The Magic of Pyrgi, Greece

On the island of Chios, Greece- Travel, on any level and in any place, can often be a life-altering experience. Merely breaking your daily routine and seeing unfamiliar people and vegetation can freshen the mind better than most forms of therapy.

Once you allow yourself to cast aside as much baggage as you can, you move into new places where you have the potential to become a new person, either for a moment or forever. All of this is a preface to a description of what happened to me and my wife Roberta when we visited the town of Pyrgi on the Greek island of Chios.

There are rare moments during travel when something magical and mystical happens. I think a person would be lucky to have two or three of these moments during a lifetime of travel. When Roberta and I entered the town of Pyrgi we were immediately immersed into a world where children of all ages play unattended in the streets, running with more joy than will ever be experienced by any American child in a lifetime.

Pot Holes, Mud Ruts

Blow outs. Mire. Oncoming. Cyclists. Many the hazards. Jerk the wheel. A bent rim. Muffler shot. Slalom run. Swerve, sway, swing.  

Mind you these are split second decisions we’re discussing. What Would A Self Driving Car Do?  Here is my workable strategy for negotiating mud- charge the ridges, go, keep going, ride the humps, steer like baby chimp with a rattle. Bit of gas is our friend.  Some bogs better not to enter.

The Bilbao Song

I’m watching a film on Netflix that takes place in Bilbao, a city in northern Spain.

I can’t stop remembering when, many years ago, I visited Bilbao, courtesy of the US Navy.

Our ship docked in San Sebastian, a sleepy fishing village where nothing EVER happens. However, a dozen miles away lay Bilbao, a thriving metropolis.

Brattleboro Celebration Planned for the Resumption of Amtrak Service

The Vermont Agency of Transportation has announced the resumption of Amtrak Service to Vermont beginning on July 19, 2021. A celebration is planned for Monday, July 19 at 12:45pm to be held on the green adjacent to the Connecticut River, across from Whetstone Station restaurant. The festivities are provided by the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance (DBA) and will include free gelato and a performance by a local band, the Detrani Brothers. The event is free and the public is welcome. An official from Operation Lifesaver of Vermont will be on hand to give a brief talk on train safety, and other local dignitaries will also address those in attendance.

$1 Amtrak Fares, Special Events in Vermont To Celebrate Return of Trains

This is a bit of fun news for train lovers.

“Amtrak and the Vermont Agency of Transportation welcome back Vermont’s beloved Amtrak trains – the Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express – for full service beginning on July 19. Celebratory events will be held 45 minutes before the trains are scheduled to arrive at all stations in Vermont. To complement these events, $1 fares are being offered for travel on July 19 within Vermont so that attendees can cap off their participation with an Amtrak train ride.

Brattleboro Station – New ADA-Compliant Building, Platform, and Track Changes

Brattleboro Station

Proposed facility will feature track changes and the first level boarding platform in Vermont

BRATTLEBORO, VT – Amtrak today announced it is in discussions with the Town of Brattleboro, NECR Railroad and the State of Vermont on its proposal for a new, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant Brattleboro Station, including a new station building, platform and track changes. The new station will feature the first level boarding platform in Vermont. Measuring approximately 48 inches above track, the proposed platform will allow customers to move on or off a train without having to step up or down. Additional ADA-compliant amenities include parking, ramps and steps up to the platform level, lights, signage, a new waiting room with an attached restroom and covered outdoor seating.

“Vermont’s weather presents challenges to travelers all year round. Amtrak’s investment in an ADA accessible platform and station will ensure that all rail passengers in Brattleboro will have a safe, warm, welcoming place to wait for and board the train. In our rural state, passenger rail represents a vital link for Vermonters and tourists alike. This new station in one of the gateways to Vermont will be a worthy addition to our transportation system,” said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

Whew !

The temperature reached 130 degrees yesterday in California’s Death Valley.

(The hottest temp on earth since 1913)

Amtrak Vermonter Shut Down North of New Haven

According to Amtrak, no Vermont service on the Vermonter, or Ethan Allen Express, until further notice:

“Vermonter (Washington – St. Albans): No service north of New Haven (Monday-Saturday) and no service on Sundays.

Ethan Allen Express (New York – Rutland, VT): No service north of Albany”

Camino Pilgrimage Path Across Spain is Topic of Library Presentation

The experience of walking Spain’s thousand-year-old pilgrimage trail will be the focus of a talk and slideshow at Brattleboro’s Books Memorial Library on November 12, 2019, at 7:00 pm. The library is at 224 Main Street in Brattleboro, VT.

The slideshow and discussion will be led by Betsy Bates, Cicely Carroll, and Bob Lawson of Dummerston and Putney.

Everest Traffic Jam

The first official ascent of Mount Everest (29,029 ft) was made in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.

Times have changed, and the undertaking has become a world-class sport, with hundreds attempting the effort. The photo, taken on May 23 of this year depicts a “conga line” of climbers ascending the Lhotse Face.

Information Session on RGS Artist Trip to Tuscany To Be Held March 21

An informational meeting for anyone interested in joining the River Gallery School art trip to Tuscany in October will be held on Thursday, March 21, 6:00 p.m. at the school, 32 Main Street, Brattleboro. Those interested in learning more about the tour are invited to attend.

The trip will take place from October 4–11, 2019 in Pienza, Italy, with a three-day, optional stay prior to the tour in Cortona from October 1–3. The tour is sponsored by the River Gallery School and organized by Travel Fever Tours of Putney.

Camimo Pilgrimage Path Across Spain is Topic of Library Presentation

Spain’s thousand-year-old pilgrimage trail will be the focus of a presentation at Brattleboro’s Books Memorial Library on January 8, 2019, at 7:00 pm. The library is at 224 Main Street in Brattleboro, VT.

The slideshow and discussion will be led by Betsy Bates, Cicely Carroll, and Bob Lawson.

The Camino is nearly 500 miles long, running from the Pyrenees in France across the northern portion of Spain to Santiago de Compostela.

Walking the Camino Pilgrimage Trail in Spain

Walking the 1000-year-old pilgrimage trail across northern Spain will be the focus of a presentation at the Putney Library on November 15 at 7:00 pm. The slideshow and discussion will be led by Betsy Bates, Paul LeVasseur, Cicely Carroll, and Bob Lawson.

The Camino is nearly 500 miles long, running from the Pyrenees in France across the northern portion of Spain to Santiago de Compostela. Running from village to village, across farm fields and beside streams and rivers, the path is now walked for many reasons and by many people from many countries.

Future Shock in Upstate New York – A Visit to the Real World

Recently, C and I shuffled off to Buffalo for a short visit with family. Leaving Brattleboro is always an adventure, partly because we hardly ever do it and never know what we’ll find out there. This time, it seemed as though everywhere you looked, the future was being installed, and folks, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was almost scary.

Our first jolt of the new normal came in the outer Albany area where we’ve been stopping at McDonald’s for years for a quick bite before we hit the Thruway. This time, there was only one young woman at the counter with maybe 5 or 6 customers in the lobby.

Uber in Brattleboro (Free 1st Ride)

If anyone needs a ride, I’m now approved by Uber for servicing the Brattleboro area. Will tailer hours to demand. I’m based in downtown Bratt, and will provide rides anywhere in the region. Request a pickup from the Uber app anytime you need to get to or from somewhere. More affordable, luxurious and convenient then a taxi.

Boating Accident at Exit 3

I was out on errands and was thinking about the long list of disasters we’ve seen lately – hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, earthquakes, nuclear saber-rattling, and so on. No specific thoughts, but just general awe of the list.