...
There was quite a bit of information on " perestroika " , Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 09:34 AM
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Re: compass. The day bags I buy from REI have a place inside to attach things. My compass and tiny flashlight just got moved to their fourth bag. However, now I have a smart phone, and a T-Mobile pckage for traveling, I'm using that even instead of maps. (Although I still carry maps for when the phone doesn't work!)
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 05:12 AM
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Hi PEG,

Thank you for the title "Heart of Europe: the Past in Poland's present," by Norman Davies.

I just started watching THE SINGING REVOLUTION which I got at the local library - very moving....
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 10:09 AM
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I picked up a booklet at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia that explains some of the negative long-term effects of the Soviet occupation of Latvia. I assume that Estonia and Lithuania also suffered some, if not all, of these effects on the economy, agriculture, and environment.

In addition to these consequences, Latvians have also suffered debilitating demographic and social effects.

It's interesting that while Germany has gone a long way to make amends for the crimes of Nazi Germany, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has not done so.
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 10:56 AM
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I would not equate crimes committed by Nazi Germany ( in which many
citizens of Baltic countries and Ukraine were willing executioners) with
Russian economic and political occupation of Eastern Europe.
Communist leaders of East Germany, Poland and other members of the Warsow
Pact worked hand in hand with Soviet masters in oppressing and persecution their own people.
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 11:35 AM
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I was looking for a good history of Poland a few years ago and couldn't find one I liked. I have on my Amazon wishlist the two volumes by Davies (God's Playground: the History of Poland), but they are pretty thick and I haven't gotten around to getting them yet. My library doesn't have them. Anyone read these?

The only Polish history book I have is that fictionalized thing by Michener (Poland: a novel) and I'm not a big fan of historical fiction as you never know what is real and what isn't, even though sometimes it is more readable.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 04:49 AM
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My blog is chock full of information on how to do a home exchange. Look here for the main post on that:

http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/...-exchange.html

For my currently running blog on my week in Paris, look here:

http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/...-exchange.html
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 04:51 AM
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Sorry, I copied the same link twice and should have looked more closely before posting. The current blog on Paris--where I will be until August 6th is here:

http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/...gust-2015.html
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 08:57 AM
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Your posts on your Paris blog don't have anything to do with this subject, I think your posting your URL everywhere is advertising because you want hits on your website (or just an audience).
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 10:11 AM
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Even though I am not finished with this interminable trip report, I wanted to add that I've investigated train travel from Berlin to Warsaw with the idea of returning to Warsaw next year. The trip takes less than six hours, and the train station is very close to the Polonia Palace hotel, where I stayed when I was here in June, and where I'll stay when I return next summer.

There are just sights I wanted to see that I wasn't able to fit in the days I'd allotted in June. I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to visit the Museum to the History of Polish Jews, and I also want to visit the Jewish cemetery, and the Warsaw Rising Museum. I would also like to spend some time in the Old Town square, which looks lovely.

There's also some interesting socialist-realist architecture that I would like to have a look at.

I didn't really see the area of the former Jewish ghetto, nor did I see the fragment of the wall which yet remains.

Looking at this list of things I didn't see makes me wonder what I did see. I know that I need to organize better, probably make generous use of taxis, and get in better shape so that I have more stamina.
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