I’ve long thought that South Africa, Russia and the U.S. are probably the most intriguing countries in the world. It is true. For reasons of size and complexity and history and promise and some disappointments along the way as well. It is 7:30pm in St. Petersburg and the hours since midnight have been interesting to say the least. Starting at about 12:30am when I was roused out of a sound sleep, after… Read More

Since I wrote this I’ve had a thoroughly interesting introduction to Russia. And as usually turns out with everyplace I visit…I love it here… After a day at the historic version of the Koochiching County Fair—which I’ve always loved so that is not intended as a snide aside—it’s off to St. Petersburg. End of Week 3. Only 17 minutes until this train will leave the station so I’m hoping for another overnight… Read More

Minsk is an impressive city, architecturally both quite beautiful and more than a little ostentatious, which is not at all what I expected. Being interested in ‘the neighborhood’ of Eastern Europe and, yes, acquiring another passport stamp were the real reasons for adding Belarus to the itinerary. I would enjoy its capitol, Minsk, as any traditionally picturesque European city. Or not, after I read the Wiki-travel piece attributing much of the city’s… Read More

I’ve given up trying to write like Ron Silliman until Delta-2 on the trip home. However being transported seems to bring out the babble in me. Wrote this on the train last night so, just to share the sheer pleasure of the first hours of my first first-class experience, I’m going to post it. I’ve spent most of today out and about in Minsk—which it turns out is a most impressive and… Read More

Getting late. I am changing personas from ‘early to bed, early to rise’ to the ‘diller a dollar, a ten o’clock scholar.’ Just realized my total store of poetry seems to be nursery rhymes and Ron Silliman. A little horizon broadening may be in order—but can’t do that right now when I’m having a melt-down about all this coming time with…me. Tomorrow to Minsk. Whose idea was that anyway? I know even… Read More

Let’s see…how do I feel today about traveling? Maybe a little tired of it. Which is not possible since I am not quite half way through in time and not even close in distance. Maybe I like ‘visiting’ better than traveling? Two weeks in Minnesota and two weeks in Norway mostly with family, some small time on my own. It was perfect. Now after only a few days of just me just… Read More

It is 22:00 hours here at the ever so interesting Hotel Gutenbergs in Riga, Latvia. I am happy again after the bit of a downer that was the ferry over. Felt like the combination of the odd little pastry, wine and rocking and rolling ship contributed to the nausea I already felt when I realized I was basically trapped in one big duty-free/airport lounge kind of vehicle for the next 18 hours…. Read More

A noisy one she is, her mom was a shill in the USSR, her voice follows me everywhere, a shrill shill she was, pushy, even  here in my cabin on the good ship Isabelle out of Stockholm bound for Riga, her voice, ‘the buffet is open,’ ‘lottery tickets are still available,’ haunts me, this cabin womb-like tomb-like, imagine crossing the seas from Senegal in the hold of the ‘Alabama’, this cabin might… Read More

MY STOCKHOLM VIEW. And on the first morning of the third week, I awoke feeling…okay I think. A succinct sentence scrolled across my mind’s eye, ‘Only 28 more mornings until you wake up in that huge bed on 13th Street….’ Gone in a flash though. Stockholm. Best Western Hotel Bentleys on Drottninggaten. I am quite good at picking hotels it seems, while I’m sure there will be the exception, this one is… Read More

Two weeks to get in shape for The Journey. I may have set six month, three month, one month deadlines for launching a plan to become super-healthy before I travel. Okay, so they didn’t work out. Think what I can do in two weeks however. Fourteen days. Six visits to gym for abs class and at least half an hour on the machines. Ten morning walks, one to 1 ½ hours each…. Read More