Monday, January 4, 2016


My wife Ande moving through one of our many travel connections
 {with her daughter's snowboard}

Travel throws one into the present moment, alert attentive to every change of color, sound , and place—but in a foreign land, at the mercy of people’s good will.  Here in Europe, out of my Spanish-French language zone into unknown German, I’d forgotten how vulnerable one is.

Planning one’s journey is necessary, but always incomplete, dependent on each person you meet, and whether they are paying attention to you.  And your own touring goals are transient, mutable, difficult to formulate in real time, and easy to lose track of as time flits by like towns on the many trains.  Where to get on, where to get off?  We’re fortunate when we travel with good guides.

My daughter Kathleen now working in Basel Switzerland, and her boyfriend Eric with his German skills, were that for us in our trips into the high Alps, they down-mountain skiing, Ande and I hiking and cross- country skiing.  As we tramped around, and through, but not over a glacier area [crevasse risk too dangerous in this unseasonable warm weather], Herr Beat was our capable snow-shoe guide, urging us on with gluwein [hot spiced wine] and his insightful lament on the demise of his Saas Fee glaciers, less than 50% what they were when he was a boy just 50 years ago.  He could easily point down these high ridge valleys to where they no longer were.

Anatol, and his daughter Laura, were wonderful hosts to us just before Christmas in Vienna, as we continued the search for the story of Otto Schimek, a young Austrian who refused to kill for Hitler’s army [more on Otto].   We made progress, visited the bishop there who gave some support to our project.  There is hope that back in the USA we will move into a New Year, where Christians begin to truly renounce violence, turning towards the courage of peacemaking.

Ande, with Laura & Anatol Rathbaur in front of
Vienna Town Hall

                                                                                     Ande and Laura {reminds me of our Maura}

Short visit to Otto's family church in Vienna, St. Leopolds--Christmas trees on sale in front

On the steps of St Bridgittas in Vienna, where Otto was baptized

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