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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

1999: Western Europe

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 10/18/2021
Topics/Keywords: #Europe #Travel #WesternEurope Page Views: 598
All about Paul and Michael's 1999 Trip to 10 countries in Western Europe.

Michael and Paul's Trip To Europe

Although Michael had been to Europe four times before, and I had been twice before (both in 1999), we had never there been together…until this December!

I had a leftover ticket from a cancelled class earlier in the year, and I needed to use it before years' end. Also, I had, by now, accumulated enough frequent flier miles to get another ticket for Michael. So…voila! A trip to Europe!

Well in advance, we purchased a Eurailpass for two, entitling us to unlimited train rides throughout nearly all the Western European countries. (Great Britain is the significant holdout.)

I flew from Boston, and Michael boarded his plane in Phoenix, both flights starting on December 3rd. Michael went by way of St. Louis and New York; while I flew directly from Boston to London, and from there to the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. I arrived an hour or so after Michael, so he met me at the customs gate and then, we were on our way!

We visited the following places; click to read about and see photos from each one:

Paris, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/4/1999
Topics: #Europe #France #Paris #Places Page Views: 698
Paul and Michael's visit to Paris, 1999

We walked beneath impressively rolling clouds that occasionally opened and spilled rain on us. "It's raining," I pointed out. "But…it's raining in Paris!" That was enough to make us grin, and we continued our sightseeing. It didn't keep anyone else from enjoying the city, either; the streets got progressively busier and more crowded—or, maybe they just seemed more crowded after everyone opened up their umbrellas.

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Amsterdam, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/5/1999
Topics: #Amsterdam #Netherlands Page Views: 667
Paul and Michael's visit to Amsterdam, 1999

Thermos Day and Thermos Night are actually two different locations for the same establishment, due to an odd Dutch rule against any company remaining open 24 hours a day. Of the two, Thermos Day is slightly more elaborate, with a large Jacuzzi, two saunas, two steam rooms, an exercise room, two video rooms, two shower rooms, and more. Michael and I got there as they opened, desperately in need of showers after our all-night train ride. We soaked in the Jacuzzi for hours, enjoyed the steam rooms, and basically gave ourselves a good chance to recover from some of the jet lag that still affected us.

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Vejby, Denmark, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/6/1999
Topics: #Copenhagen #Denmark #Places #Vejby Page Views: 697
Paul and Michael's visit to Denmark, 1999.

Chris and his wife, Anita, are a darling couple. The whole family speaks English; the children speak it best because they are currently studying it in school. However, the adults took it when they were in school, too; so we had no trouble communicating with them.

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Switzerland, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/8/1999
Topics: #Places #Switzerland Page Views: 675
Paul and Michael's visit to Switzerland, 1999

On this trip, we passed through Switzerland twice. On the first run, from North to South, we went through Basil, then East to Lausanne, which we visited for a few hours before re-boarding the train for Rome.

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Rome, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/9/1999
Topics: #Italy #Places #Rome Page Views: 547
Paul and Michael's visit to Rome, 1999

Some of the remains are spectacular. This place must have been just incredible to see, in its day. And, we may be able, someday, to see what the ancient Romans saw: The Pope has declared the year 2000 to be a "Jubilee" year, a custom that comes to us from the Hebrews. In a Jubilee Year, people are supposed to rebuild and renovate; and Rome is, indeed, engaged in a massive restoration program aimed at being to light as many of the old ruins as possible.

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The Adriatic, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/10/1999
Topics: #Adriatic #Brindisi #Ferry #Greece #Italy #Places Page Views: 612
Paul and Michael's voyage across the Adriatic Sea to Greece, 1999

On Deck 6, I found a little alcove that looked exactly like the check-in counter at a hotel. Sure enough, there was a woman who examined our tickets and assigned us a cabin and a bellman. When I informed him that our stuff was on Deck 4, he adopted an incredibly annoyed expression but located and unlocked (!) an elevator. It didn't stop on Deck 4, so Michael had to drag the stuff up a deck, anyway. We then crammed everything, including ourselves, into this amazingly teeny elevator cab and rode to Deck 7, where our cabin was.

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The Peloponese, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/11/1999
Topics: #Greece #Peloponese #Peloponesia #Travel Page Views: 531
Paul and Michael's visit to the Peloponese Coast of Greece, 1999

The ferry had dropped us off in Igoumenitsa, in Ipiros, the northwestern coast of Greece's mainland. Athens is actually on a peninsula called Attica, which itself lies just north of a a very large and extended peninsula called Peloponesia. Our bus wound through the steep hills down towards the craggy coast of the water that lay between.

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Athens, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/11/1999
Topics: #Athens #Greece #Places Page Views: 520
Paul and Michael's visit to Athens, Greece, 1999

Finally, well after dark, we pulled into a large, covered parking lot: the bus terminal. Now, realize we had no plans as to where to stay: no reservations or anything. I did have my guide book, which recommended a little place called Marble House, and gave an address. We boarded the next available cab and showed the driver the address, which was on something called Tzinni street.

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The Acropolis of Athens, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/12/1999
Topics: #Acropolis #Athens #Greece #Places Page Views: 645
Paul and Michael's visit to the famous Acropolis of Athens, Greece, 1999

Perhaps you have noted, even at this distance, that the largest temple on the Acropolis, the Parthenon, is missing a roof, the pediment (carvings on the front upper panel), and a number of columns. You might think, this is only to be expected, given the incredible age of this place. However, it sustained most of its damage in the past six hundred years.

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Patris, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/12/1999 1:00:00 PM
Topics: #Greece #Patris #Places Page Views: 679
Paul and Michael's visit to Patris, Greece, 1999

Just as I had "remembered" some kind of past-life connection to the Acropolis in Athens, Michael was certain he had lived, once, in Patris. He was certain, moreover, that ruins remained of where he had lived. However, everyone we asked, even people in Patris, insisted there were no ruins there. "Patris? It's just a seaport." Nevertheless, Michael was sure there would be ruins on a hill. So, when we started exploring, we discovered that Patris had an acropolis, too; and we hastened to visit it.

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Brindisi, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/13/1999
Topics: #Brindisi #Italy #Places Page Views: 528
Paul and Michael's return to Brindisi, Italy, 1999

The return over the Adriatic was a lot rougher than the first trip had been. It didn't bother me any, but Michael got a touch of seasickness that he denied was seasickness. He blamed detoxification of the gasoline fumes and pollution in Greece (which had been considerable); he blamed the rough passage and lack of sleep. Later, we realized it was probably the start of a bout with the flu.

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Oberon Valley, 1999

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/13/1999
Topics: #OberonValley #Places #Switzerland Page Views: 600
Paul and Michael's visit to the Oberon Valley, 1999

The ride through Italy was long but we slept through it. The next day found us traveling again through Switzerland…but what a difference from just a week earlier! Of course, this time we were traveling through the Oberon Valley, the part of Switzerland that "looks" Swiss. Even so, though we began to realize that there must have been quite a snowfall in the previous day or so (which, it turned out, there had been).

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Our Return

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/14/1999
Topics: #Amsterdam #Brussels #Europe #Paris #Places Page Views: 634
Paul and Michael's return from Europe, 1999

We spent the night of the 13th in Brussels, and in the morning Michael went looking for lace (the local specialty item) while I did a long-needed laundry; I didn't have a single piece of clean clothes, not even socks. Afterwards, on our return to the train station, we managed to see Brussels' claim to tourist infamy: Mannequin Pis, the statue of the little boy who merrily whizzes away while its owners dress him in a different outfit every month. The street around the statue is lined with T-shirt and souvenir shops, all featuring Mannequin Pis merchandise.

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