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Zipping across Spain

Spain may not have any jobs for people (unemployment topping 25% right now), and they may not have any money (they are about to ask the Euro countries for something in the neighborhood of 62 billion Euros to bail out their banks), but they sure have fast trains. This morning I zipped from Madrid to Barcelona in just over three hours -- less than half the time it takes to drive. Everybody in front of me seemed to be taking pictures of the speed readout at the same time I was. 300 km/h = 186 mph, and we did that for most of the journey, only slowing for the stops in Guadalajara, Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona.

186 mph in the Spanish AVE train

Piazza Brá in Verona, Italy

Until recently, the restaurants lining Piazza Brá in Verona, Italy all had green awnings with the name of the restaurant emblazoned in big, white letters. Practical, but not very attractive. They recently changed to awnings that are sans names, and color coordinated to match the building they are attached to, making what is quite possibly the most beautiful square in Italy even more beautiful.

Bach House

The house where JS Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany offers a fabulous look at the life, music and thoughts of this composer. Mozart may have been a prodigy, but Bach was a genius. And a determined little fella. Orphaned at the age of 10, when he was 15 he walked 200 miles across Germany to attend a choral school that accepted poor children.

Rubber duckies

In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, even the rubber duckies wear Bavarian garb.

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