On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again,
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.

– Wilie Nelson

Unlike Willie Nelson, I’m greatly looking forward to the road being at an end.  The tiredness of the travel has caught up with me this morning, perhaps because I know it’s the last travel day and I’m anxious to be home.   But there’s thousands of miles to travel today before I can be home.  But I must admit, this hotel is extremely nice, and I got an excellent price  (a fraction of the one on the website) through Orbitz.com.  It is really beautiful and even the breakfast was extremely nice.  They had a nice choice of teas (I didn’t have to use the PG tips I brought along in Europe at all!),  a very nice selection of cheeses and Prosciutto and some other nice meats, fresh fruit, croissants (of course) and french bread, really very comforting and satisfying.

No time for photos this morning.  I have to repack and take the metro in to the airport.   Next report will probably be from Cincinnati where I change planes, leaving Cincinnati at 4:50 PM EDT.

Ok, one photo.  I took this last night, standing in front of the Parthenon, close to my hotel, shortly before sunset.

Paris

Paris

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[ I will be updating and adding photos to this.  I’ve just gotten too tired to do it right now! ]

Paris is, I must say, a very beautiful place.  It is everything that people say it is.

To me, it’s noisy in a very quiet way.  That is, it’s not noisy like Los Angeles, where it’s cars, trucks, sirens, whatever.  It’s so quiet that you hear people.  As you walk down these old streets, you can hear people talking in about a thousand different languages, playing piano, violin, arguing, making up, singing, laughing.   Paris is a city that excites all your senses:  sights, sounds, smells, tastes.  Touch — well, I didn’t do any touching, but your experience in Paris may vary.   [ this is meant to be funny, by the way. :-)]   Though there are tactile pleasures to be had; the feel of the cobblestone under your feet as you walk down the Champs Elysées (and imagine those poor cyclists in the Tour De France riding on them!), the wonderful feeling of good French bread that crinkles when you squeeze it, and a nice bath after you walked for 13+ miles today like I did!

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A more perfect ending to my stay in Latvia couldn’t have been written.  And this is due to the efforts of Marina and Misha, who will deny it out of modesty, but who worked very hard to make sure that I was able to see and do everything I wanted while in Daugavpils and still have time to get to know all of my cousins together and individually.   Marina, Tanya and Julia mentioned several times this week that they don’t often get together this way except for very special occasions, and I feel very honored that my visit was a special enough occasion.

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Всё means all or everything, among other things.  There are some great “all purpose” words in Russian.  Да means yes, of course.  But if you want to acknowledge that something is true or understood, you can put in some extras, i.e. “Да, да да”.  And if you *really* want to emphasize your point, just keep going with lots and lots of extra Да’s. :-)  The name of the post is a tip of the hat (which D/Debra will know without me saying it) to Вини Пух и всё всё всё, the Russian version of Winnie The Pooh.

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Time it was
and what a time it was
It was
a time of innocence,
a time of confidences.
Long ago it must be,
I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories,
They’re all that’s left you…

— Paul Simon, Bookends from the Simon and Garfunkel album Bookends

Arthur (Artzik), Anna (Neima), Sadie (Sheina-Freida), William (Wulf - my grandfather), and Fannie (Feige) ~1909 in VIshki

Sadie Dumes(h) family in Vishki ~1909. Arthur (Artzik), Anna (Neima), Sadie (Sheina-Freida), William (Wulf - my grandfather), and Fannie (Feige)

I had really nice day, one of my favorites of the trip actually. I walked over to Julia’s house, my first time to do that and it gave me a feeling like “I know this place, these are my neighborhoods”.

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It takes me a long time to write these posts, and I only just now understand why.  I don’t want to have it be just  “I went here, then I went there.”  I hope to be able to process what I’m seeing and learning here and to speak about it in a way that might help you to better share my experiences.

Yesterday I went to Vilnius, Lithuania with Marina, Misha, Tanya, Lena and Nastya.   Vilnius is quite an ancient city, and I have always heard about it’s magnificent “Old Town”, which was once a huge center of Judaism in Europe.

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For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

– Ted Kennedy 1980

One of the goals of this trip was to return to the Jewish cemetery in Vishki,  photograph graves that have not been photographed and translated and see that, as Blind Lemon Jefferson sang, “see that my grave is kept clean”.  I was very disappointed to find that Janis Kudins, mayor of Spogi & Vishki, had not kept his promise to maintain the cemetery, even after the efforts last year by a group of international youths to “restore” the cemetery.  Klaus Peter Rex, a German priest has been involved in this effort for several years.  Klaus made a map of the cemetery, which I turned into an online version.  But about 100 graves from the 300 or so were seemingly left unphotographed by Klaus.  So I was determined to return to Vishki to finish the job to get every single grave identified where possible.  Klaus gave me some tips.  These stones have been greatly worn by the elements and are extremely difficult to read now.  But Klaus advised using chalk on the convex letters to highlight them and some sort of foam (we used shaving cream, which actually worked quite well) on concave ones.  Sometimes other materials worked better.  Water, in some cases and dirt in others.  The unfortunate thing was that Klaus’ map has problems.  Some graves indicated on the map don’t seem to exist.  The proportions are, in some cases, completely misleading.  And in some cases, Klaus omitted graves that were there.  Still, I’m extremely grateful for the work he did, but it’s not done.  And one has only so much time, energy, money and bug repellent (the mosquitoes were quite plentiful today).  In fact, I had the opportunity to taste some Vishki mosquitoes that flew in my mouth.  It’s not like sushi, but I guess you take what you can get. :-)

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