Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Travel update from Austria

Greetings from Austria!!
Hello everybody, I am in a small farming village about 10km (6miles)from the German border, called Burgstall. I have been here and in Bavaria (Germany)for the last week. The border is open and you can just ride bicycles over the bridge without passing customs or anything. I am staying with Angelas parents and brothers on the family farm.This little village is just a farming community there is no commerc here except one of the neighbors about a kilometer away has a farm with a "Möst Garten" in Back.

A möst garten is like a bier garten except the specialty is möst. Möst which is pronounced(moe-sht) is a hard cider here they make, It is stronger than beer and weaker than wine. Just right you might say. It is drunk cold and has just a little effervesence. It is made with (apfel und bieren) apples and pears, mostly appels. Not too bubbly but with a lively and lovely kick. Angelas family makes a couple of barrels each year too, and I am developing quite a taste for this littel elixer!

The border between the two countries here is the Inn river. This is the river which gives Innsbrook its name. The river starts in the Swiss Alps and is formed by melting glaciers and so is full of minerals and the water is kind of milky, but clean and cold, and (around here anyway) it has a fast current, which makes swimming ill advised. However there is a wonderful lake only a 20 minute walk from the farm that we swim in most days.We have been experiencing record high temperatures here lately. 38 degrees(104f) yesterday, which make the lake rather irresistable. I have been real laid back this last week exploring ancient Bavarian castels (Burghausen)and drinking microbrew beers and enjoying excellent examples of Austrian farm family cooking.

Burghausen Castel is the largest castel in Europe. Its wall has one strait stretch that is over a kilometer long in a strait line!! Lots of towers and turrets and interesting exhibits of ancient life. The river Inn is on one side of the castel and there is a lovely swimming lake and park on the other side. In the summer they have cultural events in a big tent and we made a picnic by the lake and went to a concert there in the tent.Way cool! then we drove back to Austria (Ostereich). Great day trip, but the weather was SOOO HOT I could barely stand it. It really saps me of my energy.

Back at the farm, which is about 60 hectares (120 acres) Angelas mother is a great cook. I have been enjoying local specialties like apricot knöedle, lieberknödel, gouloash, consomme with griesknockerl, and weiner schnitzels, assigwurst, leberkäse, hartwurst. Wurst means sausage. The Austrians love sausages. They make them of beef or of pork. There are also a tremendous variety of cheeses and the bakeries here are fantastic.not to mention pretzels which I buy every chance I can get in the bakeries. Virtually all the bakeries sellpretzels. many have a slight caraway flavor which is my favorit.

Angelas mother bakes cakes every day for desert, and Me and Angela raid the garden daily, too. There are fresh raspberries, black berrys, strawberries, red and black currants, brocoli, golden zuchini, lettuces,onions lots of diffferent herbs and all ripe and yummie. My brother Eric and my buddy Perrin would just love this place!!

In the fields they are growing corn, oat hay, and peas. We went out picking the sweetest tiniest baby corns and just walk along munching fresh raw peas, sweet like sugar! We spot pheasants the females have beautiful plummage and the males are even more beautiful, they look as pretty as peacocks but they fly, baby deer the size of a large house cat, and lots of hares (like a 9 pound or 4 kilo rabbit).

Everywhere you go this time of year it is green and beautiful. Theer are not any barbwire fences or no trespassing signs even thoug it is all aparently private property. no one cares if you walk through their feild or if you pick a few of their peas. When you see a lake or a stream you can just go ahead and jump right in, it is okay. The people all seem happy and they smile al ot and like to talk to strangers and many of them speak english. It is always easy to find someone who understands my language and can help me if I need it.

So before we were in Burgstal we were a week in a little town called Seekirchen, which is only 20 km from Salzburg. Here we hous sat the home of Angelas sister and Brother in law and their two kids. They were with us for 2 days and then left for holidays so we had the place to ourselves for 5 days. It is onlzy about 50 meters from the train to get toSalzburg (or anywhere else for that matter).

We saw a wonderful production of The Magic Flute in a 400 year old cathedral. It was an unusual production. I have seen Magic Flute twice before. One of my favorite of Mozarts operas. This one was performed with only a 4 peice string quartet instead of the full orchestra. There were only 150 tickets sold. everyone was seated on the stage with the singers/performers acting right in front of us. there were 3 rows of 25 seats on each side of the action, and the little quartet was just up front but on the same level as the playerrs. It was fantastic!!! We have been enjoying a lot of music here but this was the best.

I think a lot of people have mis-understood my feeling about my country. I like the USA. It is without doubt the greatest country I have been to. All the world looks to USA as a beacon of hope. It is a symbol of freedom and all that is good in the world. People everywhere want to come and live there. People everywhere wish their country was just like the USA. People everywhere recognize USA as the leader of the free world. Everyone wants to be just like us. They admire our work ethic. They see us as a land of freedom where everyone is treated equally and fairly from kindergarten to graveyard. A land of Liberty and Justaice for all. A nation committed to peace and freedom and democracy not only for ourselves but for all the world and all the worlds people.

I have a lot of opinions about a lot of world events but...
"People with opinions just go around bothering one another" - Buddha
I think it may be best to just keep my opinions to myself. That is the American way, I have been told, and I believe it. From now on I aint making no more noise. Its people like me what causes un-rest...

We arrived last night in Vienna. We are house sitting one of Angelas friends apartments for the next 2 weeks. This is a beautiful and wonderful city with lots of cool cutural stuff to do and see, beautiful architecture, many fine museums theaters and concert halls and clubs with live music. I am not sure where I will go from here... I will update you all when I leave Vienna.
Peace and Love to you all
Rambling Robert
Here are a couple of quotes from two of Historys best known philosophers.Who do you believe is right?...

"One lives for today, one lives on the spur of the moment—one lives most irresponsibly: and it is precisely this that one calls freedom"-
Friedrich Nietzsche

"Mankind has grown strong in eternal struggles and it will only perish through eternal peace." Adolf Hitler

"Even the elephant carries but a small trunk on his journeys. The perfection of traveling is to travel without baggage." Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hitlers House

Hitlers House

Braunau is a peaceful village on the River Inn. This river is the border between present day Austria and present day Germany. Bavaria to be exact.This is a very old city. There is an old wall around this picturesque city that was built in the year 903. So that would be 1,103 years ago... Cobblestone streets and archways leading from one part of town to another.
Lots of clock towers and pretty girls, cute-as-can-be sidewalk cafes and bakeries with unbelievably good Bretzles (pretzels).
So its like this see, and I am walking along this peaceful no....tranquil, quaint street and there is this big stone. It is actually a monument, like uhhh, lets say a "gravestone" in the sidewalk. Just there. No sign No warning just there in the sidewallk a subtle monument to this towns most famous son. Kind of brownish colored, and on the front it says this in German:

which in English means : for peace, freedom and democracy, never again fascism, millions of dead remind (mahnen means remind) so you know, its like a reminder. And on the back it says this in German:

which in Englis means this: stone from the concentracion camp Mauthausen...

It is in front of this apartment building where once there lived an innocent litle baby boy...named Adolf, who grew up to be the symbol of modern evil, The slayer of the Jew, the Father of modern day Israel...
"whoa man, what do you mean???" You may ask.
Well its kind of like this:

Without Hitler, without the second world war, without the rivers... No. Not rivers. Without the OCEANS OF BLOOD... surely there would be no Israel today... Truly without the father there would be no son...
In his effort to kill, to wipe out, to genocide, to annihilate the Jews, that ancient tribe, without this effort eliminate that ancient tribe. This ancient peopele, these Jews, these Givers of the Ten Commandments, there would be no Israel today. Yes of course, there would be a lot more Jews today but there would be no ISRAEL!
This is truly one of the great ironys of our time. Without Hitler there would be no Israel.
What would old Adolf, think of the Jews, the Israelites, killing 400 Lebanese civilians, un-armed civilians, in Revenge for the deaths of 8 Israeli soldiers. Would not the father be proud of his son? Oh the irony.
He tried to Kill the Jews. He did not succeed.He didnt wipe out the Jews but he destroyed them. Oh yes he did destroy them. For the Jews of 1931 would never. Would NEVER in 5,600 years they would never have committed such a sin. The Israelites yes. The Jews never. In 5,600 years the Jews never had committed such a sin. Never had they so violated their own laws their covenant with the God of Abraham.
I hear them. They say, They are fighting Hizbolah. They are fighting the Terrorists. They are fighting Anti Semitism. They are fighting the Communists. They are fighting Neo-Faascism. They are fighting anti-Judiasm. They are changing the name of Murder. They would call murder self defense. Would not the father be proud?
Anti judiasm is anti ten comanadmentism. Thou shalt not kill... Weelllll, no. Thou shalt not MURDER . Hah, its okay to kill chickens and steers and salmon. Not people. Thats different. We are Jews after all, not Buddhists, not Vegetarians oh no...

When the French resistance would kill a Nazi soldier the Nazis would go into
the village nearest the attack and kill 10 civilians.

“Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.I think I've forgotten this before.” - Stephen Wright

It would be funny if it wasnt Murder. It is not funny.
It is not Holy. It is not Jihad. It is not righteous. Jihad is when a prophet leads an army. Do you see any prophets in the knessit? Do you see any prophets in Hizbollah? In Al Queda? In the White House? When Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tubmbling down, When the walls were breached by the hand of the all-mighty, ahh, well, now that was Jihad. This?... This is Murder.
When a human being, when a mortal man climbs on board a bus and and sits next to a pregnant woman and her 4 year old daughter and pulls the pin and blows himself up and kills innocent women and children...
This is not Jihad. Oh no not jihad. Not Holy War. No! There is another word for this.
The word is murder.If you follow the Prophet Joshua into battle and you are killed you are indeed a martyr. If you follow the Prophet Mohammad into battle and you are killed indeed you are a martyr.
When you follow Charles Manson, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Bin Laden, Bush, you are not a martyr. You are a murderer.
There is a stone on a tranqul street from the concentration camp Masuthausen that serves as a silent solemn (mahnen) reminder.
Where once not so long ago the father, the son and the ignoble spirt was born and lived as an innocent babe...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Back in Europe Greetings from Austria

Hi Everyone,
It has been a hectic pace lately. So to begin, I arrived back in New Jersey rom New Hampshire and went again to stay with my brother Eric and his family. He and my sister in law Anna have 3 boys aged 13 9 and 4. They are a real handful. They also have two big dogs named Rocky and Mack and a cat named Scat.
He lives only 5 minutes from a nice little park with a wooded forest and a stream where you can take secluded walks. Thank you Little Baby Jesus!! To say the house is noisy is an understatement. The kids and their friends are running all over and the dogs are barking and the TV is on and Aye Aye Aye! I am not really used to haveing a lot of kids around. Whew. I dont know how he does it...We went out together and I went with him to help at his job which I dont think I was really much help but I went to make a few deliveries and yaddah yadda yadda and we were able to cruise all areound the old neighborhoods where I used to live and hang out as a child and teen ager. It is cool to see how things have changed and also how they have stayed the same.
Best was when we went to Harriman State Park.
Harriman is about a gazillion acres of pristine wooded forest with lots of steams waterfalls and 7 beautiful lakes. It is in New York state only an hour or so from New York City but a whole world away in reality. We went there twice once for a 8 mile *10 k hike and once just for a picnic by a lake with Erics family except fro Dan his oldest son who os 13 and too cool to hang out with his family. I know how he feels as I was just like him when I was his age. So similar in fact it is a little scary. I only hope he doesnt go through all the madness that I went through...But I guess I turned out okay in the end or maybe I should ay I turned out okay in the middle...
let me just say...OH HOW FINE IT FEELS TO BE OUT OF THE USA AGAIN!!!Flew from Newark to Dublin Ireland. Stayed at Globetrotters Hostel on Lower Gardiner Street. Lower Gardiner is a bit like Koh San Road in Bangkok in that all the backpackers and cheap budget travellers stay here. Angela is bvery anxious to get back to Austria and see her family whom she has not seen in a couple of years and a half and so we only stayed a couple of days.
Went directly to Temple Bar and had a few pints of the Black Stuff. If you have ever been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans that is what Temple bar is like but a little bit more spread out. Bars (Pubs is what they call them here) everywhere playing live traditional irish music and lots of over priced restaurants serving all the traditional Irish favorite foods. Heard a few excellent irish bands and listend to some Jigs Reels and Hornpipes as well as some of the saddest ballads you ever heard which somehow sound joyful after a couple 0' points of Guinness Stout (Known locally as the black stuff)or Kilkenny Ale which is equally psychedelic...
Strolled around the city looking at the architecture drinking! eating fish and chips and drinking! and visited the Guiness brewery and drinking! and hanging out by the 'Ha penny bridge and drinking! and looking at Dublin Castle and drinking! and... Woke up way late the next day all jet lagged and hungover and almost missed our free Irish brekky of beans eggs bacon (the Irish make the best bacon in the world its like a cured pork loin sliced paper thin and cooked crisp) bangers potatoes ('Tis true me lads they do love the po-tay-tees) scones soda bread and lots of good black irish breakfast tea.
Took the D.A.R.T. train to Howth and hiked along the sea cliffs and drank tea in the village and looked at the boats in the marina and before you could say Jiminy Cricket it was time to get our Ryan Air cheap-as-cheap-can-be flight to Salzburg Austria.I dont get it. It is the same planes same service and same everything but a fraction of the cost of the other airlines. As long as it is still there I will fly Ryan Air!!
Got met at the airport by Claus who is brother=in-law to Angela and have been here at Angelas sisters house about 30km from Salzberg ever since. Now our third day. Clause and gerlinda and the kids left today for a 10 day holiday and we have the place to ourselves. I will be in Austria for a while. Gonna catch up with my homey Mozart and just sit and listen for a while. Pretzels here are the best in the world. its like a national obsession. More on this later!!!
"Dont tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled"...Unknown...copied off wall in bigfoot hostel Leone Nicaragua
Peace out to you all,
Rambling Robert

Monday, July 10, 2006

changing continents

Changing continents...
Hi Everyone,
It has been a while since my last update. Last time I wrote Iwas just arrived in New England in New Hampshire. I have always loved New Hampshire. It is a beautiful and scenic State. Lots of mountains little streams lakes and ponds everywhere and very friendly, laid back, down to earth kind of people. I stayed in the home of my old New Orleans room mates, Perrin and Julie and their two kids. Perrin and I attended Chef school together. We live nin New York together for a year or so and then in New Orleans for about 3 years,. The boy can cook. Whoa... the boy can cook!! We ate some great meals there with fresh lettuce and herbs from his garden everynight for outta-this-world gifts from the Goddess salads.
We went to see a "double A" baseball game between New Hampshire Fishercats and Portland(Maine) Sea Dogs. I love Baseball. Our team ( JFishercats) lost 14 to 7.
There is nothing more "American" than going to a ball game at the end of June and sitting in the sun in 98F (35C) heat!!Had a hotdog and a Samuel Adams beer. It was Angelas first baseball game. Seriously good chance her last as well, ah so it goes...It may have been more a highllight of MY trip than of HERS!!
We took lots of long bike rides in NH and went to the beach on our bikes (actually we borrowed the bikes from Perry and Maddy). About 6 miles each way to the beaach mostly flat. Good exercise. Wonderful hot tubs on the deck followed by cool plunges into the pool. Lovely evening chats over red wine on the porch swatting mosquitos. Good times fer sher.
The train from Exeter New Hampshire to New York City takes about 5 hours including transfers. The train beats the tail off the greyhound!! The train is deffinately the way to go around here if you are near a train station I would take the train everytime instead of the bus!!! WE arrived at Penn Station the huge city train hub in the sprawling labyrinth of New Yorks underground transportation kingdom, and switched to a subway ( got lost...well not lost, but) went to the 178th street port authority by mistake instead of the 42nd street port authority to get the bus to my brothers hoouse in NJ.Things have changed since I lived here in 1981. I always took the bus from 178th street...
So we finally got to New Jersey and stayed a few days and then went back to New York. First to Peekskill to see an old buddy of mine Named Joel.
To get to Peekskill you bus to New York then subway over to Grand Central Station on 42nd and Lexsington, then take the Metro North Train to Poughkeepsie and get off at Peekskill. You cruise along in air conditioned comfort with the Hudson river out the window most of the way.
Two very peaceful nights of Bar B Qs and raiding Joels 800 bottel wine cellar
and two days of lazy llunging at the pool int the back yard were just what we needed for preparing us to visit Neil and Jade on New York Citys hustel and bustel Lower East Side. I have been to New York about 6 times since I left in 1981 and always see Neil and he has lived in the same place for the last 18 years or so. So it was easy to get there for us on the train to the City and then on the subways.
The token machines to enter the subway (Metro, Underground, Tubes etc) are gone now and you get a computer swipe card instead. Confused the heck out of Angela and I at first but once you get the idea the cards work well. I always used the subways as a child and so I am comfgortable on them and always feel safe there. Some people dont like them. They are a lot faster than the bus. Neil lives right in between three of my favorite New York City restaurants. 3 blocks from Katz's Deli(est 1894), 1 block from Yonah Shimmels Knishery (est 1910) and 1 block from Russ and Daughters, which is the best place in New York for caviar and smoked fish. We made a killer breakfast in Central park of fresh black bread with caviar cream-cheese, and avocado, topped with smoked Irish Salmon, Smoked Belly Lox (anothergood but saltier salmon), smoked yellow tail tuna, and smoked Sabel Fish. We bought a Red cabbage and a Mushroom knish from Yonas and fresh baked rugaleh pastries for dessert. Right by the pond where everyone operates the little radio powered sail boats, and then went off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, through China town and Little Italy, then over to Battery park and watch the boats come in and out of New York Harbor and steam past the statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
New York is definately the greatest city in America and maybe the world. Certainly in my top 5 along with London Paris Tokyo and Buenos Aires. We stayed out late every night listened to Jazz ate at restaurants, walked around looking at the people, went to the Whitney, We had a great time. Great time. I love New York.
So after our 3 day weekend in the City,we took the subway back uptown to 42nd street Bus terminal and went to New Jersey again.I haave now been in NJ for about a week and am ready to leave. We leave for the airport in another 3 hours and then we arrive in Dublin Ireland. I will spend my summer months in Austria, Slovenia Romania and Bulgaria. So thats all for now. I gottaa go and change continents!!
"Life is the moment we are living right now" Paulo Coehlo
Peace out my Friends,
Rambling Robert