A Sad Tale of Two Persons Traveling

(I’ll get to the picture of the enormous airplane in a bit.)

It began when Mike called our hotel clerk to find out which terminal we should go to for our, “Delta connection” And she said, “Go to the regular Delta domestic connection.”

A bad start for a Holiday; when we arrived at Delta we needed the International Terminal! So dragging our luggage, up the escalator, down the walkways, on to a tram- and finally to check-in.

After a single glass of good wine we dragged our luggage through the passport control.

Now, look at the plane picture in the beginning. Mike had reserved us window an isle seats- but we were given a three-seater row instead. And I have a window obsession. He ended up in the middle seat and had paid more for the extra leg room-?? There were two-seaters across the aisle from our seats. It turned out they were backed up to a wall with no windows because they were up against a kitchen, so now opportunity to switch seats. A lovely stewardess, because of a take-off delay, gave me a tour and told me this was the end of the 767-7000 plane because the smaller planes are more spacious, comfortable, and economical to maintain.

 

Looking at the picture above we were in the row of the three brown seats in the front of the plane. And the two-seaters on the sides of us had no windows because the kitchen walls impeded their views. So it wouldn’t help switching.

The stewardess also showed me the first class… and I was not impressed. (Giant sea shells like pods) But maybe the food was good!

I was thankful for the many bathrooms she showed me around. The only exercise I had for this thirteen hour flight was using it frequently, sometimes with a book.

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Baltic States IV

Pure joy for Mike today!   We’re off to meet with 2 of the winemakers he had emailed long before our trip began. Both their vineyards  were near Kandava, Latvia.

Kaspars Sunins 16+ year old  vineyard (his wife the wine maker) were not producing this year but we got a vineyard tour.

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Their winery.

The second winery, Abaxas Vineyards, owned by Martins and  Liene Barkans, was open and the tasting plus discussion about  good and bad problems from the winemakers was excellent.

While they talked about viticulture and aging,  I went to the car and read my book….it’s not fun to be the designated driver…but I’ll make it up tonight at dinner!

Then off to Cesis, Latvia  for a wonderful 13th century castle.

Cesis Center

 

With no GPS, the smaller towns are easier: find the Old Town Center and follow the people.

It was certainly smaller than Riga’s (Baltic State III) and far less crowded .When we ate dinner here later, a gentleman was playing the guitar and different women came to sing with him.

Our drive through town ended with the Hotel Cesis…and there we stayed.

-hotel-cesis

This building maintained its 100+ old dignity both inside and out although  it did update the amenities. The dining room was regal with many windows overlooking the park beyond.  After lunch we explored the park and were delighted to find remains of the “old” 13th century castle.

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Walking further, we saw reconstructed 13th and 14th  buildings. The following picture gives a better overhead view of what we found.

Cesis Castle, Latvia

Our hotel, upper left, orange roof, was very convenient to everything.  Also, free parking. We continued to  explore the site.

In 1236, the Pope, after the battle of Saule, incorporated the survivors into the “Livonian province of the Teutonic Order” in the 13th century. It became the strongest military organization in present day Latvia and Estonia. (These may have been descendants of the Knights’ Templar.?) From the 13th to the 16th century the Teutonic Knights reconstructed this Castle. But a shadow fell in 1558….Tsar Ivan the Terrible declared war on them and the subsequent history is both bloody and brave…..

Cesis Castle, #2

This recent picture of the castle shows the continuing restoration.  The newer walking bridge is just above the original (rocks and boulders) and hovers over the original moat. (left side, big rocks) with a newer walking bridge above.

Now, on to Tartu, Estonia,  the university town. There was a big fire here in 1755 so most of the city is “new”.

Barkley Hotel, Tartu

 

 

 

We drove to the Barclay  Hotel, stopped and stayed. We got a balcony room which over looked one of the many parks and was ideally located for walking. We loved the hotel, except for the shower- the water was not “contained” and we walked on wet towels! (Who designed this atrocity?!)

The hotel was built in 1912, forfeited to Soviet headquarters in 1944 and became this hotel in- 1995.

Tartu kissing coupleThis statue of a “Kissing Couple” was our favorite in the town square- a definite sign of the university city!

Later we walked through the university campus and found the Tartu Cathedral ruins adjoined to the back of the university library.

Tartu Cathedral ruins

Astounding that the university kept and maintained what had gone of long before. This 370 year old university is the undisputed intellectual center of the country, and 370 year most prestigious seat of learning in the Baltics.

The next day we took a ferry over to Peke’s winery, restaurant and hotel on Muhu island for dinner and overnight.

Dinner was lamb, roasted underground all day- with a multitude of excellent wines.

Photo209Mike is sitting and wine maker Peke is standing. (Aspirin needed before bed)

The next day we were driving to catch the ferry back to Tallinn when whoops—

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Although we had a rental with Lativa plates our being American upped the ante from 20 Euros to 160 Euros!

Finally arrived at Tallinn. Mike, still   driving, goes through the old town to our hotel the wrong way through the pedestrian streets, (Sunday crowded- hazardous to everyone’s life and limb- he pulled into a “no parking” spot and says, “We’re here!”) And we were in front of our hotel, the Merchant’s House.

 

Merchants house hotelAnd then we started touring. Our concierge told us that since it was Sunday afternoon, most of the crowds would return to their ships very soon.

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Tsar Alexander III ordered this Cathedral  named after the Duke Alexander Nevsky (1219-1263) who had defeated the Livonian Knights in 1242. Many Estonians disliked it as a symbol of the “Russification” policies. As a tourist and unaware of their political viewpoints, I saw this massive building looking down on the crowded square and very narrow streets below, and also looking out beyond to its livelihood :the shipping trade and visiting ocean linerson the Baltic Sea. A conundrum. But it is colorful.

 

Our hotel had a lovely private courtyard  and we had our lunch delivered there.

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Reenergized, we walked the many pedestrian streets particularly noting the restructuring and widening of some. Around 7pm we entered the major square and found a restaurant.

Town Hall Square in Old Medieval Hansa Tallinn, Estonia

Much less crowded now- but most of the restaurants  were busy. Our roasted lamb was  delicious.

Excellent breakfast in our hotels basement “Cave”. Two hundred years, old-heavy stone walls and floor but wonderful atmosphere!

Our concierge arranged our ferry tickets to Helsinki for tomorrow and our car rental return today. Wonderful assistance!

Walking through the city, we came to Toompea castle at the very top.

toompea

Although now home to Estonia’s Parliament, for over 700 years it belonged to various occupying foreign powers. Except for the towers, the most interesting site (for me) were the original defense walls down below. You can see through one straight ahead between two of the towers.

That afternoon we toured the vineyard of winemaker Jaak Eensolu who produced some excellent wines. My tour was short lived- driven back to the car by various bugs!

Our 4 hour ferry to Helsinki was beautiful….after we found our way up the 10  floors to Deck 10…the open area on the stern and the beautiful Baltic Sea!

Arrived at our reserved lovely Hotel Rivoli Jardine shortly and the assistance of very professional Concierges. Our last meal in Helsinki was near their beautiful port….and this is what we saw…..

07/24/2016

Helsinki Port

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Baltic States III

Riga, Latvia

Today we were leaving Vilnius, Lithuania and we had loved it! But just one more castle first.

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Mike was not happy and yelled “Where’s the &%$# wine cellar????”.  This was a 13th century defense castle…but that didn’t matter to him.

On to Riga, Latvia and the Garden Place Hotel. I had reserved 2 rooms, 3 months earlier for us and  our “exchange” student Kate and husband Tom.

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Part of the reason I choose this hotel was the lovely outdoor courtyard where people meet and greet and sip something while doing so.

hotel-garden-palace, courtyard

Bit of an argument with the Registrar when checking in. “No”, he said, “all rooms with balconies are rented. Let’s see what’s left.”  I said “the manager”.  “…This is our policy…” I said “the manager  now.”  He called…and then said “we can offer a suite for the same price and a room with windows with a view to your companions.”  After checking the rooms, I asked him to thank the manager for honoring our reservations.

Since Tom and Kate are two educators with 2 kids, time was short, and they were arriving at 9 PM. So Mike and I strolled the Old Town looking for a restaurant. This one was typical of the many within walking distance.Typital dining in Riga

And I am glad we didn’t stop!  On our return it was packed with students singing “fight songs” at another large group across the street…and they, of course, returned the favor.

Our guests arrived and we spent hours on the lovely patio, catching up. The next morning we decided to tour this beautiful Old Town and headed to the river.

Riga Town

Looking around, you can see much of the Old Town, including the Cathedral and Daugava River.

When the city walls were torn down (mid 19 century), the space was divided into a ring of avenues and parks and most of the remaining area became pedestrian.

This is the Swedish gate- The soul survivor of the eight gates. It was built in 1698.Part of Riga town walkwaythe front wall and archway were the original and the remaining walls rebuilt into apartments  and shops, keeping  the rough, stone streets.

Finally, when our feet (ours not theirs) gave out, we stopped for lunch.

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Mike is grimacing because he had to share his larger portion of wine with Tom.  Being energized by food and wine, we headed off to explore the collection of “Art Nouveau” buildings which UNESCO recognized  as “Unparalleled anywhere in the world.” And they were!

 

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This Art Nouveau building was my favorite (and there were many). It could use a little make-up  but I loved the windows  and “kid” noise coming from the tunnel down front. Most buildings were apartments.

Photo194I used this picture to show the difference between the structures: the first was on what was designated the “quiet zone” with limited street traffic and the second, although lovely, was on a busy street…and that’s what all those beautiful balconies overlooked.

When the city removed the major part of the fortress, starting with the riverside and including the Old Town, they added parks and walking areas.

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It included walking and biking trails, part of the river, benches and beauty, and a quiet escape from a somewhat noisy city center!

That night we ate in the cellar of an Italian restaurant  and moved up to the walkway patio to finish our wine.  Since Kate and Tom were leaving tomorrow for home, kids and jobs, we made the most of our time together!

christian-kober-al-fresco-dining-at-night-in-square-of-traditional-buildings-old-town-latvia

“Al-fresco dining at night in the square” This shows just one of the many patio dining areas. The next day we only had the morning to finish the tour.  And there it was…only 2 blocks from the hotel.

Riga Old Town

And this was the Center.  On the left the, Cathedral,  and on the right the beautiful House of  Blackheads originally built in 1334 for the city’s guilds. (They obviously revered their workers.) Apparently the name came from their patron..who was depicted as a Moor.  Since they were mostly unmarried foreign merchants and the sole occupants of this building, they had riotous parties.(??)

The Dutch Renaissance façade was added in the 1500’s.

A bit sad that it was time for them to catch their flight back to Antwerp, we clinked our wine glasses together.

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Mike and I look a little down……but maybe it’s just the exhaustion of trying to keep up with them!

 

 

 

 

07/09/2016

Baltic States IIII  coming soon!

 

 

 

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Masada

MasadaMasada! One of the oldest and most glorious places I have ever seen. We saw the classic, Roman buildings from the 1st century BC on the very top of this 6,ooo year old Chacolithic Period site. Today it is crammed with people from all over the world coming to see and visualize our past as a people. And perhaps to learn from it.

This archaeological site tops the rock mountain at 1,300 feet above the Dead Sea. The ancient Roman fortress, built by Herod the Great in 31BC , became the 20th century symbol of Jewish heroism. UNESCO World Heritage Status evolved in 2001.

Cable Cars

There are two ways to travel to the top: walking the Snake path (curvy, stony, and hot), or taking the Cable Car. Easy decision! You can see the top of the Snake beneath the cars. Obviously the structures were build around the mountain rim for protection. The center plateau was used for farming and cattle/sheep raising. For this water was essential but scarce.

Calidarium

Herod had water chambers dug around the bottom of the mountain with channels catching and carrying the rainfall into the cisterns. Then donkeys were used to haul the water to cisterns at the top. Now, with aquaducts and sufficient water, Herod created a bathhouse complex.

Masada3

The water was heated, passed through pipes into the saunas and eventually funneled into the swimming pool. Incredible.

This Hanging Palace, a 3-terraced structure, was Herod’s personal quarters. If you look closely there appear to be three giant steps down the mountain side. And there are. The top level holds the throne room that opened out to a courtyard. On the back wall behind the throne, we were able to see faded wall paintings. These were the original drawings and it was magic to stand there visualizing the artist working on them. The second terrace contained the meeting/conference quarters, while the third level was the family living area.

SynagogueThe incredible discovery that this synagogue, presumed to be the oldest in the world, has ties to the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The skeleton excavation so far sheds light on this ancient House of Worship. Standing at the edge of Harod’s courtyard, we could just see the Dead Sea beyond and the salt mounds that pepper it. Makes me hungry.

Dead Sea

Leaving Masada we prioritized our needs as air conditioning, food and wine. While driving along the Dead Sea, a surprise Las Vegas appears. A compound of large hotels and restaurants situated along the shore.

Dead Sea2Shortly we sat in a lovely, cool restaurant, drinking wine and watching the beach activity. Mobs of people, young, old and families plunged in and out of the warm water and lounged under roofed cabanas. Apparently there are wonderful health benefits from swimming in this super-saturated salt water.

Ein Gedi Kubbutz3

Ein Geddi Kubbutz

 

 

We checked into Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel about mid-afternoon. This family styled hotel was located about a half mile up the mountain.

 

And this was the view we had from ourback patio.

Ein Gedi Kubbutz2

 

 

 

 

 

They closed our wonderful pool at 5:30 so everyone would make a timely arrival the family-style dinner buffet (which closed at 8).

While walking to the dining hall, the lowering sun began its slide toward the Dead Sea.

 

And tomorrow we have but an hour’s drive till we reach Jerusalem.

Jerusalem1

Tel Aviv: the new Face of Israel

Tel Aviv3

Arriving at 5pm in Tel Aviv, through Security and into a rental car, we dashed to our reserved Lusky Suites Hotel with the sun-lit Mediterranean Sea and the promenade viewed from our balcony.

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Tel Aviv was created in 1909, when the Jewish National Fund purchased land among the dunes north of the old Arab port of Jaffa and named it Tel Aviv “Hill of the Spring”.

While not a beautiful city in its self, its rebel but friendly attitude and vitality are most appealing. Dinner that evening, overlooking the Mediterranean shore, was alive with people of all ages and many cultures, walking, sitting but most of all, socializing, along the promenade.

With only 2 days here, we planned the first for a walkabout of the Bauhaus buildings which received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. This was a pre-Nazi German architectural style of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The over 4000 Bauhaus buildings have earned Tel Aviv the nickname “The White City”.

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As an architectural form, the buildings are based on functionality rather than glamor but the elongated balconies and rounded corners vastly appealed to me. Some of them are sensually appealing and I wanted to run my hand over them.

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THEN OFF TO JAFFA, one of the most beautiful ancient sea ports in the world! According to to the Bible, Jaffa was built after the great flood by Noah’s son Japheth.Old Jaffa

Remains have been unearthed dating back to the 20th century BC ,  establishing this site as one of the world’s oldest ports. After a decline in 1948, it revived as a center for arts, crafts and dinning. We can vouch for the food, sea view,  salty breeze and the beautiful antiquity of this ancient site.

We found the Visitors Center on the main plaza just in time for the “English” tour of the “Underground” . Down one level was a museum with many relics: statues, working implements, part of a fishing boat and the like from hundreds/thousands of years ago, all excavated from from this site. Our guide told us who used them and when. Unbelievable.  How many cultures passed through and left their mark??

Old Jaffa2Two stories down we found the on-going excavation of a Greek village. The stairs took us down-and-around  the walls and room of a typically ancient house opening to a section of the forum and a water well. The excavators were not the least bothered by our passage. The guide said they had many more levels planned for digging. (That’s probably why the workers were smiling!)

At the end of the tour,  we were led to an enormous circular viewing screen. A marvelous 3-D video of the history of Jaffa was presented. I wanted to see it again but our guide said another group was entering and another language would be used. (Dam)

Hot and tired, we headed back to our hotel. Later we walked to an outside Kosher restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea  and sipped an excellent wine.

Tel Aviv

07/20/2013

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Armenia now, after the Soviet Union Implosion

Armenia now , after the Soviet Union  Implosion

When Armenia and Georgia  were mentioned as  possible wine trips….my response was “I’m not Excited.” (I went and researched them on a World Map and was less enthusiastic to see they abutted the Caucasus Mountains with the Russians on the other side.) Then Mike mentioned the discovery of  a viable “ 6000 year old Cradle of Wine cave “ …..and I was hooked.

Yerevan

This picture (yes, we went) of Yerevan, Armenia, backed by the beautiful Mount Ararat (initially Armenian owned but now belongs to Turkey), dominates the landscape. On your left notice the drooping  cross arms….enfolded by angel wings which became the Christian symbol for both Armenia and Georgia since the 4rd century. Saint Nino, a 4th century female evangelist and miracle healer, formed her cross with grape branches and bound the arms with her hair.

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Over time the arms dropped, but the symbol continued.

As we drove into Yerevan,

we were surprised to see the

downtown lit up by the lights on

the Noy Brandy Factory.

6936186117_8283e07986.jpg Noy Brandy FactoryShortly after, we approached the Ararat Brandy Factory. Obviously this was a day time photo, I couldn’t find a night shot.

5383583993_69c2ff6da0_z.jpgArarat Brandy Factory

I looked at Mike and said, wine??? he said, “It will all become clear.” When the Soviet Union took over 90 years earlier, the Armenians had to adapt their fully developed vineyards and wineries to the Soviet tastes: sweet-heavy duty Brandy.

Their brandy was highly regarded by Winston Churchill (who preferred it to the French).  That said, Armenia produces some wonderful wines, particularly from a grape variety that can hold its own with the world’s best: the ancient, indigenous variety Areni. (If you want to find it in the U.S., seek an Armenian grocery market).

 

Yerevan Armenia

We chose the B.W. Congress because it centered the city and was good for walking tours. Our suite was on the top floor, left front corner with a balcony that overlooked the city and park.

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This picture I took looking down over the pedestrian area. Those squared Soviet-constructed buildings in the  distance were under renovation for Armenian businesses.

Yerevan Hotel Pool

Breakfast overlooking our lovely pool. (Except it was too early in the season and had no water.) We then joined up with our remarkable guide/translator for sites and wineries. Armenia is a country of ancient monasteries and churches.  St. Hripsime was the first.

Church Hripsime 2

We were followed into the parking lot by a herd of sheep being ushered up the church’s roadway to a pasture beyond. Many curious and noisy ewes…..and messy. We had to watch our steps to the church door.

St. Hripsime was a refugee nun from Rome in the 3rd century. The Bishop tried to rape her and she was killed. It seems he had her buried under the front portico of the church. He left instructions to be buried beside her when he died. (Some of these sites were going to be interesting!)

Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin

Forth century Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity. The history says  St. Gregory the “Illuminator” saw a vision of Christ descending to the ground and striking the earth 3 times. Clouds and fire arose from these sites. Holy Mother Ejmiatsin Cathedral, pictured here was the first. It was built over a 4th century pagan church, one wall which they incorporated into the Cathedral. Looking closely at the picture, it’s easy to see the newest addition of the entrance. The older sections were built in the 5, 15, 16, and 17th centuries. Stone wears well!

Our guide told us that this was a most important and revered site for the Armenia people. And it looked like it….many people were respectfully coming and going, lighting candles and praying.

Armenia is a country of many mountains but few forests so almost all structures are built with stone. (Hmmm, 2 thousand years and still standing…..got to be a message here.)

geghard_monastery

Historically, Geghard Monastery, 4th century, was initiated by Christian/Syrians who crossed the mountains and began excavations at this site. Many individual caves were dug into the mountain for independent living and worship. (Looking at the picture it’s clear more monks arrived and additions, churches and cooking especially, developed.)

In 923 the site was plundered by Nast from Azerobaijan who wanted to use it for the conversion of the Christians to Islam. After that it declined until the 12th century. Then there was a revival of Monastery building that reactivated reconstruction.

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The main Cathedral was built in 1215, below ground level. In the following picture you will see the enormous pillars, an oculus at the top for light and air, and be able to hear (if visiting) the fantastic acoustics.

Geghard Monastery Armenia

Standing by a pillar, I whispered to Mike “Do you know where the facilities are?”   A good distance away, the guard by the entrance said “The first left turn past the pillar for the bathrooms.” Embarrassing.

 

 

There were individual caves you could climb into (carefully) and visualize how these monks chose to live their lives. Disappointing that I could find no information on WHY  they chose to isolate themselves here.

Our marvelous guide arranged a lunch at a small hotel in the nearby mountain.

Garni TempleExcellent meal and fantastic view of the Garni  Temple across the Azat River. This is Armenia ’s only Graeco-Roman 1st century pagan temple. The structure was mostly destroyed in the great earthquake of 1679 but restored in 1969.  Looking closely, you can tell the original stones from the replacements. Hard not to stab yourself in the mouth when looking at a view like this!

Coffee and off to visit 2 prearranged wineries.

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A wine tasting at the Areni Wine Factory. Our translator smoothly got us through the introductions, oversight and tasting with the winemaker, who, thankfully, had chosen 3 wines for us to sample.

Since I was the driver,  tasting  limited,  looking at all the wine bottles….it was very tempting. The hospitality was wonderful.

The second winery used all organically grown and processed grapes paired with the organic cheeses made by the  winemaker’s wife. He is breaking new ground and entering the new “artisan” markets. His success won’t be from luck!

The following picture happened just before we left Armenia and entered Georgia.

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Nothing like having someone back into our car and rip off the front bumper (the white stuff on the ground).

To be continued in GEORGIA

07/28/2014

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EARLIER: THE BEGINNING

Stone Porch Inn, Evanston Illinois.

 

This was our planned Murray clan meeting place. Mike and I flew in from LA while brother Frank and his wife Sally drove in from Gross Point Woods. And timely that we met in the garage—Frank had to move his SUV over so we could fit our normal rental car in the space. Settling into our rooms we agreed on a dinner time and “The Discussion” that would come with it.

And this is where we stayed.

This was the view as we came walking out of the house….eat your heart out….

Tom, our senior Murray was in a Senior Center Care place and we had arranged to meet the next day for lunch at Affresco Pizzeria and Lounge. Having contacted Tom’s daughter Suzanne, earlier, Mike and I asked her to arrange for a table: Inside if foul weather and outside if fair conditions. “And all was go”.

Being chilly out about 8 of us managed to fit at table a: the food and drinks were excellent. After a glass of wine (or 2) talking and laughter abounded. My brother Tom was sitting next to me and he slid over a large envelope, “Read later, I tried to compile information on the Feuerbachers so you can write the history”.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Because you spent your weekends at the Feuerbacher’s home during your time at Fontbonne University and learned more about them as they aged”. He was right. Flora Place was mom’s childhood home in St. Louis, Missouri. And Fontbonne University was not far away.

—This next section was taken from a news article written about the history of the Southern Commercial Bank and its founders—One of whom was Frank Feuerbacher….our grandfather.

In the years following the Civil War, several Carondelet-area banks were organized and failed. In 1891, however, Southern Commercial Bank was founded. Rooted in the values of its immigrant, working class founders, it thrived. For a hundred years, Southern Commercial has played a vital role in the stability of the South Side of St. Louis.

More than any other individual, German-American John Krauss was the inspiration and organizer of this Carondelet institution.

“Krauss then invested his profits and energies in local interests including the Carondelet Zinc Works. Carondelet Flour Mill, and Klausmann Brewery. When Klausmann Brewery faltered, Krauss bought it to protect his interests. Under his management the brewery grew multifold. After twelve years, he sold it to an English brewing syndicate for $650,000.

In 1891 Krauss became the first president of the Southern Commercial Bank. When John Krauss died in 1897, there was an interim president until Frank W. Feuerbacher took office in 1898. Frank Feuerbacher, John Krauss’ son-in-law, was stepson and adopted son of the German-American brewer, Max Feuerbacher. Four years later he married Caroline Krauss.

In later picture above see Frank and Caroline. (The above photo was taken with state of the art photography technology at the time.)

Under Frank Feuerbacher’s leadership, Southern Commercial Bank entered a period of rapid growth. By 1904 the bank had outgrown its original storefront and moved to larger quarters at 7203, South Broadway. Only two years later, President Feuerbacher announced the growing institution needed larger quarters. Southern Commercial constructed a new bank building at 7201 South Broadway.

Late in Frank Feuerbacher’s tenure, in 1922, Southern Commercial Bank was one of the first state banks to join the Federal Reserve system. Arthur Henry Feuerbacher succeeded his brother as president of the bank in 1928.

In 1930, as banks across the nation faltered, conservative Southern Commercial Bank was able to celebrate its steady growth by Opening its current stone and brick building on South Broadway.

*Courtesy of NiNi Harris, “A HISTORY OF CARONDELET”

(You may receive a copy of “A HISTORY OF CARONDELET” at any Southern Commercial Bank location by making a $5.00 donation to The Carondelet Historical Society!)

 

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2 Families, intertwined, who saw the world differently

My first real memory of my grandparent’s home in Saint Louis Missouri, was traipsing down the basement stairs, slipping and sliding in my new patent leather shoes, at age 4. I was looking for, “Tommy the turtle” being the youngest grandchild we had at that time I had learned that he would allow me to tickle his neck.

This is the Frank Feuerbacher’s family.

The backrow center is Frank and his wife, Caroline Feuerbacher. And in the front row, is my mother Caroline with all that curly( red) hair. Originally there were 12 children, 4 sons had died already from childhood diseases that today are curable.

The background of this photo is the fireplace—much loved by my two brothers and me for the many Christmases we drove from Toledo to St. Louis to celebrate.

We arrived the day before the holiday mainly because my parents knew that the living room would be, “boarded up” for three days for the help to decorate and wrap presents…. allowing my brothers and a few male cousins to cascade down to the basement for entertainment—fastening long strings to the pipes overhead and setting fire to time their burn factor for the Winner. (Tommy the Turtle never came out)

One or two of my female cousins would join me in the top floor ballroom and we would drive around on very old, old, wooden scooters—sometimes bumping into each other. (But not as bad as the guys.)

On Christmas Day, after the destruction of the gift wrap , the living room was a shamble of torn paper—and we adjoined to the dining room.

The dining room was used daily with seating of up to 25 people. Frequently we played hide-and-seek in the darkened  and unused room….  any older family member who walked by hearing the noises, would just keep on walking and ignore it.

The following picture is the backyard with all four of us Murray kids, (must have been Sunday because of our clothes). My brother Tom is facing me, my brother Franky holds the head of our baby sister Veronica and: All are pushing on the old fashion footrest to move the swing back and forth but really trying to kick each other in the ankles, and did…

It was a large yard with a three car garage and a chauffeurs apartment. The marvelous garbage bin on one side faced the back alleyway for pick-up. The other side faced the yard and was used frequently by my brothers and several cousins during lengthy family visits… to shove each other in and sometimes did… (And did they smell at dinner!)

Since only four of grandfathers children married, producing three children in one family, two in another, and four in the Murray family. There were no more male decedents left as of two years ago.

The following picture is of Elizabeth Feuerbachers Ganss with her husband George and their three children: George Junior never married, his sister Betty in the picture is a Nun who survived the Church’s changes for the Nunneries, and daughter Carolyn who has five children.

Uncle Fred Feuerbacher had two children: Father Edward who became a Marvelous Parish Priest, and a daughter whom all are dead now.

And the end of the Frank Feuerbacher name and male legacy— but the female descendants carried on the family traditions.

Ohio to St. Luis is not a short drive but over the following years the Murray’s would make the trip or vice versa. Our maturation was quite different from out St. Luis cousins-vice verse- but we continued to meet and loved it.

The following three pictures might explain the differences.

The Feuerbachers had a “river house” and in this first picture you can even see a little bit of the river on the left. Immediately after the photograph both my brothers and I ran into the house to get our swim suits. And we went screaming down for the rope that out dad had helped us tie on a tree above the water. And one at a time leaped onto the rope and off into the river! All the other kids were forbidden- except Georgie (on my right side) he came running after- in his underwear!

Picture number 2 is a typical picnic planned by the Feuerbachers. All adults sitting in chairs with plates and silverware- and no children.

This was a picture of the grandchildren at grandpa’s house in St. Louis. All nicely dressed and controlled by two overseers- eating off of china plates. And using silverware and nary a smile in place.

All Murray children could swim by the time they could walk and also climb ropes and much much more. On our summer trips to grandpa Murray’s home our aunt Mary and avid swimmer would take the three of us Murray kids: Tom, Franky, and me out for canoe rides. The only condition was when we were close to the shore we would swim in- and dash loved it. The only repayment was to help pull the canoe ashore.

Now to include grandpa Murray’s family home in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

A very large house with four floors, including the reference/reading room at the very top- with an ocean view.

It was set in a large yard, frontal view of the Long Island Sound and two huge cannons facing the water. They were wonderful to climb up and down, and get pushed off of too. Originally they were built for defense against attacks along the Long Island Sound- but the attacks never came.

The circled part of the picture is the original house being smothered by the new campus buildings. So what did grandpa Murray do? He willed it to them after he died at the highest possible price.

Two Families, intertwined, who saw the world differently, and as they aged discovered the differences.

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Bournemouth: Staging for WW II

London

 

This picture shows London as we left it.  We crossed the 2nd  bridge (straight ahead) and it gives an overview of how far you had to drive to leave this marvelous city. Now for the relaxing influence of the rolling hills and the English Channel.

Bournemouth, with its unbroken sweep of sandy beach and overshadowing cliffs, was perfect.

Carfe Castle, Dorset, uk

 

On our way we caught a glimpse of the ruins of Carfe Castle. It was an 11th century  fortification and had sweeping views over the Channel. There is a fascinating history about its demise.

 

When we arrived in Bournemouth,  there were many hotels overlooking the beach, but only one really stood out: Hotel Menzies-Carlton.

 

 

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An elegant facility : originally a private home in 1861. Over time it became a luxury 5 star hotel and revamped the original suites into bedrooms and added a “lift” in 1911. We were assigned a lovely 2nd floor room with a large terrace overlooking the English Channel.

 

 

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Needing some exercise, we went for a cliff top  beach walk. The breeze was warm and the view magnificent. We decided not to climb down the 300 plus stairs to the beach today.

Bournemouth

The Pier has maintained much of its antiquity and one can almost see the thousands who came to Bournemouth to board the ocean liners at South-Hampton. Returning to our room, we noticed people swimming in the lovely pool (always a good sign) and an indoor-outdoor  hot-tub ( a better sign).

 

Photo063 A great way to unwind.

Later, entering the original 1860’s dining room, the smiling Matre’d checked our name and said “You may choose any free table and it will be assigned to you for the 2 day stay.” Naturally we took one overlooking the Channel. I noticed a crowd in the back of the restaurant and discovered they were “bus” people on packages  and had assigned tables. Afterward  Mike carried our unfinished wine through the elegant bar to the outside balcony.
The out side portion of bar

While we were enjoying the sunset, Mike mentioned that in 1944, Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery  stayed here to set up operational tactics for  the Normandy landings. Good chance they sat out here, with cigars and brandy, looking across the Channel to Normandy, discussing strategic moves for the Omaha Landing.

 

Good weather the next day  so we did go down the 300+ steps to the beach.  Walked out and around the old pier, peering into a new “Coffee Shop”, “Beer Pub” and “Hand-made Stuff” plus restaurants, boat and fishing facilities.

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Walking up the hill to this garden area,  we read this sign “This valley was created by ‘channeling’ the river”. You are looking down the hill to the Channel and the pier. On the left side, behind the trees, we had lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Sunburnt and tired, we ate at the hotel that evening.

Off to Wells the next morning, but our luck ran out in Yeovil. Mike hit a curb and the front tire tore: a big flapping hole!  On to a side street, remove luggage-“ But no Fkytrs spare tire~!” yelled Mike.

Photo064The catastrophe reversed when Isabella, an elderly woman  from the house overlooking our car, came  out offering coffee, tea and a bathroom.  Then Jamie, 40 and recovering from a job injury, came from across the street  carrying a jack.  Nothing in the rental trunk but a can of spray to inflate the tire!??!

Noon on Saturday and the stores close- but Jamie took Mike to a friend’s shop and he got a new tire.

All this took about 2 hours so we needed Isabella’s hospitality  and Jamie’s generous help.

What wonderful people!

And again,  on to Wells and our reserved Hotel Swan. Checked in and crossed the street to the hotel’s outside patio facing Wells Cathedral.

Wells Cathedral

This overwhelming structure was our view! Our lovely 600 year old Hotel Swan (chosen for its antiquity and location) gave us a great 4th floor room-with-a-view,  but had no elevator. Also they were repainting the outside, but thankfully not on the weekend.

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Looking out the window, I took this picture through the scaffolding,  to show both the Church and the patio.

 

Sunday morning coffee on the front terrace and people-watch. The Bells of Wells were serenading enticing many to head to the Cathedral.  And we followed.

 

Nave of Wells Cathedral

The sermon brief and the music wonderful! Afterward we strolled the grounds to a moat that surrounded “The Bishop’s Palace”

Lake Castle

The information said that these elaborate defense  walls were built to project wealth – and scare off future invaders.  Apparently it worked! Dinner that night at The Crown Pub on Main Street with 2 (slightly tipsy)  Irish gentlemen Singing folksongs. Very well done.

 

The next morning, off to Cheddar Gorge.

 

Cheddar Gorge1

An apt name for the village, wedged between  mountains, that made  and sold not only cheddar cheese, but all things cheddar:  cheddar beer, cheddar sweaters….   A delightfully touristy village.

Cheddar Gorge2

 

 

 

When we drove out,  there were people climbing the steep gorges. And on to Oxford.

 

We found our reserved and expensive MacDonald Randolph Hotel but no street parking or entrance (busses only) except for the $28.00  Valet service.

Randolph-Macdonald Hotel--Oxford

Elegant hotel but a very limited floor plan.  Small registration area (packed) and one small bar in front (packed).  Smoking outside front entrance only. Two elevators… but posted “under repair”.  So we lugged our luggage to the 4th floor. A mammoth dining room but only open at mealtimes but, no problem, we wanted to walk the city. And it was lovely. Classic  academic buildings and delightful alleyways with tiny shops and bars along the cobbled streets. We found a local pub with a patio over shadowed by classic academic structures.

t Red Lion Inn

There were many students, talking, reading or writing, but all eating. Some people our age eating…an even better sign. Later we did see the “Oxford Bridge of Signs”…. and it was beautiful. I was disappointed in the original background: an old and new building linked across the road. (I’m not sure about the “signs”….we didn’t see any. Must be a story there.)

Oxford college Bridge of Signs

The next morning we cancelled our 2nd night’s stay and requested a 2   o’clock check-out, and done! We toured several of the college campuses walking through the green courtyards. Students were scuttling from their dorms across the yards to the classrooms and vice versa. The tardy ones ran.

 

 

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This view of a downtown area shows how compacted Oxford  is. Classic buildings with Tudor and Dutch Gothic, among others, and many pedestrian  streets. The one off to your right was pedestrian only.

The elevators were working when we left. On to discover the Bull Hotel near Beaconsfield—only 20 miles from Heathrow and our departure flight tomorrow.

the Bull Hotel

And it was lovely. Nice room, great bar and restaurant with a beautiful garden out back. What a leisurely way to finish our stay in England. And what an extraordinary visit!

 

 

12/24/2014

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EARLIER: THE BEGINNING

Stone Porch Inn, Evanston Illinois.

This was our planned Murray clan meeting place. Mike and I flew in from LA while brother Frank and wife Sally drove in from Gross Point Woods. And timely that we met in the garage—Frank had to move his SUV over so we could fit our normal rental car in the space. Settling into our rooms we agreed on a diner time and “The Discussion” that would come with it.

And this is where we stayed.

This was the view as we came walking out of the house….eat your heart out….

Tom, our senior Murray was in a Senior Center Care place and we had arranged to meet the next day for lunch. Having contacted Tom’s daughter Suzanne, earlier, Mike and I asked her to arrange for a table: Inside if foul weather and outside if fair conditions. “And all was go”

Being chilly out about 8 of us managed to fit at table, the food and drinks were excellent. After a glass of wine (or 2) talking and laughter abounded. My brother Tom was sitting next to me and he slid over a large envelope, “Read later, I tried to compile information on the Feuerbachers so you can write the history”.

“Why me?” I asked.

“Because you spent your weekends at the Feuerbacher’s home during your time at Fontbonne University and learned more about them as they aged”. He was right. Flora Place was mom’s childhood home in St. Louis, Missouri.

—This next section was taken from a news article written about the history of the Southern Commercial Bank and its founders—One of whom was Frank Feuerbacher….our grandfather.

“In the years following the Civil War, several Carondelet-area banks were organized and failed. In 1891, however, Southern Commercial Bank was founded. Rooted in the values of its immigrant, working class founders, it thrived. For a hundred years, Southern Commercial has played a vital role in the stability of the South Side of St. Louis.

More than any other individual, German-American John Krauss was the inspiration and organizer of this Carondelet institution.

 

“Krauss then invested his profits and energies in local interests including the Carondelet Zinc Works. Carondelet Flour Mill, and Klausmann Brewery When Klausmann Brewery faltered, Krauss bought it to protect his interests. Under his management the brewery grew multifold. After twelve years, he sold it to an English brewing syndicate for $650,000.

In 1891 Krauss became the first president of the Southern Commercial Bank. When John Krauss died in 1897, there was an interim president until Frank W. Feuerbacher took office in 1898. Frank Feuerbacher, John Krauss’ son-in-law, was stepson and adopted son of the German-American brewer, Max Feuerbacher. Four years later he married Caroline Krauss.

In later picture above see Frank and Caroline. (The above photo was taken with state of the art photography technology at the time.)

Under Frank Feuerbacher’s leadership, Southern Commercial Bank entered a period of rapid growth. By 1904 the bank had outgrown its original storefront and moved to larger quarters at 7203, South Broadway. Only two years later, President Feuerbacher announced the growing institution needed larger quarters. Southern Commercial constructed a new bank building at 7201 South Broadway.

Late in Frank Feuerbacher’s tenure, in 1922, Southern Commercial Bank was one of the first state banks to join the Federal Reserve system. Arthur Henry Feuerbacher succeeded his brother as president of the bank in 1928.

In 1930, as banks across the nation faltered, conservative Southern Commercial Bank was able to celebrate its steady growth by Opening its current stone and brick building on South Broadway.”

*Courtesy of NiNi Harris, “A HISTORY OF CARONDELET”

(You may receive a copy of “A HISTORY OF CARONDELET” at any Southern Commercial Bank location by making a $5.00 donation to The Carondelet Historical Society!)

To be continued…

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China: Beijing

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I took this picture when plastered against the window, about 30 minutes before we landed.  (Probably over Manchuria) The fog and smog was about the same as flying into San Francisco. Happy to see our guide “Charlie” with a big sign “BOTWINS” after the 15 hour flights (albeit 1st class—using miles) and a bit wobbly from the food and wine on the long flight.

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By 8 PM we were checked in to this lovely Beijing Red Wall Garden Hotel. The rooms facing the courtyard were split level: living room and bath down stairs and bedroom up. I had to mention this because we learned to leave a light on below for when nature called after dark. (Mike’s OK, no broken bones.) But we did have a glass of Chinese rose winé (delicious!) in the courtyard before bed.

The next morning Charlie and our driver were picking us up at 10 AM for The Forbidden City. (He had wanted 8 AM, I wanted 11…so we compromised.)

Tiananmen Square Appropriate start at Tiananmen Square where the squashed “youth” revolt for Democracy happened in 1989. We bypassed seeing Mao’s frozen body arising from his Museum between 7 and 11 AM and then descending for refreezing. (A dead body, frozen or not, wasn’t one of our priorities.)

Gate of Divine Might

This was the enormous entrance to The Forbidden City….directly across from where Chinese youth protested for Democracy…. The Palace of Devine Might also is officially known as the Palace Museum, completed in 1420, and forms both the heart and center of the Chinese universe.

Hall of Supreme Harmony

This Hall of Supreme Harmony was the imperial court until the abdication of the emperor in 1912.  (Opened to the public in 1949)  It is the tallest building in The Hidden City and used by the emperor for major occasions. Inside this hall his throne sits under this spectacularly ornate ceiling. Tired, we ended our tour with the Imperial Garden.

Imperial Garden

This was the only picture I could find…but it was lush and green when we saw it. A quick lunch (I would have preferred a nap) but Beijing’s Courtyard Houses (hutongs) were quickly disappearing into tall buildings and businesses due to the rapid growth of a city with 20 million plus people. And the Hutongs expanded as in the following picture.

Courtyard in Nanchizi AreaCharlie had scheduled us for a rickshaw tour but we arrived to find nothing available!  Our excellent leader moved quickly and forced them to produce 2 drivers and rickshaws in ten minutes.  The service did….but the teenaged drivers were inexperienced and “yapped” at each other constantly, never pausing at an open doorway. At the end Mike paid the prearranged fee but NO TIP.  The kids stood there looking pissed…but I was furious. Loudly saying NO TIP…I pointed to one saying “Yap, Yap,Yap” then pointed to the other and said the same…then reversed it. NO TIP!  They understood.

Charlie made up for the kids’ immaturity by taking us to a nearby hutong of a friend. We entered her small courtyard and she waved us into her 2 room apartment. Family members also had rooms there and she pointed out 3 other doors. (We could have skipped the rickshaws altogether for the insight we got from seeing this!) Other hutongs.

Prince Xunis MansionThis was the original home of Prince Zunis and his family and  now has become government offices….but allows us to see the beauty of an original hutong courtyard.

Courtyard in Dajingchang Huton

This 2nd courtyard also shows space available but already has  “family rooms” built in…with probably more to come.

Courtyard in Doufuchi Hutong This hutong, shows the home security of the thick outside walls  with a small view of the single courtyard entrance just off the alleyway. Many hutongs, already owned by senior family members (or purchased by them) gradually expanded with additional building and adding family members….all within the large courtyards. Consequently a strong community spirit grew.

The next morning we were whisked off to The Great Wall of China.

Great Wall on moutain ridgeA symbol of China’s vulnerability, this wall covered several thousand miles. Originally just earthen ramparts, the wall was created only after China’s unification in 221-210 BC. Ultimately ineffective as it was breached by the Mongols in the 13th century and later by the Manchu. Today, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, select portions of the crumbling sections have been fully restored.

A great day for an hour and half drive through the mountains to walk on this great cultural site!

Great Wall on moutain ridge 2

We decided on the 10 minute cable car ride to the top, thinking the rest would be mostly down hill…HA! The picture above shows we arrived at the top but walked down to the next guard tower and up to the following tower…etc…..and THEN had to return the same way to the cable car.  Whew….but spectacular!

Later that evening we were reserved for the national food favorite at The Peking Duck, which is all they serve.  At first I was a little disturbed to see the salads (wrapped in plastic) on the table. Then a large cart with a steaming duck breast pulled alongside….and the wonderful odor obliterated everything else. We were supplied with pancakes, vegetables and sauce and the thin slices of duck….all folded into the thin pancakes and eaten.  And we did!

Hate to leave Beijing tomorrow but we are starting our wine tour.

8/23/2015

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