Is Travel All Pretty Pictures?


We might hope it to be with the memories to go with them. And hope we bring home only good memories.

What I have learned is not everything goes as planned, and sometimes that can be an opportunity to experience something not common to my own life, both good and bad. People sometimes ask what makes one want to travel, especially in this uncertain climate of world unrest? Is it the wanderlust bug or just getting away from an ordinary life?


It is lots of things, but learning from other cultures is a big draw. Sometimes what one learns is often historical or even current with the times.


Above is the Black Sea in Constanta, Romania during a freak storm in October. Far out in the distance is the Ukraine and Russia. This was during the uncertainty of the 2014 crisis between Russia and the Ukraine.

Below is the Shoes on the Bank of the Danubein Budapest, Hungary. It is a memorial sculpture to honor Jews that were killed during WWII during the time of the Arrow Cross terror. The people were told to remove their shoes before they were shot to fall into the Danube. It was a moving reminder of what people faced during that time.


While in Germany in 2015, I was there during the immigration crisis and the terrorist attack in France on November 13th. All of Europe was on alert. Now it happened again in Nice, France as I head to England. I wonder what to expect when I touch down at Heathrow Airport. I bet security is at an all time high.

Last year, I was confronted at an open market by a group of young Syrian men approaching me on the street in Cologne, Germany, so I know first hand how unnerving seeing Muslim young men can be. I was very unnerved by their angry demeanor and demeaning bravado. There was no doubt in my mind these were unsavory, hate-filled characters. Germany has learned not all immigrants were truly there out of need.

WWII bombed out building in Bulgaria below. Learning from the past…


Now, I head to the UK after the Brexit vote. With the attack in Nice, leaving the EU does not seem quite as bad an idea. At least the UK can deal with national security on their own terms now.


It seems the world is changing for the worse. Each time I travel, the world is becoming a little bit different. One thing to be thankful for…at least this is not a time back in history where we had to leave our shoes on the dock in Budapest. Hungary was a very beautiful and friendly country. My favorite place in all my travels? Prague. I wanted to live there.


Old Town Hall Tower built in 1338 and the Astronomical Clock in Prague built in 1410 AD above. Twelve Apostles appear on the hour, every hour, and a small trap door opens where Christ marches out ahead of his disciples.

The skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk. Sense a big disrespectful middle finger salute to a certain group of Pagan invaders?


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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33 Responses to Is Travel All Pretty Pictures?

  1. swo8 says:

    Oh Donna, what a trip that was. Thank you for sharing. The pictures are lovely. That’s an area I haven’t much of.

  2. David says:

    You do seem to travel during some specifically troubling times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos.

  3. Emily Scott says:

    You mentioned that the group of Muslim young men was unnerving – I’m sorry to hear that you had that bad experience. But as I’m sure you have experienced also, young men in general unfortunately can be like that, whether Muslim or not. I have had plenty of bad experiences with groups of white English men. I won’t feel any safer when we leave the EU, because damaged, violent people come in all races, nationalities and religions – they’re born here, they don’t just move here – and you can’t ever exclude them entirely from any country.

    • In general, I agree young men can be quite intimidating, but this was far different. These men were intentionally approaching Germans and tourists on the street. They were yelling and laughing at us for being uncomfortable. I don’t speak Syrian of course, but was sure they were using profanity in both words and gestures. They went right behind a young German girl and did something obscene. The rest of us dispersed, yet they went down the street abreast, blocking our path.

      I do hope the UK will be better off since that is the path taken. We have dissidents and radicals born here as well, not to mention our country is taking in refugees. It is ideology corrupting these people, not a religion, race or nationality. I know it is a difficult choice to make dealing with people seeking asylum, but both our countries need to be a lot more vigilant. After all, be both rely on tourists coming to spend time and money. I know I am not so keen on visiting France and that country was first on my bucket list. They are calling the attacks the “new norm” here. There is nothing normal about these radicals or their loathsome actions. They are hate filled, driven and nothing will change their minds.

      • Emily Scott says:

        Hope you enjoy your visit to the UK. We are having such a heat wave at the moment! It’s such a shame that tourists will be put off visiting France and that the French people are probably feeling nervous about attending public events.

        • Oh the heat! My next scheduled post mentioned going to the UK was a better choice than going to Italy (where we had originally planned) because it would be a nicer climate. I have looked at the weather forecast for London and quickly knew we were in for a temperature similar to around here in Niagara Falls. We are in the 90°F range this week, and luckily, you are a bit cooler. Yes, I was so sad to see what happened in Nice. I feel for those in France. They should not have to change how they go about living their lives. I know that Israel is going to be looked at for how other countries respond to these tragic events such as this. Now in Munich. It is on the news as I type. My fear, there is no way to stop this from happening.

  4. Lula says:

    Nice pics Donna! for me travel is another way of learning first hand, from the culture itself, I love letting the country, cities, people, speak to me about what they really feel they are. It’s about their own personality and what resonates in me. It’s not anymore about visiting monuments or sites, it’s more and more about encounters, hazardous findings and that enriches me. In any case, if studying history taught me anything it was that no time in history has been safe of turmoils. Travel safe!

    • Thank you. I too like getting right into the culture. In Germany, I felt like I belonged in a way. I do like the architecture, art and plazas. I agree, history is teeming in Europe. It is a learning experience with everything I see and learn.

  5. I always love traveling with you, Donna, ‘though vicariously. I’m anxious to see your impressions of England in these troubling times. Right now I’m exploring the U.S. — Heading for Cape Cod this weekend. So many beautiful spots right on our doorstep. Travel safe!!! Pam x

    • I will be posting on England, and will certainly give my impressions. I am not one for noting the stuff one can find on Wikipedia about a place, i much prefer to talk about getting to a new place or how I feel in a city. Cap Cod is beautiful. I have been about everywhere in the US. The only two states I have missed so far are Washington and Alaska. I likely will see them both together some time. I always wished my friend from Seattle would decide to take a side trip for me.

  6. It’s hard to find a spot on earth that isn’t in turmoil or transition now. I would have been nervous confronted by those young men! Safe travels Donna!

    • Thank you. The whole world is on alert right now. My fear is travel to certain places is shrinking. I always wanted to visit the Middle East, Egypt for example, for the history and ancient architecture. Sadly, that will never happen.

  7. I did all my traveling 20 -30 years ago. I was in England when the wall fell in Berlin – so I got to see Berlin before and after. It was a time of optimism. I also got to see Russia in 1988. These are experiences that can never be repeated. Now I don’t think I can travel there now. The airport security would be off putting. That is just me though. Love your photos

  8. I hope you will enjoy your stay in England, Donna. You’re right, these are turbulent times. Distempered and unpredictable. It’s getting worse …
    Although the result of the referendum means a Brexit, the UK is still member of the EU. So presently they probably will act in a similar way as before and according to the former EU regulations. Officially they did not yet resign from the “club” as they first want to find a way to prevent a division of the United Kingdom. You probably heard about the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against the Brexit …
    Have a safe travel and a pleasant stay! I’m looking forward to reading from you as well as to seeing new photos from some part of Great Britain.

    • Thank you Michèle, I doubt I will love it as much as I loved Germany though. I know it will be different since we are in big cities quite a bit. I did read that Scotland and Northern Ireland were disappointed in the vote. I am glad while I am there that Britain is still part of the EU. I was wondering about cross border travel though. Are passports needed? I know we won’t be leaving the UK, but just wondered.

      • Donna, I regrettably don’t know what you as a traveller coming from the US will need in case of cross border travel.However, In general it’s still all unchanged. Only after the official notice of resignation (or how it’s called then) and as from that moment when the UK actually left the EU, the passport most probably has to be presented again.

  9. A.M.B. says:

    Beautiful pictures, Donna. The political climate right now is very troubling. I can understand why you felt the Syrian men were unnerving, but angry, hate-filled characters come from all backgrounds, and it isn’t something immigration policies can solve.

    I hope the rest of your travels go smoothly!

    • I know there is not a lot that can be done on limiting our exposure to this madness. Our country is testament to “angry, hate-filled characters come from all backgrounds.” This business with police being killed by “angry, hate-filled characters” is getting more sad by the day. I feel for the way it will affect how police will or will not respond when needed.

  10. Karen says:

    I always admire people who are able to travel. Thank you for sharing your experiences in a way that makes it easy for me to enjoy. I’m such a homebody, I’ve never flown and I’ve never left the country. I’ve never had a wish to do so as I’m content here at home. That said, I’m in awe of you!

    • Thank you Karen. I have traveled quite a bit. I enjoy going new places, hoping to see more and more as years go by. I kinda doubt that will happen as our world gets more dangerous. I don’t like how these terrorists are seeking out Americans. Soon, it may only be safe in Texas! At least they all have guns at the ready. 😀

  11. I do enjoy the pretty pictures, but also the history and learning about the ways in which life is different in the places we travel.

  12. Beautiful pictures, Donna, and an enlightening commentary. We live in troubling times, and it seems that people of all backgrounds are going a little haywire.

    • I could not agree more. Watching the news and political arena is getting very depressing. I can understand why some retreat to gardens. Very zen-like and can tune it all out. My gosh, poor Munich right now!

  13. I’m currently feeling numb from all the weird things happening around the world, including right here at home. Every age and era has its strangeness and danger, of course, but the frequency of the terrible news is unnerving. Travel is still a rewarding and positive experience, for so many reasons. I hope your journeys are richly rewarding.

    • The media makes it all clear and so instant too. You are right, every age had its atrocities but now we see it in an instant. I just think this particular one is taking too many cues from the past where the goal is to set us far back in time to when these terrible things where meant to keep people divided.

  14. Karen says:

    Travel used to be such a wonderful experience…it still is but a guarded one. Our son is in Prague as I write this, then on to a river cruise through Germany, then to Amsterdam and Paris. I want him to have a wonderful experience but at the same time think of his safety. Our trip to Germany and Austria is but a short couple of months away and we are thinking of a another trip somewhere in Europe for spring. You can’t stop living, you just have to be aware of your surroundings and hope for the best. Enjoy your trip…I look forward to the wonderful photos you always share.

    • I agree, one cannot stop living. I know I am cautious, but always still willing to go new places. I am sure your son found Prague amazing. I know I did. I wish you a wonderful trip to Germany and Austria.

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