::Title: Eastern Europe (1991 June) ::Author: Evelyn C. Leeper ::Filename: /rec-travel/europe/eastern_europe.trip.e_leeper :: ++Eastern Europe; Evelyn C. Leeper; 1991 June
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                              Eastern Europe
                     A travelogue by Evelyn C. Leeper
                     Copyright 1991 Evelyn C. Leeper

   Index of days:
      June 1 - Leave the United States (page 1)
      June 2 - Arrive in Zagreb, Yugoslavia (page 1)
      June 3 - Zagreb (page 3)
      June 4 - Zagreb--Ljubljana--Postojna (page 5)
      June 5 - Postojna--Bled--Salzburg, Austria (page 7)
      June 6 - Salzburg (page 8)
      June 7 - Salzburg--Prague, Czechoslovakia (page 10)
      June 8 - Prague (page 12)
      June 9 - Prague--Vienna, Austria (page 14)
      June 10 - Vienna (page 16)
      June 11 - Vienna--Budapest, Hungary (page 19)
      June 12 - Budapest (page 20)
      June 13 - Budapest--Cluj, Romania (page 21)
      June 14 - Cluj--Brasov (page 22)
      June 15 - Brasov--Bucharest (page 24)
      June 16 - Bucharest (page 26)
      June 17 - Bucharest--Sofia, Bulgaria (page 28)
      June 18 - Sofia (page 30)
      June 19 - Sofia--Belgrade, Yugoslavia (page 32)
      June 20 - Belgrade--Sarajevo (page 34)
      June 21 - Sarajevo--Dubrovnik (page 36)
      June 22 - Dubrovnik (page 38)
      June 23 - Dubrovnik (page 39)
      June 24 - The flight home (page 39)


      June 1-2, 1991: fly to Zagreb, Yugoslavia
      June 2, 1991: Zagreb
      June 3, 1991: Dolac vegetable market, St. Stephen's Cathedral, 
	Lotrscak Tower, Mimara Museum, Omar Sharif
      June 4, 1991: Zagreb city tour, Gradec walking tour, Stone Gate, 
	St. Mark's, St. Cyril's, St. Stephen's, travel to Ljubljana, 
	Ljubljana city tour, Postojna Caves
      June 5, 1991: Lake Bled (Austria), Klagenfurt, Lindwurm Statue 
	in the Neuer Platz, Domkirche, Salzburg, Old Town, giant 
	chess game, Glockenspiel
      June 6, 1991: Salzburg, Mirabel Gardens, Makartplatz, Salzburg 
	Cathedral, Residenzplatz, Hohensalzburg (fortress), funicular, 
	catacombs tour, Dwarf Garden in Mirabel Gardens, synagogue, 
	Stiegelkeller (beer garden)
      June 7, 1991: Linz, fortress, Prague, Jewish quarter exteriors 
	(Altneuschul, Jewish Town Hall, High Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery, 
	Maisel Synagogue), Old Town Square (statue of Jan Hus, 
	Kinsky Palace, Gothic Tyn Church, St. Nicholas Church, and 
	Old Town Hall), Charles Bridge
      June 8, 1991: Prague city tour (Prague Castle (Hradcany) (Church 
	of St. Vitus, Royal Palace, Franz Kafka's house), Jewish Ghetto), 
	Wenceslaus Square
      June 9, 1991: Jihlava, Vienna, Hofburg (Winter Palace) Gardens, 
	St. Stephen's, Roman ruins in Michalerplatz
      June 10, 1991: Schoenbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, drive around 
	Ringstrasse, World War II/Holocaust Memorial, Prater and 
	Riesenrad, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Military History Museum), 
	Huber Wine Cellar in Neushift
      June 11, 1991: Budapest, Chain Bridge (Szechenyilanchid), Dohany 
	Street synagogue, Vaci utca, Folklore Theatre
      June 12, 1991: Budapest city tour (City Park, Heroes' Square 
	(Hosok tere), St. Stephen's Cathedral (Basilica), Margaret Bridge 
	(Margit hid), Matthias Church (Matyas Church), Fishermen's Bastion), 
	walking tour (from Andras Torok's BUDAPEST: A CRITICAL GUIDE), 
	statue of Marx and Engels, Carpathia Restaurant
      June 13, 1991: Cluj (Romania)
      June 14, 1991: St. Michael's Church, Statue of Matthias, Tirgu Mures, 
	Sigisoara, birthplace of Vlad Tepes, Brasov
      June 15, 1991: Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle), Sinaia, Bucharest, 
	demonstration in University Square, Cismigiu Park
      June 16, 1991: Bucharest city tour (Palace Square/Revolutionary Square, 
	Church of the Patriarch, Village Museum)
      June 17, 1991: drive to Sofia, Lenin Square (Alexander Battenberg 
	Square or Democracy Square), synagogue
      June 18, 1991: Sofia city tour (old Roman ruins, Georgi Dimitrov 
	Mausoleum, Nevsky Cathedral), Jewish Cultural Center, MYXATA II
      June 19, 1991: drive to Belgrade, Belgrade city tour (Church of 
	St. Michael and St. Gabriel, Kalemegdan Fortress)
      June 20, 1991: Sarajevo, Sephardic synagogue and Jewish Museum, 
	Sarajevo city tour (Emperor's Mosque, bazaar)
      June 21, 1991: Neretva River, Mostar Bridge, Dubrovnik, Babin Kuk 
      June 22, 1991: Dubrovnik city tour (Franciscan monastery, Church of 
	St. Blaise, Placa), town wall, maritime museum, 
      June 23, 1991: Dubrovnik
      June 24, 1991: return to New Jersey

           June 1, 1991:  We arrived at JFK in plenty of time and were all
   checked in two hours before our flight.  My carry-on is unusually
   heavy, since I'm carrying a fourteen-language European phrase book,
   a fourteen-language European menu reader, a Yiddish phrase book, a
   German-English/English-German dictionary, a Russian-
   English/English-Russian dictionary, and copies of phrases from
   travel guides.  Those plus the various tour books makes quite a
   load.  I hope I don't discover that everyone speaks English.

        Our flight left forty minutes late--not too bad.  Our bags
   almost got ticketed for Belgrade instead of Zagreb, but the ticket
   agent realized his mistake and went chasing after them on the belt.
   I just figured we had to clear customs in Belgrade.  The plane was
   only half full, but we had a full row, and my light and headphone
   jack were broken.  However, when I woke up at some point, everyone
   else in the row had left and took their luggage with them, so I was
   able to stretch out and get four hours of almost real sleep.

           June 2, 1991:  After breakfast we got to see our first scenery-
   --snow-covered mountains from the airplane window.  I think the
   consensus was that they were the Alps.

        On arriving at Belgrade, we discovered our flight to Zagreb had
   been combined with two other flights, giving us a couple of hours to
   kill in the transit lounge.  We stopped into the restaurant, which
   took dollars but overcharged us (10 dinars for bread and 44 dinars
   for a cup of coffee--it's 22 dinars to the dollar).  The guide books
   warned us about this and when we're more awake and paying dinars
   we'll be more specific ("ne kruh"--no bread; "koliko?"--how much?).

        When our flight arrived in Zagreb we had another surprise--no
   one was there to meet us.  We saw a bus labeled "Globus" in the
   window but that turned out to be a regular airport bus with a
   newspaper named Globus!  We tried calling Kompas but since it was
   Sunday they were closed.  All the hotel could suggest was a taxi,
   and we ended up taking that for 800 dinars.

        Another surprise awaited us at the hotel--they had no
   reservations for us.  But our vouchers were acceptable and we
   checked in, somewhat dissatisfied with how things were going.

        Driving in, Mark described Zagreb as reminding him of Denver--
   on a flat plain but with tall mountains in the background.  This is
   accurate, and even the sorts of buildings we saw were not unlike
   those we see between the airport and AT&T in Denver.  (Our knowledge
   of downtown Denver is limited, but I think I can say it does *not*
   resemble downtown Zagreb!)

        When we chose this tour, by the way, Binayak (one of the people
   we went to Southeast Asia with) commented that we must not have
   liked the independent travel thing.  Not true, though for Eastern
   Europe many people recommend a tour.  But initially Mark's parents
   were supposed to go with us and, even after they dropped out, we had
   picked up Steve Goldsmith and Mary Sesesky as companions, and (with
   the exception of Steve) none of them was up to the physical effort
   of independent travel.  (Mary has arthritis and has some difficulty
   walking.)  However, our Southeast Asian experience stood us in good
   stead--when no one met us at the airport, we didn't hesitate to try
   to figure out the local phone system and call someone.  We didn't
   feel as lost as we might have.

        The money, incidentally, is fairly complicated here.  There was
   a 10,000-fold devaluation, but the old bills are still in
   circulation, so you need to remember that a 20,000-dinar note is
   worth ten cents, while a 50-dinar note is worth US$2.50.  This would
   be bad enough, but there are no commas in the numbers on the bills,
   making quick calculations tough.

        While Steve and Mary took a rest break, Mark and I took a walk
   around the hotel area, eventually finding our way to Ilica, the main
   street.  The architecture is very European, though I can't define
   what I mean by that.  There weren't a lot of cars on the streets,
   for a number of reasons.  First of all, like every other European
   city of any size, Zagreb has a mass transit system (in this case,
   electric trams).  Second, there are a fair number of streets blocked
   off as pedestrian malls, making car travel even more complicated
   than the preponderance of one-way streets normally would.  And last,
   it was Sunday.

        One different aspect of the architecture is that there are a
   fair number of businesses in courtyards down "alleys" from the main
   street.  These "alleys" are probably better described as driveways,
   but built for horses, not cars.  We scouted the restaurant situation
   a bit and discovered that most of the restaurants were closed on
   Sunday.  We returned to the hotel, passing the wonderfully baroque
   (well, Neo-Baroque) Croatian National Theatre and the Mimara Museum
   on the way.  The museum is right across the street from our hotel
   (the Intercontinental) and we plan to go there on Monday.  We got
   Steve and Mary and went out looking for a place to have dinner.
   There were a lot of bars and pizza places, but we wanted something
   better than pizza.  Eventually we found the Kornat.  Steve and Mark
   went down to look at the menu (the restaurant was in the basement)
   and reported it acceptable.  So we stashed Mary's wheelchair behind
   a counter in the lobby and went down.

        Ordering was an adventure.  One waiter spoke English (some) and
   the menu was in German and Italian,  With the aid of the menu reader
   and the German-English dictionary, we were able to get through the
   menu (plus Italian is a lot like Spanish, which I do know).  Trying
   to find out how much everything cost (not everything was on the
   menu) was another trial.  And the only water available was mineral
   water, not Mark's water of choice.  (He prefers large quantities of
   plain water.)  We ended up ordering red mullet and squid, grilled,
   with a side dish of spinach and potatoes.  The fish was very good,
   especially the squid, and helped improve our spirits somewhat.  The
   bill at 1500 dinars (about US$65) seemed high by our usual standards
   but not for upscale restaurants--which are all that seem to be open
   in Zagreb on Sunday, or at least we saw no mid-range sorts of

        After eating I used the restroom in the restaurant.  There was
   an attendant, but all I had to tip her was a one-dinar coin (about
   five cents).  She found this insufficient and was (apparently)
   asking for more, but all I could do was shrug and say it was all I
   had.  We paid our bill (on Mastercard--the one advantage of eating
   in the more expensive restaurants is that it doesn't deplete your
   cash) and went upstairs.  We retrieved Mary's wheelchair, at which
   point the restroom attendant came up the stairs and wanted a tip for
   checking the wheelchair!  Since she hadn't even touched it, and
   since there was no one watching it while we were eating, this seemed
   unreasonable.  Now, tourists are often at a disadvantage but, in
   this case, pretending non-comprehension proved the best defense.

        We returned to the hotel by way of the Croatian National
   Theatre again and checked the schedule.  Unfortunately, Monday night
   was a play (in Croatian, of course).  Tuesday they were putting on
   Verdi's NABUCCO (an opera), but we would be gone by then.  It's a
   pity, as tickets were 60 to 120 dinars (US$3-6).  Of course, they
   were only that expensive for operas and ballets--plays cost 30 to 60
   dinars (US$1.50-3).  A movie costs 53 dinars (at least at the one
   theater we checked).

        About 9 PM Mark and I went out to see night life in Zagreb.
   Night life seems to consist of walking, drinking in sidewalk cafes,
   and hanging around Trg Republike, the main square.  So we walked
   around, just observing (and somewhat jet-lagged), for about an hour
   before returning for some much-needed sleep.

        As we walked around, we saw Croatian flags everywhere--on
   buildings, in store windows, hanging from the rear view mirrors of
   cars.  There were also posters apparently announcing the vote for
   independence, but my Croatian wasn't up to being able to read them
   to be sure.

           June 3, 1991:  I woke up at 5:30 AM but Mark slept until I woke
   him at 8:40 AM--amazing, as he usually wakes up very early.  The
   weather was beautiful--here's hoping it lasts!  The four of us went
   out looking for breakfast and eventually settled on a self-service
   "Turist Expres Restaurant." We had a very un-USA (un-American has
   the wrong connotation) breakfast: I had liver goulash and elbow
   macaroni and Mark had sausage and beans in a soup.  (Mark hadn't
   realized the goulash he took was liver so he got stuck with the
   sausage I chose--he hates liver.)  That and two sodas and a
   container of yogurt came to 154 dinars (about US$7)--quite
   reasonable considering the size of the portions.  Mary's diabetes
   makes food timing a bit more important, and limits her food choices
   as well, but we'll manage.

        After a stop at Kompas (where they assured us we would be
   reimbursed for the taxi Sunday), we headed for the Dolac vegetable
   market.  Finding a path that didn't involve stairs took a while, but
   after all, it's unlikely the vegetables are carried up stairs, isn't
   it?  The books describe the market as colorful and that it is, with
   red tomatoes, green peppers, brown nuts, and fruits and vegetables
   of all other colors.  We weren't actually in the market for
   vegetables, of course, and having just eaten we weren't seized by a
   sudden craving for fruit, so we just looked around, took some
   pictures, and then proceeded on.

        We spent a little time trying to find a bicycle chain and lock.
   No, it wasn't as a bizarre souvenir, but to secure Mary's wheelchair
   when we went into restaurants and stores.  We couldn't find one, and
   when the tour starts it should be less important.

        We saw St. Stephen's Cathedral in the Kaptol section of the
   Upper Town, the original sections of Zagreb.  As with all other
   cathedrals we visit in Europe, it was covered with scaffolding.
   (See my Benelux log for details.)

        Then we tried to get to Gradec, the other half of the Upper
   Town.  This was not easy--at one point Steve and I were trying to
   get directions from a policeman who spoke only Croatian and German.
   An American tourist wandered over and we eventually pieced together
   directions.  These led, unfortunately, to a *long* flight of steps.
   Okay, go to plan B: go to the base of the funicular off Ilica and
   ride it up.  It's certainly cheap enough--five dinars each (about 22
   cents).  So up we went, on a much shorter ride than the Penang Hill
   funicular in Malaysia.  At the top was the Lotrscak Tower, which
   Steve, Mark, and I decided to climb.  We did the seventy-seven steps
   up to the third floor, then Mark and Steve climbed to the top while
   I stayed on the third floor.  In the distance (well, a few blocks
   away) was St. Mark's Church with its gorgeous tile roof displaying
   the Croatian shield (I wonder how recent that is).  I also got a
   bird's-eye view of the changing of the guard.  Oh, yes, while we
   were climbing up the stairs (narrow in a circular staircase), they
   fired off the noontime gun.  Scared the feathers out of us, I can
   tell you!

        We descended, and walked around Gradec, including seeing the
   outside of St. Catherine's and the Stone Gate, which contains a
   portrait of the Virgin which miraculously escaped a fire in 1731.
   This seems to be a popular shrine, with lots of candles lit and many
   "hvala" ("thank you") plaques on the walls.  It's strange because
   the street (now closed to vehicular traffic) runs right through the
   shrine.  (Why does Gradec, the craftsmen's town, have more religious
   shrines than Kaptol, the clerics' side?)

        At St. Mark's they were filming what someone said was a
   children's film.  Well, when the "bride" walked out and lit up a
   cigarette, I suspected it was a film and not just elaborate wedding
   photography, and when the two trolls with hooked noses and punk hair
   styles arrived, I figured it was *not* the filming of WAR AND PEACE.

        We stood there taking pictures of the guard in their heavy red
   coats (I pity them in the fairly hot weather) and the church when a
   man came up and asked where we were from.  When we said "The United
   States (America)," he started talking about Croats wanting to be
   free, to smile, to have tourists (he was very big on this--I take it
   as a sign that tourism was *way* down, and since tourism is a major
   industry in Croatia, his concern isn't surprising), etc.  But he
   also had some very negative things to say about the Serbs: that they
   were repressive (and oppressive), as well as primitive.  We talked
   for quite a while, or rather, he talked, trying to convince us that
   separation was the right thing.  He seemed to think that Slovenia
   and Macedonia would side with Croatia--whether that meant recognize
   Croatia's secession, join Croatia and be ruled by it, or secede in
   their own right wasn't clear.  He kept saying the Croats didn't want
   war, only freedom.  What will happen?  Only time will tell.

        After this long conversation in the hot sun, we stopped at a
   shaded sidewalk cafe by the funicular for Cokes, then took the
   funicular down and returned to our hotel to freshen up.

        About 2:30 PM we walked across the street to the Mimara Museum.
   This is a new museum which opened a couple of years ago and consists
   of the private collection of (Mr.) Mimara, who donated it to Croatia
   and helped plan the building and display facilities.  It is a small
   museum (3700 pieces) compared to someplace like the Metropolitan or
   the Prado, but remarkable in its coverage.  There is one wing of
   Asian artifacts: Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.  Where other
   museums would have a dozen samurai swords, the Mimara has one, but
   as Mark said, this means the viewer is not overwhelmed by quantity
   instead of quality.  Another wing was glassware.  Two wings were
   devoted to European painters: Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, El Greco, Van
   Gogh, Holbein, Seurat, Pissarro, Bosch, Renoir, Velazquez,
   Botticelli, Constable, Turner, da Vinci, and Caravaggio (though for
   the latter two they admitted the paintings might be "from the school
   of").  This is a pretty amazing collection which, because of its
   location, remains relatively unknown.  Of course, the Mimara only
   opened in 1989 (Mimara died in 1987), so it's still very young.
   When we left the museum there seemed to be a lot of reporters
   clustered around the entrance.  When we got outside, we saw there
   was a film crew set up.  It turned out the reporters were actors
   playing reporters.  Mark said, "Isn't that Theodore Bikel?" and
   then, "And that's Omar Sharif."  We didn't believe him at first, but
   then we saw their names on chairs off to one side.  We decided to
   stay and watch a bit, especially since Mary wanted to rest, so we
   went and sat on one of the benches.

        When they started shotting the scene we got up to watch.  After
   the scene Sharif sat on the bench where we had been.  It was the
   closest bench and so we walked back to it and Mary asked him if she
   could sit down.  He said yes and then started talking to us: asking
   us where we were from, where we were traveling to, and so on.  He
   said he travels too much for work to enjoy it; on his vacations he
   just wants to stay home (Paris).  We talked about Americans and
   their provinciality.  He said most Americans probably couldn't point
   out France on a world map (probably true), but also that they
   couldn't name major state capitals (e.g., Texas), leading to a
   bizarre listing of state capitals (one of my specialties).  In all,
   we talked for about twenty minutes before he was called for the next
   shot (he said this was fast; in the United States or Western Europe
   set-ups take much longer).  All in all, he was very friendly and
   gracious, signing a lot of autographs for children (and adults)
   nearby.  (Oh, the movie is called MEMORIES OF MIDNIGHT.)

        After that, we returned to the hotel and wrote in our logs
   until it was time for the group to get together (7:30 PM).  We went
   down to the lobby and a quarter of the people were there already--
   two!  Yes, our "group" is eight people.  Besides the four of us are
   Ada Hale (from Argentina), Noami (from Uruguay), and another couple
   who were too tired to come to dinner.  We sorted out all the
   technical details, then went upstairs to change, as we were eating
   at the fancy restaurant in the hotel.  They required jackets, so
   Mark wore a tie and his cardigan sweater, and Steve borrowed my
   corduroy blazer.  I got a chance to wear my skirt and good blouse,
   so it wasn't a waste packing them.

        So we're sitting there in the restaurant, making chit-chat with
   our two companions and our guide (Mojca Cajnko) when Theodore Bikel,
   Jane Seymour, and Omar Sharif walked by.  And Sharif stopped at our
   table, said hello to us, and wished us a good dinner.

        Sometimes life hands you a moment so perfect you wish everyone
   who ever sneered at you could be there.

        Mojca practically fell off her chair.  "Do you know who that
   is?  That's Omar Sharif!" "Oh, yes, we met him at the Mimara today
   and talked with him a while."  Or as I said, "We didn't waste any
   time when we hit town."  She had already been surprised at the
   amount of sight-seeing we had done, but this was clearly way beyond
   the usual tour member's ambition.

        Dinner was a bit of an anti-climax: cold ham appetizer, cheese
   strudel, veal cutlet (and extremely salty vegetables), a salad, and
   dessert.  For dessert I had poppyseed cake and Mark had fruit cake
   (not like holiday fruitcake, but a cake with fruit topping).  I
   really liked mine--very unusual, with a topping something like jam
   and then chocolate over that.

        The restaurant was very empty--only three small groups.
   Tourism *is* way down this year--good for us (fewer crowds) but bad
   for the local economy.

        Then the usual log-writing and bed.

           June 4, 1991:  At the buffet breakfast we met Sam and Susan,
   the last two tour members.  They'd been traveling for six months
   already and had plans through August, all with organized tours.
   He's in real estate in Los Angeles, obviously a very lucrative

        At 8 AM we left on our city tour.  The city guide gave us the
   usual background information while our driver (Tone) negotiated his
   way through some really awful traffic (and, yes, there were a lot of
   Yugos).  Obviously, what I said yesterday about the lack of traffic
   was inaccurate--it was entirely because it was Sunday.  Zagreb is
   the capital of Croatia, and was first mentioned in 1093 or 1094, or
   at least Kaptol was; Gradec (pronounced "Greech") was mentioned
   about a hundred years later.  The lower part of the town came much

        We passed a couple of interesting buildings.  There was the
   Croatian National Theatre, of course (also called the Opera House).
   There was the Exhibition Pavilion (or Art Pavilion) which was first
   built in Budapest; then the framework was dismantled and transported
   to Zagreb.  And there was an art gallery designed by Ivan Mestrovic
   (who also designed the fountain in front of the Croatian National
   Theatre), which had been turned in to a "Museum of the Revolution,"
   but seemed likely to revert to art galleryhood soon.

        Changes like these outdate guide book information quickly.
   What I had called "Trg Republike" yesterday turns out to be named
   "Trg Ban Jelacic."  The Croatian flag is everywhere; the Yugoslav
   flag nowhere to be seen.  Both have red, white, and blue horizontal
   stripes, but the red star in the center of the latter is replaced by
   the red-and-white checkerboarded coat of arms of Croatia for the
   former.  In fact, people here so dislike the red stars that on
   license plates many paint over it with white paint or put a Croatian
   coat of arms sticker over it.

        We finally got to Gradec and had a walking tour.  The first
   stop was for people to stare at Omar Sharif's bus--is he following
   us? :-)  Then we saw the Institute of History, which was being used
   for the film as well.  The guide pointed out things we hadn't
   noticed yesterday, like the gas lamps still used to light the
   streets, and the oldest pharmacy in Zagreb (1355--I assume the
   merchandise has changed since then).  There was also some
   duplication, though: the Stone Gate, Lotrscak Tower (which we didn't
   climb), and St. Mark's (whose roof had looked much nicer in the
   sunlight).  Between the Tower and St. Marks' was St. Cyril's, a
   Greek *Catholic* church--most unusual.  We also found out what the
   coats of arms on the roof of St. Marks' were.  The left we knew was
   Croatia; the right is Zagreb, with the three heads a symbol of
   Dalmatia and the marten a symbol of Slovonia (*not* Slovenia).  And
   the noontime changing of the guard we saw yesterday was only the
   fifth since 1918.  That's because the guard was just reinstituted
   May 30 as part of the independence declaration.  No wonder the crowd
   (on a Monday, no less) was so large.  I guess we were actually
   photographing a political demonstration without realizing it.

        We also saw the Croatian Parliament Building across St. Mark's
   Square from the Viceroy's Palace (Orsic Palace).

        When Ada saw Steve helping Mary back on the bus (which
   basically involves lifting her up each step), she said she thought
   he was a wonderful young man.  She also said after seeing Mary on
   this trip, she would never say she couldn't do something.

        Then on to St. Stephen's, and our luck gave out and the rain
   started.  Luckily all we had was a quick dash to the interior, which
   was dry.  Inside was the usual assortment of altars and pulpits, a
   copy of a Titian presented to the church for Zagreb's 900th
   anniversary as a bishopric (okay, so it's a few years early), etc.
   St. Stephen's also has the "fourth best organ in the world." (What
   are the first three and who rates them anyway?)  And just inside the
   door is an example of Glagotic writing, from before the Latin
   alphabet was adopted (and before Cyrillic too, one suspects, though
   it is not in use in Croatia).

        After a brief rest stop at the hotel, we started out for
   Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.  Someone described Yugoslavia as
   seven nationalities in six republics, speaking four languages,
   practicing three religions, and using two alphabets.  The seven
   nationalities are Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian,
   Albanian, Hungarian, and Romanian.  The six republics are Slovenia,
   Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.  The
   languages are Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, and Macedonian; the
   religions Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim; the alphabets Latin
   and Cyrillic.  We will be visiting Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia,
   Bosnia-Hercegovina, and then Croatia again.

        The drive was through forests and would have been pretty except
   for the rain.  Our city tour of Ljubljana (Mojca's home town and the
   capital of Slovenia) was also in the rain, but was a bus tour rather
   than a walking tour, so it wasn't too bad.  Then we got our lunch
   break.  Mary and Steve went to the hotel close by, but Mark and I
   wandered off and eventually found a self-service restaurant where we
   got chicken and tripe, each with polenta, and sodas for 138 dinars
   (about US$6).  By the time we got out it had stopped raining,
   allowing us to walk around a bit.  The Dragon Bridge we saw earlier
   was a bit too far away for us to return for a picture, so Mark had
   to settle for a post card.  The Tromostovje (three-bridge cluster),
   for which Ljubljana is best known, was under construction and
   covered with construction materials.  We did get to see a bit of
   Ljubljana, though not under the best of conditions.

        When we returned to the bus and left for Postojna, the rain
   started again.  (Nice of it to stop for our walk.)  Most of us
   napped, including me.

        We arrived at Postojna about 4PM and were greeted by a long
   flight of stairs to the hotel lobby.  Some searching located the
   elevator (for Mary) and we all got checked in.  At 5 PM we were
   scheduled to go into the caves, so naturally the rains started up
   again at 4:30 PM.  So Mary got into the wheelchair and we raced
   through the rain to the entrance, practically pitching her out when
   Steve caught a wheel in a sidewalk grate.  (This after we discovered
   the doors outside the elevator on the ground floor were locked and
   had to use the stairs from the lobby.  Luckily down is easier than

        The Postojna Caves were at least partially known even in
   prehistoric times, but were first systematically explored in 1818.
   In addition to the magnificent geology, you also get a biology
   lesson from the cave dweller Proteus anguineus, an olm (salamander)
   which has both gills and a lung, no eyes, four legs, and the ability
   to reproduce either by laying eggs or by giving birth to live young.

        The tour begins with an electric tram ride into the caves.
   Near the front you can see the walls and ceiling have been
   blackened--this was caused by the explosion in 1944: the Germans
   thought this would be a good place to store gasoline, but were
   proved wrong when the Partisans discovered it and blew it up.  A
   plaque near the exit commemorates this.  Further in, the tram passes
   through some very low tunnels, causing everyone to duck.  (The walls
   are also close in--don't stick your arms out!)  The caves are 46
   degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) year-round and drip (we
   thought at least here we'd be out of the rain); add to that the
   moving of the tram and you can understand that we were a bit chilly.

        Once inside we got off and hiked up a steep path to the highest
   point in the caves, then descended to the "Russian Bridge."  This
   leads to a path that proceeds mostly downhill for about a mile
   before looping under the bridge.  Since there is also a path
   connecting the upper and lower parts here, Mary decided to wait here
   while the rest walked the loop.

        We got very little description from the guide, in part because
   the group was so large the back people on the path couldn't hear him
   when he spoke, and in part because most of our "English-speaking"
   group was actually Chinese-speaking and their guide had to
   retranslate everything.

        We returned to the hotel very cold, but of course as it was
   summer there was no heat.  At dinner several of us got slivovitz
   just to warm up.  Dinner itself was a mushroom risotto, grilled
   meat, overcooked peas, and potatoes (fried--I think I'd rather have
   them boiled, but one doesn't get a choice), with ice cream for

           June 5, 1991:  We had breakfast (very limited buffet) and then
   left for Bled and Austria.  Bled is just south of the Austrian
   border and a very popular resort town.  It is built on the edge of
   Lake Bled, a glacial lake not unlike Lake Tahoe.  Of course, Lake
   Tahoe doesn't have a castle overlooking it and an island with an old
   church in the middle of it, but these are minor differences.  We
   stopped at a couple of points around the lake for picture-taking and
   then had twenty minutes in the town.  We picked up some snack food,
   some postcards, and a souvenir of Slovenia (a bag of paprika).  We
   like to get a small souvenir from each country for our souvenir
   table, but with the imminent break-up of Yugoslavia we're getting
   one from each republic just in case.  In Croatia we got a key ring
   with the Croatian coat of arms.

        After this, we crossed the border into Austria.  They looked at
   our passports but no one stamped them.  All in all, it was about on
   a par with crossing from the United States to Canada.  The border
   points are separated by a tunnel and after crossing we descended via
   a series of hairpin turns into Austria and on to Klagenfurt to
   change money and have lunch.  (Oh, yes, just before the border on
   the Yugoslav side was what appeared to be a monument to the
   Partisans which looked a lot like the Democracy Monument in Bangkok,
   only smaller.)

        Mojca talked a little about changing money.  Romania and
   Bulgaria, not being major destinations for Western tourists, are not
   used to travelers cheques yet and many places don't accept them.
   But large bills are not a good idea either--you don't want to change
   US$50 for two days in Bulgaria.  Mojca suggested that since Austrian
   schillings are hard currency, convertible everywhere, people change
   enough travelers cheques/large bills to cover the rest of the trip.
   (Let's hope they don't then carry Austrian 1000-schilling notes or
   they're back where they started!)  We have one-dollar and five-
   dollar bills, so I don't expect a problem.  When we got to
   Klagenfurt we changed US$200 to 2389 schillings and hit the town.

        Since we didn't know we were going to Klagenfurt ahead of time,
   we hadn't read up on it ahead of time.  So a quick flip through the
   guide book set our plan of attack.  After changing money, we took
   pictures of the statue of the Lindwurm (dragon) in the Neuer Platz.
   (The Lindwurm is the symbol of Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia
   founded in 1161.)  Then we found a grocery and bought cheese and
   crackers for lunch.  Mark also found an obscure Jules Verne book in

        Then we went to the Domkirche, with its elaborate interior.
   What appeared to be a gorgeous marble and gold pulpit, however,
   turned out to be wood painted to look like marble and gold.  It was
   still pretty fancy though.

        We spent our remaining time walking around just looking at
   things.  There was a monastery built for one order, then acquired by
   the Benedictines, and most recently by the Jesuits.  Of course, this
   is over a period of six hundred years or so, so some changes in
   management are to be expected.

        The drive to Salzburg was through the Alps, towering over us
   and covered with snow, or at least having some snow on top.  This is
   supposedly unusual for this time of year, but where Leepers travel,
   strange weather follows.

        Amongst the mountains were Alpine meadows (well, I suppose
   "Alpine" is redundant here, but you get the idea) with cows grazing.
   All they needed was Julie Andrews running across them singing.
   Actually, one of the problems here is that everything not connected
   with Mozart seems to be connected with THE SOUND OF MUSIC.  There
   are "Sound of Music" tours and the guides point out anything
   connected with the movie.  I didn't even like the movie that much
   (except for the nuns stealing the distributor caps).

        Our first stop in Salzburg was the airport, not that we were
   going anywhere, but Ada's luggage was just arriving from Madrid.
   From there we went to our hotel (the Hotel Winkler) and checked in.

        Mark and I immediately went out walking.  The on-and-off rain
   of the day, which had stopped while we were in Klagenfurt and then
   resumed, seemed to have stopped again for good. We walked across the
   Salzach River to the Old Town and walked around, looking at the
   various old buildings and winding streets, including one named
   Judengasse (or "Judenga{e," as it was printed on the sign) (Jews'
   Lane).  We didn't go into any of the churches as the important ones
   are usually covered on the city tours.  There were a lot of
   bookstores; it's nice to be in a country where people read.  In one
   square we saw two men playing chess on a board on the ground about
   ten meters on a side with pieces about a meter high.  Something
   about how they played made me think this was more to attract viewers
   than to play a real game (and they were back at it the next day as
   well).  We heard the Glockenspiel (carillon) at 6 PM and then
   returned to the hotel for dinner.

        Dinner was garlic cream soup, pork cutlet with vegetables and
   potatoes, and a fruit compote for dessert.  Some people went to a
   chamber music concert; we wrote logs, since chamber music is not our
   favorite and 50 schillings (US$20) each seemed steep for something
   we had only mild interest in.

           June 6, 1991:  We started our city tour with our guide
   Sieglinde by walking to the Mirabel Gardens.  (I asked if she had a
   brother Siegmund; she didn't.)  The gardens (and palace) were built
   in 1606 by Prince-Archbishop Wolfgang Dietrich for his mistress (and
   mother of his twelve children) Salome Alt.  The gardens take twenty
   gardeners to maintain, digging up old flowers and planting new ones
   ("Sounds like bell Labs," was Steve's comment).

        On the Makartplatz we saw the Mozart Wohnhaus, where Mozart
   lived from 1773 until he left home.  Also on the Makartplatz is the
   Church of the Trinity.  Salzburg has a lot of Catholic churches, but
   only two Protestant churches and one synagogue.

        We then crossed the Salzach River and entered the Old Town,
   seeing Geburtshaus Mozart (Mozart's birthplace), or at least the
   outside of it.  Salzburg didn't have much use for Mozart when he was
   alive (nor he for Salzburg, come to that), but now that he's been
   dead two hundred years his face and name are everywhere in the city.

        Sieglinde pointed out the ironwork signs hanging over the
   shops, showing what was for sale there, a hangover from times when
   most people couldn't read.  (You saw an updating in the film THE
   HANDMAID'S TALE.)  We saw several churches, including Salzburg
   Cathedral and St. Peter's.  The churches (and the statuary in the
   Mirabel Gardens) show damage from acid rain.

        St. Peter's Monastery, set right against the mountain, was
   founded in the 7th Century and is the oldest in Austria.  When it
   built its bakery, it dug a tunnel through the mountain to divert
   water to run its mills; this water was also used to flood the
   streets clean once a week.  St. Peter's Church used to have a
   Renaissance interior but when Salzburg Cathedral was rebuilt, it
   decided to compete and was renovated in the Baroque style.  Nowadays
   you can't change anything in a historic building, but this was not
   always true.  I wonder when it was decided that what was old was
   historic and couldn't be changed.  And there are still places where
   this isn't true, though massive changes usually generate opposition
   from other parts of the world.  So Chinese attempts to modernize
   everything were somewhat halted (though many would say not soon
   enough in Tibet), and other countries have realized that keeping the
   old generates tourism.  Italy knows that if it straightens the
   Leaning Tower of Pisa no one will come see it any more.  (The
   problem is there is that, unchecked, it will lean more each year
   until it falls over.)

        But this is a log about Eastern Europe, not Italy.  So back to
   our sightseeing.

        Salzburg Cathedral was first built in 774, then rebuilt and
   reconsecrated in 1628.  On October 16, 1944, during the bombing of
   the city, a bomb fell on the dome, destroying it.  After the war the
   dome was rebuilt (identical to what it was before, using old
   photographs as guides--see above comments on how no one can change
   anything any more) and the Cathedral was finished in 1959.  The
   interior has elaborate stucco work as well as paintings on the
   ceiling and upper part of the walls.  One of the smaller organs was
   playing while we were in the Cathedral (it has five organs: four
   small ones and a big one having 10,000 pipes).  Sieglinde also made
   a point of showing us the bronze baptismal font where Mozart was
   baptized.  This seems to be its main claim to fame, since as an
   intrinsic piece of art it seems inferior to, say, the font in Liege,

        We went from the Cathedral to the Residenzplatz, but got more
   interested in the three hot air balloons being inflated there.  They
   seemed to be advertising balloons, but we never saw them take off
   (and indeed they may not have, as the weather was questionable all

        This was the end of the city tour.  The other four were taking
   tours of the Bavarian Alps (appealing because they went to Germany,
   thereby adding another country, but for little else), but Steve,
   Mary, Mark, and I returned to the hotel, freshened up, picked up our
   cheese and crackers for lunch, and went to the fortress

        The fortress sits atop the  Moenchberg, a forested ridge
   overlooking Salzburg.  There is a path but we took the funicular
   which left from behind St. Peter's (27 schillings round-trip).
   While Mary waited on the small plaza overlooking the city, Steve,
   Mark, and I took a guided tour of the fortress.  This involved a lot
   of stairs, as one of the high points (no pun intended) was the view
   from the watch towers on the roof.

        The fortress was started in 1077 and last added on to in 1677.
   How they got the materials up the hill would be a good story, though
   maybe the other side isn't as steep.  It served its purpose well,
   which was not so much defending the city as it was protecting the
   prince-archbishop from being attacked by the people.  Napoleon's
   troops did manage to take it, and sent everything not nailed down
   back to France, so the rooms are bare of furniture.  The only thing
   they left was the incredibly ornate stove--the only heat in the
   whole complex.

        We also saw the torture chamber (usually Mark's favorite part
   of these sorts of tours) and a pair of museums, one of the household
   regiment (emphasizing more their bravery in World War I than their
   actions in World War II) and the town museum with the usual
   collection of armor and weapons.  We wandered around the grounds and
   courtyards a bit, getting somewhat lost, and eventually found our
   way back to where Mary was waiting.

        I have to say the most interesting aspect of the fortress is
   its location atop the ridge, since inside it is not all that
   different from other castles and fortresses in Europe.  And for that
   matter, Salzburg is similar to other European cities.  It seems full
   of tourists--certainly in the Old Town, but even in the areas
   outside the Old Town.  Maybe this isn't surprising, since our hotel
   is near the Mirabel Palace, a major attraction.  Still, if this is a
   slow tourist year, I'd hate to see what it's like here when it's

        After seeing the fortress, we returned via funicular to the
   base to catch the 3 PM catacombs tour.  This was a good thing, as
   this turned out to be the last tour of the day (the books indicate
   the catacombs are open until 5 PM).  Just inside the gate, not up
   into the mountain, are the graves of Mozart's sister Nannerl and
   Joseph Haydn's brother Michael.  Also there are panels of paintings
   from Durer about the plague.  The catacombs are *above* the entrance
   rather than below as one might have expected.  It is surmised that
   at one time there was an entrance at the top of the ridge, possibly
   destroyed by a subsequent landslide.  Since the fortress postdates
   the catacombs' use as a secret place by several centuries, this is
   possible.  (Constantine converted to Christianity about 300 A.D.,
   thus obviating the need for Christians to hide any more.  It would
   have been a nice irony if the catacombs had been used to hide Jews
   in World War II, but they weren't.)

        We first saw the 4th Century St. Catherine's Chapel.  Lower
   than the 3rd Century St. Maximus Chapel, it lends credence to the
   idea that the catacombs were built top down.  It had a separate side
   room for the as-yet-unbaptized.  (At this time, only adults were
   baptized and then only on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.
   Contrast this with Mozart's baptism when he was one day old--in his
   time there was a special rush because of infant mortality.)  In 1178
   the chapel was reconsecrated to Thomas a Becket, martyred by Edward
   II.  (One woman on the tour confused him with Thomas More, martyred
   by Henry VIII.)

        The St. Maximus Chapel, dating from 250 A.D., was also carved
   out of the rock but higher up.  It was originally in the shape of a
   cross, but one of the arms was lost in a landslide.  So from 1669,
   mountain cleaners examine the rock face each spring and patch the
   rock where necessary.

        We were a little disappointed that we didn't go deeper into the
   mountain and see more tombs, but I guess we'll have to go to Rome
   for that.  There didn't seem to be any more than we saw, so I think
   there were probably not extensive tombs.

        We descended to the courtyard where Mary was writing postcards
   and ate our lunch of cheese and crackers.  By now it was getting too
   late to hit another museum, so we decided to see the "Magic Flute
   House" in which Mozart wrote--you guessed it--THE MAGIC FLUTE.  I
   bet you're thinking, "But didn't he write that in Vienna?"
   (Actually, you're probably not, but I'm going to give you the
   benefit of the doubt.) Yes, he wrote it in Vienna, but then they
   dismantled the house and brought it to Salzburg, where they put it
   in a garden next to the Mozarteum.  Well, that's what the guide
   books say, but we couldn't find it--it may be behind a closed gate
   except when tours are running.  We did see Christian Doppler's
   house, which led to a long discussion of cosmology, to which
   Kopernicus's statue nearby added a coincidental note.

        We took a quick look at the Dwarf Garden in Mirabel Gardens,
   with its dozen dwarf statues commemorating court dwarfs (whether
   specific ones or just dwarfs in general isn't clear).  We returned
   to the hotel, but Mark and I went out again to see Salzburg's one
   synagogue, on Lasserstrasse ("La{erstra{e"), near our hotel.  This
   turned out to be a relatively nondescript building, probably dating
   from the 1960s.

        We returned to the hotel just as it started to rain.  And it
   continued to rain.  This was unfortunate, as our dinner was at the
   Stiegelkeller, a beer garden in the Old Town (in fact, quite near
   the base of the funicular).  Because the streets in the Old Town are
   so narrow, the bus could not get very close and we had a fair walk
   in the pouring rain.  The streets were deserted because of the
   weather and so was the beer garden--at least we were indoors.
   Dinner was skimpy--frittaten soup (a duck broth with a slivered
   crepe in it), turkey curry and rice (!), and a yogurt torte.  Though
   a few more people showed up, the activity never got very lively and
   the whole excursion was somehow not worth the effort.

        After dinner, we had to pay for our drinks, not included on
   this tour.  Steve and Mary were in the restrooms, so I paid for
   theirs--60 schillings, for which I gave the waiter 100 schillings
   and got 30 in change.  When I pointed this out I got the correct
   change, but I somehow suspect it was not entirely accidental.

        We returned to the hotel--the rain stopped on the way back to
   the bus, but not until after Mark did his imitation of Gene Kelly
   ("Singing in the Rain").  Mary and Steve and the two South American
   women took a taxi instead--a wise choice for them.

           June 7, 1991:  We left at 9 AM and drove to Linz, the third
   largest city in Austria.  We had a one-hour stop here to walk around
   and pick up a picnic lunch.  Mark and I immediately charged up the
   hill to the fortress (actually castle, or schloss [schlo{]), passing
   on the way a school where Anton Bruckner studied.  There wasn't much
   of the castle left except some exterior fortifications and the view-
   --which was great, especially where the Danube curves through the
   hills.  Then we rushed through town looking for a place to buy a
   snack.  We finally found a meat (and cheese) store and got cheese,
   rolls, and soda.  Then on the way back to the bus we passed a
   supermarket.  We also passed a street vendor selling umbrellas and I
   bought a large one, an insurance against any further rain.  (Sure
   enough, the only other rain we had was one night when I wasn't
   carrying the umbrella.)  We took a quick picture of the plague
   column erected in 1723 to commemorate Linz's deliverance from
   plague, fire, and Turkish invasion.  (Many European towns have
   similar plague columns.)

        Then we headed for Czechoslovakia.  The Austrian side of the
   crossing was easy; no one even came on board to check passports or
   anything.  The Czech side was a little more complicated, as the
   guard took the passports to examine them, and we changed money while
   that was going on.  Of course, this meant I had no identification
   for my travelers cheques, but eventually the clerk accepted my AT&T
   Universal Card.  (I had to get a little plug in for my company.)  We
   changed only US$20, as it is said to be impossible to change
   anything back, though I saw the couple in front of me do it--and
   without a receipt!

        When we were finished, our passports were back and we started
   up again.  The scenery was similar, of course, but the farms were
   larger (collectivization), and the buildings more run down.  The
   major crop seemed to be rape, and we passed huge fields of yellow
   flowers.  We stopped just outside Tabor for a rest stop and had a
   look at grocery prices.  Candy bars were 3 crowns (about 10 cents);
   a big jar of pickles was 9 crowns.  Will everything be this cheap?

        We arrived at our hotel, a large tourist hotel south of town
   (Prague).  It's on the Metro line, but I suspect Mary would have
   problems with the stairs.  So after we checked in we took a taxi
   into town.  This was 140 crowns (about US$4.75) so not everything is
   incredibly cheap.  The Metro, by comparison, is 4 crowns each.

        We asked to be taken to the Altneuschul and Jewish cemetery
   even though it was after 5 PM and we knew they would be closed.  In
   true Luck of Leeper fashion, the tour that seemed ideal in all other
   aspects put us in Prague on Friday night and Saturday, when all the
   Jewish sights were closed.  I had hoped to make the best of a bad
   deal by trying to find out whether we could attend Friday night
   services, and had even called the number I had for the Jewish
   community center, but the person at the other end spoke no English,
   German, or Yiddish, so this failed.  (Well, my German and Yiddish
   isn't great either, but I had looked up how to ask what times
   prayers were and figured I could understand a number for a time.)
   When we arrived at the Altneuschul, another tourist told us that the
   services were at 8 PM (and 9 AM Saturday), but she thought you
   needed to make arrangements ahead of time or they would be swamped
   with tourists.  This sounds like a real change from the situation a
   couple of years ago (as I understand it), but then, what isn't?

        Mark identified the Altneuschul right away, but I was expecting
   something taller, even though "alt" here means "old," not "high."
   When the Altneuschul was built in 1270, it was the "New Schul."
   Then when it was superseded by others, it became the "Old New
   Schul," or Altneuschul.  (It's known in Czech as Staronova
   Synagogue, which means the same thing.)

        I am sure Mark will write extensively about the Jewish Ghetto
   and the Altneuschul in particular, so I will write just a summary.
   The Jewish community in Prague is very old (consider when the
   Altneuschul was built, and that is was then the "new" one--actually
   we know the community goes back to at least the 10th Century), and
   was very large.  But with the Holocaust, and later the Communists,
   it has shrunk to only a couple of thousand.  Someone reported that
   when they visited in 1979, Jews in Prague seemed very surprised that
   there were young Jews practicing elsewhere.  And even a couple of
   years ago, the visitors at the Altneuschul often outnumbered the
   members.  Perhaps now after the Revolution, younger Prague Jews will
   rediscover their heritage, and the city as a cultural and artistic
   magnet will attract others.

        Legend has it that in the late 16th Century or early 17th
   Century, Rabbi Judah Loew (spellings vary) needed to protect the
   Jews of Prague from blood libels (the accusation that they were
   using Christian children's blood in Passover matzoh--this was
   stirred up even more by the nearness of Easter to Passover, since
   Easter masses accused the Jews of killing Jesus until that was
   removed by Pope John XXIII in the 1960s).  What often happened was
   that a child's body was planted in a Jewish house by trouble-makers
   (whose goal frequently was to have some excuse to seize Jewish
   property or to get out of paying a debt to a Jewish merchant).
   Rabbi Loew formed a man of clay, called a golem, who was brought to
   life with a scroll containing the name of God (or in other
   variations, the word "life") in his forehead (or mouth).  The golem
   would patrol the Ghetto and many stories are told about how he
   discovered numerous plots against the Jews.  There are also legends
   about how his strength got out of control, sort of like FANTASIA's
   "Sorcerer's Apprentice."  (For a complete discussion of the golem,
   see Mark's article on the golem in films and literature, available
   on request).

        Across the alley from the Altneuschul is the Jewish Town Hall,
   a large pink building with two clocks on its spire, a normal one and
   one with Hebrew numbers which runs counter-clockwise.  This ceased
   to be a town hall in 1848, when the separatist laws against Jews
   were abolished by Joseph II.  (This area is also called Josefov in
   honor of him.)  Adjoining this is the High Synagogue.  Also on the
   alley is a restaurant/snack bar serving kosher food.

        Down a side street across from the Altneuschul is the Jewish
   Cemetery.  In use from at least 1439 to 1787, it contains 12,000
   tombstones and is estimated to have 100,000 people buried there, in
   places as many as twelve deep!  How did they do this?  Well, much of
   the cemetery is a hill about twenty feet above the street level,
   surrounded by a wall to hold it in place.  When they buried another
   person they apparently just added dirt on top and moved the
   tombstones up.  Again, it was closed but we could see a bit of it
   through the gate.  (We could have seen more, but there was
   scaffolding around one of the buildings which partially obscured the
   view.)  We couldn't see Rabbi Loew's tomb, probably the most famous
   in the cemetery.  The entire cemetery has been named a "World
   Heritage Site" by UNESCO.

        Walking down the main street toward the Old Town Square
   (Staromestske Namesti), we passed the Maisel Synagogue, also closed.
   All the buildings are part of the National Jewish Museum.  As in
   Amsterdam, the Nazis had collected all sorts of Jewish objects for
   their "Museum of a Vanished Race" and after the war these became the
   basis of the museum.

        On the way to the square we passed a restaurant named "U
   Golema" ("At the Golem's").  At least in this small area, the golem
   is considered famous enough to name a restaurant after.  (A street
   vendor was selling little ceramic golems--we bought a couple.  Mark
   later observed that all the golems we saw here--statues, postcards,
   etc.--were patterned after the golem in the one Czech golem film and
   none was of the French or German style.  Well, this *is*

        Walking down the street to the square I was stuck by how
   beautiful Prague was.  Because it was never bombed during the war,
   all the lovely old buildings are intact, and they have been
   maintained reasonably well.  So this section looks like something
   out of the past (except for the cars on the street, of course).
   (However, outside of the center of Prague is very different.  Down
   by our hotel area, there are older houses near the river and then
   blocks of high-rise apartments stretching away from the river.
   These are not so beautiful.)

        The major features of the Old Town Square include the statue of
   Jan Hus (erected in 1915 on the 500th anniversary of his martyrdom);
   the Kinsky Palace (covered with rococo decorations); the Gothic Tyn
   Church with its twin towers each with three sub-towers, looking like
   giant spice-boxes; the Renaissance St. Nicholas Church; and the
   late-Gothic Old Town Hall (built in 1470).  The latter is known for
   its horologe (astronomical clock).  In addition to the clock, on the
   hour windows in the tower open up and statues of the twelve apostles
   march by, then a golden cock crows, and finally a skeleton
   representing Death (and therefore the passage of time) pulls a cord
   to strike the hour.

        One finds a lot of tourists watching the clock on the hour.

        We watched the clock chime 6 PM--we had lost track of the time
   but a passing couple told us to hurry if we wanted to see it and
   that reminded me.  After, we looked a bit more at the buildings on
   the square, and then watched some folk dancers and musicians on the
   street.  Mark even got kissed by one of their puppets!

        After a few songs we moved on toward the Charles Bridge
   (Karolus Most).  This was supposedly a straight walk, according to
   the Lonely Planet map, but was extremely crooked.  We zig-zagged our
   way, stopping to change a bit more money and to browse the sidewalk
   stands.  Several seemed to be having Soviet Army garage sales,
   enough to prompt Mark to observe that he doubted the Soviet Army
   left *that* much behind and that they were probably manufacturing it
   in Bratislava and trucking it in.

        We finally got to the bridge and walked across it.  It was a
   nice wide pedestrian bridge, unfortunately marred by street vendors
   on both sides, though their wares were more artsy-craftsy than a lot
   of what one sees.  (Yes, I know people have to make a living.  I'm
   just saying that from a visual standpoint, the bridge would be
   prettier without the kiosks.)  And we got a nice view of Prague
   Castle above the Moldau River.

        Upon reaching the other (western) side we decided to take a
   taxi back to the hotel.  We found one and had great difficulty in
   arranging a price.  Finally Mark wrote down "140," our price from
   the hotel to the Altneuschul, and the driver said, "No," and wrote
   down "130"!  This is a new kind of bargaining.

        Then we tried to put Mary's wheelchair in the trunk.  It fit--
   sort of.  But the trunk wouldn't close, so the driver went to look
   for a piece of rope to tie the trunk down.  He went about two
   blocks, in fact, but had no luck.  So I suggested using a belt,
   which worked.  Well, it worked until one particularly good bump when
   the belt came unlatched from the hook it was on!  We tried
   "Halt!" and "Stop!" and finally the driver noticed the trunk lid
   (actually a hatchback) was up.  A quick retightening got us back to
   the hotel without further problems.

        Dinner was a huge buffet, including caviar.  Self-service seems
   more evocative of the old socialist egalitarian system, but it was
   nice to be able to pick what we wanted for a change.

           June 8, 1991:  After a buffet breakfast with a lot of choices
   (buffet breakfasts can be very lavish or very skimpy), we left for
   our city tour with our guide, Jana.  After driving into the town
   itself (our hotel is about five kilometers south of the center of
   town), the first strange thing we saw was a giant metronome on a
   hill.  Mark asked about it--it was part of an art exhibit.  There
   used to be a statue of Stalin there but it disappeared long ago.  We
   drove past this to the top of the hill and Prague Castle.

        Just outside the Castle is a statue of Kepler and Brahe.  Brahe
   is buried in Tyn Church.

        The Castle (Hradcany) is actually an entire town with streets,
   homes, churches, etc.  There seems to be one main street that goes
   from the top to the bottom, with a few interruptions as it passes
   through churches and palaces.  At any rate, we did not make a lot of
   twists and turns.

        We started at the top with a view of the Loretto Church.  I
   think Jana was a bit surprised to find that the four of us with the
   wheelchair were the *first* to arrive.

        I won't try to describe everything in the Castle (is that a
   giant sigh of relief I hear?).  One major sight was the Church of
   St. Vitus (who was martyred by being stood in oil which was then
   heated, hence St. Vitus' Dance).  St. Vitus is a major saint of
   Czechoslovakia.  The church was begun in 1344 and the Gothic part
   finished in 1399.  The middle part was added later, in the Baroque
   style, and the last part was finished in 1929.  It is 124 meters
   long and the spire is 90 meters high.  The stained glass is all
   relatively new, with much of it in the art nouveau style.  Also here
   are the coronation jewels, behind a door locked by seven keys (held
   by seven different government officials).  Legend has it that is
   someone not entitled to wear them puts them on, s/he will die.
   During the World War II occupation by the Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich
   put them on--and shortly thereafter was assassinated.

        Another important Czech saint is St. Wenceslaus (yes, from the
   Christmas carol).  In 935 A.D. he was assassinated by his brother
   while attempting to reach sanctuary in a church, but the causes were
   probably more political than religious.

        We next saw the Royal Palace, or at least a few rooms.  On May
   23, 1618, Protestant nobles threw two emissaries of the Pope out a
   window into a deep ditch filled with garbage.  This is known as the
   "Defenestration of Prague" and started the Thirty Years' War.
   Defenestration has always been popular in Prague--an anti-Communist
   activist "accidentally" fell from his bathroom window in 1948.

        We finished up the castle area with Franz Kafka's house, Number
   22 Golden Lane (Zlata Ulicka).  This was apparently a tourist
   attraction even when Kafka's books were banned (or at least very
   hard to find).  To quote the play "Kafka's Radio," "It's ... it's
   ...  dare I say it ... Kafkaesque!"

        We then took the road down the hill rather than the stairs
   (because of the wheelchair).  Jana didn't know about the road but
   one of the vendors pointed it out.  At the bottom we saw an entire
   bus of tourists in wheelchairs; the bus had a special elevator
   platform in back to raise and lower them.

        We then drove to the Jewish Ghetto and went by the cemetery and
   synagogues.  Since I have already described these, I will not repeat
   myself.  See page 17 for the description.  Jana did point out one
   thing we had missed: a mosaic of the Golem in the sidewalk in front
   of U Golema, including a white stone in the forehead representing
   the scroll.

        We rushed to get to the clock by noon so the others could see
   it chime.  We also got a somewhat better view now that we knew where
   we wanted to look.  Then Jana explained all the main buildings on
   the square (see page 19).  After that we returned through the Old
   Town, where Jana had a bit more time to fill in details about the
   history of the Ghetto (again, already described).

        This was the end of the tour.  Steve was appointed tipper for
   the five of us remaining (the two South American women dropped off
   earlier and I don't think they're tipping the guides anyway).  Steve
   had collected 150 crowns, the equivalent of US$5, so I gave him a $5
   bill and suggested he ask Jana whether she'd prefer crowns or
   dollars.  Dollars was the clear winner; it's still impossible for
   Czech citizens to change crowns into dollars (and well nigh
   impossible for anyone else, even with receipts showing you changed
   dollars into crowns), and anything imported or any travel outside
   Czechoslovakia (say, to Vienna) requires hard currency.  So books
   that suggest bringing a lot of $1 bills for tips are not far off
   (though I think the two hundred one book suggested was a bit

        Steve asked Jana about the Lenin Museum mentioned in our guide
   books.  It was closed, she told him in no uncertain terms.  One got
   the impression that five minutes about the Revolution they bolted
   the door and dismantled the exhibits.  (The Revolution I speak of
   here is, of course, not the 1917 one or the 1948 takeover by the

        We ate lunch at Rudolph's (under the same management as U
   Golema and across the street from it--U Golema is not open for
   lunch).  We got two dishes to share, both of which were basically
   pork cutlets with cheese (how incredibly kosher, right?), one with
   bacon, the other with green beans under the cheese.  Both came with
   side vegetables and rice.  With wine for me and soda for Mark, this
   came to 225 crowns, or about US$7.  (Oh, we also got "Elixir of
   Life" soup.)

        After lunch, Mark and I went off toward Wenceslaus Square, once
   considered dull but now known as a center for activity, political
   and otherwise.  On the way we passed the green and white
   neoclassical Tyl Theatre, where Mozart himself conducted the first
   performance of DON GIOVANNI in 1787.

        We walked up one side of Wenceslaus Square (actually a long
   rectangle), browsing in shops and buying odds and ends (two anti-
   Communist postcards, a book about Jewish Prague, a set of postcards
   of Prague's synagogues--do you see a theme here?).  Books are very
   cheap--52 crowns for a large format book of photographs (about
   US$1.75), under US$1 for ROSEMARY'S BABY in Czech, etc.  Crowd
   control in stores is through the basket system: everyone takes a
   basket when s/he enters, and if there are no baskets left, s/he has
   to wait until someone leaves and hands one off.  Signs remind people
   not to share baskets.

        While the store windows are full, the selections inside are
   much more limited than in the United States.  There are compact
   disks (CDs), but after walking around I got the impression that
   everyone is selling some subset of the same fifty CDs.  Food stores
   have window displays of such basics as sugar--not what one usually
   advertises in the West.  (Admittedly there may not have been the
   usual sorts of grocery stores in the areas we were walking through,
   but there were a couple.)

        White we were walking around Wenceslaus Square we looked behind
   us and saw an enormous crowd (several thousand people) marching
   toward us.  Well, not toward us, but toward the upper end of the
   square where we were.  They were carrying Czech flags and banners
   that said, "REP."  We watched as they moved toward us, then decided
   that we should move off to the sidewalk, where people were still
   walking along and shopping or window-shopping.  Eventually the crowd
   collected at the top end of the square (and extended back quite a
   ways) and a man dressed in a suit and tie gave a speech punctuated
   by cheers and occasionally laughter (at jokes, I assume).  Since it
   was in Czech, however, we had no idea what it was about.  We finally
   found someone who was speaking English and asked if he knew what was
   going on.  He did, a little, because he was with his father, who
   spoke Czech.  The demonstration was apparently against the
   Communists *and* the present government (Havel).  The demonstrators
   (he said) wanted more radical or faster reforms than Havel proposed.
   We took some more photographs (discreetly, of course), then moved
   on--just in case there was trouble.  (There wasn't, though it did
   make the European news on television Monday morning.  But that was
   in German, so we *still* don't know for sure what was going on.)
   Oh, the demonstrators were supporting someone named Sladek.

        Walking back to the bus we were approached several times by
   young men saying, "Change money?"  The black market rate used to be
   much better than the official rate, but now the two are so close
   that it isn't worth the risk.  Plus at this point our goal was to
   spend crowns, not to acquire them.

        Movies are cheap--18 or 20 crowns (60 or 70 cents).

        We met Mary and Steve; there was a problem.  The hour and a
   half of jouncing over cobblestones through the castle had loosened
   the nuts on the front wheels of Mary's wheelchair and at some point
   they fell off.  Steve was concerned about getting them fixed, but I
   assured him that if they couldn't do it at the hotel, they could
   certainly find someplace in Vienna.

        Dinner was another elaborate buffet.  And not only was the
   wheelchair fixed, but Steve said the man refused a tip for doing it.

        After dinner we took a taxi to the Old Town Square to see
   Prague by night.  Of course, even at 8:30 PM it wasn't actually
   dark, so we decided to walk toward the Charles Bridge, which Mojca
   recommended at night.  As we walked across, admiring the view of
   Prague and especially Prague Castle lit up at night, Mark and Steve
   had a long political discussion.  I hope they also appreciated the
   view.  Of course, the bridge was still full of vendors, making it
   less than perfectly romantic, but the vendors are passive rather
   than active and the wares attractive.  The fight at one end between
   the musician playing American rock and the Frenchman who didn't want
   to hear "Yankee music" was less benign, though entirely verbal.  We
   walked a bit further and were passed by a group of people carrying
   paper lanterns.  By this point things were thinning out considerably
   and when we finally found a taxi stand we decided to call it a
   night.  The 200-crown fare seemed high (at first we thought he said
   500, but it was "zwei hundert"), but it was further from our hotel
   and late at night.

           June 9, 1991:  Today we drove to Vienna.  Our morning stop was
   Jihlava, which is just important enough to get mentioned in the tour
   books for its town hall, its Church of St. Ignatius, and its plague
   column.  It is also mentioned for plopping a modern department store
   in the center of its town square, thereby ruining its aesthetic
   value.  However, this was Sunday morning and no stores were open.
   We spent some of our remaining crowns at a kiosk buying candy,
   sodas, and a beer.  The beer was more for the bottle than the
   contents--a friend of ours (hi, Dave!) collects beer bottles and
   we're trying to get him one from each country we visit.  I'm
   reasonably sure he doesn't already have a bottle for a beer brewed
   in Jihlava.  The beer, by the way, seems to be called "11%," or at
   any rate has that in big characters on the label, but smaller print
   says that the alcohol content is 2.8%.

        We had about 100 crowns to spend (a little over US$3) and still
   had about 15 (50 cents) when we were done, even though we had an
   armful of candy and bottles (including the deposits--Coca-Cola is
   5.5 crowns plus 2 crowns deposit).

        As we left Jihlava we saw a woman trimming her lawn with a
   scythe.  Even hand mowers must be rare (unknown?) here, but then
   lawns are more American, I think; Europeans tend toward gardens.

        Crossing the border was fast: no luggage search or passport
   check (except for Mojca and Tone).  The Austrian guard just waved us
   through.  This is *very* different from two years ago; one woman
   said it took her three hours at the Czech border (entering, but that
   had been fast for us as well).

        We lunched in Hollbrunn at the Three Crowns.  I had goulash
   soup and Mark had hasenpfeffer (rabbit).  We could tell we were back
   in Austria--it was 130 schillings (about US$11) for this.

        Austria seemed much less run-down (more kept-up) than
   Czechoslovakia, particularly in the small towns we drove through.
   In Czechoslovakia the walls had patches where the stucco had fallen
   off or it was patched quickly.

        We arrived in Vienna about 3:30 PM.  We were staying in the
   Austrotel, a change from the initially planned Ramada.  Neither has
   much charm, but few people on tours would pick charm over comfort.
   (Examples: our hotel in Amsterdam had charm but no elevator.  Our
   hotel in Penang had charm and rats but no elevator.)

        Steve and Mark went over to the train station across the street
   and got 24-hour transit passes.  A single ride would be 20
   schillings and a pass is 45, so the pass seems like a very good
   deal.  (In London, a pass costs about what three rides cost.)

        Mary decided to rest, so the three of us took the tram into the
   center of town.  The tram went down Mariahilferstrasse
   ("Mariahilferstra{e"), one of the main shopping streets, and stopped
   at Karlsplatz on the Ringstrasse ("Ringstra{e").  The Ringstrasse is
   a street (or series of streets, since the name changes every time it
   crosses a main artery) that circles the center of Vienna.  Just on
   the inside of the Ring at Karlsplatz is the Hofburg, the Winter
   Palace of the Hapsburgs.  At the Karlsplatz is a statue of Mozart
   with a little patch of grass in front of it with a flower bed in the
   shape of a G-clef.

        We walked through the Hofburg grounds and made our way to
   St. Stephen's, the main cathedral of the city.  Seeing a cathedral
   without a guide one misses a lot, but the Frommer's guide book did
   direct us to the stone pulpit with its carved figures, each with its
   own personality.  There was even a separate figure carved as if it
   were looking out a window in the main column which was a self-
   portrait of the sculptor.  I couldn't find the altarpiece mentioned,
   however, since it was described as being in the "Virgin's Choir,"
   and I had no idea where that was.  Other than that, it was your
   usual ornate cathedral.

        We then started Frommer's "Walking Tour of Imperial Vienna"
   backwards from St. Stephen's.  Well, we were at the end point, but
   following directions backwards is not as easy as it may sound.  We
   had walked down the Graben and the Kohlmarkt, seeing maybe the last
   10% of the tour, when we found ourselves staring at Roman ruins in
   Michalerplatz.  What are Roman ruins doing in the middle of Vienna,
   you ask?  Well, this was the northern outpost of the Roman Empire.
   As we were looking at the ruins, a man and his son (?) came over and
   started explaining them in broken English.  This was still better
   than my attempts to translate the signs using my German dictionary,
   which was slow, ungrammatical, and incomplete.  (However, having the
   dictionary was a real help, as were the multi-language books.  The
   Yiddish phrase book and the Russian dictionary have yet to prove
   their usefulness.)  Anyway, the two of them spent about a half an
   hour talking about the excavations, which were found when the platz
   was being redone to change the traffic patterns.  Suspicious person
   that I am, I expected him to ask for a guide's fee or something, but
   no, he was just interested in the subject and enjoyed sharing it.
   One problem in tourism is that so many people *are* out to make
   money off tourists that tourists begin to believe everyone is.

        This took so long that when we saw an Underground station a few
   blocks later, we decided to head back to the hotel and, for the heck
   of it, to do it entirely on the Underground.  (This station,
   Minorites, was strange--above ground it looked like a large phone
   booth.  It was an elevator that just came up to the street, not the
   usual stairs, etc.)  We had to change trains three times, but each
   time the lines were clearly labeled, not like New York.  Need I also
   say it was cleaner than New York?

        When we emerged at Westbahnhof (the train station) we got to
   watch the police move a parked car by jacking up one end and
   swinging it onto the curb, then repeating the process at the other
   end.  This was necessary because the car was parked in such a way
   that it blocked the road.  A bus had gotten part of the way through,
   but then couldn't go forwards or backwards, and *it* was blocking
   the tram tracks in front of it as well as the traffic behind it.
   What a mess!  Finally, however, the car was moved (and ticketed) and
   everything sorted out.

        At dinner we met seven people joining our tour.  Six were going
   only as far as Budapest with us; one was "staying the distance"
   through Romania et al.  The latter is a man from Brazil who speaks
   no English, but he apparently knows Spanish, so the Uruguayan woman
   finally has someone one to talk to.  Dinner itself, as is usual on
   many of these tours, was instantly forgettable.

           June 10, 1991:  We had to scramble a bit this morning, as
   departure was moved up fifteen minutes so that we would make our
   "launch window" at Schoenbrunn Palace.  This place is so popular
   that tour groups are scheduled for specific times.  (I wonder what
   individuals do.)  Since all we got was a Continental breakfast this
   morning, rushing was no problem.

        Schoenbrunn Palace was the summer palace of the Hapsburgs (also
   called the Habsburgs), so it was a ways out of town.  Designed in
   the Baroque style by the von Erlachs, it has 1441 rooms, of which we
   saw 42.  We started with the apartments of Franz Joseph (born 1830,
   ascended to the throne 1858, died November 22, 1916).  We began with
   the Guard Room, the Waiting Room, and the Audience Room (also known
   as the Walnut Room because of the wood used).  People spent hours in
   the Waiting Room for thirty seconds in the Audience Room.  The guide
   particularly pointed out the chandeliers.  They used to be all
   candles, but around the turn of the century the Palace was
   electrified, with the wiring being checked out by Thomas Alva Edison

        Room number four had portraits of Franz Joseph and his wife
   Elizabeth.  Next was the bedroom where Franz Joseph died, including
   his death portrait.  He had a son, Rudolph, who died young (a
   suicide, I believe). Then his nephew Franz Ferdinand became crown
   prince, but he was assassinated    June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo.  Finally
   Charles I succeeded him, but by that point it was too late; sixty-
   eight years of rule by a conservative emperor had pretty much killed
   the empire.

        Three small but over-decorated rooms were followed by the
   bedroom of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth.  (He never used it after she
   died, but used the room he eventually died in instead.)  The
   rosewood bed was 2.2 meters long but its unusual width made it look
   shorter.  All the rosewood furniture was donated by the local
   cabinet makers.

        The next two rooms were Elizabeth's rooms, followed by one with
   portraits of Marie Antoinette and Caroline.  Maria Theresa had five
   sons and eleven daughters.  The daughters were all married to
   various kings, making Maria Theresa "mother-in-law to Europe."

        Room 13 was a breakfast room containing embroidery by Marie
   Antoinette and Caroline; rooms 14 and 15 were other small rooms.

        Room 16 was the Mirror Room.  The mirrors themselves are new,
   though the frames are original.  This is where Mozart held his first
   concert in Vienna--at the age of 6.

        Next was Maria Theresa's Room; she reigned from 1740 to 1780.
   After her, the rulers are more accurately called the Hapsburg-
   Lorraines, as she married the Count of Lorraine.  Rooms 18 through
   20 were other small rooms.

        Next was the Gallery, used for balls and state functions.  The
   chandeliers are now electric, but used to hold 2000 candles.  The
   ceiling is covered with frescoes painted by Gregorio Guigielmi.  Off
   this room were two smaller rooms done in a Chinese motif.

        Room 25 was dominated by a portrait of the Spanish Riding
   School (Spanische Hofreitschule), a training school for the famous
   Lippizaner stallions.  (I guess the ERA8*9 has not yet reached the
   Spanish riding school.)


     * The ERA is the (proposed) Equal Rights Amendment: "Equality of
       rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the
       United States or by any State on account of sex."

        Room 27 featured portraits of a royal wedding, that of Maria
   Theresa's son Joseph and Princess Isabella.  One painting shows the
   wedding feast: the royal family is eating and the other 95% of the
   guests have the honor of watching them eat.  There is also a
   painting of a concert given as part of the festivities for which
   over a hundred people arranged to have their portraits included,
   including Mozart.

        Next was the Blue Chinese Room, whose wallpaper was ink on rice
   paper which had been patched with tape at one time and now has
   horrible tape marks.  It was in this room that Charles I abdicated,
   ending World War I and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

        Then came the Black Chinese Room, which was also Maria
   Theresa's audience room, and had a hardwood floor made of fourteen
   woods.  The next room had Flemish tapestries.

        Room 31 was the Porcelain Room, though little in it was
   actually porcelain.  Most of it was carved wood painted blue and
   white done by Maria Theresa's husband, Francis I.

        The Million Room is so called because it cost a million
   florins.  The rosewood trim, for example, was hidden from the
   Germans in the Salzburg salt mines during World War II.  The frames
   surround 17th Century Indian miniatures--I could spend a whole day
   here just looking at these.  And the ceiling isn't painted--it's
   embroidered (from Isfahan).  It's gorgeous!  I wish we had more time
   and I wish I could have gotten close enough to see the miniatures
   (though the binoculars helped).

        Next were more Brussels tapestries.  Peter (our guide) also
   pointed out that the long hallway we were using was not what was
   used in the emperors' time.  Then, people used small doorways into
   the center core where the bathrooms, stairways, etc., were.  They
   weren't "hidden" doorways, but they were cleverly disguised to be

        Room 34 was in memory of Napoleon's son, Napoleon Franz.  Two
   more small rooms followed, then the Throne Bed Room.  The throne bed
   was actually moved from Hofburg and no empress ever received people
   from it in Schoenbrunn.

        The remaining rooms were small and relatively unimportant.
   This doesn't mean that they weren't heavily decorated, of course.  I
   guess simplicity was not considered a stylistic virtue.  If you've
   got it, flaunt it, and all that sort of thing.  And, boy, did these
   people flaunt it!  Not that the common folk ever got a chance to see
   this, but all the nobility tried to impress all the other nobility.
   I guess it's like the New Yorkers of Tom Wolfe's BONFIRE OF THE

        After seeing the inside, we had some time to walk around the
   outside in the gardens.  These were formal gardens (with 400,000
   flowers all precisely laid out).  There was a pebble path around the
   various sections--well, more than a path as it was probably fifty
   feet wide.  But under the pebbles was not dirt, but cement.  I guess
   they have sacrificed a little authenticity for ease of care these
   days--and there's no nobility living there to notice anyway.

        We drove to Belvedere Palace next.  The palace itself no longer
   has any furniture and serves (I believe) as an art museum, but most
   people come for the view of Vienna from the gardens.

        We got the usual dose of history as we rode around.  Vienna
   used to be the fifth largest city in the world (after London, New
   York, Paris, and Berlin).  This was back before World War I, when it
   was the capital of a large empire, and before cities in developing
   countries started exploding.  The "Mexico City" phenomenon was
   unknown then.

        (Oh, the Belvedere Palace was built by Prince Eugene of Savoy
   in 1722 and finished in seventeen months.)

        We finished with a drive around the Ringstrasse as our city
   guide pointed out the important buildings we were passing.  What he
   didn't describe or identify was a sculpture near the Danube Canal
   with a yellow Star of David and a red triangle on it.  I quickly
   noted a cross-street so we could investigate.  It turned out Mark
   had noted the same sculpture and was curious about it, and it was
   right on the way to the Prater, so after we were dropped off at the
   Opera Housa we took the Underground back.  (I keep wanting to say
   "Metro," but it is labeled with a "U.")

        We found the sculpture (whose artist's name I forgot to write
   down).  It took us about fifteen minutes to translate the
   inscription using my dictionary, which was something like, "Here
   stood the Gestapo House.  It is shown in ruins, as the Thousand-Year
   Reich is, and we the Austrian people declare war is hell.  The man
   is the eternal (immortal?) victim and the resurrection of the
   Austrian people."  (I told you the method wasn't perfect.)  The
   sculpture itself was like a rough stone doorway with a bronze figure
   of a man standing in it and did indeed have a yellow Jewish star and
   a red triangle (Communist? political prisoner?) on it.  It seems to
   be a memorial to Holocaust victims from those, though the
   inscription omits this.

        After this, we picked up lunch in a grocery store and ate it on
   a bench: bread, bierkase cheese, mascarpone cheese, and strawberry
   buttermilk.  Then we took the Underground to the Prater.

        The Prater is a giant amusement park whose most famous
   attraction is its ferris wheel (Riesenrad).  The Riesenrad is huge,
   197 feet in diameter, and was featured in movies such as THE THIRD
   MAN and THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.  Instead of seats it has cabins about
   ten feet long and five feet wide, fully enclosed.  Since this is an
   old-style amusement park, where one pays by the ride rather than one
   big entrance fee, we decided to ride the Riesenrad (28 schillings
   each, or about $2.35).  From the top you get a great view of Vienna.

        We then took the Underground and a bus to the
   Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Military History Museum).  We
   originally thought we had missed the right stop, but it turned out
   that the museum is right between two stops going out; on the return
   trip there is a stop right on the corner.

        The museum covers the period of the Hapsburgs.  It's a funny
   feeling seeing a museum dedicated to the past glory of a country
   that now is one of the smallest in Europe.  One wonders how
   Austrians feel seeing it.  I won't describe all of it--one military
   museum is pretty much like the next--but I will mention the Sarajevo
   Room, which contains the car Archduke Ferdinand was riding in when
   he was assassinated (it has bullet holes) and his cloak, still
   blood-stained.  He was assassinated on    June 28, 1914, the day my
   grandparents got married.  (My mother was born April 6, 1917, the
   day the United States entered World War I, so you can see my family
   is strangely tied to that war.)

        On the Underground back (and for that matter, on the way there)
   we stopped to read the exhibits on fascism and censorship put up by
   (I think) one of the museums.  We also saw some pieces of building
   ornamentation on display in one of the stations--sort of like Mexico
   City has art in their subways.  New York has graffiti.

        We returned to the hotel by bus, Underground, and tram.  By the
   time we got off, we were about twenty minutes over the twenty-four
   hours on our pass, but we *had* started on time.  Okay, it was
   slightly illegal.

        Dinner was at the Huber Wine Cellar in Neushift, a village
   outside of Vienna (more like a suburb these days).  First was a cold
   cut platter (with very thinly sliced ham like I haven't had in
   twenty years), then a roasted meat platter (chicken at last! I'm
   getting so tired of red meat), and finally apple strudel, plus a
   glass of new wine.

        There were musicians playing during dinner.  Mojca suggested we
   each tip them ten schillings, but Mark and I docked them one
   schilling each time they played a non-Austrian song (like "When the
   Saints Go Marching in").

        We drove back through the red light district.  This is not
   nearly as elaborate as the one in Amsterdam; it's more just an area
   where the women stand (or walk) in the streets waiting for
   customers, and customers know they can find women.  It was
   drizzling, but Mojca said we were only two or three blocks from the
   hotel, so six of us decided to walk back.  It started to rain harder
   and it wasn't two or three blocks--it was more like ten or fifteen.
   We got drenched.  So what else is new?

           June 11, 1991:  We had originally been scheduled to have the
   morning free in Vienna, but Mojca thought that getting to Budapest
   early would be a better idea, especially as our Vienna hotel was so
   far out from the center of town.  Getting in and our would waste a
   lot of whatever time we had.  So we left early (8:30 AM) and crossed
   the border at Nickelsdorf.  The crossing, again, was much faster
   than Mojca expected.  There were a lot of armed Austrian soldiers
   patrolling the town on the Austrian side, though if someone were
   going to try to sneak across, why would they do it at a border

        Money-changing was very easy; they wheel a little exchange
   office up to the bus.  We exchanged 200 schillings for 1184 forints.
   Austrian money will be our basis through Hungary, Romania, and
   Bulgaria, as travelers cheques are still too new to them (as I said
   earlier).  This worked out to about 71 forints to the United States

        Stop signs here (as in Austria and I think Czechoslovakia) are
   in English.  That is, they say, "STOP" rather than the local
   equivalent.  I wonder why.

        My first impression of Hungary was that it was cleaner than
   Czechoslovakia, or at least that the houses were better tended.  The
   small towns didn't have patchy-looking houses the way Czechoslovakia

        We ate lunch at a rest stop at Tatabanya.  There was a
   restaurant but Mark and I had cheese and bread (and I had my Jihlava

        We arrived at the Atrium Hyatt in Budapest and checked in.
   This hotel is located right near the Chain Bridge (Szechenyilanchid)
   on the Pest side of the Danube River.  Until the last century,
   Budapest was actually two cities: Buda on the hill on the west bank
   of the Danube, and Pest on the plain on the east bank.

        Mary took a nap while Mark, Steve, and I walked to the Dohany
   Street synagogue, about a mile from our hotel.  The Jewish Museum
   next door, in the house Theodore Herzl was born in, was closed, but
   the synagogue was open.  This was all the more remarkable since they
   were in the process of renovating it and it isn't open very often.
   As it was, the pews and ceiling were covered with plastic sheets to
   protect them while the leaky roof was being repaired.  But the front
   part of the synagogue and the general architecture could still be

        The inside resembled the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam--
   rectangular, high-ceilinged, etc.  There were two balconies for
   women along the sides, so it was basically three stories high.
   After the elaborate ornamentation of the churches we had seen, this
   seemed to have a much simpler beauty by comparison.  Perhaps it was
   the lack of representational art ("graven images"), but I think we
   all agreed that our reaction to the synagogue was more favorable
   than to the churches.  And I suppose the fact that we were Jewish
   made a difference.

        On the way out we talked to the gate-keeper (who I think was
   impressed that Mark brought his own yarmulke).  The synagogue is
   Ashkenazic (though the architecture and especially the twin towers
   seemed more Sephardic), and is Conservative.  In the garden next
   door was a memorial with the date January 18, 1945--the liberation
   of Budapest, perhaps.  A sculpture in the back garden looking like a
   tree with many long silver leaves is actually a grave marker on top
   of one of the mass graves, with a victim's name engraved on each

        The buildings on the back streets were very run-down, with
   pieces falling off and so on.  And everything is very dirty, from
   the pollution.

        We returned via Vaci utca, the main shopping street (for
   tourists?) in Budapest.  At a record store in Vorosmarty ter
   (Square) I bought my Hungarian souvenir: a Hungarian cast album (on
   cassette) of LES MISERABLES (called A NYOMORULTAK).  This idea
   actually came from someone on Usenet (hi, Wayne!) and I just adopted
   it.  This cost 190 forints, or about US$2.85.  After the events of
   1989, I don't think anyone can hear "Can You hear the People
   Sing?" in Hungarian without a special feeling inside.

        After dinner we went to the Folklore Theatre for a folklore
   show.  This was done by a professional troupe who were quite good.
   One musician played something called a "duda" that looked like a
   bagpipe.  Mark is a big fan of Hungarian (and gypsy) music.

           June 12, 1991:  Our city tour first took us past the Dohaney
   Street synagogue (which is apparently closed most of the time--we
   were lucky), and past a lot more buildings desperately in need of
   cleaning and maintenance.  I suppose I would have to say that Prague
   is better maintained, but Budapest is more gung-ho, especially for a
   free market.  Out by the sports stadium, a flea market was going.
   And everywhere were shops, even 24-hour ("Non-Stop") shops.  Billy
   Graham, by the way, recently preached in the stadium and Luciano
   Pavarotti sang in the sports hall.

        We drove along Dosa Gyorgy, where large May Day demonstrations
   used to be held.  They aren't any more.  The statue of Lenin that
   used to grace the square has also been removed.  We drove through
   the City Park, passing the zoo, the circus, and the hot baths, and
   returned to Heroes' Square (Hosok tere).

        Heroes' Square has a 36-meter pillar in the center surrounded
   by the "Seven Hungarian Chieftains."  The colonnade behind has
   statues of the most important Hungarian kings.  In 1989, the remains
   of Imre Nagy (the prime minister who led the revolt in 1956 and was
   executed in the U.S.S.R. in 1958) were located and given a state
   funeral in Heroes' Square.  History is recent here.

        We then drove down Andrassy utca.  If you can't find this on
   your map, don't be surprised.  Until last year it was Nepoztarsasag
   utca, which was some reference to Communism.  Many street names have
   been changed in the last year.  Luckily for tourists with old maps,
   they have not removed the old name plates, just painted a red slash
   or "X" through them and attached the new ones beneath.  I read that
   the rush to rename streets has slowed now that cities and towns are
   realizing how much all those new street signs would cost.

        We stopped at St. Stephen's Cathedral where Cardinal
   Mindszenthy is buried.  He was imprisoned in the 1950s, and
   liberated in 1956, but then sought asylum in the American embassy
   when the Soviets invaded.  He lived in the embassy until he died in

        We then drove across the Margaret Bridge (Margit hid) to get to
   Buda.  We drove past some Turkish baths still in use (though the
   alternating days for men and women would make it awkward for us to
   try them even if we had time).  Then we went up the hill to the
   castle area: the Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion.

        The Matthias Church (Matyas Church) dates from the 13th Century
   but has been added on to and renovated so many times that it is
   considered by some to be a "model of European eclecticism" (and by
   others "overdecorated stage scenery").  Fishermen's Bastion gives
   one a wonderful view of Pest ("photo op," as Steve keeps
   announcing), but was never really suitable as a defensive structure.
   After taking our pictures, we returned to the hotel.

        One more comment on street names: Streets named after people
   are family name first.  So it would be Liszt Ferenc Street (for
   Franz Liszt), Szilard Leo utca, and so on.  (I don't know if these
   exist; they're just examples.)

        For the afternoon there was an optional excursion to a
   "typical" Hungarian village with a stop at an artist's workshop.
   This sounded like just the sort of thing we try to avoid, so we did,
   and instead took the second walking tour in Andras Torok's BUDAPEST:
   A CRITICAL GUIDE.  (This, by the way, is a really great guide book,
   with a decent map and lots of neat anecdotes, some of which will
   undoubtedly appear below.)

        But before we started, we bought some more music cassettes,
   some of gypsy music, and a Hungarian rock opera (ISTVAN A KIRALY, or
   KING STEPHEN) about Hungary's first king.  The latter was mentioned
   in Torok's book as having sold over a million copies--pretty amazing
   in a country of only ten million people.

        Rather than describe everything on the walk in detail, I will
   just hit the highlights (which I assure you will be more than
   enough!).  We saw the Basilica (St. Stephen's) again, but Torok's
   commentary added a lot.  He described how it took a long time to
   build it--people had a saying, "I will pay you back when the
   Basilica is finished."  And when the second architect took over in
   1868 (after the first died), he inspected the unfinished, but still
   in use, building and discovered cracks in the dome.  He closed the
   building and eight days later the dome collapsed in the middle of
   the day--with only one eyewitness.  There was much less traffic
   then, that's for sure.

        We also saw some art nouveau buildings.  One in particular had
   different decorations on different stories, including majolica
   sunflowers.  Inside, the lobby (which we could see only through the
   locked door) had art nouveau ear-shaped windows.

        We saw a variety of cars as we walked, all small and almost all
   eastern European.  Of particular interest was the Trabant, the East
   German car being abandoned in great numbers in West Germany.  It's
   not recyclable--it's plastic (honest!).  It's not burnable--it's
   toxic.  So the West Germans developed a bacterium to eat it.  I am
   *not* making this up.

        We passed the Houses of Parliament, in use again.  Well,
   there's only one house now, but that's better than none.  The red
   star that used to be on the spire is gone.

        Of the "White House" (its color) near Margaret Bridge, Torok
   says, "The once-dreaded power centre, from where the country was
   governed, ... by Janos Kadar, for 32 years, now contains office
   facilities for the MPs.  Nobody wants to move into the former Kadar
   suite....  You cannot imagine how good the feeling was to take a
   right turn coming off the bridge from Buda--a privilege once
   reserved for higher party functionaries."

        There is also a statue of Marx and Engels.  One proposal is to
   send it to the suggested theme park with all the Lenin statues (and
   the red star?).

        We crossed the Margaret Bridge, which we had crossed in the
   morning.  Then, however, Agnes hadn't told us about the disaster in
   1944, when the German charges placed on the bridge went off
   (accidentally, it is assumed) during the rush hour, killing hundreds
   in the city's greatest single disaster.

        Then we came back south along Fo Utca in Buda and back across
   the Chain Bridge to the hotel.  By this point we had been walking
   for three and a half hours and were done in.

        After a half-hour rest, however, I went out on one last errand:
   a quest for a Hungarian tchotchka.  I settled for a flute and a
   button with the Hungarian coat of arms (and no red star!) on it.

        We rested until dinner, then went with the whole group to the
   Carpathia Restaurant for dinner with gypsy music.  Dinner was
   something resembling a burrito as an appetizer, followed by turkey
   and vegetables as a main course (it didn't taste as American as it
   sounds), and hot apple strudel for dessert.  Wine was also included,
   a special "treat" on Brendan tours, as usually they exclude drinks-
   -Mark didn't get much benefit from this.

        Returning to the hotel, we walked across the Chain Bridge and
   back for one last look at nighttime Budapest.

           June 13, 1991:  The bellhop caught us on the way out, asking,
   "Do you know whose this is?"  It was a roll of film which we had
   shot (I stick labels on them, so I recognized it).  It must have
   fallen on the floor.  I'm glad he caught it!  He asked us where we
   were going next.  "Romania."  "Oh, I'm so sorry; there's nothing [to
   buy? to eat?] there." He also talked about how Romania should return
   the "Hungarian" part of Transylvania (which Romania got after World
   War I, lost during World War II, and regained after the end of the

        We drove out past more buildings with facings falling off.
   Budapest desperately needs a major renovation effort.  One problem:
   no money for it (though gradually some buildings are being

        As we drove eastward toward Romania we actually saw someone
   using a power mower to cut grass.  We also saw a horse-drawn cart
   and people using hoes to cultivate fields (not just gardens).

        We had a heck of a time trying to park the bus in Szolnok, our
   last stop in Hungary.  Mojca misdirected Tone down a dead-end where
   he had a hard time turning the 45-person bus (now holding nine plus
   Mojca and Tone) around.

        We went into the grocery store and spent our last forints on
   soda, beer (bottle for Dave), cheese, etc.  I wonder what Romania
   will be like.

        We headed for the border but had to backtrack briefly when we
   overshot the last gas station.  Gas is apparently impossible to get
   in Romania.

        The border crossing took forty-five minutes.  Mojca said it
   used to take four or five hours.  We changed 100 schillings into 580
   lei.  The rate in February was 35 lei/US dollar; now it's 60.  (We
   discovered later the black market rate was 120 to 150 lei/US
   dollar.)  While we waited to have our passports processed we ate

        One of the first things we noticed about Romania was the
   pollution, perhaps because Oradea (the border town) had a lot of
   heavy industry built up by Ceausescu, and the air quality shows it.
   We also saw more horse-drawn carts.  In fact, this seems to be a
   major mode of transportation in Romania.  Many have rubber tires
   (hence the enormous number of "vulcanizares," one supposes), but
   some have only metal-clad wooden wheels.  Many of the people driving
   these are wearing old clothes, but some are wearing new clothes in
   up-to-date styles, and the contrast is remarkable.  Then they get to
   the fields and work with hand tools and horse-drawn plows.  Now that
   the land is being re-privatized, people once again are working their
   own land, and this seems to make them work harder.  Before, Felicia
   (our guide) says, only soldiers worked the land.  Now the people
   work it.

        The road also got noticeably worse when we crossed the border.
   It became two lanes (well, the last Hungarian stretch may have been
   two lanes as well) and was more in need of repair.

        We arrived in Cluj about 7 PM.  Our hotel (the Hotel
   Transilvania) was on top of a hill--nice view but not in the center
   of things.  Except maybe the black marketeers.  About a half dozen
   young men were loitering around the entrance--fairly obviously,
   since the hotel is several hundred feet from anything else.  "Change
   money?"  "Black change?"  It was to become a constant refrain in
   Romania.  It didn't even bother them that there were armed guards
   (police?) right by the door.  I wonder what the purpose of these
   guards is.  They certainly didn't keep people out of the hotel--
   people (always men) would wander down the hallways.  "Change money?"

        The room was Spartan.  The ashtrays were very chipped, the
   toilet was a gravity tank type (with the tank up near the ceiling),
   and the toilet lid wouldn't stay up by itself.  Oh, yes, you also
   can't drink the water.

        Dinner, however, was a pleasant surprise: stuffed cabbage with
   sour cream sauce, pork and potatoes, and a cream puff for dessert.
   The only problem was that Steve, Mary, and I bought a bottle of wine
   which attracted dozens of fruit flies.  Blech!

           June 14, 1991:  Breakfast was yogurt drink, fried eggs, bread,
   and coffee.  This was better than the Continental breakfast in
   Vienna (this was also listed in our brochure as a Continental
   breakfast).  Ada and I were the only ones who drank the yogurt.  The
   coffee here (as in most places we've been) has much less coffee
   flavor than we're used to.

        On the bus Mark found his spiral notebook, which had
   disappeared the previous night.  He had looked before but hadn't
   found it, and was beginning to think that one of the money changers
   had picked it out of his pocket (for some unknown reason).  But it
   had merely slipped between the seat cushions.  Since his notes for
   the last three days were in it, it was a relief to find it.

        We stopped briefly at St. Michael's Church, a Catholic church
   where the services are in Hungarian.  Felicia explained the outward
   differences between the Roman Catholic and Romanian Orthodox
   religions.  In the former, priests are not allowed to marry; in the
   latter, they must (but cannot be promoted until they are widowed--
   this seems strange, and I may have misunderstood).  In the Orthodox
   churches, there are no pews--everyone stands or kneels.  The
   services also take two to three hours versus a half-hour for
   Catholic ones.  During the time, however, the doors remain open and
   people come and go during the service.

        Next to the church is the statue of Matthias which won first
   prize at the 1902 Paris Exposition.  Romanians consider Matthias
   Romanian, though the statue was erected when Cluj-Napoca was part of
   the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

        Felicia, by the way, is very adamant that Transylvania is part
   of Romania, not Hungary.  But she is equally firm that the Soviet
   Union should return Bessarabia and Bukovina, and sees no
   inconsistency here.  I guess she figures that land granted Romania
   in 1918 is more Romanian than land granted the U.S.S.R. in 1947 is
   Soviet.  Well, maybe it is, but the borders have shifted around so
   much between 1918 and 1947 that the whole Balkan (and southeastern
   Europe) area is in quite a state.  The frequently voiced sentiment
   is that the protests by ethnic Hungarians in Romania are caused by
   trouble-makers from Hungary coming over and stirring them up.  Does
   this sound just a little like the United States South during the

        On one building across from the church was a political banner
   left over from last year's demonstrations.  Then, the miners came in
   to break up the student demonstrations.  Now the miners are also
   dissatisfied, because Iliescu hasn't delivered on his promises of
   better conditions and higher pay, however, so this year the miners
   are siding with the students.  There is a big demonstration planned
   in Bucharest on Saturday.  We will be in Bucharest on Saturday.

        We drove past the Orthodox Cathedral and the National Theatre,
   then on toward our next night's destination, Brasov.

        I probably should explain why Cluj is officially Cluj-Napoca.
   The "Napoca" part was added twenty years ago (or so) to emphasize
   Cluj's Dacian origin.  (Dacia is what the Romans called it, and
   Romania traces its origins to Dacia.) "Cluj" means "surrounded by
   hills" and "Napoca" was the original Dacian name of the area
   thousands of years ago.  But "Cluj" is a Hungarian word, so adding
   the "Napoca" was a way of saying, "Okay, it has a sort of Hungarian
   name, but it's really Romanian."

        Most of the houses (at least those visible from the road) have
   electricity.  Some (10%?) even have television antennas.  But many
   do not have running water, and we saw many people drawing water from
   wells.  Electricity isn't rationed any more, but Mark noted a lot of
   traffic lights were off.  This could be a shortage of light bulbs,
   though--many hotel fixtures lack bulbs as well.

        Some of the houses have little metal flags with a stencil of
   the date the house was built; this is a German custom.  Others have
   Eastern crosses, having been blessed by an Orthodox priest.

        The villages, with the horse-drawn carts and people in
   traditional clothing, look like something from the old Universal
   horror films set in some indeterminate time in some undeterminate
   place in Central Europe.  Before, when I saw the films I thought
   their juxtaposition of cars and a primitive lifestyle odd; now the
   only dissonance is that there seem to be no Nazis in the films.

        Everything we see in Romania is old: old bicycles, old tires,
   old farm tools, old everything.  Only clothing seems new, and there
   are more stores selling fabric than clothing in some towns.  Are
   there sewing machines?  Or is there one dressmaker with a machine?

        We stopped in Tirgu Mures for lunch.  There were many gypsies
   on the street here, wearing traditional clothing.  Most live in
   villages (the old nomadic existence is illegal) but come into town
   to shop.  I'm not sure what they shop for--the grocery store didn't
   have much.  Oh, the shelves were full, but they had only a couple of
   dozen different items, mostly jarred fruit and preserves.  Street
   vendors had some fresh vegetables and bread, but there was nothing
   like we saw in Hungary.  The vegetable sellers all had long queues
   for the vegetables, which were a little wilted-looking (maybe it was
   the heat--it had gotten pretty hot by this point.)

        Our next stop was Sigisoara, with its 14th Century clock tower
   and the house claiming to be the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (son of
   Vlad Dracul, hence sometimes known as Vlad Dracula).  He was *not* a
   vampire (that was all Bram Stoker's imagination--Romanians do not
   even have vampire legends), but rather a prince who fought against
   the Turks.  During Ceausescu's time, Romanians never heard about
   Dracula's reputation in the rest of the world, even though Dracula's
   birthplace and castle were used as tourist attractions.  (Actually,
   what is billed as "Dracula's Castle" isn't really, but I'll talk
   about this later.)

        We then drove on to Brasov, our night's stop.  We went out
   walking to the town square, hoping to find a Romanian tchotchka.  No
   such luck.  There *are* no tchotchkas in Romania, at least none that
   we have yet seen.  There are also no postcards.  You know a
   country's tourist industry is undeveloped when there are not even
   postcards.  Even in the poorer countries we have visited, someone
   produced postcards to sell tourists.  But here there is no means
   even of producing such things.  Books are printed very cheaply, with
   glossy covers.  (But even here Sherlock Holmes is popular--I saw A
   SHERLOCK HOLMES, all in different stores.)

        We went into the grocery here.  It was much worse than the one
   in Tirgu Mures.  It was very dark and its stock consisted almost
   entirely of mineral water and beer (at least I think it was beer).
   Steve bought a bottle of mineral water and when he got it outside in
   the light he discovered it had a fly and some feathers in it.  I
   said maybe they belonged there, like the worm in a bottle of
   tequila, but I don't think he believed me.

        Dinner (at the Carpathia restaurant) was a real contrast.
   First we went into their wine cellar and had a wine tasting.  There
   were four wines: a Murfatlar Sauvingnon, a Merlot, a Cotnari, and a
   Murfatlar Chardonnay.  Then we went upstairs and had dinner (grilled
   meat) while singers and dancers in costume entertained us.
   Comparing the happy, carefree dining with the poverty and shortages
   outside, I am reminded that this is the sort of thing that started
   the French and Russian Revolutions.  But the one good thing to be
   said is that our portions here have been small.  They are not
   wasting food with the tourists while others go hungry.  (I realize
   that these portions might be large to the local population, but in
   China they served us far more than we could eat, and that isn't true

        Returning to the room, we iodized a pitcher of water to brush
   our teeth with.  They provide a pitcher of water by the sink, but it
   isn't boiled.  It's tap water in case the water supply is cut off.
   There was one 60-watt bulb to light the room, no bulb in one bedside
   lamp, and a broken television.  The elevators were also flaky; one
   just wouldn't open on our floor.

           June 15, 1991:  We're starting to see more of the shortages:
   there was no milk (for the coffee).  People who are picky about how
   they drink their coffee should not come to Romania.

        The first thing we saw was an unfinished monument on top of a
   mountain.  It was supposed to have a giant statue of Ceausescu and
   his wife, but all that was finished was the base.  I suspect it will
   stay that way.  No one is really keen on building to Ceausescu any

        We passed the Black Church but didn't go in; had I known this I
   probably would have looked in last night, though there's no shortage
   of churches on this trip.  We also passed the synagogue; there is
   also a kosher kitchen (restaurant?).  We did stop at the Church of
   St. Nicolae din Scheii and the First Romanian School Museum, but
   didn't go in.  As we left Brasov, Felicia pointed out the bullet
   holes in the town hall and the adjoining hotel.  Brasov was also the
   site of a 1987 uprising so it has some older bullet holes as well as
   the 1989 ones.

        Leaving town we saw long lines for gasoline.  Each family with
   a car can get a certain amount of gasoline for 15 lei for a liter;
   anything more than that is 30 lei a liter.  I gather one goes to
   different stations for the different prices, and these lines were at
   the cheap stations.

        On the way to Bran, Felicia told us about the Romanian royal
   family.  King Michael is living in Switzerland and has been trying
   to come back, but the government, citing potential security
   problems, has refused to issue him a visa.  His wife Anna and their
   five daughters do not speak Romanian, and according to Felicia, Anna
   is even worse than Ileana Ceausescu--she only wants to return to
   reclaim all the royal family's property and possessions.  Fat
   chance.  I can't see the people here handing over all this stuff
   after wresting it away from Ceausescu.  Maybe as figureheads the
   royal family might return.  But even that is questionable, given
   their German origins, and the fact that they've been out of touch
   with Romania for over forty years.

        History here is only now being learned.  In the schools,
   everything from 1918 was very slanted and much was concealed.  Only
   now are people rediscovering those seventy years.

        One thing they do seem definite about is that they don't like
   Communism.  On one wall we saw painted the equation "[hammer and
   sickle] = [swastika]".

        We got to Bran Castle, a.k.a. Dracula's Castle, to find
   it ... you guessed it, under renovation.  Yes, there was scaffolding
   everywhere.  Felicia managed to convince them to let us in to walk
   around a bit, but the atmosphere was somehow wrong.  If it had been
   in disrepair, it would have been atmospheric.  If it had been
   renovated, it would have been nice to look at.  With all the
   construction materials around, though, it just looked as though they
   were building Dracula's Castle while we watched.  Sort of like a
   Transylvanian Disneyland.

        Even with all this, however, the castle on the hill flush with
   the cliff was worth seeing.  Mark said the whole thing looked more
   like Hammer Films' version of Dracula's castle than like
   Universal's.  In any case, Dracula's *real* castle is about twenty
   kilometers west, the Poienari Citadel in the Wallachia province.
   (Vlad Tepes was actually a Wallachian prince.)  But it's almost
   completely in ruins and hard to get to besides, so tours make do
   with this one.

        The vendors make do also--there were a dozen souvenir stands.
   All but two were selling woollen goods and sheepskin hats.  The
   other two were selling wooden items (plates, flasks, etc.) decorated
   by wood-burning and painted portraits of--you guessed it--Vlad
   Tepes.  We got a plate and a flask, both decorated with a picture of
   the castle and the legend "Bran Castle."  But the flask can be
   turned around to show a flower design on the reverse side.  The
   flask was 300 lei; we paid US$3 and might have been able to get it
   for US$2, but we were in a hurry.  We also got one of each postcard
   they had.  At 3 lei each, that was 6 lei.

        Driving up into more mountains on a shortcut road to Bucharest,
   we stopped in Sinaia for lunch.  The hotel restaurant Felicia
   recommended wasn't open yet, so Steve, Mary, Mark, and I went to the
   "Expres Palace" across the street.  The menu was entirely in
   Romanian.  My menu reader doesn't cover Romanian, so we looked at
   what other people were eating and what was being cooked behind the
   counter.  The "look-and-point" method got us an assortment of soup
   with chicken (and tripe?) and sour cream, beef tongue, and mititei
   (skinless sausages) with fried potatoes.  The mititei were very
   good!  With four orange drinks this came to 200 lei for the four of
   us (about US$3 at the official rate, or under US$2 at the black
   market rate).  After lunch Mark and I wandered down the street and
   got some soda in a hard-currency store--it is hard to find anything
   drinkable here.

        Felicia continued to marvel at the number of people in the
   fields.  Up until last year (a lot of sentences in Romania--and
   elsewhere in Eastern Europe--start that way:  "Up until last year,"
   "Before 1989," etc.), most of the food was exported to pay off
   Romania's foreign debt or to keep the Soviets off their backs.  (The
   Romanians used to pay tribute to the Turks; more recently they paid
   it to the Soviets.)  Anyway, their debt is paid off, the land is
   private again, and the people can either eat what they grow, or sell
   it for money to buy things.  What things they can buy remains a good
   question, but they must believe there will be something.

        We drove through the Ploiesti oil fields, heavily bombed during
   World War II.  They are producing still, but not as much (the reason
   wasn't clear--there still is a lot of oil there).  So now Romania
   imports crude oil from the Middle East, refines it, and then exports
   it.  The roads were much better here.  We saw more cars and also a
   gypsy caravan headed toward Bucharest.  Felicia thought they might
   be going toward the demonstration there.  She (and some of the tour
   members) are not reticent to express their negative feelings about
   gypsies.  I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, many do look
   dirtier than the population as a whole.  On the other, it could be
   that their living conditions are worse and water less available.
   Are a higher percentage of them thieves and pickpockets?  I don't
   know.  Do they have a lot of other options open to them?  I don't
   know that either.

        We arrived at Bucharest about 3 PM.  Our hotel was the
   Ambassador, changed from the Bucharesti (which no longer accepts
   groups).  The Ambassador is equally well located, although since we
   were spending Saturday afternoon and Sunday in Bucharest, all the
   shops would be closed anyway.

        Before we travel these days, we get information on the various
   countries we are visiting from the international section of AT&T's
   travel office.  This includes things like brief histories, visa
   requirements, currency regulations, and so on.  There is also a
   sheet saying what to watch out for and what precautions to take.
   The sheet for Romania said to avoid all demonstrations and to steer
   clear of University Square in Bucharest, known for its riots.  And
   if we were caught in a demonstration, we should not try to
   photograph it.

        So the first thing we did was grab our cameras and go to a
   demonstration in University Square.

        As the song says, "I give myself very good advice, but I very
   seldom follow it."

        The demonstration seemed like something out of the late 1960s
   or early 1970s in the United States.  Someone was singing a
   Dylanesque folk song, although the only word I could pick out was
   "libertati."  To one side someone was selling small candles to be
   lit at a sidewalk shrine to the martyrs of the 1989 revolution.
   People were waving Romanian flags, many of them with a hole in the
   center where the shield with the red star was cut out eighteen
   months ago.  The newer flags were made without the shield.  At one
   point someone threw some flyers into the crowd and everyone
   scrambled for them.  Were they political tracts?  No, they were
   advertisements for a play (which may have been political--it was
   called THE MINERS).  The police were standing in groups of three
   about a block away; we saw only a few dozen in all, and they had
   only the usual nightsticks and pistols they always carry.  The most
   unusual thing that happened was that someone saw Mark with his
   camera taking notes and came over, apparently wanting to be
   interviewed.  But he didn't actually speak English, though he seemed
   to think he did, and eventually we gave up.

        (It turned out that the demonstration was postponed until
   Thursday,    June 20, at which time they expect 3,000,000 people to
   join the protest in Bucharest.)

        We left University Square and went looking for the house
   (apartment block) where a friend of ours used to live.  (She now
   lives in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.)  We found it right next to
   Cismigiu Park as predicted.  Her new place is much nicer, at least
   from the outside.  The Romanian one is just a nondescript rundown
   apartment building with bullet holes in the facing from December

        Walking back we passed several movie theaters, all showing
   older movies such as TOOTSIE and STARMAN.  But they're cheap--15 lei
   (10 to 25 cents).

        Back at the hotel, Felicia told us that in the Soviet elections
   Yeltsin had beaten the Communist candidate in Russia.  I wonder what
   will happen now.

        Dinner was a tasteless vegetable soup, something that they said
   was chicken (but didn't taste or even look like chicken--more like
   pigeon), and a fruit blintz.  There was a lot of gypsy music and
   dancing in the restaurant, which Mojca joined in.  She said there
   was a gypsy family there who had just had a christening and were
   having the party at our hotel restaurant.  Throughout dinner the
   waiters were going around changing money with anyone who wanted to.
   It seems to be the national pastime and, if illegal, more ignored
   than anything else.

        Mojca, by the way, describes herself as a sociologist.  She
   used to teach sociology, but then that was replaced in the
   curriculum by something called "Self-Management and Marxism" (or
   something like that).

           June 16, 1991:  Breakfast was ham and cheese and tomato, with
   Turkish coffee.  The bread, as usual, was stale, but the tomatoes
   were good.

        Most of the morning's sightseeing was of sites connected with
   the 1989 revolution.  Unlike the transition from Communism to
   democracy in most of the other Eastern European countries, Romania's
   was *not* peaceful.  Actually, high party members had been planning
   to dump Ceausescu in March of 1990, but then events started moving
   elsewhere and when word spread to Romania, the uprising there began,
   on December 16 in Timisoara.  On December Ceausescu tried to give a
   speech in Bucharest to generate support.  It backfired and the
   students started demonstrating against him.  The secret police tried
   to put down the rebellion, but the army sided with the students and
   Ceausescu tried to flee the country.  He was caught, tried, and, on
   December 25, executed (sort of the Romanians' Christmas present to

        We started with the main square, which used to be Palace Square
   and is now Revolutionary Square (and they're *not* referring to
   1917!).  The palace and its balcony are still there, but the secret
   police's building is destroyed, the library burned (when officials
   tried to burn incriminating documents), and the other buildings
   (including the Fine Arts Museum) heavily damaged.  Some of the
   buildings are basically covered with bullet marks; other further
   away may have only a few.  (Our friend's old house is only a few
   blocks from here.)

        There is now a memorial in front of the palace to the martyrs
   of the revolution.  In fact, there are memorials all over Bucharest,
   frequently replacing the old Lenin statues (shipped to the Hungarian
   theme park?).  And you see people lighting candles and putting
   flowers on them.

        As with the Lenin Museum in Prague, the Museum of the History
   of the Romanian Communist Party is now closed.  This is sort of the
   reverse of Hitler's idea: he was going to open a Museum of an
   Extinct Race after he had killed all the Jews, but no one in Eastern
   Europe is interested in a Museum of an Extinct Party.

        All this emphasizes the point made in Isaac Asimov's story "The
   Recent Past"--the past, or history, goes right up to an instant ago.
   Real history was going on eighteen months ago, and is still going

        Then we drove through the area where Ceausescu's residence (and
   those of other high officials, many of them relatives) was.  Many of
   the houses here also had bullet marks.  The guide, who made no bones
   about her feelings about Ceausescu, made sure to point out that the
   Botanical Gardens we were passing were the same ones that Ileana
   Ceausescu wanted to take over for their private use, "even though
   they had all this space already."

        The next stop was the new "palace" that Ceausescu had been
   building.  Actually this was a huge government office building,
   about ten stories high in the middle and a couple of city blocks
   long.  It is supposedly the largest government building in the world
   (I wonder if that counts the Pentagon), and (if it's ever finished)
   will probably be used partly for government offices and partly for
   foreign businesses and trade conferences.

        At this spot, a couple of boys were selling books about the
   revolution and "the last hundred days" of Ceausescu.  We got one for
   US$3--it's a truly amazing piece of rabid anti-Ceausescu propaganda.
   For example, "The sadistic pleasure to destroy historical monuments
   and buildings, ... is sanctioned by the national puppet theatre
   called the Grand National Assembly."  Ileana is described as
   arriving on "a witch's broom."

        The palace is at the head of what used to be called the Avenue
   of Victorious Socialism (or Communism, I forgot which) and now has
   no name, according to Felicia.  Since there are apartments along
   this street, I'm not sure how people address letters to the people
   living here.  (It could be the apartment blocks themselves are named
   or numbered.)  The apartment blocks are not all finished, but since
   they were designed for higher party members, they look much nicer on
   the outside than most apartment blocks (and what's finished inside
   is probably nicer), so I suspect they are and will be in demand even
   if tainted by Ceausescu's name.

        We stopped briefly by the Church of the Patriarch, a Romanian
   Orthodox Church, but since mass was being performed we didn't go in,
   but just looked in briefly from the outside.  What we could see
   looked beautiful; we will get to see more in other cities.  One
   other difference between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox is that
   the former cross themselves left to right and the latter right to

        Felicia mentioned that National Day had been moved from January
   1 to December 1 to commemorate the unification of Romania on that
   date in 1918 (or the annexation of Transylvania, depending on how
   you look at it).

        Our final stop was the Village Museum, which is a typical
   outdoor museum with many buildings brought from the various parts of
   the country.  There was also folk entertainment, consisting of songs
   and dances (which were interrupted from time to time by the air show
   planes for Pilots' Day) and a long speech (topic unknown).   It's
   rare that folklore shows include speeches.

        After the city tour we rested for a while in the hotel--the
   heat was getting to us.  We went out about 6 PM.  Sunday evening in
   Bucharest is pretty slow.  Bucharest does have some of the same
   problems as large United States cities: people were sleeping in
   doorways or walking around talking to themselves.  We even saw one
   woman (obviously mentally ill) undressing on the street.  The police
   rushed over and apparently told her to stop, but didn't do anything
   else.  In most countries I would imagine the woman would have been
   taken to a hospital.  On the other hand, mental institutions were
   frequently used as places of confinement for political dissidents by
   the Communists, so there may be a backlash against using them for

        We spent more time looking in the stores; since they were
   closed and there weren't a lot of people around, we felt we could do
   this more without seeming obvious.  One store had full windows but
   empty shelves.  Another had full shelves, but only jars of peas,
   jars of spinach, and bottles of ketchup--twenty feet of four shelves
   high each of peas, spinach, and ketchup.  Yet another had only
   shrimp chips--though it had empty refrigerator cases which *might*
   have been in use when the store was open.  On the whole, the food
   situation in Romania is still pretty grim, though better than
   before.  Our meals were skimpy and we found that we were glad we had
   brought granola bars to supplement the local food.  In fact, as we
   were looking in the window of the imported food store (mostly
   beverages, actually), a man came along and asked us the time, then
   (when he discovered we spoke English) engaged us in a slightly more
   coherent conversation that the man in University Square.  The main
   thing of interest he said was that we should not buy anything in the
   imported goods store, because that left less for the Romanians.  (Or
   he may have meant anywhere in Romania.  Everywhere else, people want
   tourists to come and buy things but in Romania, they don't.)  He
   also asked for a "souvenir" of the United States.  It turned out he
   meant money, but he had to settle for a key ring and a ball point
   pen.  (Someone is sure to tell me what an insensitive tourist I am.
   No, but I don't think handing out money to whoever asks is the
   solution.  My approach in part is not to spend too much time
   bargaining everyone down as much as possible instead.)

        Dinner was a big improvement over the night before.  The first
   course was grilled mushrooms and chicken livers; I got double
   portions because Mark doesn't eat liver and people found the
   mushrooms too salty.  The main course was grilled beef, also
   somewhat salty, but at least identifiable.

           June 17, 1991:  Romania used to conserve electricity by turning
   it off at night, which meant no street lights.  Now the street
   lights are lit all night (which is more than can be said for the
   hotel stairway, which is perpetually dark).

        Waiting for the bus I watched someone mop the hotel floor.  The
   mop was an old towel draped around a triangular frame at the end of
   a pole--no metal or plastic and no moving parts.

        I observed to Mark that it was strange that Mojca was a
   vegetarian for health reasons but still smokes.

        Driving towards the Romanian border we started seeing donkey
   carts as well as horse carts.

        We crossed the border at Ruse.  This was the longest crossing:
   forty minutes on the Romanian side, ten minutes crossing the bridge,
   and another fifty minutes on the Bulgarian side.  The bridge is only
   two lanes (one each way) so it can get really backed up, especially
   if a lot of trucks are going through.  Part of the time on the
   Romanian side was due to people using the rest room--they had to
   walk back about a block to the hotel and then the woman made them
   wait because she had just washed the floor and wanted it to dry!

        One reason that we got through so fast (!) is that we bribed
   the passport control and customs men--with cans of beer and Coca-
   Cola.  Mojca says this is how all the borders are in the Balkan
   Peninsula and attributes it to the Turkish Empire's legacy of
   corruption and baksheesh as a way to run an empire (or a country).

        There was a catwalk on the Bulgarian side which probably used
   to be used to check the tops of tall vehicles for people trying to
   sneak out of Romania.  I wonder if it still is.

        We changed money.  We got about 17 leva per United States
   dollar.  There are three rates: one for business, a better one for
   tourists, and the best one for tourists in a group.  Of course,
   these change constantly, and so do the prices, making calculations
   very impermanent.

        As soon as we got to Bulgaria, we noticed one big change:
   everything was in Cyrillic.  Cyrillic was invented by St. Cyril in
   the 9th Century or so and based on Greek, with some new letters for
   sounds the Greeks didn't have.  As I suspected, the typography
   available to me isn't quite up to it (though it does Greek) so Latin
   alphabet transliterations will have to do.

        Bulgaria started out as fields, then turned to mountains
   covered with evergreens.  To fill the time for the long drive to
   Sofia, Mojca gave is a quiz (well, she had been a teacher).  Not
   that I mentioned all the topics in this log, but here is the quiz
   for you; the answers are at the end.

     1.  What is the length of the Postojna Caves?
     2.  Name the six Yugoslav republics.
     3.  Where was Mozart born?
     4.  Where is Mozart buried?
     5.  How many children did Maria Theresa have?
     6.  Who was the most popular 19th Century Viennese composer?
     7.  What is the name of the Czech car?
     8.  What is the Yugoslav coast called?
     9.  Who are the presidents of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and
    10.  Which is older:  St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague or
         St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna?
    11.  What year was the "Prague Spring"?
    12.  What was the date that Ceausescu was executed?
    13.  What was the month and year of the Romanian elections?
    14.  Which two of the countries we visited are the most
         "touristically developed"?
    15.  What is the name of the main mountains in Romanians?
    16.  Name the three Romanian provinces.
    17.  Name the three largest Czech cities.
    18.  Name the countries the Danube flows through.
    19.  Name the countries on the Balkan Peninsula.
    20.  Which two countries have the largest oil deposits in Europe?
    21.  Name the currencies of the six countries we went through.
    22.  Spell the names of the tour guide and bus driver.
    23.  Describe the miners' role in Romanian politics.
    24.  Name the most famous Czech film director.

        We arrived at the Hotel Vitosha about 4 PM.  The new Japanese-
   built Vitosha was quite a step up from the Hotel Ambassador, even if
   the pool, sauna, and Bulgarian restaurants were closed for
   renovations.  After checking in, Steve, Mary, Mark, and I headed for
   the tram to go into town.  One look at the tram, however, made it
   clear that we were not going to be able to get the wheelchair on.
   So Steve and Mary said we should go ahead and Mark and I jumped on.
   I kept looking for ploschtad Lenin, or any big square, but none
   appeared.  Finally I did see a street name I recognized as being on
   my map, but on the wrong side of Lenin Square (which is now either
   Alexander Battenberg Square or Democracy Square, depending on whom
   you ask).  So I asked someone on the tram, "Ploschtad Lenin?",
   pointed to the front of the tram, pointed to the back of the tram,
   and looked quizzical.  She pointed to the back of the tram.  It
   figured.  We rode a couple more stops, then arrived at a large
   building which seemed like a good place to get off.  As we did the
   woman said, "Ploschtad Lenin, number 7," and pointed to where we
   would catch the number 7.  We thanked her (one of the few words of
   Bulgarian we knew) and, as we looked back at our tram, discovered
   our problem.  In the confusion we had taken the number 9 instead of
   the number 2.  The large building turned out to be the train
   station.  We also discovered that the tram stops are printed on
   signs at the waiting spots, so we just had to count how many stops
   there were to Lenin Square and there we were.  All this excitement
   for only 70 stotinki (4 cents) each!

        One of the first things we saw walking around (other than the
   Sheraton, which dominates the square in a way Lenin's statue, now
   gone, never could) was the yellow brick road.  Yes, there really is
   a yellow brick road.  (Actually, it's mustard-colored, but I'll take
   literary license.)  It is made of an expensive paving stone called
   klinker that came from Vienna in 1917 and was used to pave the
   streets right around the palace area.

        There is a very large synagogue in Sofia known for its
   chandelier, so we wanted to see it.  But it was on an unlabeled
   street on our map.  Would we be able to find it?  I looked in the
   general direction and saw a huge dome and on top of it, not a cross,
   but a Star of David.  I am still not used to the idea that a
   synagogue could be as obvious as a church--in the United States,
   synagogues tend to keep a low profile, especially in the physical
   sense, as they are usually only one story high.  But in Europe, at
   least before the Holocaust, they built *big* synagogues.

        We took pictures of the outside (and the street sign--believe
   it or not, the synagogue is on George Washington Street!), then went
   around to the entrance.  A woman came out and we tried to indicate
   we wanted to see the synagogue.  I think she tried to tell us it was
   closed, but we had no language in common, so she finally let us in,
   probably due in part to our downcast looks when it appeared the
   synagogue was closed.  Actually, the synagogue is being renovated.
   So much of the interior was covered with scaffolding, though we
   could see the famous chandelier.  It's nice that now that Communism
   has fallen the synagogues of Eastern Europe are being restored; I
   just wish it hadn't been during our trip.

        One of the things the woman pointed out was a curtain donated
   by someone from Nagasaki in 1900--an unlikely source.  The
   synagogue, by the way, is Sephardic, hence the domed structure.

        After seeing the synagogue, we walked around a bit.  Mark,
   proud of his newly learned Cyrillic, spent his time reading signs
   and book titles (there were a lot of street vendors selling books).
   We even bought a pair of Clifford Simak novellas in Bulgarian.
   We're not sure which ones--normally this information would be on the
   copyright page, but many things are in short supply in the ex-
   Communist countries, and in Bulgaria, copyright pages are among
   them.  Someone recently wrote to LOCUS (a science fiction news
   magazine) that English-language science fiction is hard to find in
   Bulgaria.  It could be the local disregard for copyright laws that
   has authors and publishers unwilling to send their works there.

        Prices are much lower in Bulgaria than in any of the other
   countries we visited (except possibly Romania--but there was little
   to buy there).  Books run about five leva (30 cents).  Shirts and
   blouses are under US$2.  A soda from a street stall is 2 leva (about
   12 cents).  Our lunch on the way in was 22 leva (US$1.32) for the
   two of us for soup, shish kebab, and yogurt.  And, unlike in
   Romania, here the stores are full of stuff.  (Though again, I saw
   few postcards--the tourism industry hasn't been built up yet, I
   guess.)  There is plenty of food and plenty of consumer goods.  One
   minor example: in Romania everyone seems to light their cigarette
   from someone else's cigarette; we saw few match boxes and no
   matchbooks.  Here everyone selling cigarettes has match boxes as
   well.  (Where do the Romanians get their cigarettes, one wonders.
   And what is their alcoholism rate, given that half the liquid stock
   in their groceries appears to be beer?  But I regress.)

        Finally we returned to the hotel (on the right tram!).  We went
   through a large park--Sofia claims to be known as the greenest city
   in Europe because of its parks.  (Of course, it turned out that
   Belgrade made this claim also, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
   One of the buildings we passed (in a somewhat run-down neighborhood)
   was the Embassy of Palestine.

        Dinner was nothing special: chef's salad, veal, and apple
   strudel.  One doesn't take Brendan tours for the fabulous food,
   that's for sure.  On the other hand, that's not the main thing we
   travel for.

           June 18, 1991:  Breakfast was an enormous buffet.  It would
   have seemed enormous even if it hadn't been right after Romania; as
   it was, the fresh strawberries and cherries alone would have been

        Our arrival in the center of Sofia was somewhat delayed while
   we waited for the cavalcade of the Israeli president to drive
   through an intersection we wanted to cross.  He was in Budapest at
   the same time we were (the Parliament building was flying the
   Israeli flag), and now he was in Sofia.  Is he following us?

        When we arrived in Sofia, the first thing that happened was
   that we changed guides.  The person we thought was our city guide
   was just filling in until the real guide arrived--and a good thing,
   as the real guide's English was much better than the substitute's.
   (The Spanish speakers had a separate guide.)

        We started with the old Roman ruins preserved around
   St. George's Church, which dates from the 4th Century.  But the
   guide explained that the earliest known inhabitants of the region
   were the Thracians.  They were great horsemen and had a horseman as
   their chief god, but since they had no written language, little else
   is known about them.  Oh, they believed this world was a punishment
   and so wept at births and rejoiced at funerals.  (Wouldn't this lead
   to such a high suicide and murder rate the society would collapse?
   There must be more that we weren't told.)  The Romans named the town
   Serdica, meaning "center," because it was at the intersection of the
   main east-west road and the main north-south road of the region.

        In a pedestrian underpass we saw more Roman ruins, this time of
   the walls surrounding Serdica.  They have made this into a little
   museum with descriptions of the ruins and a display case of objects
   found.  At one end was the coat of arms of Sofia with its motto,
   "PACTE HO HE CTAPEE" ("Ever changing, never growing old").  The
   fortification had been strengthened by others after the Romans, but
   not always successfully, and one very modern wall mural (done as
   metal figures mounted on the stone wall) shows the keys of the city
   being handed over to the invading Huns in 809.  (The caption reads
   "XAH KPYM C BONCKATA CN BENZA B CEPWNKA 809"--except the "N"s
   are really backwards capital "N"s.)

        Our guide pointed out the building which had been the Communist
   Party headquarters and was now the Socialist Party headquarters.
   There are some external changes as well--the big red star from the
   top is done and there are burn marks around several of the windows
   on the ground floor.  At the end of 1989, when everything was
   falling apart, a fire broke out in the building.  Whether it was
   from government officials trying to burn incriminating documents or
   from someone trying to burn down the Communist headquarters isn't
   know (according to our guide) because the new government decided for
   the sake of civil peace not to investigate.

        The next stop used to be the Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum, where
   the body of Dimitrov used to lie in state as Lenin's does (did?) in
   Moscow.  But things change, and the Mausoleum is closed while they
   figure out what to do with it.  Dimitrov, who led the first European
   anti-fascist revolt in 1923, went on to become the First Secretary
   in 1945.  He was, at least until recently, regarded as the "Father
   of Bulgaria." Now he is buried in a cemetery somewhere.  Lenin's
   statue from the square is also gone and the whole area where it was
   seems to be under construction.  Even the stars (and hammer and
   sickles) in the stonework of the buildings from the last forty years
   are being chipped out.

        (It was about this time I discovered that the last roll of film
   I had shot, starting in Brasov, appeared not to have loaded
   properly.  Luckily I think Mark also took all the important shots.)
   (Postscript: it had loaded properly; it hadn't fully rewound because
   the batteries were low, but the one inch remaining out didn't ruin
   any pictures.)

        We passed St. Nikolaj and St. Sofia Churches, after once again
   watching the auto procession of the Israeli president, this time
   driving down the yellow brick road.  We also walked down Ruski
   Boulevard, whose name hasn't been changed as far as we can tell.
   This may be because the friendship with the Russians predates
   Communism; Russia helped Bulgaria free itself from the Turks in
   1878.  This is why the Bulgarians built St. Alexander Nevsky
   Cathedral--to honor a Russian saint.

        As we were approaching the Nevsky Cathedral, an old woman came
   up to Mary (who was in her wheelchair at the time) and started
   touching Mary's shoulders and legs and saying something in
   Bulgarian.  With the help of the guide, we found out she claimed to
   have a healing touch, but since we were on a schedule and she needed
   more than thirty seconds, Mary gave her regrets.  The woman seemed
   sincere and wasn't threatening, but it was unusual, maybe because in
   the United States we see these people more on television than in
   real life.

        We entered the Nevsky Cathedral and got an explanation of the
   iconostasis (the icons surrounding the altar doors).  The icon to
   the right of the doors (your right as you are facing them) is always
   of Jesus.  Immediately to the left of the doors is Mary, frequently
   holding the baby Jesus and pointing to him, as if to say, "This is
   the Way."  To the left of Mary is the icon of the saint to whom the
   church is dedicated.  Unlike Roman Catholic churches, Orthodox
   churches are not long and narrow, but more square.  In this, the
   Orthodox churches, the mosques, and the synagogues in this area we
   have seen are similar.

        One problem with viewing Orthodox churches is that they are
   very dark inside; the architecture does not allow as many windows as
   a Catholic church.  Or maybe it's the philosophy--should there be
   more mystery than daylight allows?

        When the tour was over, we tried to tip the guide (as was
   customary in all the other cities).  She seemed very flustered by
   this; apparently it's still not allowed or accepted in Bulgaria.

        Steve, Mary, Mark, and I then headed for the exhibition at the
   Jewish Cultural Center, which supposedly told how Bulgaria's Jews
   were saved from the Nazis.  The construction around Lenin Square
   made navigating with the wheelchair difficult and the lack of street
   signs (at times) combined with our map which didn't label every
   street got us a bit lost--and in the heat, that wasn't fun.  Finally
   we found someone eager to practice the English he had learned from
   the Voice of America and we got directions; he even accompanied us
   part way.

        We were unable to understand the woman at the door, even when
   she spoke Spanish (at least she claimed it was Spanish, but that's
   about all I understood), or she us.  Finally she directed us to the
   fifth floor, where we waited about five minutes for them to find
   someone who spoke English.

        The exhibit was closed.

        Somehow this didn't surprise us; by now we were used to this.
   After the synagogue renovation is finished, the exhibit will be re-
   opened there.  My suspicion was that there was also a pro-Communist
   tinge to the descriptions that may be expunged.  Other than that,
   I'm not sure why they would close the exhibit before it was time to
   move it.  Had we not been so befuddled by the heat and our constant
   problems communicating, we probably would have asked more questions
   about the Jewish community, but we weren't hitting on all cylinders
   at that point.

        We went back to the center of town, where we had some sodas to
   fight the heat, then split into two groups to shop, etc.  Mark and I
   went through a large department store and bought some cassettes of
   folk music.  As in Thailand, the cassette itself isn't even labeled
   (nor are the write tabs popped), but the outer label says "All
   Rights Reserved."  (Actually, we bought one that didn't even say
   that--it was an Ennio Morricone cassette that misspelled his name in
   one place and was *not* the album whose cover was photocopied on the
   label.)  We also picked up a science fiction magazine--sounding out
   the authors' names in Cyrillic took a while, though.  We can read
   them, but not easily.

        We walked around a while longer and were just about to return
   to the hotel to get out of the heat when we passed a movie theater
   showing what appeared to be a horror film, entitled MYXATA II.  I
   looked at the prices; it was 4 leva (25 cents each).  I looked at
   the times; the next show was in ten minutes.  "Let's go to a movie
   in a Bulgarian movie theater!" I said.  We didn't even know what
   language it would be in, but what the heck.  While we waited, there
   was a little boy running around the lobby saying, "Myxata, myxata,
   myxata," over and over--he was looking forward to it (or just liked
   the word).

        Not to keep you in suspense, the film was THE FLY II, a fairly
   mediocre film.  When the title came on the screen, it was in German,
   but the film was in English with Bulgarian subtitles.  It was fun to
   try to recognize words in the subtitles.  We sat in the balcony,
   there was no refreshment stand, and people everywhere wince at
   hypodermic needle scenes in movies.  We also bought an Arnold
   Schwarzenegger fan magazine in Bulgarian.  The magazines have a very
   different style of artwork than we're used to in the United States.

        After the movie we took the tram back to the hotel.  We
   couldn't find a kiosk to buy a ticket, so Mark offered the fare to
   the driver instead.  She motioned us on, but didn't take the money.
   Maybe she figured it wasn't worth trying to explain where we should
   get a ticket.  Or maybe the offer to pay is as good as paying
   itself.  Certainly most people seemed to get on and off without
   validating tickets, though they may have monthly passes or
   something.  On the tram an old man tried to talk to us, but again we
   had no language in common.  He was able to communicate that they
   would have no more Communism, only democracy, those being words the
   same or similar in most languages.

        Dinner was al fresco (that means "with bugs").  There was a
   good salad bar and then a mixed grill.  Mary had a beer, so I got my
   Bulgarian beer bottle.  I didn't get my friend one from Austria, but
   those are probably relatively common in the United States.

           June 19, 1991:  We left the hotel and drove in circles for a
   while trying to find the way out of the city.  Eventually we did,
   and headed for Belgrade and Yugoslavia (which still was Yugoslavia,
   until    June 26).  The ride was enlivened by the usual history and
   sociology lectures.  Well, I find them interesting anyway.  We were
   in the Balkans, a term meaning "fight of the beasts."  I don't know
   where the name came from originally, but given the events of the
   last few hundred (or even thousand) years in the area, it's
   certainly apt.

        We crossed the border with more of what Mark calls "pivo
   diplomacy."  ("Pivo" is Slavic for "beer.")  On the Yugoslav side,
   there was someone entering with a car full to the roof with clothing
   still in the wrappers.  They couldn't have hoped to sneak by, so
   they must be merchants who plan to sell the stuff.

        The scenery became even more dramatic, with mountains and
   gorges, and with many tunnels to drive through.  We also continued
   to see donkey carts--the Balkans seems to be an area where horse and
   donkey carts are still in common usage.

        Actually, since I've been through all six countries we're
   visiting, this may be a reasonable point to compare and contrast
   them (as they used to say in school).  Yugoslavia is a country of
   great variation, both physically and culturally, but in a bad state
   politically.  The result is the economy, heavily dependent on
   tourism, is suffering.  Austria is the most "Western" of the
   countries, not surprisingly, and provides a contrast.  It's also the
   most expensive.  Czechoslovakia seems to see democracy as an
   opportunity for greater artistic freedom--books, art exhibitions,
   art everywhere, even an author for president.  Hungary, on the other
   hand, seems more interested in the free market and there is a much
   more mercantile atmosphere in Budapest than in Prague.  Romania is
   still trying to dig itself out from under the double whammy of
   Communism and Ceausescu, and the situation is still grim and
   unsettled.  Bulgaria is better off than Romania economically, but
   the fact that they have always looked to the east, to Turkey and
   later to Russia, will hamper their advancement.  As a partner,
   Russia/the Soviet Union is not in the best of shape.  The mere fact
   that the alphabet is different is a stumbling block, though Greece
   provides some opportunity there.  (Yes, I know the Japanese have a
   different alphabet, but in general this will cause problems.)

        So there's my capsule comparison.  I'm sure everyone will tell
   me where I'm wrong and how I shouldn't form opinions on a two-day
   visit, but that's why it's buried in the middle of this log. :-)

        Belgrade has been destroyed between thirty-six and sixty times
   in its history (I guess it depends on what you count as destroyed),
   most recently on April 6, 1941 (my mother's birthday!), by the
   Luftwaffe.  It seems the king of Yugoslavia signed a secret peace
   treaty/alliance with Germany, but when the people found out, they
   demonstrated against it and Hitler decided to invade anyway.  As a
   result, Belgrade is mostly a new city, with little of historic
   interest.  Our hotel was across the river from the older part of
   Belgrade, in a new hotel and convention area.  Boring!

        We had originally planned to try to see the Nikolai Tesla
   Museum with our spare time in Belgrade.  Somehow I had gotten the
   idea we had a free afternoon there, but even when it turned out that
   we didn't, I thought the day of our arrival would provide an
   opportunity, since the city tour was listed for the following
   morning.  However, this was changed to the afternoon we arrived,
   with an early morning departure the next day, so we had no chance to
   get there.  (The "ripple effect" from this eventually got us to
   Dubrovnik early enough for a pre-dinner swim, but caused some
   problems in Sarajevo, as will be related then.)

        Anyway, our city tour started with us noting the long lines for
   gasoline.  It turned out the price was scheduled to go up a lot in
   the next day or two and people were stocking up.

        Our first real stop was the Church of St. Michael and
   St. Gabriel, a Serbian Orthodox church built in 1840.  One unique
   feature of this church was its use of oil paintings instead of icons
   in the iconostasis.  There was also a stained glass window honoring
   St. Sava (CB. CABA), who founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in
   1219.  A new church honoring St. Sava is being built; when it is
   finished it will be the largest Orthodox church in the world and
   among the fifteen largest religious structures.  (I wonder if they
   count things like the Temple of Karnak.)  It will be 83 meters high
   at its highest point (slightly less than the spire of St. Vitus'
   Cathedral in Prague).

        Slobodan, our guide, also said that Orthodox churches do not
   use musical instruments, only human voices.  We're gradually
   collecting a list of differences between Roman Catholic and Orthodox
   practices, but only a bit at a time.

        Our main stop was at the Kalemegdan Fortress.  Dating from
   Roman times, this has been added to by all the successive rulers of
   Belgrade.  Given that Belgrade has been successfully invaded
   something like sixty-six times, it doesn't appear to have been
   entirely impregnable as a defense.  In fact, the guide pointed out
   that conquerors who built it up later found it used against them
   when newer conquerors took the city.

        There were many women in the park selling hand-made crochet
   work.  Business has been very bad for them this year--tourists are
   staying away in droves.

        The rest of the tour was mostly newer government buildings--
   embassies and such.  Included was the Parliament, notable mostly for
   its statues outside of "Wild Horses Having Fun," leading protesters
   to refer to "horses outside, horses inside."  We also saw Tito's
   tomb, large but simple.  He of all the Communist leaders seems to
   have remained popular, probably because he fought the Germans during
   World War II and broke with Moscow shortly after the war.  As a
   result, Yugoslavia didn't go through a lot of the problems the
   Soviet bloc countries did (such as the collectivization of farms).

        Of course, this is not to say Yugoslavia is without problems.
   To a great extent, Tito was what held Yugoslavia together and now
   that he's done, the centuries of ethnic rivalry are resurfacing.
   Everyone is busy remembering how the other nationalities oppressed
   them.  The Croats feel oppressed by the Serbs.  The Serbs point out
   the Croatian Ustase sided with Germany in World War II and massacred
   thousands of Serbs.  The ethnic Albanians distrust the Serbs, and so
   on.  Even though the pogroms of the past are less likely now, given
   that the world is paying a little more attention these days,
   everyone is either worried history will repeat itself or wants
   reparations.  Those who forget history may be condemned to repeat
   it, but those who remember history may well be misled by it.  Or, as
   D. Keith Mano said, "If Wilsonian self-determination were applied
   strictly to Yugoslavia there would be no kingdom larger than
   Greenwich Village.  Yugoslavia isn't a nation: it's some form of
   ethnic and political super-collider."  (NATIONAL REVIEW,    June 30,

        Dinner was at a "national restaurant" a ways out of town, with
   traditional music (for which they did *not* pass a bowl asking for
   tips--a nice touch).  A "national restaurant" is one serving
   traditional food, not one owned by the government, though the term
   "national restaurant" is ambiguous these days--does it mean Yugoslav
   or just Serb?  At this restaurant they met us with bread and salt
   and a tray of aperitifs (slivovis).  Later I saw them pouring the
   untouched glasses back into the bottle.  Waste not, want not!

           June 20, 1991:  Off to Sarajevo!  Yugoslavia has better roads
   than its neighbors, but they're toll roads.  And the toll is twice
   as high for foreign vehicles as for Yugoslav vehicles--145 dinars
   (US$7) versus 70 dinars (US$3) for the stretch we drove.  This
   probably rules out Romanian and Bulgarian tourists from using these
   roads, though I suppose if they can afford private cars they can
   afford the toll.

        We finally saw our first elephant in Yugoslavia.  No, I'm not
   totally confused--we passed a circus caravan.  Mark had been
   complaining that he had been in Austria four days and didn't see a
   single kangaroo, so he'll have to be satisfied with this.

        We drove through more "wildly beautiful scenery" (as the
   brochure says) into Bosnia-Hercegovina.  There were very few towns
   or even villages in this area, so we had brought picnic lunches,
   which we ate by the side of the road on one of the mountains.

        Bosnia-Hercegovina is one republic made up of two provinces:
   Bosnia in the north and Hercegovina in the south.  Located between
   Catholic Croatia and Orthodox Serbia, it is predominantly Muslim.
   How did this come about?  Well, before the Turkish occupation, the
   Bosnians (and presumably the Hercegovians as well) were Bogomils.
   This was a Christian sect that believed in Manichaeism: that the
   world was created not by God but by the devil and that man must
   overcome this.  This spread from Persia as far as France, where it
   was known as the Albigensian heresy.  In Bosnia it was the
   predominant sect, but was rejected by both the Catholic and the
   Orthodox Churches.  As a result, when the Turks arrived the Bosnians
   had no strong central church to look to, and converted fairly
   quickly to Islam.  So even now there are more mosques than churches,
   and we saw many older people wearing either scarves (for women) or
   skullcaps (for men).  The younger generation seems to be abandoning
   this style of dress somewhat, but not entirely.

        We arrived in Sarajevo about 3 PM.  Our city tour was at 5 PM,
   so Mark and I hopped on the tram (without tickets!) to go see the
   Sephardic synagogue and Jewish Museum.  We had planned to buy
   tickets on the tram, but there didn't seem to be any way to do that.

        In terms of Jewish interest, Sarajevo is best known for the
   Sarajevo Haggadah, written in the 14th Century in Spain, and brought
   to Sarajevo when the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.  The
   Germans tried to seize it during World War II, but it was smuggled
   out of Sarajevo and hidden in a cave.  A copy is exhibited in the
   Jewish Museum.  The original is in the National Museum, right across
   from our hotel, but is exhibited only occasionally.  Given our
   string of luck, I wasn't going to gamble our only free time on an
   iffy proposition, plus some people claimed the original was at the
   Jewish Museum anyway.  We even checked the information desk at the
   hotel and verified that the Jewish Museum was open.

        When we arrived, it was closed.

        Well, sort of.  The gate leading into the courtyard was open,
   but the building itself was locked.  We walked around the courtyard,
   trying various doors and looking for someone.  No luck.  We circled
   the outside, hoping for a clue.  Nothing.  We tried the inside door
   one more time and were ready to give up when the attendant showed
   up.  Business must have been slow (I suspect we were his only
   customers that day), so he had apparently gone for a coffee break
   and came back when someone told him they saw a couple of people
   trying to get in.

        The museum, housed in a 16th Century Sephardic synagogue, told
   the history of the Bosnian Jewish community from its beginnings as
   refugees from Spain after the expulsion of all Jews (and Muslims)
   from there in 1492, to its almost total destruction by the Nazis
   during World War II.  The most intriguing reference is to some
   miracle that saved the Jews from destruction by Turkish invaders on
   the 4 Marheshvan 5580 (12 October 1820).  I'll have to look up and
   see if I can find any mention of anything in our history books for
   that date.  There was also a book with a list of all the Bosnian
   Jews killed by the Nazis (it was labeled "Dvanaest Hiljada
   Nastradalih" or "12,000 [something]," referring to the number
   killed).  As I said to Mark, it's not a very big museum, but I think
   it's important that we visit so that people realize that some people
   care about Jewish history in the area.

        We returned to the hotel on the tram, this time buying tickets.
   I *think* the tickets would have been good for multiple rides,
   working like strippenkaarts in the Netherlands but, as usual, no one
   else seemed to have tickets or at least they weren't validating them
   in the (possibly broken) machine on the tram.

        We took a peek into the Museum of the Revolution on the way
   back to the hotel.  It was closed, of course, though our city guide
   claimed it was still functioning, just that a lot of museums weren't
   opening for all their hours this season.  It's possible, I suppose,
   since tourism is way off, and it's also possible the museum is a bit
   of an embarrassment but they don't want to admit it.

        The Archduke Franz Ferdinand was scheduled to open the National
   Museum on    June 28, 1914, but he met with an accident on the way.
   There was a plan by Bosnian freedom fighters ("Mlada Bosnia," or
   "Young Bosnia") to demonstrate against him, but word had leaked out
   (or perhaps his car passed the demonstration in one direction and
   officials didn't want it to pass it on the way back), so the route
   was changed.  Except no one told the driver of the car.  So when the
   driver made the turn around the corner at what is now Princip's
   Bridge, Gavrilo Princip, one of the Young Bosnians, fired from less
   than ten feet away, killing both the Archduke and the Archduke's

        We were supposed to see the Mlada Bosnia Museum, but it closed
   at 5PM, and since that was when our city tour had started, it was
   closed.  This is the scheduling problem I referred to earlier.  By
   having the city tours late in the afternoon, we started running into
   places being closed.  (There was also an Orthodox church we were
   supposed to have seen, but it was closed as well.  That's somewhat
   unusual; churches are generally open all or most of the time.)

        So next we went to the Emperor's Mosque.  We had been scheduled
   to go to the Husref Bey Mosque but it was--all together now--closed
   for renovations.  I can only conclude that people are trying to make
   up for forty years of neglect of religious buildings by renovating
   them all at once.  (Sometimes we do hit it right.  We went to Madrid
   right *after* the Prado re-opened after being closed for two years
   for renovations.)

        Naturally we had to take off our shoes to go into the mosque,
   but the guide was a bit surprised when I pulled out a head scarf to
   cover my hair.  I guess I'm used to Malaysia, where they're stricter
   about this.  Here they even allow photography inside the mosque.
   This may be a government decision, though.  It seems as if all the
   churches and synagogues throughout Eastern Europe have signs saying
   photography is prohibited, and then the guides (or even the door
   keepers) say to go ahead.  Maybe it's an attempt to keep the amount
   of photography, especially flash photography, under control.

        The qibla in the mosque faced southeast (toward Mecca)--I
   checked with my compass.  We usually talk about how Muslims face
   east when they pray, but that's a very Western-Eurocentric
   statement.  Muslims in Bosnia pray three times a day, not five, at
   least according to the guide.  Off the courtyard was an old
   cemetery.  None of the markers had names or dates, only Quranic
   verses. The size and decoration of each marker provided some measure
   of the importance of the deceased, but that was all.  Newer Muslim
   cemeteries do have names and dates on the markers.

        Speaking of cemeteries and grave markers, a couple more
   comments come to mind.  Sephardic grave markers have a very unusual
   shape.  From the front they are the usual rounded-top markers, but
   they extend back about three feet with the top sloping down to the
   ground.  And in Yugoslavia all along the roads you see markers with
   names, dates, and pictures.  We think they are of traffic
   fatalities--most seem to be at the worst parts of the roads.

        Well, returning to the city tour: next was supposed to be the
   church but it was closed. So we walked around the bazaar a while and
   picked up some odds and ends (a Turkish coffee pourer and some folk
   music cassettes).  Then we went into an old inn for a rest and some
   Turkish coffee.  (This is the kind with the mud in the bottom.)  The
   bazaar area seemed touristy (or touristic, as Mojca would say) at
   first, but many of the shops were clearly aimed at a local
   clientele.  And the coffee was only ten dinars (less than 50 cents);
   I was expecting it to be at least twice that amount.  On the way
   back to the bus we bought a copy of the Sarajevo Haggadah for 385
   dinars (about US$17.50) for a hardbound art reproduction of the 142
   pages with an additional explanatory book.  This is certainly less
   than it would be in the United States, and for that matter less than
   in Dubrovnik, where Mark later saw it for 700 dinars.

        We spent some time before and at dinner talking to Sam and
   Susan.  They're on their honeymoon, which is nine months traveling
   around the world.  Susan says she's not sorry they're doing it all
   at once because they get some rest between tours (they just had a
   week in Istanbul), but it seems to us that they miss a lot of the
   places they go to.  I don't think Sam saw Prague at all; he rested
   the day we had there.  And I need time to let the places I've
   visited sink in.  Three weeks (or maybe four all in one or two
   countries) is about my maximum at any one time.  And they obviously
   don't do the advance reading and research we do.  I suspect it's
   more a status thing with them.

           June 21, 1991:  I haven't mentioned hotels and passports.  In
   some countries, the hotels want your passports for some period of
   time to register your location with the police.  Usually it's only
   for a few hours, but in Bulgaria they kept them for our entire stay.
   This registration business happens in Western Europe as well, but to
   Americans it's a very new idea.  Another new idea is having to show
   your passport to change money.  I got so used to this from previous
   trips that when I went to get Canadian money at a United States bank
   I started to pull my passport out from force of habit, but my
   Canadian money was already in front of me.

        And of course this business of changing exactly what you'll
   need because you can't change back is new to most people.  On
   previous trips to Scandinavia, etc., I've been annoyed at people who
   ask, "How much is that in *real* money?" (i.e., United States
   dollars).  But in Eastern Europe that seems to be everyone's
   feeling: dollars, and deutsch marks, and pounds are real money and
   some things can be bought only with real money (and the prices of
   others are pegged to some real money unit and vary in local currency
   from day to day).  Take Yugoslavian money.  The recent 10,000-fold
   devaluation has left bills labeled 1000000 dinars worth 100 new
   dinars (and no commas to help you count zeroes either!).  The new
   ten-dinar note is smaller than the old 100,000-dinar note, but both
   are in circulation and worth the same amount.  The old bills are 3
   inches by 7 inches; the new are 21/2 inches by 6 inches.  Every
   country is different.  Czechoslovakia has different sizes for
   different values (not unusual) about 21/2 inches by 51/2 inches, and
   is the most colorful, with multiple primary colors on each bill.
   Hungary has bills about 23/4 inches by 7 inches (odd shape--very
   long looking).  Romania's vary, are about 21/2 inches by 6 inches,
   come no larger than 100 lei (about US$1.70) to cut down on the black
   market (I don't think it's working), and all look about a hundred
   years old.  I've always thought the condition of the money is a
   reasonable indicator of the economy.  Bulgaria's bills also vary:
   the one-lev bill is 2 inches by 4 inches--almost like toy money.  I
   didn't save my Austrian money--the smallest is worth almost US$2.

        And while we're talking about "real" money, why are the items
   in the duty-free shop on the Austrian-Hungarian border priced in
   United States dollars?

        We left Sarajevo at 9 AM, but had to turn around at 9:30 when
   Mr. Brandi discovered he had left his carry-on bag in the hotel
   lobby.  He was understandably worried, as it had all his money and
   tickets, but it was still sitting there when we got back, so all was

        The roads got wilder, with more gorges and tunnels.  We stopped
   along the Neretva River at one of the more famous sites from World
   War II (though Bosnia-Hercegovina is full of battle sites).  At this
   site, the Partisans built a temporary bridge overnight to evacuate
   4000 wounded after having blown up all the bridges across the
   Neretva to stop the Germans.  The remains of the bridge at this site
   which had been blown up, as well as the temporary bridge, have been
   left for the memorial.  (There is also a small museum.)  I guess the
   temporary bridge, being basically a footbridge, was not considered
   useful enough to the Germans to warrant the Partisans destroying it
   when they were done.

        Shortly after this, we arrived at Mostar, whose claim to fame
   is a 16th Century stone bridge built by the Turks.  Around this
   bridge is a whole mini-Tijuana has sprung up--on each side the
   street leading up to the bridge is lined with shops.  Normally I'm
   sure it's bustling with tourists, but given the current situation,
   it's almost deserted.  There are normally boys who dive off the
   bridge (for a fee), but business is so slow they weren't even

        The bridge itself is made of limestone which is very slippery
   from age and use, and the arch over the river is very steep.  There
   are raised "strips" of limestone crosswise on the bridge which help,
   making climbing the bridge almost like climbing a ladder.  Needless
   to say, Mary decided to wait on the near side, a reasonable decision
   since the other side was pretty much the same.

        On the other side we had cevapcici, which is somewhat like
   gyros.  More vendors' shops were on this side, also sans customers.
   Some seemed to be closing up; whether for lunch or lack of business
   was not clear.

        We walked around the newer part of Mostar; it was singularly
   uninteresting.  Everyone comes for the bridge, just as in South
   Dakota everyone comes for Mt. Rushmore.

        When we crossed back into Croatia, there was a sign saying,
   "Welcome to the Republic of Croatia."  Mojca says that's new this
   year.  And once again we saw lots of Croatian flags.

        We got the second part of the quiz along this stretch:

     1.  Name five Slavic languages.
     2.  What was the Roman name for Sofia?
     3.  What is the meaning of the named St. Sofia?
     4.  Name three Bulgarian tourist potentials.
     5.  When did Bulgaria gain its independence?
     6.  Which side was Bulgaria on in World War I?
     7.  Name the three major religions in Yugoslavia.
     8.  What is the major coastal resort in Yugoslavia?
     9.  When was Yugoslavia created?
    10.  Who were the Chetniks?
    11.  Who was the last king of Yugoslavia?
    12.  Who was assassinated in Sarajevo?
    13.  What were the colors of the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo?
    14.  What drink were we served in the restaurant outside Belgrade?
    15.  Name the four major languages in Yugoslavia.
    16.  How long did the Turks stay in Yugoslavia?
    17.  Which Yugoslav republics were never conquered by the Turks?
    18.  Name Yugoslavia's neighbors.
    19.  How many new dinars is 45000 old dinars?

        Answers will appear later.  We were so involved in the quiz we
   almost missed our first view of the Adriatic.  (Well, actually,
   that's not possible.  It's more that we almost missed seeing the
   Adriatic at our first possible chance.)  The Adriatic is *very*
   blue, just as the Neretva is *very* green.  Both look artificially
   colored, though the Adriatic has a clearer look--the Neretva looks
   as if someone poured green paint into it.

        We checked into our hotel in Dubrovnik.  Actually, our hotel
   was outside Dubrovnik, in the Babin Kuk complex.  We stayed in the
   Plakir; the hotel we were originally scheduled for was closed for
   the season because of a lack of guests.  (In fact, it looked as if
   two of the four hotels in the complex were closed, and ours didn't
   seem full either.)

        We went down to the sea for a swim.  This involved wending our
   way through the complex and when we finally got to the beach we
   discovered that 1) it was very rocky, and 2) the water was very
   cold.  I'm not a big swimming fan so I sat on a large rock and
   sunned myself while the rest of them pretended that walking barefoot
   on sharp rocks and swimming in cold water was fun.

        At dinner--or rather, right before dinner--the prizes for the
   quiz takers were given out.  There were only five of us who took the
   whole quiz and we all got some sort of prize.  I got a pen-and-ink
   drawing of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.  Mark got a little
   "Good Soldier Schweik" doll.  Mr. Brandi got a "Kompas Traveller"
   figure.  Mary got a ceramic house/wine cellar.  Noami got a pack of
   Balkan brand cigarettes.

        The dining room was pretty empty.  True, we ate late, but other
   nights we arrived earlier and the same was true.

           June 22, 1991:  There was nothing interesting for breakfast.
   Dubrovnik (and our hotel complex) may be a resort area, but as far
   as food goes, Club Med has nothing to worry about.

        Our city tour of Dubrovnik was very short, about an hour or
   maybe an hour and a half.  Admittedly, it would be difficult to make
   it much longer, since the main street (Placa) is only 300 meters
   from end to end and pretty much everything of interest is on that
   stretch.  There are a couple of monasteries, a couple of churches,
   and that's about it.  One monastery had an old pharmacy in it (there
   seems to be a Yugoslav/Croatian fascination with old pharmacies).
   And the Church of St. Blaise did have his tibia encased in gold.
   But these sights don't fill a lot of time, so our guide also spent
   some time pointing out "good" stores and galleries to shop in.  (Can
   you say "kickback"?)  This is the first time on this trip we've been
   steered to specific stores, and even here we didn't actually stop at
   the stores to shop, something I find tremendously annoying (and
   likely to lose the guide his tip).

        The Placa is a beautiful limestone-paved street.  The only
   problem is that at mid-day it is very hot, reflecting back up at you
   any heat that missed you on the way down.  It was very empty, and
   not just at mid-day.  All of Yugoslavia seems abandoned by tourists.
   Mostar is deserted; it is absurdly easy to photograph the famous
   bridge with no tourists on it, and no boys are there offering to
   dive off for money.  In Dubrovnik I ask the woman if I can change a
   travelers cheque without my passport.  She does, then tries to sell
   us a tour and, when that fails, a handmade bookmark.  The Babin Kuk
   tourist complex is having a fifteenth anniversary celebration, but
   two of the four hotels are closed from lack of business.  There is
   no civil war (yet), just an economic disaster.

        One of the monasteries, by the way, was a Franciscan monastery,
   founded by St. Francis himself on the way back from the Crusades
   (presumably he was not actually fighting in them, but I'm not sure).

        The Old Town in Dubrovnik is a walled city and the major
   tourist attraction, at least according to some of the books, is to
   walk around the city on the wall.  So up we climbed and
   climbed ... and climbed ...and climbed.  Since the city is built on
   a hill there was a lot of climbing even after we got on the wall.
   Actually the city is built on two hills, since the seaward side also
   rises up and ends with a cliff overlooking the sea.  The Placa runs
   down the center of the city (it used to be a natural channel, in
   fact, until it was filled in), and the two sides rise up with steep
   stairs instead of streets.

        Anyway, walking around the wall involved a lot of climbing up
   and down, though of course the up part was much more noticeable than
   the down.  And the sun was beating down....

        We got to one corner which had a turret.  Inside it was shady
   and I sat and rested for a time while Mark climbed the turret.
   There was a small restaurant there, closed for lack of business, but
   while I was sitting there two boys came along and went around the
   counter, and got a drink of water from the sink, which hadn't had
   its water shut off.  So I also got a drink of water, and wet down a
   kerchief to cool myself off.  This helped a lot.

        We proceeded around the wall to the seaward side.  The water is
   very blue and very clear here--even from the top of the wall on the
   cliff you could see the bottom.  We passed some other tourists--
   Italians and Australians--but again it seemed pretty empty.  The
   seagull standing watch at the restaurant on this side probably
   wasn't getting a lot of crumbs this year.

        Under the wall at one point is a maritime museum, and this
   being one of Mark's interests, we went in.  At first we thought it
   was very small, but then we found the stairway to the upstairs
   (which was about twice the size of the ground floor).  Even so, the
   displays were fairly dull, dealing mostly with trading ships and
   commerce.  The paintings were mostly of ships foundering in storms
   while the Virgin Mary and/or angels look on from an upper corner
   without lifting a finger to help.

        By the time we finished walking around the wall, we were hot
   and tired and so decided to return to the hotel for a rest.  The bus
   took tickets or exact change--lucky for us, as the kiosk was closed
   and this was not the sort of place where they are blase about
   whether you pay or not.

        When we got back to the hotel, I promptly fell asleep,
   something that drives Mark crazy, since he *hates* to waste vacation
   time in the hotel room, even though I've told him that watching me
   sleep is far more exciting than anything else he could possibly be
   doing in a country on the brink of civil war.  Still, it had been a
   long vacation and was winding down now, and the heat was the sort
   that makes a person sleepy.

        Dinner was, once again, nothing to write home about (so I
   won't).  After dinner we went down to the "15th Anniversary"
   celebration of the Babin Kuk complex.  They had a couple of bands--
   one was playing music from GREASE, but the only person dancing was a
   three-year-old girl.  She wasn't bad though.  They were also selling
   food and drink, but we had just eaten.  Most of the food looked
   fairly bland, but they were grilling fish and sheep over open fires,
   and that might have been worth trying.  The stores were all open,
   though not very interesting.  They were the usual tourist stores one
   finds in resorts, and probably kept resort hours (closed for most of
   the day when people were at the beach, and open only during lunch
   and in the evening when people were around).

        We went to bed about 11 PM.  Mark heard Mary and Steve
   returning from Medugorje about 11:30 PM.  They had gone on a day
   trip there; tomorrow we will get a report on what it was like.

           June 23, 1991:  Well, the vacation is rapidly approaching its
   end.  Today we on our own entirely, since the tour ended yesterday.
   But since JAT doesn't fly to New York on Sundays we are stuck here
   another day.  (It's a pity we couldn't have had this extra day in
   Prague, but that's life.)

        We took the bus into town with Steve and Mary and walked around
   a bit, giving them a quick summary of yesterday's tour.  We walked
   out to the harbor and took some pictures while people tried to sell
   us cruises to various islands.  We wandered up some of the side
   streets, but only as far as the first set of stairs.  Oh, I tried to
   take a look at the synagogue, which had been closed yesterday
   (because it was Saturday), but it was closed.  The sign on it said,
   "Open Sunday--Friday 10-12 except Sunday."  That is certainly a
   peculiar use of the language.

        We stopped in a chocolate shop for Steve and Mary to buy
   chocolate for friends back home, then they returned to the hotel
   while we decided to stay and climb some more of the stairs and see
   more of the town.  The back streets were very quiet, with the only
   sounds coming from inside the houses as people prepared their Sunday
   dinners.  (Cars are prohibited inside the Old Town, so there was
   none of that noise.)  We climbed a lot of stairs, but ended up
   seeing a fair amount of the town.

        Finally, we went back to the hotel.  We got together with Mary
   and Steve and spent a little time at the pool.  There are actually
   two pools, an inside and an outside, both salt-water.  They have
   beach chairs for rent, but when Steve and Mark asked how much, the
   man said 40 dinars (about US$2) each.  Since we were only staying
   for an hour or so, we decided to just sit on our towels.  As they
   were walking away, the attendant asked them how much they would be
   willing to pay.  Funny, it wouldn't seem as though this would be a
   bargaining situation.

        About 5 PM we took the bus back to the Old Town for dinner at
   the Domino Steak House, recommended in a magazine article I had
   read.  It was a couple of blocks off the Placa and had only one
   other table occupied.  We had a very nice dinner (which, since I am
   writing this almost two months later, I have completely forgotten)
   for a very reasonable price.  We ate early, because we wanted to get
   back to the hotel by sunset so that Steve and Mark could do some
   artistic stuff with their cameras and the sunset, which was visible
   perfectly from our westward-facing windows.  (Actually, they were
   more like balconies, albeit very narrow ones.  The sliding louvered
   doors reminded me a lot of the open architecture of Club Med, and
   opening the glass doors so that the breeze could come in was better
   than turning on the air conditioning.)

        June 24, 1991:  Last day.  We got up at 4 AM, along with all
   the other folks who had early planes out of Dubrovnik (mostly
   British tourists).  Breakfast was coffee, bread, and juice laid out
   by some poor staff member who had to get up equally early.  Our van
   arrived at 5 AM.  We saw the driver come in looking for us, so we
   went out and loaded our stuff up.  When he came out, he seemed
   surprised that the van was already loaded and ready to go.  I
   suspect most tourists let him do this part.

        The drive to the airport was longer than I expected.  We
   checked in, having to remove all batteries from our checked luggage
   (this made our carry-on stuff even heavier, as we had a lot of spare
   batteries); I don't remember ever having to do this before, but then
   I rarely check luggage.  Steve and Mary waited near the information
   desk for someone to show them where the elevator was to the boarding
   level while we went up.  Well, it turned out we were boarding on the
   tarmac, and through the back of the plane at that.  Steve and Mary
   were already on, with a story of some complicated maneuvering to get
   Mary and her wheelchair on the plane.  (I figured that if hordes of
   people in wheelchairs came to Medugorje for cures, the closest
   airport--Dubrovnik--would certainly be able to handle wheelchair

        In the Belgrade we got a surprise--another airport tax.  At
   first we thought they were just charging us the exit tax twice
   (since we had paid already in Dubrovnik), but the amount was
   different so I think it was an airport usage tax and not the same
   thing again.  (This doesn't make me any happier about it, of

        Our flight back to New York was marked by a baby who cried the
   entire way.  Well, "baby" is probably not accurate, as the child was
   actually three years old.  But he was a Romanian orphan being
   adopted by someone in the United States (for some complicated
   reason, some people who were *not* adopting him were delivering him
   to the people who were), and even though he was three years old, he
   looked about half that, and was as thin as the children you see in
   the famine shots on television.  More of Ceausescu's legacy (when we
   got home there was an article in WORLD PRESS REVIEW about the "lost
   children of Romania").

        As on the way out, the lights and headphone jacks in our row
   were broken.  Why do they even bother to hand out headphones?

        At Kennedy, they had eliminated the quick walk-through for
   United States citizens.  On the other hand, you cleared immigration
   and customs at the same point (before getting your luggage), so when
   we got to the carousel the luggage was all pretty much there (the
   last piece arrived fairly quickly) and we could just walk out,
   handing our customs cards to the man collecting them.

        And at last home.  All the clothes into the hamper, the den
   looks like a whirlwind hit it, there's an enormous stack of books to
   be catalogued, there's another pile of film rolls to be developed,
   and tomorrow we head back to work.

        And the answers to the two quizzes are:

   Quiz 1:

     1.  23 kilometers
     2.  Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia,
     3.  Salzburg, Austria
     4.  Vienna, Austria
     5.  16
     6.  Johann Strauss
     7.  Skoda
     8.  Dalmatia or Dalmatian Coast
     9.  Kurt Waldheim, Vaclav Havel, and Iliescu
    10.  St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague
    11.  1968
    12.  December 25, 1989
    13.  April, 1990
    14.  Yugoslavia and Austria
    15.  Carpathians
    16.  Moldavia, Transylvania, and Walachia
    17.  Prague, Bratislava, and Brasov
    18.  Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia,
         Romania, and Bulgaria
    19.  Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia
    20.  Romania and the U.S.S.R.
    21.  Dinar (Yugoslavia), schilling (Austria), koruna
         (Czechoslovakia), forint (Hungary), lei (Romania), and lev
    22.  Mojca and Tone
    23.  They were originally on the side of the government but are now
         siding with the students against the government.
    24.  Milos Forman
   Quiz 2:

     1.  Croatian, Slovenian, Czech, Bulgarian, and Serbian
     2.  Serdica
     3.  Wisdom
     4.  Monasteries, Black Sea resorts, spas, and winter sports
     5.  1876
     6.  Germany and Austro-Hungary
     7.  Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Islam
     8.  Dubrovnik
     9.  1918
    10.  Royalists who started by fighting the Germans in World War II
         and then sided with the Germans against the Partisans.
    11.  King Peter II
    12.  Archduke Franz Ferdinand
    13.  Brown and yellow
    14.  Plum brandy (slivovitz)
    15.  Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian
    16.  500 years
    17.  Slovenia and Croatia
    18.  Greece, Albania, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and
    19.  4.5

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