Tag Archives: traveling

Baggage claims

I am still catching up on sleep, and mostly running on adrenaline and caffeine at work. My masters classes are also winding down so I have been running to catch up in time for finals next week too!

We landed back in the USA on Monday afternoon, April 28, which feels like AGES ago. I enjoyed a spacious seat on the second floor of the Boeing 747. Air France hooked us up with champagne and surprisingly good snacks. Of course I enjoyed a baguette and cheese with my wine for one last time! My bed, my family, the dog, DD ice coffee, the shower, my morning commute, chicken for dinner…it is all the same again and yet nothing has felt as monotonous or as dull as it had seemed before I embarked on this trip. I know that I needed a break from the norm, but I was surprised at how happy I was to be back into it! I thought I would have a hard time getting back to my regular routine, and although a large part of me wanted to keep traveling on into the “new”, I was relieved to come back to the “usual”. It was…comforting, and I even felt refreshed despite my physical fatigue. I feel revived emotionally and mentally. I hope this new outlook is sustainable! I do feel strongly that it is. It is as if I have left behind some baggage. And yet, all of my bags came home with me.

I’ll meet you in Paris!


Originally uploaded by msradden

That may have sounded all romantic, but it was actually a business meeting I set up with my contacts overseas in the UK. Julie Slater (pictured, left) and Kim Walton (pictured, right) from the Outwood Grange School in the UK met me (do I have to say, pictured, middle?!) Sunday in Paris to plan an international exchange between our two schools. We are super psyched about it and are kicking it off with a Leadership Exchange between our teachers the first week in June. Participating students and teachers will (hopefully) use the Ning social network tool to manage their virtual exchanges and culminate the project with a travel experience. AND, I did manage to carry that big umbrella to the airport and through customs and recovered it at Logan. It is an Outwood Grange tradition that the umbrella be pictured with all international students and teachers. I couldn’t say no!

Le Baiser

Le Baiser

Originally uploaded by BornToRunND00

I found the Rodin museum today and walked through the free public park on a clear warm spring day today! I was so excited! I was more excited to be able to sneak into the Hotel where the main exhibit was indoors and get my photo taken with my favorite piece – The Kiss. I have more pics from around the park and in the Hotel too.

I’m in Paris!

I’m in Paris!

Originally uploaded by BornToRunND00

Greetings from Paris!! We made it here yesterday after 8 hours of travelling from Munich that started at 4:30 am. Phew. But it was worth it. Paris is GORgeous!! We took a boat ride at sunset along the Seine and I had no idea where to begin sightseeing. Every building intrigued me, I wanted to spend hours in the Louvre, and I wondered how many nutella crepes I could eat in one day! Yum! My friends Jillian and Nicole were able to join me for a very late but very typically perfect French 3 course meal. I had the salmon, lamb, and crepes. Nicole enjoyed the shrimp and steak and profiteroles. and Jillian had the shrimp and veal medallions and caramel almond ice cream with a sugared pear. Oh yes we indulged before hitting the pillows hard and resting our weary feet for one more day in Paris on Sunday.

Our LAST bus ride! and Berlin.

*written Friday April 25 on our LAST bus ride. Leaving Berlin on our way back to Munich.

Berlin was a beautiful city, although our hostel did little to comfort us. Let’s just say it was a “youth” hostel and for us adults, that meant 13 year-olds karaoke-ing “99 Red Balloons” all night long. And yet I still found it easy to sleep – every day has been so packed that I can find a way to fall asleep even in “Racer Car” wooden beds! I learned a ton today on the tour, given to us by a local PHD student who really knew his stuff. I was particularly interested in Hitler’s vision of Germania and to see the city’s tribute to the Holocaust. Little remains of Hitler’s attempt to build an empire in the city. We saw only two buildings standing from his original plans, and they were unmarked or abandoned. It is clear that the Germans want to move on from their ugly past and rebuild. And when it came to the rebuilding, the new architecture put in place is amazing – attractive and innovative all at once. We spent the afternoon after the tour resting in the open air under a glass dome that spiraled and coiled above our heads.

We began our tour at Starbucks, which made me do the “happy dance” because the hostel’s “coffee” didn’t exactly do the job on my post-Racer Car bed crankiness. I got a view across the plaza of the balcony where Michael Jackson dangled his child before we embarked on our walk through the city. We saw what remains of the Berlin Wall and photos of the Gastapo jail cells. It is incredible to think that two vastly different societies lived in one nation divided by a cement wall.

Our guide spoke about how each person in the regime played a specific role that they could focus on, and therefore they could feel detached from the larger, more heinous plan that was set in motion. For example, the man in charge of switching the train tracks did not feel responsible for the fact that the trains were switched to take prisoners to death camps. He simply focused on his task.

It was fascinating to learn about T4, the offices where the practice of eugenics was first experimented with in the 1930s, with participation from American scientists and doctors. We were only able to note the approximate street location of where the groundwork of genocide was laid.

I was most intrigued, however, by our visit to Hitler’s bunker – or rather, the sign that told us we were close to where it used to be. Again, there is no ability to tag or commemorate the life of Hitler in Germany, and justifiably so. Only a subtle trail of the historical context of his life remains there. Nonetheless, his suicide as the Russians approached, the burning, burial, movement, exhumation, re-burning and scattering of his ashes in an unmarked spot of a river makes for interesting history, of which we only got a taste on the tour.

We ended our tour at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, an outdoor monument, composed of 2,711 rectangular graffiti-proof stones that stand in rows and columns as a dedication to the Jewish population who suffered and died. Much debate lies in the artist Peter Eisenman’s actual intentions (why 2,711 stones? what is the intended experience for the viewer?), and in his decision to commemorate only the Jews, when so many other European nation’s peoples were imprisoned and murdered. As I walked through it, I became disoriented, at times able to see the horizon, and then losing sight of any way out from under the shadow of the looming blocks. And when I stopped to look around me for the people I knew, they disappeared and reappeared so rapidly, that I felt as if their presence were an illusion. I was alone and lost unless I just kept moving forward blindly and the blocks finally subsided. And I was free in the sun again. I looked around to see who else made it out.