“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
We should never get so busy trying to make a living that we forget to make a life. When I draw my last breath on this earth, I want to leave no stone unturned.
Like many travelers before me, I’ve always wanted to visit Prague. Part of it is the sense of enlightenment through its history. Prague Spring in 1968 was a temporary thawing of Communist ruled Czechoslovakia. This so-called “Communism with a Face” was the Czechs’ attempt to bring their government in line with their citizenry. Although it was ruthlessly put down by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1968, I always felt a kindred spirit with the Prague citizens. They tried to improve their situation in non-violent ways. In 1989 Prague was freed from 41 years of Communist control by the bloodless “Velvet Revolution.” Hand it to the Czechs; they know how to throw a revolution where no one gets hurt.
Porto at night
To say I have neglected this site would be the understatement of the year. Because this site is for my personal use, I don’t care about posting consistently or keeping content “fresh.” As a result, I write when the mood strikes me. Work has been crazy, so my attention has been focused elsewhere.
The grand statue of King Jose I stands watch over the Commerce Plaza of Lisbon.
Lisbon can be an odd choice for tourists. While its origins predate most of the other European capital cities (including London, Rome, and Paris), there is little in the way of historical sites and attractions. While it was once one of the largest cities in Europe and the starting point for many of the Portuguese expeditions during the Age of Discovery, almost no buildings or artifacts remain from that time. This is due to a series of earthquakes (eight in the 14th century, five in the 16th century, and three in the 17th century) that cost widespread destruction and damage. The Lisbon 1531 earthquake destroyed over 1,500 homes while three city streets simply disappeared in the 1597 earthquake. But in reality, Lisbon divides its history into two periods: before the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and after it.
View of Piazza del Campo
During one of our day trips from Florence was a few hours visiting the city of Siena. A few hours is not long enough to discover a city like Siena, but it provided a glimpse into this famous Tuscan town, with the promise we might return one day to explore it further.
Vineyard in Greve, Tuscany
I have a bad back. I would love to say it was due to an old football injury or the result of saving an old lady from a burning building, but the truth of it is I’m just an overweight computer geek. Bad backs are as much a part of our DNA as comic books and Monty Python quotes.