Sunday, May 30, 2010

Waiting at the gas station

After displaying a fine example of our young people's creativity (the
twenty-something uses of pretzels), let's get serious.

Union University sign has been displayed through three countries:
Germany, the Czech Republic, and now Poland.

We have seen some water in the fields -- a reminder of the recent
floods in these parts -- Eastern Moravia, and southern Poland. All the
rivers are very swollen and ready to jump out of their banks.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone.

Making time pass faster...

Waiting for Karel our driver to fill up with gas... Robert and Brandy
are sharing a fun moment.

At the Jewish cemetery in Praskoles

Yes we did it! We trekked up the hill amidst wild flowers to the
Jewish cemetery and our group stands at the entrance.

Hint hint!!! Parents loved ones travelers -- I know that our travelers
would love to see your comments. You may post them!

Last night the shoppers became macadamers and vice versa. It is
amazing how much ground our young people have covered in Prague and I
am encouraging them to share their experiences on the blog. There is a
wide diversity of experiences and we have climbed the seven hills of
Prague, bought just about all the garnet available, eaten under the
protection of Prague's friendly Golem, and taken in all the street
mime music and theater available. Macadamers and shoppers will happily
merge in Krakow's Hall of cloths tomorrow and Tuesday.

We are at the Polish border now and the rain has stopped. We are
waiting while the driver is buying the transportation card.

Saturday and Sunday

While we are two-thirds of the way from Prague to Krakow, I can update
this blog. Technology is so amazing! It is raining but mild.

Yesterday morning we traveled to Flossenbuerg concentration camp,
Germany's fourth largest. The picture is of our party (those I could
catch). They are standing on the platform above the "valley of death"
where executions took place and bodies were cremated. In the
background is the chapel of peace, the first Holocaust memorial in
Germany, built in 1946. To its left, nestled in the trees, is the
Jewish memorial built in 1996.

After our visit, and after a flat tire (a new experience for all of
us!) we visited Horovice's Church of the Czech Brethern which used to
be a synagogue before the Holocaust, and also it's cemetery -- I will
add a group picture in a minute. It is raining fully now; the other
Dr. Carls is chomping on Czech sour gummy worms (globalization never
ceases to amaze me!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

At the Pinkas Synagogue

This is our group about to enter the Pinkas Synagogue where the names
of eighty thousand Jewish victims from Prague and the surrounding
areas are calligraphied on the walls. It took the artist two years to
complete her work!

Yesterday was driving day. We left Berlin in the rain, stopped in
Dresden in the rain, crossed the mountains, and arrived at Terezin in
the sunshine. We spent an emotional afternoon visiting the camp and
fortress - no photos for me.

Today we got our religion in! This picture is of some of our
"macadamers" under the great rose of the St Vitus cathedral. We had a
great visit of the royal castle then six intrepid ones climbed
Prague's "Eiffek Tower." I guess they wanted to feel closer to the
heavens while admiring the breathtaking view. Climbing all these steps
is a form of pennance, so yours truly abstained.

This morning we spent several hours getting acquainted with the Jewish
quarter, and this will be the second photo that I will post today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

True group picture!

Today, finally, I was able to get a group picture. I am not sure
whether it is the one I took. If I am in the picture (I cannot tell,
my screen is too small) then Sasha our guide took the picture. We are
standing in front of the Charlottenburg Palace upon our return from
the Haus Der Wannsee Konferenz, just before visiting the Kaiser
Wilhelm Memorial Church with its spectacular Chartres blue stained
glass windows and honeycombed concrete exterior.

This morning we visited the permanent exhibit at the Topography of
Terror Museum (which opened pn May 7) and the Resistance Memorial,
before having a picnic on Wannsee Lake, before visiting the villa. So,
another full day where we completed our introduction to the political
setting of the Holocaust.

The weather was sunny and nice. Tomorrow, it will rain over Berlin,
but we will be on our way to Prague, safely traveling by coach.

Two more things: our group is comprised of "the shoppers" and of "the
macadamers." the latter group does not mind hitting the pavement in
search of Berlin's hidden cultural treasures, while the former does
not mind leaving the pavement for the elevated flooring of shopping
malls and specialty stores. Thus tonight eight macadamers found
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's grave in a cemetery one hundred feet from our
hotel (along with the graves of Hegel, Fichte, Anna seghers, Brecht,
and Marcuse and, to my great delight, the Huguenot cemetery of Berlin).

One last thing: I incorrectly identified the young woman climbing down
the Reichstag Dome: she is Shannon, not Anna. My apologies!

I am most proud of our travelers: they are bonding, and really taking
care of each other! You can be very proud of them too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First group picture

In front of the Brandenburg Gate this morning. If you cannot see all
the travelers, blame the other Dr. Carls. He got in the way...


Climbing the Reichstag cupola

Chase and Anna climbing down...

Transportation in Berlin

We have tried several modes of transportation already - tram, bus,
walking (lots and lots!) but none as daring as the Berlin bike. Our
five daredevils circled the Brandenburg Gate at noon today, in front
of the US Embassy. I wonder what the security officers were thinking.

Among other things, today we visited the Reichstag and sat in the
plenary chamber, then climbed the dome. Then we visited the Jewish
museum. It was cold and windy but no rain. Another well spent day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dinner at gugelhof

We arrived in Berlin safe and are eating a gourmet meal at historic
gugelhof restaurant. Greetings from all 22 travelers. ACC

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Good morning. This is Dr. Stephen Carls on the eve of our departure.
Check the blog often for trip updates.