My SurvivalDay20

My SurvivalDay20

The stone I placed is the pink one at the top, above the R in “MARGOT”.

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I visited the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp Memorial.  It was exactly where I wanted to be today.  I have Miriam at my hotel, Restaurant und Landhotel Michaelishof, to thank for the experience.  She pre-arranged, by phone, a taxi-bus service for me.  I caught the first taxi at the nearby bus stop just before 11am, to go to the Bergen Hauptbahnhof station.  From there, I caught a second taxi to the Gedenkstätte Bergen-Belsen.  I spent the entire day at the Memorial site.

I spent as long as I needed at the exhibition center.  I learned of the Russian Prisoners of War held in the camp before it was made into a concentration camp, which I was not aware had occurred.  I witnessed several films, and observed many photos and sobering reminders of what horrors one person can do to another.  Some, I was aware of.  Some, I was not.

After taking a short break, I walked out onto the grounds to the mass graves and located the memorial stone for Anne Frank and her sister Margot.  I left the stone I have carried for Anne since last October atop that memorial.  I’m not certain if the photos will post now, but I will try.  I wanted to make the entry today, as it is April 16, 2016.

I’m back in Germany

After a long journey from my brother’s in Sweden to Northern Germany, I’m in my hotel room in Bergen, Germany.  Tomorrow I visit Bergen Belsen, day one.  The ceremonies to commemorate the liberation don’t begin until next week. I checked the website.  That’s okay.  I’m not here for that.  I’m here for my own reasons, and for my own anniversary.

It’s time to go to sleep, though.  Very brief post.  I’ll fill this in with a better account of my journey later.  Time to crash.

With my brother’s family in Sweden

With my brother’s family in Sweden

It’s very nice.  I’m enjoying it very much!

It’s a bit trying to my nerves, in that I’m not used to being around children.  

  • They have a 6 year old, who is very active and I knew from a distance in the states.  He’s my “Sir William The Great” (As great as ever!  He now speaks far more Swedish than English, understandable as he’s lived here since age 3 (late 2012) and,
  • a new niece, about to turn 1 at the end of April who is the happiest baby one moment then SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER the next!

I’m glad to have the time with them and not roaming Europe somewhere.  Watching them manage their day to day lives is astounding!  My brother has his own men’s haircut/shaving shop.  My sister-in-law works two days a week, as she’s starting back to work following her pregnancy leave of absence.  Parental leave is generous in Sweden.  In the US we “claim” to care about families, but no one passes policies to project this deep seeded “feeling” proclaimed by our politicians.  The best we can say is we can take off unpaid time to care for a sick family member/ourselves and not lose our job, if we’re lucky…

Anyhow, not going to go into all that.

As it is, I’m running out of money.  Rather, I’ve run out of money.

What I have:

  • I have my train ticket from Sweden through Denmark to Germany/Bergen Belsen, 
  • I have my train ticket from Germany through Bruxelles to London, 
  • I also have my two days’ tickets at HarryPotterWorldUK,
  • The Airbnb paid for walking distance from HarryPotterWorldUK,
  • Overnight from London back to Amsterdam –>> a stroke of brilliance by my sister-in-law, called “rail and sail”!

What I do not have:

  • Money to mail a box home from Sweden, the flat rate box is about $75,
  • Money for the taxi from the train station to the hotel in Bergen, Germany (not sure how much),
  • Money for the hotel at BergenBelsen,
  • Money for the bus to BergenBelsen memorial for two days, unless I meet a nice guest with whom I can bum a ride,
  • Taxi back to the train station when it’s time to leave,
  • Money for food from April 14 – 20th, the hotel in Bergen provides breakfast, but otherwise I’m on my own,
  • Money to reach my Airbnb from Downtown London,
  • Money for souvenirs at PotterWorldUK, but that’s the least of my concerns.

Traveling all day to Sweden is EXHAUSTING, but it will be WORTH IT!

My day began at 3am…

It’s currently 8:06pm

I’m traveling by train to my brother’s home near Stokholm, Sweden (Linkjöping) from Southern Germany.

There’s still nearly 2 hours of my journey remaining.

I LOVE that Swedish trains have free wifi!

I’ll write a better entry when I’m not dizzy as FUCK!  The rocking of the train makes it almost impossible to focus.  At least I can semi- focus and type because this is my machine.  This is my homeboy, so to say.

The last two seats I had were someone else’s and were claimed…  I had no idea my ticket included a reservation or I would have sat here from the beginning.  I’m facing forward and have use of a table!  Who’d’a’thunk!

My giant pack is back by the main door.  I get off before the two guys who helped me so far on this train.  They say they’ll help me get the pack off the train.  Or at least out of the baggage place they hoisted it.

I am SO FUCKING TIRED!

I haven’t eaten much, but that wasn’t the most important thing today.  Getting here was the key.  Now that. I’m almost in Chris’ car, it’s almost all okay again!  He will complain about my pack smelling like cats, but he’ll get over it.  I hope to wash it a few times while staying with them and fix that.

Okay. Gonna stop this now.  Getting super dizzy.  I’ll write more when I get there.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

imageI’m in the city I studied for 3months: September 2003, October 2003 and February 2004.

I had quit the best job I had EVER had to attempt something I had always wanted to do… I used all of my savings to enroll in a 2 month immersion German language course.

  • I received a scholarship to return for a month in 2004.  I chose February, because some of my friends were still there, and I wanted to return to work ASAP.  No one would hire a person due to leave again so soon.

Yesterday, I climbed to the top of the white tower you see in this photo.  When I work out how to post a full series of photos I’ll post the panorama I took!

Traveling is more complex than I thought

I’m having a fantastic journey!  It is more complicated than I anticipated.

I didn’t realize the strength of my deficits.

  1. Focus – list list list list,
  2. Time – it slips away!  Set a timer every 15-20min to stay on task,
  3. Pack/repack – why did I pack so much?!?!
  4. Money – disappears as quickly as the hours,
  5. Friends – invaluable!

I’m In Amsterdam and Fine

  1. I apologize for the lack of a blog to this point.
  2. When I explain, I hope you will understand.
  3. I finally ate a decent meal today!
  4. I finally parsed my luggage down where I can (almost) carry it alone!
  5. I would like to mail a chunk of it to my brother where I will meet him at a future date in my trip, but I don’t know if I will have time.  I’m only here the entire day tomorrow, before moving on.  It’s the “moving on” that causes a problem…
  6. To describe what it’s like managing my life with a Traumatic Brain Injury, I refer you to Claudia Osborne and her entry TBI What’s It Like.  I resemble this in almost every respect!  (Imagine having these challenges and trying to tour Europe on a schedule!)
  7. I decided to simplify life tomorrow and purchase a guided tour of old Jewish Amsterdam, to include a “semi-private tour” of the Anne Frank Huis and allowing me to browse as long as I feel I need within.  As Anne is such a critical centerpiece of my trip, I do not want to miss seeing her hiding place.  I cannot, with the challenges noted in Claudia’s profile video above, realistically expect to manage tomorrow by waiting in line 2 – 3 hours and returning to see it at an assigned time.  I’d rather have the guided tour, at a set time I can plan to arrive.
  8. It also includes additional Jewish history of Amsterdam, which I did not expect I would experience.  That will be lovely!  Well worth the cost of the program for the peace of mind, alone.
  9. It’s a very tiny tour.  Only 20 people total!  I managed one of the last 9 spaces in my time slot.  Only two time slots available tomorrow and the first time was sold out. #IDoneGood!
  10. Tomorrow I will see the Anne Frank Huis!
  11. Now I can sleep and not concern myself with waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in line forever!  #IamSoSmart!
  12. Only now is not the time to try to play with my camera! DUH!  It’s 12:35am here now!! Time for bed, peoples!! Yike! Gonna sleep!