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Build Yourself A Great Story

Archive for May 2015

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Vassa  Museum War Ship
Went to the Vasa Museum, and had just finished up a tour as preparations were being made for 21,000 runners for the Stockholm marathon. Rented  a bike and drove  down  to  the town center and shot some great video on my Samsung s5 camera phone of the Stockholm Marathon Runners.

Preparations for the Marathon

Docked next to VIKING Star

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Having an  amazing day in Helsinki, taking a highlight tour that included the Olympic stadium, a  church made from rocks,the  town center marketplace,and the harbor port.

Then a  drive thru the suburbs of modern day living including the once  powerful Nokia brand,  now aquire  by Microsoft,and the best and  brightest were no where to be seen - because work is prayer and they were invocating.


Lasse Virgin and Paavo Nourmi,
2 of my favorite Finnish runners, are thought of as we
drive by the 1952 Olympic Stadium,  still in use.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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 With 400 rooms, 14 miles of hallways and nearly 3 million pieces of art, wouldn't you know it-the ones I wanted to see, besides-The Rembrandt's, were relocated to a newer building across the square. Not many people went there because the Picasso exhibition and other modern artists were still being moved in but the French impressionist were there and it was nice to Gauguin and Renior and Passero.There were also a few Van Gough too.The video above shows just how cool it can be to be unattended and alone with Paul Gauguin,  the poster boy of freedom and happiness and Paradise in Tahiti.

Gauguian's local island life pictorials
 inspired me to visit Tahiti and see if
 French Polynesia was as is.


You could take a Rembrandt anywhere-even Russia- in the world, to the deserts, jungles, or islands, and everybody would immediately understand it and respond."

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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"The problem with the rest of the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind us".

Greetings from Somewhere Over The Rainbow--Saint Petersburg. It  is huge--there is a kind of quality in quantity. Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos. St Pete is a large-scale city of haunting magnificence, an imperial capital that Peter the Great began building almost 3 centuries ago.
Yet, there is a stillness to Petersburg, unlike say an asian city like Bangkok--or  Here Comes Everywhere--- a happy chaos, completely unaggressive, you hardly hear a rude noise or anyone shouting. Nobody cares. The great mingle-mangle flows smoothly and you  wonder how so many cars and people can be jammed into such a small space and not one soul seems disturbed.

Vodka your plants

Russia, on the other hand, is no longer  a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma .It is a tragedy wrapped in a failed system inside a catastrophe to come. The problem with the rest of the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.
Instead of paint, they use vodka. I am impressed: "Wow, you painted your city vodka?".  Demon  Vodka is everywhere. God is dead is trivia. Now God just says, `No´`. Among the isms these day, pessimism range from the inabilty to scold their cats in their lackadaisical litter-box use to an  ``Oh Well´ shrug of, Í´m so bored, I think I´ll `flip my car´´. Seven months of depression followed by four months of disappointment.

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A city open from 8am to 5pm and then you get back on the ship Amerikan.
There is no income tax in Russia. But there's no income! General Secretary Gorbachev stumbled onto one of the best-kept secrets in recent Soviet history: Communism doesn’t work, but 90% of  Russian women do.
They make up the bulk of  the work force and are dressed to kill, and would make great prom dates´, or better yet, strip club-bacholor party girls.. Plus, there´s no fallout from professors and family when they admit, I´m a nude dancer trying to finish my Ph.D. It´s heroic.
 Makes me think of Politics, and  President´s who also could be strippers, names like Madison,Taylor,Kennedy, and Reagan, who when they did their job right, suspended our country´s disbelief, and the economic bald spot and the  mortgage ceased to exist.

On Reagan’s watch, the USSR collapsed,  and I can still hear those regular words, Tear Down This Wall... and the extra crispy, ``My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes

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it's always nice to come back to Estonia. just found out after all these visits that in 2003 a little-known startup called Skyper invented the first peer to peer technology that I use almost everyday in the form of Vibr, What's Ap and FB messenger also owe their roots to Skype(r).


When was the last time you even thought about Estonia?  Guess what? It’s a place. People . I am sure the Vikings paid a visit along with the Swedes to clorinate the ge ne pool.
Today there are the castles and churches. Tallinn, for instance, is a very well preserved medieval city. It is our Baltic port of call today. 
Ernest Hemingway has written that in every port in the world, at least one Estonian can be found. There are plenty of them here! You cannot make soup out of beauty. Estonian Proverb

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Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, symbol of the Cold War

A few slabs left over from the Berlin Wall.

Brandenburg Gate-Berlin's historic landmark to some of the most significant
events in modern times

Spree River cruise


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Sailing through
the world`s busiest artificial waterway, the KIEL-CANAL (known in Germany as the NORD-OSTSEE-KANAL) runs for almost 100 km right through Schleswig-Holstein - from Brunsbüttel to Kiel-Holtenau - and links the North Sea with the Baltic.

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On the banks of the Dove-Elbe river,  there are traces of a labor camp called-Neuengamme.


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What a beautiful city, and obviously prosperous,  60 million millionaires and 18 billionaires. Here in the town center and also along lake Alster.

I'm following in the Beatles footsteps, drove past The RepperBaun, where the original 4 (Pete Best) played their debut @The Star Club,burnt down. There is a monument to them, and that is all that remains. John Lennon,said he was born in Liverpool but called Hamburg his adopted home. It's easy to see why - great vibes.




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Sailing down the Elbe River.
Overnighting in this port city. Weather is dank and cold, but no such thing as a bad climate,  only bad clothes.

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The city is still charming and taking this canal tour after a  six year hiatus makes me realize how bike friendly this town is. cutting through all the canals, just under an hour, was a lot more panoramic then the 1 hour land tour we took around the city by bus. I'll be back here in 2 weeks and I want to see some windmills, tulips and eat some of that famous Gouda cheese.
9 feet Deep-3 ft of mud,  3 ft of bicycles and 3 feet of water



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I can BARLEY believe it! "Do yous serve Budweiser here?" "No sir we serve beer."
 Chocolate and beer. Belgium is famous for these libations.

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Chocolate,  Beer and Charming Canals. What a wonderful way to spend a day


 In Bruges. It has been 30 years since I have visited Belgium in fact I lived here for 2 years during my 26th and 27th years. It hasn't gotten better but I have.


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Overlooking the Jarrasic coast, and ahead  Weymouth, on the mainland coast, home of the 2012 Olympic sailing competition, as we dock. Portland is famous for its stone, and it's  fossils. Here I'm burning some fossil fuel.
The Mane Attraction 

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After docking into the town port, we took an hours bus ride into quaint Quimper, a town in Britany. The Architecture ws Anglo-Saxon influenced. Sunday morning church was in session, and afterwards I had the obligatory cafe au lait with chocolate coissant at the town center's cafes. It was great to speak French to the wait staff and converse with the locals Along the way.

Midevial Lavatorium (M'lady's toilet)
with outside chute leading to the riverm

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Life is a state of Mind
The greatest movie you never saw-A simple-minded gardener named Chance (played by Peter Sellers), who lives with an open heart. He meets a bunch of people in high and low places, who project their ideas on what they think he does and is. All the time-He is "Being There", for others.When he is, miracles happen.He is an unintentional ubermensch. the paradox being: his empty mind is the most fertile. It doesn't get any more zen-like than than that.

In the last scene of The Movie, we see Chance perform his own miracle-walking on water. This inspired me to do the same.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Planet of the Grapes 

The best estates can see the river
Garonne from their vinyard

What an adventure today. In the morning I did a city tour of Bordeaux and then in the afternoon to see the vineyards of Haute Médoc-Spectacular, not only the scenery but the wines, from everyday table ones to some of the most prestigious and expensive in Le monde.

We are the champagnes
Heard it on the grapevine

We are hard corked

House of the Reisling sun

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