Rooms With a View

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While we're on the idea of traveling, I'm thinking it might be helpful to explain the process of travel by showing you some of the places I've stayed. And more importantly, the view from the window.

This is what I see from the window of my place today in Sighisoara, Romania. And what follows is a series of photos and thoughts about some of the rooms that were my home from time to time to time.

 

This is another view from the window.

I hope you've noticed the thick forest that sits over this town. I had a chance to go running in those woods. There are oak trees more than 400 years old out there. Their leaves were just starting to sprout. Seeing young, green, little oak leaves got me to think: this tree is so, so old and yet each spring it generates new leaves that feed it. It generates acorns to make more trees. I saw a lot of life out of my window here in Sighisoara.

But we can't just stay in the present. Lets move back to the past for a bit, to the view from some other hotel rooms.

Moving one hotel back, this was the view in Brasov, Romania.

My room was the one on the first floor with window open (just above the white van).

And here is a view of Brasov. My hotel is in there somewhere.

Going one day further back, I had a great room at this hotel in Sinaia, Romania just above the hotel sign.

You have to say, though, that the sign saying Bank of Transylvania (my translation) is pretty cool. Perhaps even Dracool.

That's right, I'm in the former region where the now famous Dracula made his fame and his death. I couldn't see the house where he was born from my window in Sighisoara, but I did stop in for a beer at the cafe in front of that house.

As I hope you're getting here. This piece of writing and photos is a stream of consciousness kind of thing.

The house on the right is where they say Dracula was born. In the background is the clock tower of Sighisoara. This would have been Vlad Dracul's view from his room, round about 1433 or so.

 

I know I've digressed a bit from the so called theme of this piece: rooms with a view. But that is the fun of being the writer. I can take the story wherever I want. But you too have the same freedom. You can hit delete and never see this story again.

Before you do. Let me show you one or two images I've seen from my hotel rooms. You can leave now, or later. This is not the Hotel California.

Lets go, since you're still with me.

We're going to bounce around from place to place. But I hope you can see this as just a rough ride on a bumpy road with a bad driver.

So let's start with the places I stayed while on duty in the Congo. During my Kindu tour, just along the Congo River, I had two primary residences.

This was the room while on the UN base.

Sure you're wondering, what's with the carpet? Well, I needed an exercise mat and that's what I found. In east Africa there's lots of cheap goods from China dumped into that market. During 15 months in Africa, for example, I went through 6 mobile phones.

And this was my other main place while in Kindu: a little hotel in the middle of town:

There was no running water, but the scenario was not so bad.

This was the view from that little room in downtown Kindu. The place always felt like a sanctuary to me. In the town, but a little removed. And the people who ran the place were very kind. Every morning a young woman next door would sing as she did her morning chores from that little house on the left of the photo. The sound was ethereal. I never met her or her family. Now that I write this, I wish I had.

So now let's step out into my travels in East Africa.

This was a tent perched over the Nile River in a place called Jinja, just where Lake Victoria spills into a narrow point to start the world's longest river.

This was the view.

These photos are from my balcony near Ngrongoro Crater in Tanzania.

And this view is from a hotel balcony in Mombasa, Kenya.

While in eastern Uganda, this is a little room I found with a great view:

While working in Kampala, I had an escape place that sits on the edge of Lake Victoria right beside a beautiful botanical garden.

And then there was this place in northern Tanzania where a super tent also had a view to the great beyond. By the way, the Great Beyond in Africa is getting smaller and smaller every minute. People keep pushing out because there are so many. The wild animals don't stand a chance. They will be gone shortly.

And me too, I left Africa a couple of months after taking this photo. I do not intend to go back.

The people of Africa need to find their own solutions to their own problems.

This is my hotel in Gondor, Ethiopia.

 
Jumping into Europe, this was my little apartment room in Split, Croatia
Even though the view from the room wasn't great, the street view was classical old Europe.
But a short walk up a nearby hill produced these views of Split's great place on the Dalmatian Coast.

I'm not following a chronological order, but rather popping these in as I raid my camera cards.

Thus, were hopping over to the last place I stayed in Transylvania, and I took these shots because there's something quite magical about the name Transylvania. And I'm not sure it all has to do with Vlad the Impaler, also know as Dracula. Maybe it does.

I don't often stay at places that have their insignia on the towels. As Yogi Berra quipped: “the towels in that hotel were so good I had trouble closing my suitcase.”

Once again the view from the room was not worth recording, but this is the scene just down the street in the old town of Cluj-Napoca. Once again I was in a place I had never heard of before making this trip.

The next photo is not of a hotel, but of a fitness club I worked out in several times in Belgrade, Serbia. They had a stair master right at the point you see just above the Danube River. The view from that place was great. Right in front flowed the Danube and the various working boats moving up and downriver. Just to the left the Sava River met the Danube.

When in Zagreb, Croatia this was my little room:

With a bit of a view of Zabreb.

But the market down the street was most active.

Earlier, in Venice, my tiny room had a big-time view of a narrow canal.

 

My room was in the orange building at the top right.

And my favorite place to have a cup of coffee in the morning was here.

And this was my second favorite place

In Pristina, Kosovo I had this ever changing view of the street.

Approaching the end of my voyage, here's the view from my place in Palma de Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain.

 

 

My place is in the tallest building you see, three floors down from the top, on the right side. It has been a great place of perspective.

And here's the view from a room in Decin, Czech Republic.

 

And as a somewhat grand finale, my last hotel room is indeed a jail cell.
This prison started keeping guys in custody back in the 1800's. Now it is a hostel in Ottawa. Can't say I much like staying in jail. I guess that's the point.
As a comfort to the new guests, two jail cells have been expanded to one. In short, the jail cells when they were jail cells were damned small. Again, I guess that's the point.

And this is the row of twenty cells housing my hostel mates. (Actually, its ten rooms, since they cut two rooms into one).

The photo above shows the view when the solid door is closed.
And this is the “view” from the window in the hallway across from my jail cell.

And this last photo shows how I customized my jail cell. Please note the fan I bought and the clothesline.

 

As a late addition, here's a room I stayed at in Agadir, Morocco in 2015:

And here's the band we put together:

LAST THOUGHTS: there is always hope, if you choose to be hopeful. Me and you should consider how important it is to be hopeful. Let's do it, because without hope we cannot continue.

Even so, the beauty of our fragile planet will carry on whether we are here or not. And regardless of what hotel room we stay in or its view.

So to end this piece, I show you two rooms where I didn't stay. But perhaps you can see the great hope in living and being so close to our best friend, our Earth.

 

 

 









About This Place…

"This website is dedicated to the many people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have suffered and died."

 

The writer was a journalist, prosecutor, and Canadian soldier who is now trying to help the people who live in the DR Congo.

 

The photographs and the commentary here are solely those of the writer and his pet dog named "Bark." The United Nations and MONUSCO have nothing to do with this website.

Similarly, the township of Puskokum in eastern Tennessee is equally not interested.