Friday, June 22, 2018

ECER, Day 3

At the end of the second day, we just made it to the Pantheon before it closed.

the Pantheon.

Pantheon Ceiling

The next day the Letts and some of the others said they missed me singing songs, but I told them dinner was just too late for us, and they said they didn't leave the place till after midnight. We were really glad we'd skipped it.

On the third day of the Congress, the host group usually takes everyone on a tour. Ours took us to the Palantine Hill and the Coliseum. Inija and I walked from our flat and headed south at the Arch of Constantine to meet the rest of the gang and head up the hill.
Walking around Rome is a pleasure.

 It's easy to see why and how Augustus and Livia turned this into the best neighborhood in town.

This ancient fountain is still working after thousands of years.

White building behind the ruins is a museum.

Still beautiful after thousands of years.

Stoned again.

Roman arch. Palantine hill walk was one of the most beautiful I've ever done. Inija and I logged over 12,000 steps [9.2 km].

Inija took this in the shade at the top of the Palantine Hill near Augustus and Livia's home
 [or as Mick informed me 'Chuck & Vera's.']
And while we were there, a group photo was taken:

I'm on the far left.
On the way down, roses were passed out to all the women and we made offerings to Vesta [goddess of the Hearth; her acolytes were also the keepers of legal documents and wills].
After the tour Inija & I made a trip to Coliseum and saw these on the way:
That's a live raven hanging out on the lamp post.
And a lovely rendition in chalk on the sidewalk of this master work.

Rome takes great pictures.
More soon!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Italy, Day 2

I'm speaking about Romuva in the US on the first day of Congress.

The 2nd day was presentations from all over Europe. 
Greek Proposition

Inija spoke about Romuva obtaining recognition as a 'religion' in Lithuania, and many other groups are working towards that in their countries.
Krive Inija

We were all supposed to go to a certain restaurant for dinner. The presentations were over around 5, but the reservation was for 9 pm. Inija and I were way too tired to go out to eat that late, so we went to a neighborhood restaurant. On our way out of the Palace, our host was talking with a man on our elevator whom he introduced as the owner of the place.
palace courtyard
Must be nice! 
Palace Walls

Palace Ceiling

Even More Ceiling

Palace Is the Building on the Far Left

One of My Favorite Rooms

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ECER in Italy

As I've come to suspect on Norwegian, the flight was uneventful and comfortable [considering it left three hours after its scheduled time.] At first, I was in the front row behind the bulkhead with plenty of legroom, but I don't like being squeezed into the seat and pulling the screen up and over. When I went to a restroom at the back of the plane, I noticed the penultimate row had only two seats and they were both empty! Asked the stewardess if I could move and she said, 'yes.' Now I was most comfortable. Only movie I watched, though, was "Rebel without a Cause."

It was actually a good thing my flight was delayed, since when I landed, Inija's flight was due in less than an hour, so I waited for her, and we took the shuttle together to Roma Termini. From there we walked to our fabulous apartment with the Aurelean walls across the street from our building. What a fabulous site. Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher who enjoyed arguing with himself [sound familiar?] I like the wall so much I decided to paint it.

It's a small painting, only 5 1/2 x 7 1/2. Only packed my small kit. Have to save weight for amber.

And we liked our courtyard so much, we took photos of each other. Inija was amazed hers received over 500 'likes.'

I'm just happy I finally figured out how to upload photos!

The European Congress of Ethnic Religions is always fun. The first day is when the groups introduce themselves and talk about what they've been doing for the past two years. The 2016 Congress was in Prague.  Our host group this year in Rome was the MTR [Movement Traditional Roma]. Here's how they felt:

Actually, there was a man there named Fabio who had just heard about the Congress and was only able to attend for the 1st day. When he's not in Italy, he lives in SF! He's the one who gave out the T-Shirt. Our site was unreal. It was held at the Palazza Colonnia in a palace.

That's Marcus Aurelius on top of the column.
All for now. Just glad I've started this.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thank Thor!

For some reason I have been unable to post on my blogs since I left the States. I'm at the airport in Stockholm and all is fine now. Off to Lithuania in a few hours and hope I can start the tale of my most recent travels
Shamanic circle on Palantine Hill in Rome

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Going Home

We didn’t have to rise too early, and the airport in Palanga is tiny and easy. We returned our rental vehicle [which was packed to the gills] and walked to Departures next door. It was also just as well that the amber museum and many of the shops were closed yesterday; our bags were already full. Since I combined my bags, we had an extra allowance for the painting Dan and Kim bought in Kaunas, but they did have to pay fees in Oslo to get it back to California.

We arrived in Oslo with at least a five hour layover. We wanted to check the bags and visit the city again, but check-in didn’t open until two hours before departure. I volunteered to relax at Starbuck’s while they went to Oslo for last looks. Since I had both carts of luggage within the Starbuck area, it was no problem to keep it company and to find various other patrons to watch it for me if I needed the nearby restroom. Coffee was 43 krona, and that was the exact amount of spare change Daniel had given me. That’s about $5 for a cup, but refills were FREE! I easily drank $5 worth while I enjoyed being on-line with my tablet and organizing photos. Time flew and before I knew it, the gang was back and we were on the plane back to Oakland.
View of glacial Greenland. Norwegian has the best windows on their ‘dreamliners.’

Flight was uneventful, and the three adults had the exit row on the right side of the plane. The landing, though, was something else. Apparently we were early, and our gate was unavailable. So we spun our wheels on the tarmac for at least 20 minutes before we pulled into the gate. Since we were row 7, we exited the plane fairly quickly only to find the door at the end of the gangway locked! Well, that took another 20-30 minutes. They had just opened a new baggage area, since Norwegian has become so popular they need a lot more space, but maybe the baggage handlers couldn’t find it, because it took almost an hour for our bags to show up! At that point, we just hugged goodbye and took off. I was happy to take BART back since an A’s game had just let out, and I hoped the Spatzes were able to beat the worst of the traffic. We had such a great time [even if that was the weirdest exit/baggage drama ever] that I’m going back to Scandinavia next June to explore Sweden for Summer solstice.

Thus endeth the saga of our Norwegian sojourn.
Good Yule everyone!

End note: Melissa tells me that the photo of me in one of the high seats will appear in the next issue of Witches’ Brew due out 1/10.

last night in Palanga

Had such a great time on the Couronian Spit that we didn’t reach Palanga till after 5 pm. At that point, many attractions were closed, but the Baltic Sea is always open.
Made it to our spectacular hotel room near the beach [ - we had the double apt. Room for family].

That’s our balcony above the entryway. Was hoping for a gorgeous sunset, but it was slightly overcast.
Path to the sea from our hotel.

Sunset on the beach.

Also known as ‘vakarene’ in Lithuanian.

Still the sky had some pink in it.

My friend, Gintare, the landlord’s daughter, is now engaged and studying hotel management in Amsterdam.
Daniel wanted to have a nice dinner on the beach, but Gintare and I just laughed. I said we’d be lucky to find decent pizza. I recommended The Muse, and our hosts chimed agreement. We had a lovely dinner in a charming restaurant above an art gallery in the center of town. We sat at a table in a bay window overlooking the main street. After dinner, we headed back for beach trips, drinks, packing, and baths. Although the tub was lovely and deep, it was so clean, it was very slippery, and I almost couldn’t get out of it!
But the view of the forest from the window was like a fairy tale.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Off to Palanga. Long but very pleasant drive to the coast. Listened to a very interesting sci-fi story that was on Dylan’s device which Daniel played through the car radio. Stopped at first roadhouse on the way for breakfast. Very little English spoken, but we managed to have kugelis, ceppelinai, and pancakes.

Orange chicken for Max, and real ground bean coffees. Bought some homemade cherry jam and chocolate-coated apple cheese.

Took the ferry from Klaipeda to the Couronian spit and drove to Juodkrante to explore ‘Raganu Kalnas’ the Hill of the Witches with over 80 carved wooden sculptures from mythology, folk-lore, and local color. Not ALL of which are presented below, but will see how many I can send!
Card playing with the devil

Frog hugger

Have a seat - there were at least 3 different chairs

Just hoppy to be here

Kim pondering

New seat

Over a barrel

Raven trail markers

Raganas - witch one

See sawing

Tongue lashing

Wood climbing

Juodkrante above - the Couronian spit below

Spent most of the day here, but are leaving tomorrow for USA - off to Palanga.

To be continued