Saturday, May 30, 2009

feeling salz-y

Climb every mountain...
Or rather, take a train to every mountain. Which we did, quite early in the morning, to head from Vienna to Salzburg. For all you non-musical-fans, Salzburg is the town in Austria in which the Sound of Music is set. Outside of that, it's a beautiful place to see a little bit of Austria outside of Vienna, and to see some of the incredibly beautiful mountain scenery.  After napping uncomfortably on the train, we awoke to a mountain view and a short walk to our hostel.Salzburg is like walking through a display of hollywood scenery: every corner turned, anotherbacklit, blue, snow-capped mountain pops out at you. The city is a mix of modern and old, but still manages to retain its small-town charm. At our hostel, we were checked in by a man who may or may not have actually been the child of an elf and a hobbit (why do I keep referencing Lord of the Rings here?). He had elvish ears, was of short stature, and liked to do little dances. He also had a beer belly, since he kept running away from the counter to drink from a beer he had waiting across the room. There was seriously not a moment when this guy did not have a beer.
checked in, we headed to our room to drop our stuff and encountered our roomates, alsoamerican. These girls were the quintessential opposite of the type of traveler we've tried to be. They had money belts. They had zip off pants. They were headed to Prague next as well, but were concerned to take the same evening train we were taking since "the czech republic after dark is really not a good idea for three small girls like ourselves." While they were very nice, they seemed very sheltered for college grads who were travelling europe for 3 weeks. They didn't like to leave the hostel after dark, felt the need to check their money belts every morning, etc. It made me feel very glad that while we're safe with our belongings and ourselves (we travel together, and in Rome at any hostel without a locker I sleep with my purse like its a teddy bear), we're still able to unwind enough to not be constantly on edge. There's danger everywhere, even *gasp* in the united states! Being careful shouldn't mean being unable to really enjoy your trip because you're too scared to experience anything.
Anyway, moving on. Salzburg was the one place we decided that we would be shamelessly touristy. So, we signed up for the sound of music tour. cheesy, I know. but it was so much fun! We got some lunch, watched some of the movie (which our hostel shows a few times a day), and got ready for the tour. We boarded a bus which took us around to all the filming locations, with a guide in a traditional austrian dress telling us movie facts and bizarre jokes the whole way. Up in the lake district, we were able to get out and spend a little time in one of the small towns,Mondese (where the church was were Maria and George got married :) ). the views were so stunning, like something out of a picture book. Quite hard to describe and impossible to capture in pictures. The hillsides were vibrant green, dotted with bright yellow and blue and coral houses, among other colors, and bracketed by a brilliant blue lake on one end and deep blue and white mountains on the other. sitting in a cafe in this small town eating strudel and drinking coffee was honestly one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. I suppose that's not a strange thing, that my favorite moments should include coffee and dramatic views.
Okay, so I should stop waxing poetic about Austria. To summarize- Go to Austria. Absolutely.
So, moving on, we headed back to salzburg on our bus (including a sound of music sing along :) ) We walked around the old town for a bit and found a restaurant that was serving exactly what we wanted: beer and Weiner schnitzel.Yum. We each ordered a different beer off of a menu completely in German by just blindly pointing, and ended up quite happy with our choices! sated on food and sound of music, we decided to make it an early night so we could get up the next day and see some more of Salzburg before our two'oclock train.
Continuing on with Salzburg (I know this entry is very long!! Sorry!), We woke up early the next day, grabbed some breakfast at the hostel, headed out to walk around and see more of the old city. We walked up a short section of the mountain, following the stations of the cross statues. Gorgeous views, of course. Then, we headed up towards the Salzburg fortress. Because we were intrepid and cheap, we decided to take the hike up rather than the funicular. Which was... difficult. Beautiful views, but so tough! Still, it was worth it for the incredible views. we could see a lot of the places we went on the bus the day before. I tried to take a picture of every single part of the view, so when I get back I can put together a panorama. Hopefully it will turn out alright, since i don't think there's any other way I could describe it! After, we hiked back down and got some lunch, followed by German pretzels from a market (yuuuuum. We got a chocolate, a nutty one, and an apple one, and split them). Then, we headed back out to the train station! Which brings me to right now, where I'm sitting on a train writing blog posts to post later when I can get internet. We got a whole compartment to ourselves, 6 seats for 3 people :) So now, I'm off to look out the window as the Czech republic flies by. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wandering through Wein

On our second day in Vienna, we had breakfast in our hostel and then headed out into the city to visit the Hofburg palace. As the seat of the hapsburg dynasty, the hofburg is expectedly lavish. We first went to the imperial apartments and viewed the tableware/ kitchen stuff. It took an hour. No, I'm not exaggerating. they owned so many dishes that it took an hour to view them all. There were gold plates, silver plates, glass plates, porcelain with religious scenes, with botanical scenes, with pastoral scenes... Perhaps its a strange thing to wonder, but I kept wondering how they decided what dishes to eat on every night. And for that matter, how they remembered what dishes they owned. There were also entire sets of different shaped bundt pans, bathroom sets, pastry sets, tea sets, drinkware... It was ridiculous but very interesting to look at. 
After that, we went into the exhibit dedicated to Empress Elisabeth. Everyone around us was using those little audio tour things and we soon found out why- the exhibit itself had little to no actual information in it. It was also bizarly new age looking. It annoys me when museums are badly curated, especially when they're so badly done that the visitor can't get the point without an audio tour. All I got out of the museum was that empress Elizabeth hated being empress and was assasinated. I'm still not sure why there were so many movies made about her, etc. However, the imperal apartments were overall pretty cool.
Moving on from this exhibit,we headed to the market to check that out. It was a really interesting place, full of rich smells, spices, and funky looking fish. Around the market, we grabbed some lunch (more kasekreiner :) ) and decided to walk around and see some of the important buildings in vienna: the rauthaus (town hall), opera, parliament, burg theater, and votive church. the Rauthaus was absolutely gigantic. I didn't quite expect it to be so huge. It opened onto a big pedestrain circle, so we were able to really spend some time looking at it from every angle. By the time we made it to votive church, we  were pretty much exhausted. We took a break on a park bench by beautiful votive church (under construction but still gorgeous to look at) then made the hour long walk back to our hostel. At the hostel we took a short nap, and then headed out for dinner. The restaurant we wanted to go to either didn't exist or was somewhere completely different than we thought it was. So, really hungry, we ate at the first place we found, which was not too great. Still, unphased and decided upon getting spectacular dessert later, we jumped on the metro to head to the Haus der Musik, the music museum. Snafu number two, we got lost on the way there and missed the last entry by 2 minutes. 2 minutes :( Ok,well, we were still determined to get the most we could out of our night, so we walked over to a little place we had heard of. It was down a steep flight of stairs into a dark cellar decorated with heavy wooden tables and thick red candles-- very atmospheric. We ordered a chocolatey cake and apple
 struedel with vanilla sauce. Oh, my goodess. So good. To go with them, we had beer mixed with lemonade, which was an interesting and yummy new expereince, in big glass tankards. So, though the museum and dinner didn't work out so well, we still had a great night drinking and eating dessert, then headed back towards the hostel to buy our train tickets for the next day and head to bed.


6 am is never, never fun. But, 6 am rolled around today, and we dragged ourselves out of our beds to catch our bus to Vienna. Luckily, Balazs clued us in about the bus, so we saved a lot of euro by taking that instead of the train! So we bid goodbye to the very nice couple who ran our hostel in Budapest and jumped on the scary-fast Hungarian metro with its insane escalators (tall, fast, steep, and liable to jerk to a stop…) We got our bus and after a bit of planning, fell asleep with and woke up in Austria.

With no time to rest, we dropped our stuff at the hostel and set out for the Hundertwasser museum (after a bit of second breakfast, since when you eat breakfast at 6 am you really should have another. In fact, I think the hobbits are on to something with all their meals.) Hundertwasser designed this phenomenal building that houses his art- he didn’t believe in flat floors, since they restrict creativity and the natural movement of man, so every floor in the place is curved and sloped and hilly. The walls are bowed or curved, the windows are at weird angles—it was a trippy and surreal place. His art is hard to describe, because it really has to be seen, but safe to say he is one of my favorite artists. He designed schools and entire neighborhoods that reconcile man and nature—hobbit-like hill dwellings, rooftop gardens, trees in window frames. It was beautiful and looking at the model, I picked my house out J no pictures allowed in the museum so I don’t have any to post of inside, but I’ll put up one of outside, and definitely google him and ask to see my postcards when I get ba


After the Hundertwasser, we went to St. Stephen’s church and took the very swift elevator to the top of the spire to look out over Vienna. The city looks really small but quite incredible, and we picked out a few spots to go to from our eagle eye view. Back on the ground we finally found a shop that sold stamps, so those of you expecting post cards will hopefully get them in the near-ish future. Then, we grabbed lunch from a street vendor.

 A friend of Leslie’s had told us to try this food called Kasekrainer. It’s basically a cheesy sausage inside a baguette, with ketchup and grainy mustard. It was soooooo good. We sat on the steps of the film museum and inhaled our kasekrainer.

I just realized, when uploading this, that I forgot to write the rest of the day- I'll come back to it!

Buda Bound

Second day in Budapest! We woke up a bit late, and went to Garbeaud bakery, the most popular bakery in Budapest. It reminded me of CafĂ© du monde in New Orleans a bit. I had a sour cherry pastry, which was the perfect combo of sweet pastry and tart filling, and a coffee, of course. From this point on we’ve resolved to all get something different at meals so we ca

n try the most things possible. Leslie had an apricot flavored cake, and des had a pastry similar to the one I had the night before. After a long breakfast- every meal is long, since service is slow by custom. You ask for your check when you want it, which takes a while- we walked towards Buda for the day. I imagine you all know, but Budapest is the combo of two cities, Buda and Pest, with each on one side of the river. Everything we did yesterday was in Pest. Today, we crossed the pedestrian bridge, where a nice tourist took a picture of all three of us (these are rare- usually we take 3 pics in combos of 2), towards a beautiful waterfall fountain. Then we walked up to Buda castle on the hill. We took the funicular up to the castle, which was incredibly beautiful, and picked up some postcards in the shop. However, the castle itself was museums inside, and we were museumed out, so we continued around to Mattyas, or Matthias, church. It was under construction, which covered some of the beautiful, multicolored tile roof. It was wide open on the inside, though, and covered in paintings and carved wooden arches. We took just about a million pic

tures in there- check facebook sometime in the distant future and I’m sure they’ll be up. We ate up on the hill in the charming town around the castle and church (brightly painted houses along thin roads), and I had some sort of Hungarian dish with sausage, onions, and peppers in a tomato-based, spicy sauce.

 I wish I had written down what it was called, it was incredibly good. Leslie had stuffed paprika- which is a major export of hungary- which was also good. The flavors are different from anything we taste day to day in the US, and often the menus are not in English, which makes things very exciting. Sometimes it’s fun to just point at something on the menu and see what you get. For dessert, we had an apple flavored crepe-like pancake covered in sour cherry sauce, which was luscious.

After lunch, we strolled back to our hostel, a little over an hour’s walk.  On the way, we made plans to meet with Balazs and Leslie’s friend Lee for dinner. After a short siesta break and time to change, we met them at the tram station and went for dinner. We had burritos, which is so American but were really good anyway. It was interesting to see how another country interprets those flavors. After, we went out for drinks, and Lee and Balazs ordered a Hungarian drink for us that I really wish I could remember the name of. Mine was honey and raspberry flavored—so, so good. It was sad at the end of the night to say goodbye to Balazs but I’m glad he’ll be back from Brussels and at WashU in a few months! After dinner we rode the tram back (illegally- the ticket machine broke. Oops!) and packed up our stuff to catch a 7 am bus to Vienna the next morning.

Meat Pastries and other culinary adventures

Our hostel in Budapest, Big Fish hostel, was an awesome change from happy days. Getting there was nerve wracking- the airport shuttle dropped us off in what looked like an abandoned alleyway, pointed at a doorway, and drove away. We rang the bell and the door just clicked open, so we went up with trepadation. But the hostel itself was beautiful, the people are very nice, and it was, importantly, actually a comfortable and quiet place to sleep! In the morning, our street wasn’t scary but was actually pretty close to everything we wanted to do. Breakfast was dubious- we woke up a bit late and finally found some pastries and coffee. Everything was in Hungarian (which is terrifyingly confusing with its accents and its long words) so we just kind of pointed at what looks good. I’ve been pleased to discover that I have a good eye for yummy pastry (mine was flaky and soft, with a mascarpone type cheese in the middle), and that coffee is a universal word. We all know how I get without my coffee. I don’t want the world to see that. Leslie, however, might not have the greatest eye for breakfast food. After a nice sip of her chocolate milk, she bit into her pastry and declared , rather shocked, “this is meat!” It had looked like chocolate from behind the glass and was right next to the sweet pastries… oh well, live and learn. According to leslie it was still good, just a bit strange with chocolate milk.
We jumped up on our tired feet and headed out to the market. It was a cool place, with music, fruit and vegetables, meat, and handicrafts. We wandered around and looked at everything for a bit, and I lusted after but did not buy the beautiful embroidered table runners. After, we went to the national museum. Of course, after working in the museum field for a bit, I compare every history museum to the one I work at. This one stood up to my measurement. I love galleries that have period clothing on display, and this one had lots of different interesting outfits from the middle ages on. The waistlines on those medieval dresses- yowza. These women had 17 inches tops around their waists. I’m imagining the tight corsets necessary to make your ribs bend like that and it hurts to think of it.
After, we wandered over to the city park where we met up with my friend Balazs, who is Hungarian but goes to WashU. He gave us a quick but thorough history overview and showed us around the park, took us to the parliament, and showed us the American embassy. After we assigned Balazs to pick a lunch location, and it took him half an hour to decide, we had lunch at a restaurant on the river bank, overlooking the spectacular parliament building on the other bank.Everyone at our table ordered goulash, which turned out to be wonderfully good and filling. Then, Balazs headed out and we walked back to our hostel, about an hours walk but a good way to see the city. We spent some time resting in our hostel and then went to dinner at Menza for traditional Hungarian food and wine. We all ordered the same traditional Hungarian dish, a kind of bread wrapped around spiced chicken. Since we all ordered the same thing, I just ordered three of it and the bottle of wine. Since I ordered, she brought the bottle to me for the fancy label/cork/tasting approval thing, which was super fun  I felt very adult thoughtfully tasting the wine and then nodding for it to be poured. We hung out until the restaurant closed, drinking and having a thoroughly good night. Finally, at about one am, we went back to big fish to get a good night’s sleep.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yes we (Vati)Can

Bright and early, we woke up to get in line at the Vatican. After a quick breakfast (which only cost me one euro, which is ridiculously awesome), we walked through the Vatican gates and encountered St. Peter’s, which was huge. We also encountered the line to enter the basilica, which was equally huge. We walked around Vatican city to the museum entrance, which had a line but not nearly as horrible a line. We  waited about half an hour and finally entered the Vatican museum. The Vatican museum is basically a very winding path to the Sistine chapel, so it’s not easy to pick and choose what you want to see. We got lost a bit but saw some beautiful works of art, including the school of Athens and about a million beautiful statues of roman gods. The funniest thing was the way the Vatican deals with the nudity in these statues. At some point, they had a bunch of ubiquitous leaves made up to cover the crotches of the statues. They come in various sizes to accommodate different statues and are unceremoniously plopped on. Of course, this just draws more attention to that certain area when you realize “that’s weird, the past 20 statues have had that same leaf.” Still, the statues shone through their leafy cover up.

                As we were funneled towards the Sistine chapel, the crowds began to grow. We were meeting up with all the people who walked in and made a beeline for the Sistine chapel without considering the rest of the museum (when we went to the early Christian art section, it was pretty much just us there). We joined the crowd and got fed through a bottleneck of galleries before finally reaching the Sistine chapel. Which was, of course, incredible. It was a bit daunting, knowing you can only stay so ling. There’s just no way to examine every detail like I would love to do. No pictures allowed, but we grouped around leslie and she got a sneaky, contraband picture so I’ll have to have her send that to me.

After our last italian food, we went to St Peter's and then headed back to the hostel to grab our bags (and for me to forget my postcards, boo).  Then it was on a flight, hungarian airlines style!

hopefully pictures to come- the internet is slow here in rainy prague!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

just a quick note- internet is not too easy to get in Austria, so all my posts are written and will be up when I can get wireless!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

From the Wyo to Florence

The next day, we headed out to Florence on a very early train (and in my head, I kept singing, "my baby takes the morning train..." Eurotrip anyone?). On said train, we encountered a very creepy italian man in a linen suit who tried to put his head in Leslie's lap. Weird.  Anyway, the reasons we were on this train were twofold:
1) Florence is awesome
2) our friend from High school, Max, is in florence studying abroad
So, obviously, great excitement. Florence was a nice ch
ange from Rome, since it is so small in comparison. We discovered that to get to the city center from the train station we didn't need a bus or a metro line... we just needed to walk about 2 blocks. awesome. Our feet were incredibly greatful. Shortly, we arrived at the duomo. Avoiding the line stretching around the corner to enter the church for free, we bought tickets to climb to the top of the dome. Steps, steps, steps. Ridiculous amounts of stone steps. Finally, we arrived at the first viewing level. It was so worth it. The frescoes are really something else. The images of Hell are a bit terrifying, and then the beautiful images of heaven and angels above them will make me think twice about sinning, at least for a little while.
We continued climbing up to the second level, where you're essentially eye level with the frescoes. Well, when I tried to turn and look at the very imposing demon right next to me, I got a serious dose of vertigo. So, While 
les and des headed up more to walk around the outside of the dome, I inched my way around the last viewing level and hightailed it down. Still, I'm glad I went up, since what I did get to see was incredible. 
Later, we met up with Max at an outdoor museum next to where the David originally stood. 
He was rushing off to an assignment for his class, so we walked a bit with him, made plans to meet up later, and headed off to see the David. Often, when I see famous works of art, I'm underwhelmed. I guess you see them so often in books, you expect them to exude a holy light when you're there in person. The mona Lisa, for an example, is cool in books, but in person- eh. David is not like this. He is gargantuan. He looks shockingly human. It seems as if he is not made of marble but of skin, pulsating with mus
cle and pumping blood through the veins along his arms. Each giant toe looks so real, it's startling. I was also pretty excited to remember everything our high school english teacher had told us about him, and put it all together: He was carved from a flawed piece of marble, so his distinctive lean and huge right arm come from carving around the flaw. 
Post-David, a little awestruck, we got some lunch, went to meet max again, and walked along the river and bridge. then it was time for shopping, of course, in the fabulous leather and cashmere market. I, of course, bought a scarf. It's tradition. The thing is ridiculously soft. then we met up with Max yet again and went to dinner.

Max pointed out how surreal it was the four of us wyoming middle and high school kids, who used to eat wyoming meat market sandwiches sitting on the playset in his back yard, were sitting in a piazza in Florence together, drinking wine and enjoying the beautful breeze coming across the open terrace. We were reminiscing about high school and talking about now and the future and it all made me feel very grown up! Which, I guess we are? But, I feel better when I realize that the people I've grown up with are still people I want to be sitting in Florence with. So, we decided we'll just have to do it again in the future.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A day in Ruins (the Roman kind)

The next day (still looking back to Rome here) we woke up bright and early, semi-rested. Two of us were tired from not being able to sleep since the room was really hot, one needed coffee. Guess who? So, we began our trek back towards the phantom Roma Inn, which would have been right next to our first few destinations, the Colosseum, roman forum, and other such lovely places. On our way, we stopped for breakfast. Iced coffee and apple croissants- one of the many many reasons I love Europe. The carb/caffeine combo is a popular breakfast here and I am more than happy with that.

Breakfast at Nero Cafe

Post breakfast, we headed to the pantheon, which was amazingly cool. I wish I could have seen it before the christianization of the roman empire. The Romans would place a statue of the Gods of conquered countries in these little niches around the walls. But when it was converted to a christian structure, the statues were removed. Still, It's beautiful even so. We detoured by the Trevi fountain, yet another of those sites that is so much cooler in person than in pictures.

Post fountain, we headed for the colluseum. Walking towards it, with bits and pieces of the Roman forum to our right, I kept waiting for a painting to fall down, revealing that I was still in Missouri. haha, good trick. But it was real, amazingly. Even when I was touching it, I swear it wasn't real. I mean, the colluseum. Holy cow.
We ended up taking a tour, and our tourguide was a rather swarthy and tan italian man with a strange italian/american combo accent. The tour was interesting (factoid: fights included women fighting midgets) but I was more into jusst soaking up the fact that I was walking on the same ground as the ancient Romans. Swarthy man was not quite as interesting as that.
Our guide in the roman forum, on the other hand, was really vivacious and fun, so that tour was more interesting. Again, walking down the same stone paths that ceaser's murderers would have walked home on was surreal. i feel like I'll end up saying that about a million times. Finally, we did a bit of shopping and ended our day with Sicilian food. Fresh, handmade pasta. Incredible canoli. I'll leave you with that taste in your mouth.

Roma Inn-- the phantom menace

so, i should point out that I'm in budapest right now-- This entry is going to sound like I'm in rome. I'm behind quite a bit. We'll get to Budapest (and the rest of rome, and florence). So, pretend that I'm in Rome. Are you pretending? Good.

Arriving in Rome was interesting, to say the least. Descea and I were operating on, at most, 2 or 3 hours of sleep in the past 24. And not the good kind of sleep- the awkward, unsatisfying, neck hurting plane kind of sleep. Which made for some very delirious travelers. Just like in Dublin, the rome airport just kind of glanced at our passports, and we strolled into the country. While finding our bus (and learning a new word- uscita for exit! yay vocabulary) was easy due to english signs and helpful men in orange vests directing traffic, getting in touch with Leslie, the third part of our lovely travelling triad, was not so easy. Leslie has been in Athens the past semester, and had travelled to Rome several days earlier to stay with her friend Liz. Our phones were having some serious issues- Leslie could call us, but we couldn't call her. Oh well, no big deal. She'll figure it out when we don't bother to call her.
While waiting for Les to call back, we consider this tidbit of info she had given us: When she and Liz called our hostel earlier, the man on the phone said it was closed. Interesting. But, we had a reservation, so we assumed it was a translation error. Arriving at the hostel, Descea and I waited outside the Roma Inn with our bags, enjoying the night air while waiting for Leslie. The reservation was in her name, so we were waiting to go inside. After about ten minutes of us looking like vagrants standing around with all our bags, a man stuck his head out of the window across the street and had a little chat with us. Turns out, closed was not a translation error. Our hostel was closed. As in, shut down a few months ago closed. As in, shut down before they took our deposit and yet still took our money closed. So, trying not to panic, we waited on Leslie and then, when she arrived, headed into the hostel across the street, Ivanhoe. 
There is a simple way to describe Ivanhoe: beer, beaded door curtains, and bangin techno. The place was insane, complete with skeezy guys and red lights. So, it wasn't the worst thing in the world that they said they had no rooms available (they had been taking in all the bookings from the phantom roma Inn). Window man got on the phone and found us a place at Happy Days Hostel. oh happy day.
Turns out happy days was all the way across town near vatican city. Oh boy. Adventure, HO! So, 2 trains and a decent walk later, we finally arrived, got beds, and collapsed like the living dead. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thoughts from over the ocean

Writing from the tail end of a very long flight, the brain seems to linger on that groggy sensation achieved through a very bright plane and a less than ideal sleeping position. Or, should I say, a less than ideal trying-to-sleep position. There are, in fact, some noticeable after effects; namely the inability to type more than three words or so at a time without hitting the wrong key as a result of clumsy fingers and a general loss of coordination. Still, long flights and the knowledge of another flight to follow don’t cut the excitement of arriving in a different country in about an hour. From my window seat, it’s easy to see alternating layers of thin and fluffy clouds through the ice crystals crusted on the outside of my window. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself in my lack of sleep stupor that I will somehow be able to spot an iceberg in the ocean below (never mind the fact that I can’t actually distinguish ocean from air) and keep craning my neck to do so. Of course, all I get is a straight shot of burning sun to the retina. Which is super fun. Still, I spotted a low flying clump of clouds which I named “iceberg” in my head and now I’m content.

                In lieu of sleep, I’ve been reading the latest issue of Scientific American, which has of course stimulated some interesting thoughts, as it is wont to do. Firstly, I got excited to see a clipping about research on the domestication of horses in Khazakstan. Why? Well, because my adviser is in fact doing that research, and I just finished scanning about 800 pages of old books in Russian to send to him in Khazakstan to help with finishing some articles. Yay, I feel like I contributed to the greater world of science.

            Also, there was an interesting article (a column, really, just one page) on a scientist interacting with different creationists. Young earth creationists in turns fascinate and horrify me. In a sense, it’s an interesting exercise in psychology to consider how a person warps scientific and geological evidence to fit a certain theory. At the same time, I think of generations of kids thinking that dinosaurs and humans frolicked together in the garden of Eden… yikes. I suppose it feels particularly relevant while flying over to the “old world.” Of course, the really old world is in Africa with the start of the human race, not in Europe. But visiting places where the archaeological record stretches back further than the supposed birth of the earth according to young-earth creationists makes a person think.  Anyway, more to come when wireless is available. If anything, a throng of posts once I finally land my feet on Irish soil.