ST. LOUIS ZOO

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How can you not love this face?

On  June 8, 2015   I was the guest of my wonderful  friend and neighbor Louise and her son Bill for a day at the Zoo.  What a great time !   Now please  be my guest  and  enjoy  our day through my photos – as you sit comfortably in front of your screen  with no walking,  no heat and no odors.   : )

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Alpaca in the Children’s Zoo – she walked right up to us as if to say ” Are you going to feed me?”

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Elephants of all sizes

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Red Panda

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Catching some  ZZZZs

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Zebras have  great fashion pizzazz!

Now for my favorite – the birds!!

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Taking a bow…

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Lady in pink and maybe a bit of attitude

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Burrowing Owl

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Bird of great balance

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Tawny frogmouth – the  true name !

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Being  entertainment is exhausting  work

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Coming in for a landing with a colorful back drop

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Great  example of serenity and beauty.

Thanks for joining us!

TRAVELING WITH A FUNNY BONE

 May 16, 2015
This last posting of my May 2015  Germany/Poland adventure  is dedicated to all  the Happy Travelers  who share my addiction  and while loving our home base, we  find  infinite delight in exploring  other destinations.
my kind of cookie
As much as I love to travel, there always comes a time when this cookie has to come home.  Besides all of the alluring  and fascinating  sights I see while traveling, there are  moments that  make me laugh out laugh or pause to ponder….
 I particularly like  Ms. Internet’s  definition of  the Funny Bone:   a person’s sense of humor, as located in an imaginary physical organ.  “photographs to jostle the mind and the funny bone”……..
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on the side of building in Gorlitz, unsigned
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 porch  in Gdansk – is that bubble gum ?
krakow  in Wawel Hill
I have no explanation for this little cherub in Krakow…..
(but I am curious what he is praying for…)
I have no explanation for angels  with no bodies under a bowl of holy water
Nor for these angels with no bodies  squished under a bowl of holy water…
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This is one of those  pause to ponder moments….
just like it sounds (2)
I happened upon a colorful pedigree of kittens in Poland….
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Food or fowl ?
just like it sounds
I saw this sign numerous times before I finally sounded -it-out…..
are these the Bank guards
If I  lived in Poland  I would put my money in this bank….
comemorative coins  and I will say no more
A vending machine for Pope-coins?  Really?
brave man  this isn't funny - it's scary!
Not exactly  funny but it made me  catch  my breath and thankful that
I had a job where my feet are on the ground….
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Always makes me smile to  see a familiar face from home….
very interesting....
This I had to laugh at – confused and directionally challenged…
photo bombed
Lastly, the creepiest photo bomb of the trip.
Thanks for traveling with me!

GORLITZ, GERMANY – – One Last Posting….

gorlitz  wrap around garden in the  square

Fragrant and colorful  flowers line the entire “Postplatz” town square

May 6, 2015

I have been back home now for a bit,  sorting  through approximately 1500 ” keeper”  photos that I took so I can  relive  the wonderful sights  I enjoyed.   Here are just a few  more photos of  the  unique, beautiful,   town  of Gorlitz that I wanted to share….

Gorlitz Old Town Hall

This building on the right became the Town Hall in 1350. The tower has 2 clocks, the top clock measures the day, month and moon phase, the bottom clock  tells the time of day and has  a warrior’s head on it.  His tongue  used to stick out on the hour, but now he can only open his mouth.

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The golden lion above the clocks  supposedly whistles at particular moon phases.

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The main entrance of the Town Hall has a balcony where public announcements were made.

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While exploring, I noticed this little cutie talking  to the  statue who  is holding a bowl of books.

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Many doorways were so spectacular  and inquisitive.  Double  clicking  on the photo  will show you better  what I mean.

Gorlitz playground

Lastly, what is a surviving  medieval town  worth   if it does not have the playground to match?

Stay tuned  – the very last posting from my Germany/Poland adventure follows….

Gdansk, Poland – My Parting Photos

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May 15, 2015

Gdansk is such a beautiful city with so many nooks and crannies to be explored.  For this last posting of Gdansk I mulled over all of my photos for the best of the last……

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Everywhere I looked there were  interesting and lovely sights.  Even the porches  and banisters were elaborate with  pansies everywhere.

entrane of Town Hall - now a museum

Entrance to the old Town Hall, now a museum.

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An entire block of buildings were  fashioned with these creatures  serving as gutter  drains on their  porches.

outside cafes come with a blanket

Inviting outdoor cafes were everywhere, each chair also providing a blanket as the spring night chill rolls in.

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The dark side of Gdansk’s past –  originally  built in 1531  as the city’s fortification, torture chamber,  courthouse,  tower  prison and execution location, now a museum.

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Also,  remaining today is this part of the city’s fortification and gate.

18th century granary now a hotel

18th century granary on the water front, now wonderfully restored and home to Hotel Gdansk.

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This intricately painted building in the middle has to be the skinniest building I have ever seen.

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The local’s  Market Hall is a great place to browse for most anything, even the excavated remains of an monastery where bones of Dominican monks  were found when the building was being renovated.

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Striking pink “Royal Chapel”  built in 1681.

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Least no one forget.. photos of   WWII destruction  are posted about the city – this one of the Waterfront.

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The Waterfront today

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Gdansk city after WWII

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The colorful, rebuilt buildings today display  the resilience of Gdansk’s citizens  to bring life and joy back to their city.

Thanks for reading!

ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH in Gdansk, Poland

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St. Nicholas Church, 1348

May 15, 2015

While meandering  the side streets of Gdansk, I stumbled upon St. Nicholas Church.   Walking inside, I was surprised to see  so many alters and particularly  how they were lined up all in a row,  5 on each side of the outside  of the pews.

Interestingly,  when Gdansk was bombed   during WWII,  nearly 90 percent of the city was destroyed and all of the churches in the city  were reduced to a pile of rubble.   But St. Nicholas was the only church in the city  to escape any damage.

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the church organ

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Statues were everywhere in this church – even in the light fixtures.

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Interesting wall hanging – looks to me like there are more heads than bodies.

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Another fancy confessional.

main alter

The main alter.

Thanks for reading!

UPHAGEN HOUSE in Gdansk, Poland

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Uphagen House

May 14, 2015

Touring this house was my chance to see the inside of  one of  these beautiful homes.  These houses were taxed based on the size of the  frontage during the Golden Age.   Thus they were built skinny  in the front yet deep.   John Uphagen bought this house  in 1775 and the house remained  in the family  throughout  the 19th century.  It was opened as  a museum  from 1911  until 1944,  when the  interior and furnishings  were removed from the house due to  WWII .   The house was destroyed in WWII   but  rebuilt  within 10 years after the war.   Although the museum did not reopen again until 1998.

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Model of the house  with the front section  designed for guests  and entertaining and in the back of the house were the actual living quarters. 

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Dining room with a fancy furnace/stove for heating the room.

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View of the entree  foyer  while walking up the stairs.

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Bird themed decor into the music room.

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Kitchen was on the bottom floor.

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I loved this dog faucet and rolling chest. What was in the house was original to the Uphagen family.

Thanks for reading!

ARTUS COURT IN Gdansk, Poland

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Artus Court

May 14th, 2015

In the Middle Ages, the city  provided meeting halls for the brotherhoods, wealthy  merchants  and guilds that existed at the time, which consisted of all men.   Artus Court in Gdansk  is  named after King Arthur  of the Round Table and was built in 1350, then rebuilt in  1476 after a fire and again after WWII.   Meeting Halls were common  but  this is the only original one that has  survived.  Inside are 7 giant model ships  suspended from the ceiling and  other interesting and elaborate  decorations.   A 36 foot tall  stove/ furnace from 1545  is particularly  eye-catching with its  520 tiles featuring great leaders of Europe.  All  of the tiles are original, having survived the WWII bombs.

Enjoy the walk back into time….

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The ceiling also stands out…

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1 of the 7 ships

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Very interesting  and I wish I could explain….

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3-D  mural

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Again, I have no words…..

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Beautiful ship and an interesting outfit…

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Another 3-D wall decoration

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The 36 foot furnace with  520 tiles

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close up of some of the furnace  tiles

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After seeing Artus Court,  this example of the front room  of a “typical” mansion of the day  was next door for viewing.

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Doorman at the exit.

Just a reminder – if you double click on a photo, it will enlarge it so you can better  see the  interesting  details of the decorations.  Thanks for reading!

GDANSK, POLAND – A WONDERFULLY MYSTICAL PLACE

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Gdansk’s River Front Embankment

May 14, 2015

Gdansk , Poland  was my last stop before going  home and what a breathtaking stop it was!   It sits on the Baltic Coast and is an awe-inspiring, medieval, nautical city.   Gdansk can be traced back to 997 and,  obviously, has a very long history of events.  In 1793 it became part of Poland and flash-forward to  September 1, 1939,  Hitler started WWII  when he invaded Gdansk.  The city suffered major destruction  during WWII and has been rebuilding  ever since.  Most of the reconstruction replicates Gdansk’s  ” Golden Age”  of the 16th and 17 century.

Hope you enjoy the introductory photos…….

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15 century crane, The Zurah,   was used  for loading ships, up-righting masks and picking up  ships for repair to the capacity of 4 tons.  It was originally powered by men walking inside  2 huge wooden wheels – very similar to a hamster wheel.  Today it belongs to the Maritime Museum.

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Statue of Neptune, god of the sea,  sits in Long Square.

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Samplings of the beautiful “burgher mansions” on Dlugi Targ.

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Random residential side street while strolling about.

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16th century Armory

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Enough of the buildings – also Polish is the bird  of the day – a Magpie.

steal this dog

And, look at this darling  little face – my  last thought as I walked back to the hotel  was how  could I lure this dog away from it’s owner and get it back to the US.

Stay tuned – more of Gdansk to come…

AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU CONCENTRATION CAMP IN Oswiecim, Poland

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May 10, 2015

Almost incomprehensible – from 1940 – 1945 –  1, 300,000 people were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and  (as close as the historians can calculate)  1,100,000 people died from either starvation, malnutrition,  exhaustion, torture, medical experiments,  disease and /or death by gas chamber or gun shot.   90 percent of those people were Jewish, simply because they were Jewish.

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During  WWII, people were taken from their homes and told they were  being relocated and could bring up to 55 pounds of luggage. Then  their homes were  looted  by the German soldiers.  They were then marched to the trains – what was referred to as the death march.

Each train car  could be filled with up to 100 people and their suitcases.   The trip could be  anywhere from 7 – 10  days with no stops, no bathroom, no food or water, no fresh air – many people died along the way.  Once they arrived  some people, mostly the disabled, elderly,  children and some women were immediately  sent to the gas chambers.   For others,  everything was taken away from them and they were given  striped clothing to wear.   Their belongings were stored in buildings.

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Decisions were made here at the  Birkenau  train tracks  who would live a while longer ( and be worked to death) or who were died immediately.

To give you an idea of the numbers of people…..

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suit cases

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braces, crutches, artificial limbs, etc

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40,000 pairs of adult  shoes,

2 tons of hair ( each person’s head was shaved)

even human skin

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children’s shoes

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pots, bowls, cups

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hair,  shaving, and shoe brushes were all found in storage buildings at the end of the war that people  bought  along for their “relocation”

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When  they arrived at the camp, if there were allowed to live,  their photograph was taken.  If  they were immediately sent to their death, sometimes there was no record taken of their arrival.

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Each building sometimes  housed 900 people. There were 350 buildings, though many now are no longer standing.

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this is where their slept – sometimes 10 to a bunk – no sheets, pillow or blankets.  They were allowed to go to the bathroom only twice a day.  They had 1 weekly shower and less than 700 calories a day.  There was roll call  ( lined up outside )  every morning, no matter the weather and it lasted, sometimes hours, until all people were accounted for.  Even the dead had to be present at roll call with other people  propping them up.  5-10 people died every night in every building.   The work day was 12 hours  with no rest time.

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This wagon brought  food to the buildings and also carried away the dead.

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Called  the  death wall – where people were lined up and shot. Only one bullet was allowed per person so if it didn’t kill you instantly  no medical attention was given and you were  left to die.

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The gas chambers were bombed  at the end of war and the ruble left as a memorial and a remembrance.

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I could only get a portion of this memorial at Bikenau in my photo -there is a brick for each person who died here.  There were 7000 SS staff members at this camp and only 12 percent  were convicted of war crimes.  Many escaped  at the end of the war and fled to South America or other parts of Europe and lived the rest of their lives with no consequences.

Words cannot begin to describe the wave of emotions and sickness felt deep in my gut as I  toured the camp and heard the details.  It is not for the faint of heart yet necessary for all to know, if not see.  For,  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Santayana wrote in “The Life of Reason” in 1905.

For more condensed version  of details, if you have the stomach for it, read  ” Auschwitz Concentration Camp ” on Wikipedia

.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

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