David and Mary
I've known David for about three or four years. He comes to the states on business and shops at JCPenney where I worked. I had stopped to check into a B&B, and then called David to tell him I was in country. I really wanted my pint of Guinness. heheheheheh I was planning on meeting him the next day, but he insisted that I stay with him and his wife. Now Mary doesn't know me from Adam, but there she was a few minutes later in the parking lot to lead me back to their home. And after I got to their home and unpacked, David and I went to a pub for a Guinness. Mary dropped us off and picked us up about an hour later, and had supper waiting for us. Next day David gave me a tour of the county, and laid out a route of the points to see in Ireland. And the route he laid out was an excellent one.
There were other angels in Ireland. Each and every B&B proprietor went above and beyond to make my visit pleasurable. As did countless Irish people.
I didn't think, I would meet Linda. Our schedules just didn't mesh. But I decided to delay going to the Netherlands for a day and took a train to the Belgian coast. Linda showed me around Flanders and we had a good time at the beach on the North Sea and watched a beautiful sunset. Linda is the short one, second from the left.
Trees and John
My Netherlands Family
To say, I found friends in the Netherlands is a gross understatement. Trees and her entire family opened their home to me for four days. John drove me all over the country. In turn their children provided laughter, information and companionship throughout my visit. I'd love to go back and see more of their country.
What can I say about this woman? She was the angel in whose care I was for the longest. She put up with me for 17 days in Moscow, sharing her home and wit. She also shared a train ride to St. Petersburg and back, and a night at the Bolshoi.
Unidentified Ukrainian girl
Veronika and her mother Nadezhda
Margherita (Doktor) and me
I believe, people traveling on trains tend to be friendlier than those on airplanes. I'm not referring to those short runs like commuter trains or the day trains I took. But on the longer runs, especially the overnighters. On those trains you are going to be in the same box for a while, so you may as well make the best of it. The four women pictured above did just that. The train from Bucharest to Kiev took about 37 hours, and many of us made the complete run. The Ukrainian angel got of two stops before Kiev, but she was very helpful in explaining the procedures and talking to the border gaurds in my behalf.
The train from Moscow to Vladivostok was six and a half days. If you've seen the Siberian Express pages, you know that. Veronika works at the University of Moscow and spoke more English than any Russian I'd met so far. Her mother and Margherita spoke none. And you know about me and my Russian. Margherita gave me some of her cold tablets to help suppress my lousy cough. I wish, I knew what they were, they were very effective. These were my train angels. I'm very happy they were there.
There was also an angel in the Kiev Train Station. I was having no luck at all finding anyone, who understood and spoke English. I was trying to get online at the station internet cafe, when a young Ukrainian woman asked me (in perfect English), if I needed any help. It came out that she's studying environmental science at Dartmouth University. Thanks to her, I was able to gain internet access and email Carol of my very early arrival.
Helga ready to talk
Helga waiting for our bus
|Helga is my Russian penpal. We've been corresponding for nearly two years. In the left photo she has our "talking pad", the notebook we used to communicate for three days. She reads and writes English, but has no one to speak it with. So we wrote our conversations in that pad and a smaller one she carried. She gave up three days of her schooling and her life to show me around her end of the country. The first two days we spent a lot of time on buses between Artem and Vladivostok. The third we spent climbing a mountain. (great fun!) And actually it was. Even though it wasn't planned that way. We just sort of walked until we got to the top.|
If I had to pick any three consecutive days on my trip that stand out as the best, they would be those three days in Vladivostok and Artem.
Way up there near the top, I said, "Thank you, God, for the angels". I can't thank Him enough for allowing them into my life for a these short periods of time.
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