1998 Europe Travel Journal

I found the following Travel Journal in a bag of my old stuff given to me by my mother.  It’s from my from my Trip to Europe with school in 1998.

I’ve provided it below, unedited And awesome. I’ve left it mostly intact and punctuation preserved for your enjoyment.  Go ahead and laugh, I did.

4/16/1998

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn. ~Joseph Addison, Chicago Cultural Center (former library)

I expect Germany will be like country kind of towns with lots of public transportation and then in the big cities more very modern looking buildings and I expect the people will be very friendly.

4/17/1998

The towns here just kind of end.  And then there is nothing for miles.  Walking in Rothenburg was like walking back a few centuries.  Even in the smallest town, which is where we are staying, there is a bus stop.

4/18/1998

Today we went to Dachau.  It was interesting.  There were many more concentration camps than I thought there were.  I guess we only hear of the big ones.  I also learned that Dachau’s gas chambers were never used to kill anyone.  The gas chambers at Dachau were never used and nobody knows why.  It was strange being at one of the Nazi concentration camps where people actually died by the hundreds.

4/19/1998

We had to get up at 5:45 this morning which meant I got about 5hrs of sleep.  That stunk.  We headed out to Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II‘s castle.  When we got there we hiked up the mountain to the castle and toward it.  After touring the castle we went up on the bridge that was a few hundred feet high.

4/20/1998

Today was travel day.  We have to go to Venice which is about an 8hr trip but we stopped a lot along the way.  Our travel plans were sort of changed because of some snow conditions.  Instead of going to Innsbruck on the way to Venice we stopped at Salzburg.  That was just as good because Mr Stoker lived there for a while and showed us around quite a bit.  I bought some spoons there while shopping and a chocolate pretzel which was very good but was so rich I could only eat 1/2 of it. When we got to Venice it was suppertime and we had pasta and then some viel stuff hat I didn’t like at all.  After all that just our group went out and walked around the town we were staying in (not Venice but close).

4/21/1998

Today was the best shopping day so far.  When we got up we ate (the same thing for the 6th time in a row) and then took the bus to a boat.  When we got to the boat we had to wait about 10 minutes before they got started.  Then it was about a 15min ride.  After that we took a 2hr tour around Venice and saw the “sights.”  I imagined Venice to be much better than it was, but it was really a dump.  But I suppose if you build a city on top of water it will tend to do that.  We had freetime for about 6hrs and then went back to the hotel.  The worst part about the day was it rained for most of it.  In Venice it normally is quite whet though, so…  They even have planks a foot off the ground to walk on in case what they call a (double high tide) happens.

4/22/1998

This morning we left from Venice for Verona and then on to Lucerne.  Today for once it’s not raining.  Big surprise!  It’s travel day and it’s not raining because we’re not doing anything.  It took about 10hrs to get from Venice to Lucerne.  I only got about 1hr of sleep on the bus.  When we got to Luzern nothing really happened, we ate then hung out for a while and went to sleep.

That’s it.  Which is really sad, because Lucerne was my favorite part of the trip.  I think Switzerland really spoke to the outdoorsman in me.  This makes me wish I had kept a real journal of everything.

Tougher Drunk Driving Penalties

Too often we act without thinking which leads to unfortunate consequences for ourselves and for those around us.

Several months ago, two of the most influential, kind hearted teachers (Mr T & Mrs T) at my High School Alma Mater were hit head-on in a devastating Drunk Driving Car accident.  Fortunately, they both survived, although Mr T suffered severe injuries.  He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and will likely be in that process for a long time.  It has had a devastating impact on his family and my hometown community where both taught for many many years.  They are some of the lucky ones though, many other families out there won’t ever get a second chance.

Ken Stoker, another of Marion’s wonderful High School’s teachers wrote an essay about the accident and Leandra’s Law recently, which was published in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.  I’d like to share that with you here to spread the word.

Enact tougher drunken driving laws

It was good to read headline news about “Leandra’s Law,” which went into effect in New York this past Friday. I applaud the new Child Passenger Protection Act but I feel it needs to be broadened to cover all victims of involved alcohol-related accidents.

While attorneys might go to court and argue that the driver of this and similar crimes deserves another chance because this had “only been a first, second or third offense” (what is the difference?), we all know that victims in such horrendous accidents do not even have the luxury of one day in court, let alone a “second chance.”

Their lives are either ended, or at best changed forever because of another’s irresponsibility.

Until several weeks ago, I guess I had been lucky to have only read or heard about such tragedies. This type of pain and suffering always had happened to “someone else.”

All that changed on Friday, Oct. 16, when two of my closest friends, professional colleagues and community leaders faced their own “near-death” experiences when their car was hit by another car driven by a man who had allegedly been drinking alcohol earlier that day.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated. Eight weeks after the accident, one of the innocent victims is slowly regaining limited movement.

It is a sad but familiar story.

These two accident scenarios are grotesquely similar, if perhaps only because they both have involved helpless victims whose lives have been taken or drastically changed in an instant.

And while there can never be any total guarantee that such events will never happen again to any one of us, a law with the same bite to it as the new “Leandra’s Law” needs to be enacted as quickly as this one has been to cover all victims of crimes involving drunken drivers, not just children.

We’ve all heard that “everyone makes a mistake and should be given a second chance.” That may work for some things, but not for the drunken driver.

I counter that neither Leandra Rosado nor the countless others who have been killed or maimed by drunken drivers’ reckless actions are really given a second chance to resume their lives normally.

Familiarity with the law should already count as that “first chance.”
Breaking the law should then be met with the same immediate and harsh punishment as outlined in “Leandra’s Law.”

~Ken Stoker – retired teacher of German and English, currently working around the world as an instructor for Academic Services International.

I’m appalled by these sorts of occurrences and disgusted by the lawyers who defend them.  If it were up to me, there’d be no second chances.  Stiffer penalties for those caught drunk driving, and permanent license revocation for those involved in an accident while under the influence.  No reductions, lawyer or no lawyer.