Brockwell Park in London on a Fine April Day

Traveling is almost back to normal, but some things have changed for me. For one, I’m happy to stay home, and have our adult children visit me instead. Also, my last experience trying to book a flight with decent arrival and departure times, left me cancelling it altogether. In the end, I did not mind spending money on a round-trip ticket which I would not use. 37 messages and phone calls between the travel platform and me really took the fun out of any future travel experience.

Again, I was happy for them to keep the money, and I could stay home.

Nowadays, I prefer being an arm chair traveler, in the comfort of my own home. Fortunately, my adult children still get around, and share their photos with me.

Our son just moved to a new flat within south London, and discovered this beautiful park across the street.

Brockwell Park, London

I have been to London several times, but it was always for some event (graduation ceremony, concert, wedding, etc.) My next visit, if at all, will be to any park in London, where I can enjoy a picnic, observe nature, load up on vitamin D, take photos, and visit myself.

This has to be a British thing – I have never seen a clock installed in a park.

Being happy, when alone, is the greatest blessing one can have in life. – Venkat Desireddy

Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C.

For the past couple of years, like many of us, I have taken to mostly armchair traveling, and have few chances to take photos. But with both adult children living out of the country (London and Washington), I still get to travel a bit with the help of their photos. With their friendly permission, I get to post them here. Thanks, Margo.

Our daughter Margo took these photos after work in Washington, D.C, probably sometime between the end of a workday and Happy Hour.

When my husband and I looked at her photos, we both realized we had never been to the Washington Monument Grounds in springtime. In the early 90s, when we lived in Westminster, MD, we often took our international visitors for sight-seeing to DC. Family and friends often came during the hot and humid summer though… never in spring time.

In Germany, the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms are in Bonn, Hofheim i.T., Schwetzingen, Hamburg and some other cities.

To view the best 10 cities in Germany, visit: Japan in Deutschland Cherry Blossom Viewing

Washington Monument March 2022

Washington Monument Grounds in springtime

We experienced three seasons of Cherry Blossom viewing while living in Japan. The only difference between Hanami in Japan and cherry blossom viewing here is – most Japanese have blankets to sit on the grass, and they bring a lot of good food, and alcoholic beverages. Lots of it.

Washington, D.C.

Knowing How to Enjoy Life in spite of New COVID restrictions in Germany, April 2021

Today, further restrictions have begun for schools, doing sports, and the placement of a curfew from 10pm – 5am. None of them affect me. Even if they did, it is quite easy for me to adjust my life style accordingly. That’s what I learned from living in foreign countries for almost ten years.

Since the COVID situation is not getting any better, I have opted for ‘Outdoor Isolation’, which means we have picnics (restaurants are still closed for indoor and outdoor dining) as often as we can. This way, we are isolated from others, but not from sight. It is nice to see ordinary people passing by without a mask.

Today, we went to the Maasgrund Pond in Oberursel, where we have not been since our kids were in primary/elementary school.

Maasgrund Pond in Oberursel

What’s this swimming in the water..? This is a nutria (or: coypu), a native from Louisiana, USA.

It fetched something in the water to eat it on the bank.

After our picnic of British Tea sandwiches, fruit, cheese, crackers, and white wine (not for the driver), we took a stroll around the pond.

We can see St. Ursula Church in the background. It was a beautiful sunny late afternoon.

A new initiative to save the bees is taking place in Oberursel. The yellow vending machine sells bee food for 50 cents. On the left, there is a container collecting the empty capsules for recycling.

Oberursel has many half-timbered houses, but this one is a half-timbered villa.

Mainberg Castle in Germany in the 1940s

These photos were contributed by Susan Panioli and her sister Lorraine O’Dell, the daughters of Veteran Leroy F. O’Dell, who served with the 313th Infantry and the 79th Division during WWII in France, Germany, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia.

Leroy F. O’Dell

Susan believes the photos were taken of Mainberg Castle by her father sometime between September 1944 and May 1946. Leroy was also wounded during the war and received the Purple Heart. He’s now 93 years of age (born 16 May, 1925), and is living in a nursing home in upstate NY, USA.


I’m in the process of finding someone who can identify and verify the location of these photos.

Edited on 14 June 2018: I just got word from the expert himself – these photos were indeed taken at Mainberg Castle. (Source: Thomas Horling, Mainberg Castle Historian)

 

On the Road in Canada – Sussex, New Brunswick

Along the way to Sussex, after leaving Bar Harbor, we visited Acadia National Park in Maine and the fee for the car pass was USD 20.

As there were also many other tourists, it was difficult at times to find a place to park along the road. We drove through the park in one hour and then headed on to our final destination, Sussex in Kings County, New Brunswick, in Canada.

Sussex, New Brunswick

Along the road outside of Sussex, New Brunswick

My friend, who became unable to host us last minute, had booked us into the Pine Cone Inn. This is a small motel on the outskirts of Sussex, with views over the dairy country.

Pine Cone Inn, Sussex

Pine Cone Inn, Sussex

The innkeepers, a Korean couple, were most accommodating by letting me do laundry there, which is not part of their service. They also provided us with some snacks, again, just out of kindness.

Korean dinner in Canada

Korean dinner in Canada

My Korean friends had dropped off the Kimbab ahead of us. The innkeepers supplied the Ramion. We were well taken care of.

The room was small, but clean. The fee at CAN 67 for a room for four people is quite reasonable. If you are looking for simple accommodation, then this is the place to stay.

The area is beautiful. Next door, there is a club with a swimming pool, and from what I have been told, guests at the Pine Cone Inn have permission to use it.

Because Sussex straddles the Kennebecasis River, 70 km northeast of Saint John, it is not only a major dairy producer in the province, but also a haven for mosquitoes and black flies.

The black flies loved me and bit me more than ten times. I ended up going to the emergency room in Sussex, just to rule out anything worse than what it looked like.

welts and sores caused by black fly bites

welts and sores caused by black fly bites

The bites were located close to the ear, nape, and scalp. The trip to the ER cost me C$ 574 plus the C$ 36 for the prescription of antibiotics.

The doctor told me, “They are getting worse every year.” Mind you, I was the only one bitten out of four. I did spend more time outdoors than the others, but other guests did not have any black fly bites either. They especially liked me, for whatever reason.

After the hospital visit, we then proceeded on our road trip. Our next stop was Hopewell Rock, a famous sight around the area.