Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The adventure continues. Today I received my Eurail pass. It's good for 2 months and allows me to use just about any train in all the countries I'll be visiting except for one -- the Czech Republic. I'll be traveling to and from Europe on British Airways and will fly into Heathrow and out of Amsterdam. The rules of the airline require that I depart and return to the same U.S. airport, so I've chosen to use San Francisco International. Finally, I've purchased complete travel and health insurance for the trip. It isn't too expensive and will be invaluable should I need it for one reason or another.

I bought a pair of waterproof Merrill hiking shoes and I've been wearing them a couple of hours every day to break them in. I also purchased a Kilty 43 liter backpack. This will be the only luggage I'll carry for the trip. Other items I bought are quick drying "undies" -- you know, wear one and wash one. I'll carry two of these. Two pair of socks too, the same kind.

While it's still preliminary, I posted a map showing the general itinerary of my trip. The map shows the main cities, but there will be lots of little villages on the way I want to visit. One of my goals during this trip is to get away from the major cities and wander through the country-side. I think it'll be more enjoyable as well as an opportunity to meet interesting people.

During the couple of days I'll stay in the larger cities, my plan to is to take a half-day city tour by bus or taxi. This way, I'll get the lay of the land and see some sites I may otherwise miss. I plan to work up a list of museums, universities, churches and synagogues and other "must see" venues.

Bye for now -- or should I say Ciao!!??

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Bit About Me and More....

After retiring in 1999, my thought was to travel and begin enjoying a "new phase" in my life. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed working -- as a matter of fact, I loved it. I joined the computer industry in the late 70's when it was in its infancy. I saw the introduction of the personal computer, watched software evolve from utilities to productive business tools and and observed the evolution of technology. I first worked for a printer company called Qume (remember the daisy-wheel?). Working for a hardware company set the tone for my career in the industry. I continued working in the printer industry and, in 1985, joined Alps Electric. Alps is a Japanese OEM supplier of hardware to the computer industry in general. They had decided to try to retail market and hired a number of us from throughout the industry to pursue that goal. I started as a Product Manager and evolved into the Marketing of their products. I enjoyed the travel, the computer shows, the technology and especially the people.

Once I left the company in 1999 (actually my last formal day was January 5, 2000, 15 years to the day of my initial employment), I thought it'd be great to work part time, travel and continue to my life with my wife of 40 years, Portia. I worked as Director of Marketing for an email company, and finally started teaching computer applications at a nearby Adult School. I was also pretty busy as a consultant, and started a small company called ComputerCOACH. Life sometimes goes its own way, and in October of 2005, Portia passed away in October. Cancer had interrupted our lives.

By the summer of 2006, I had decided to live life more fully. In June, I embarked on a 2 month "drive about" of the United States. I had bought a new car, a pop-up camper, called a Chalet, and set out for an adventure. It took me to a number of state parks, many museums and along the way I met some interesting people who made the trip even more enjoyable. If you'd like to see them, HERE's some photos of my trip. I had covered 12,000 miles and made it back to Los Angeles for my son's 40th birthday. It was a wonderful adventure, and I found I could be, and travel, by myself.

After a wonderful trip to Israel in May/June 2007, I thought of returning as a volunteer for 3 weeks. Once I had made that decision, it dawned on me that I really needed to fulfill a life-long desire to see Europe -- and not just for a week or 10 days. A two month adventure sounded like a good plan. I though I'd carry a backpack, travel by train (or maybe rent a car or van), and visit many of the large cities that have shaped Western Civilization. Just as importantly, I thought visiting small cities and towns would be just as enjoyable.

The Adventure Begins...

February 10, 2008. Well, I've started my adventure. My goal is to go to Europe for 2 months and roam around. I have a general idea where I'll be, but no determined time frame. I've purchased an airplane ticket, got a 2 month Eurail pass and even purchased trip/medical insurance for my trip. Here's an example of the major cities I'll visit:

I'll start in the UK and London, and then to
Paris, France
Bern, Switzerland
Pisa, Italy
Rome, Italy
Florence, Italy
Venice, Italy
Munich, German -- visit Dachau here
Vienna, Austria
Prague in the Czech Republic
Berlin, Germany, and finally
Amsterdam in Holland

I'm sure there will be many stops along the way.

When Jennifer Zvi and I were on cruise over New Year's Eve 2008, we met Roger and Helen Sims. They live in the UK and, after spending some time with them, they invited us to their home in the UK. When I decided to take this trip, I sent Roger an email letting him know about my arrival in his country. He asked for my phone number and then called me with an idea.

Roger suggested that he pick me up at the airport, spend a couple of days with me out and about their home, put me on a train for London for a couple of days, and then head back to his house. After visiting Stonehenge, Roger said we'd take his RV, cross the channel into Belgium and drive down the north coast of France visting WWII battlegrounds and museums for 4 or 5 days. Then, he'd head back home after putting me on a train for Paris. Well, I was overwhelmed and thrilled. I'm looking forward to that adventure.

So, as this is the first posting to my new "roaming Europe" blog, I'll continue later. Once there, I will post to to the blog every day -- or at least I'll try to. I'll keep this blog up-to-date as I make my way on this adventure. I invite your emails (, and I invite you to keep me "virtual" company along the way.

Ciao, Dennis

Bye 'til then