Monday, April 28, 2014

Back Home Again

We have been home from our trip to Eastern Europe for a couple of weeks now.  What have we done? Not a whole lot, I'm afraid.

We are still fostering two ex-feral kittens, waiting to find homes for them.

This is the one we called "Little Spot" when we took him in to be neutered.  I am still calling him "Spot" but my husband is calling him "Squeaky" because every time he sees one us he greets us with a funny little squeak.  I've also considered calling him "Rascal" because that's what he is.  He is very curious and active and loves attention.  He sits on my lap and bats at my necklace, and plays with my husbands shoe laces.

This is the one we originally called "Little Blondie" but now we call him "Buddy".  He is quiet, gentle and laid back.  When we first had him he was very shy and hid from people.  He has come out of his shell now and is starting to be friendly.

We have been separating them from our other three cats so they can be introduced gradually.  Each of our three cats have had a different reaction.  Tinkerbell hisses and growls at them; Munchkin runs and hides; and Tiger actually seems okay with them.  This morning I saw Tiger and Buddy touching noses and no one was growling or hissing.

Other than that, we have been enjoying Spring weather… finally!  When we left for Europe the trees here were still bare.  When we came home they were beginning to bloom and leaf out.  Of course, in our area, Spring also brings Allergy Season.  This area is well known for allergies, and this year has been a bad one.  I've never had allergies before, but this year I've been sniffling and coughing a lot.  Today the doctor diagnosed bronchitis and gave me four different medicines!

We went to dinner Saturday night for my husband's birthday.  I took these photos outside the restaurant on a square they call "Main Strasse".

When I went to my local grocery store today, I saw a couple of things that you might only find in Kentucky…

a bumper sticker,

and horse balloons, along with rose balloons, honoring the Kentucky Derby, the "run for the roses"!

My life has not been as exciting as it was on the river cruise, but I still find reasons to take photos!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dogs of Romania

In my most recent post, I showed this photo along with the comment "we never found out what it was".  Well, I did find it on Google, and this is what it said:

The statue is called Trajan and the She-Wolf, and it stands in front of the National History Museum in Bucharest.  It was created by sculptor Vaslie Golduz and unveiled in 2012.  Trajan was the Roman emperor who captured the land that became Romania.  He is holding a replica of Capitoline, the she-wolf in the founding myth of Rome.

"Oh!" I thought… that makes me think of this other statue we passed as we drove through Bucharest:

According to what I read, public reaction to the Trajan statue has been mixed.  One comment was that the wolf represents "all the stray dogs in Bucharest".  That statement brings up another issue, the estimated 60,000 stray dogs in the city.

There is a historical reason for the abundance of stray dogs, and it is maddening and sad.  In the 1980s, the Communist dictator Nicholae Ceasescu decided to build his gigantic Palace of the Parliament in the center of Bucharest (see my prior post).  In order to accomplish this he erased an entire part of the city, evicting people from their homes and relocating them to huge high-rise apartment blocks.  When this happened the evicted families were forced to give up their dogs.  The stray problem has been increasing ever since.  Cruel methods have been used to deal with these stray dogs.  Many have been rounded up and killed.

Thank goodness there are some kind-hearted people who are trying to help these dogs.  I found this picture of a woman who feeds them, with the strays following her.

Now I have read about a 13-year old girl in Romania who is dedicated to helping these dogs and finding good homes for them.  I think her story is amazing.  Her name is Ana Maria Ciulcu.  She has a Facebook page where she talks about her rescue work.  There are a couple of YouTube videos about her, too.

She takes the dogs to a vet for vaccinations, ID tags, papers and microchips.

She takes their photo and posts it on her Facebook page, looking for families to adopt them.

When she finds a home for them she does the paperwork to get passports for them to go to their new home.  Her family pays for the vet and the paperwork.  The adopting families pay for transportation.  Most of them go to other countries in Europe.

Here is a link, in case you would like to read more about her work (you have to double click on it).

Here is a different link:

Photos from My Journey

I always take lots of photos when we travel.  I think I took over one thousand during our recent Eastern Europe trip!  Before digital, it was a real problem.  I never had enough film.  Every time we came to a store I had to buy more.  It drove my husband crazy.  Now I can just snap away to my heart's content.  I just have to take an extra memory card.

I have already posted many photos to show the countries, towns and cities we visited.  I have a few left over that I am just going to post here.  They don't tell a particular story, but they do show a little more of what the experience was like.

This was the hallway leading to our stateroom, and there is our number…

The ship was great, not too big, just three floors and a sun deck on top.

They have an herb garden on the top deck, and they use the herbs when preparing the food.

The galley crew and the wait staff could not have been nicer, and the food was fabulous.

Traditional music and dancing…

A walk around Bucharest on our final day…

We never found out what this statue represents…

We spent our last night at the Palace Athenee Hotel in Bucharest.  It's beautiful and it has quite a fascinating history.

This was a life-changing journey for me.  I saw a part of the world about which I knew little, and I learned so much about history and how the world has worked and continues to work.