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September 3, 2013   


Deb's Blog

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Dear :

What I Did On My Summer Vacation
By Deborah Weltman

Do kids still write this essay at back-to-school-time? I personally haven't touched the topic for fifty years, but I had an awesome vacation! So, here's the scoop:

I went to visit my daughter in Berkeley, California mid-August. Our time together was easy, fun, and sweet. We did Mom/Daughter shopping, decorating, and met with friends and family. Cousin Peg conducted our San Francisco tour, complete with a walk down the beach to the Golden Gate Bridge. I was informed that locals refer to San Fran as "The City". I was also taught other "tips" to avoid being recognized as a tourist. And, we cooked together, and ate delicious foods: Multi-Layer Veggie Lasagna, homemade Oat Shortbread Fig Bars, and lots of Daughter Anna's yummy homegrown heirloom tomatoes! A wonderful time was had by all!

A big part of the travel adventure of this vacation was the mode of transport I chose: the TRAIN! I took Amtrak from St. Louis to Berkeley, a three-day affair that necessitated a jog up and through the Chicago Amtrak hub and two transfers. It was great! I loved the camaraderie with my fellow passengers: first, Mark, the college student from South Korea, now in the States to study American culture. He asked me many questions about American slang, "What does it mean, ‘Hey, Dude'?" I met Richard from Wisconsin who was bringing his granddaughter a beautiful guitar he had made for her. He played it for me. It sounded as beautiful as it looked! In the dining car I sat with a couple of Chinese tourists. We were having trouble communicating as they spoke little English and I speak no Chinese, until...we began to share photos of our homes. Pictures: the universal language! And there was my seatmate, Lloyd, a bike-riding San Franciscan with a penchant for getting arrested at protest marches. There were oodles of other lovely and interesting folks...and, plenty of time to meet and to talk about our lives.

Plus, the views from the train were stunning! I ended up with so many photos I loved. I am pleased to share a few favorites with you:


The train entering one of the 27 man-made tunnels we passed through as we went (literally) through the Rockies.


Animal bones near the tracks The majesty of the mountain scenery
which changed from state to state)
   
Small town Americana (train stations)
California!

Anna and me at the
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco,s Palace of Fine Arts
from the 1915
International Exposition


The best part of taking the train was the sense of adventure, of experiencing something new that it called up for me. As my first long-distance train trip I wasn't sure what to expect. There were some disadvantages: my less than stellar ability to fall asleep reclining but not all the way lying flat, my "mishaps"... locking myself in the train bathroom and having to ask for help to get out, and a fall (where I acquired my first "train bruise" making me an official train rider!). And, there was a learning curve: how to properly lock the bathroom door, how to "bird bath" in the tiny bathroom in a rocking train, how to score a seat in the observation car, where to find the drinking water tap... Traveling on the train was new and different for me. It began as an unknown. Like walking the Camino (my 2011 adventure), this trip was an opportunity to practice "trust". And, as in 2011, I was reassured that my path in life is blessed with kind people, with great beauty, and that all my needs are always met.

What did you do on your summer vacation?

Deb


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