Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bonjour, Paris!

Bonjour, compagnons d'aventure!

On Wednesday (Aug. 1st) I will be jetsetting to my next destination...Paris! I am really excited to finally visit the "City of Love." However, I fear that I may not understand anyone due to the lack of my french lessons. Hopefully B can remember enough french for both of us!

My Parisian birthday cake!

My excitement can be summed up by what Thomas Jefferson once said, "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life."

So, lets explore the history of Paris!

History of Paris:

"With upwards of 12 million inhabitants, the greater metropolitan area of Paris is home to almost 19% of France’s total population (central Paris counts just under 2.2 million souls). Since before the Revolution, Paris has been what urban planners like to call a ‘hypertrophic city’ – the enlarged ‘head’ of a nation-state’s ‘body’. The urban area of the next biggest city – Marseilles – is just over a third the size of central Paris.

As the capital city, Paris is the administrative, business and cultural centre; virtually everything of importance in the republic starts, finishes or is currently taking place here. The French have always said ‘Quand Paris ├ęternue, la France s’en rhume’ (When Paris sneezes, France catches cold) but there have been conscious efforts – going back at least four decades – by governments to decentralise Paris’ role, and during that time the population, and thus to a certain extent the city’s authority, has actually shrunk. The pivotal year was 1968, a watershed not just in France but throughout Western Europe.

Paris has a timeless quality, a condition that can often be deceiving. And while the cobbled backstreets of Montmartre, the terraced caf├ęs of Montparnasse, the iconic structure of the Eiffel Tower and the placid waters of the Seine may all have some visitors believing that the city has been here since time immemorial, that’s hardly the case."

--Courtesy of Lonely Planet

History of the Eiffel Tower:"Originally intended as a temporary exhibit, the Eiffel Tower was almost torn down and scrapped in 1909. City officials opted to save it after recognizing its value as a radiotelegraph station. Several years later, during World War I, the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy radio communications, relayed zeppelin alerts and was used to dispatch emergency troop reinforcements. It escaped destruction a second time during World War II: Hitler initially ordered the demolition of the city’s most cherished symbol, but the command was never carried out. Also during the German occupation of Paris, French resistance fighters famously cut the Eiffel Tower’s elevator cables so that the Nazis had to climb the stairs.

Over the years, the Eiffel Tower has been the site of numerous high-profile stunts, ceremonial events and even scientific experiments. In 1911, for instance, the German physicist Theodor Wulf used an electrometer to detect higher levels of radiation at its top than at its base, observing the effects of what are now called cosmic rays. The Eiffel Tower has also inspired more than 30 replicas and similar structures in various cities around the world.

Now one of the most recognizable structures on the planet, the Eiffel Tower underwent a major facelift in 1986 and is repainted every seven years. It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights."

--Courtesy of History Channel

Stay tuned for more details!
Au revoir!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Holy Toledo!

Hello, fellow adventurers!

Last weekend, I found myself on an 8 hour car trip to Toledo, Ohio. Yes, I drove it alone. And yes, it was long! 

I bet you are wondering why I drove 8 hours to a city you have probably never heard of. Well, for a few reasons: 1) to visit my sick Grandpa and 2) to pick up my sister and her two kids. However, this is not the reason for my blog post. Instead, I wanted to inform you of a great restaurant that may be worth the journey.
My Grandpa, Lil' John, Sadie, and I 

First, have you ever seen the t.v. show M.A.S.H.? If you answered yes, then you should be aware of Klinger. The cross dresser who wanted to get Toledo! 

Second, the restaurant that should be on your list is called Tony Packo's

So how does this relate to M.A.S.H.?
"The words that came out of Jamie Farr's mouth on Feb. 24, 1976 would put Tony Packo's in the spotlight. Farr, a native Toledoan himself, appeared in the television show "M*A*S*H," playing Corporal Max Klinger, a crazy medical corpsman who was also from Toledo. In the episode that made Packo's future, a man playing a television newsman talked to Klinger about his hometown. Farr wrote a little local color into his reply. The lines read, "If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents..." Thus a new epoch began. The name appealed to the scriptwriters, who wrote Packo's into five subsequent episodes. In one show, the mobile hospital unit asked Packo's to send sausage casings to be used in a blood-filtering machine. Packo's was also mentioned in the two-and-a-half-hour final episode in 1983."


"The son of Hungarian immigrants, Tony Packo was a native East Toledoan. Tony was born in 1908, just a stone's throw from Consaul and Genesee streets.  Tony Packo started out as a factory worker. That all changed when, in 1932, he and his wife got a $100 loan from relatives. No small feat, mind you, for this was during the hardest of hard times, the first years of the Great Depression. That same year he opened a sandwich and ice cream shop just around the corner from the place he was born. Tony had learned the restaurant business working for his older brother John, who owned a place across Consaul Street in what is now Tony Packo's parking lot. There was no beer at Packo's that first year. Prohibition would not be lifted until 1933.
Because Tony was Hungarian-American and lived in a Hungarian neighborhood, Tony’s creation was called the Hungarian hot dog.  Until Toledo-born Tony invented it, there was no such thing as a Hungarian hot dog, say those who know the Old Country's food.
Packo's food was an instant hit in the neighborhood. Within months of opening, Tony and Rose knocked out a wall and expanded their first shop, in what is now called the Consaul Tavern. By 1935, success had taken them to the point where they could buy a building of their own. They purchased the wedge-shaped establishment at Front and Consaul. The building houses part of today's Tony Packo's, but with a few more additions. The restaurant is still run by the Packo family…Tony and Rose's children; Tony Jr. and Nancy."

My Story and Opinions:
Since I was little, I have been visiting Toledo to see my Hungarian and German relatives. Yes, for about 24 years I have been visiting the city.

One of my favorite things to do while I am in town is to visit Tony Packo's. After all, I am part Hungarian! 

The restaurant is absolutely delicious and the gift shop finds are amazing! In my opinion, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), I would rate Tony Packo's at a 9. The restaurant gives off a fun family vibe. The walls are lined with celebrity signed hotdog buns. The food is absolutely delicious. Of course, the main dish is hotdogs topped with a secret sauce, onions, mustard, and cheese. Yes, one bite of this hotdog and you are in foodie heaven! Click to see more of the menu! Oh, and lastly, the gift store finds. I don't know about you, but I love, love, love pickles! One of the best things to get at the Tony Packo's gift store is different types of pickles, such as: Sweet Hots, Original (spicy), and even Garlic flavored pickles! I prefer the Originals and Garlic flavored pickles. You can order them online too!!! Price ranging from $10.95-12.95. Get out your credit card and order!

Take a trip to Toledo, Ohio and let me know what you think of Tony Packo's. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Camping With The Rainbow Family

Hello, fellow adventurers!

B and I recently went on a camping adventure in Tennessee. It was quite interesting and not what I expected. We hiked about 2 miles into the Cherokee National Forest with our packs on. Let me tell you, it was rough in 100 degree temperature. Oh, did I mention it was uphill?

B and I hiking
Okay, enough of me complaining about the hike. So, I bet you are wondering why we chose such a random destination for camping. Well, it was for the Annual Rainbow Family Gathering. Or in other words, a new and exciting adventure!

What is the Rainbow Gathering?
"Many people gathering together to pray for peace and healing in the world. Openly and with mutual respect."

Why Are They Called Rainbows?
"The gatherings are called rainbow because they are for all the peoples of the earth, from many families, tribes, and nations. Some say that the Hopi people native to North America tell a vision of a time when mother earth, the land, air, waters, and creatures of all kinds were sick with poisons and ill treatment by people, the children of the white races, or more specifically the people who lived the cultures of those who displaced the native peoples of the Americas - not just Caucasians, would grow their hair long, wear beads, and come together with the children of all the nations to heal the earth."

An elder singing songs of peace.
When and Who Attends?
"The Annual Rainbow Family Gathering is celebrated during the first week of July (1st - 7th) and is hosted in a different National Forest within the United States. Since approximately 1972 there has been an Annual Rainbow Family Gathering every year with some states having hosted more then one Gathering within it's borders. Of all the various types of Rainbow Family Gatherings, The Annual Rainbow Family Gathering of the Living Light is by far the largest of Family Gatherings. In high years the mass of family can exceed 30,000 souls and has also enjoyed the energy much the same with as few as 7,000 belly buttons in attendance.

These rather large freeform gatherings are attended by a broad and diverse spectrum of people although the hippie movement has a larger appeal to the media. Truth is, you can meet almost anyone from almost anywhere at a gathering. The celebration is commercial free and there is absolutely no charge to attend a Rainbow Family Gathering."

My Experiences:
After B and I set up camp, we went to explore and find the "Full Circle." I was surprised to see lots of nudists walking around. Of course, there were fully clothed people and just topless people. Seeing those people did not scare me, so we continued walking up into the mountain. There was a huge party going on at the top. People were painted, juggling, dancing, and everything in-between. Check out the video to get a taste of our 4th of July experience!
***Warning: There is some nudity in the video

Honestly, all of the people were so kind. People offered out free food and free water to everyone. If you wanted to help, then you just show up at a camp site and ask if you can assist. B and I helped make  cinnamon buns and in return "Lovin Oven" gave us free breakfast. 

B next to a handmade oven!
There was a part of the mountain that was called "Trading Circle." This was where people with random beads, artwork, flashlights, snacks, etc. came to trade. Anyone and everyone could participate in it...if you had things that were worthy of trading. **Money is not used here!

Trading Circle: Notice the people on the sides of the path?
Random Picture Time?

B juggling during a talent show.
Dance Party!

Spirit House: A place to say goodbye to loved ones.

As the Rainbows say, "Welcome Home."
For more information:
Event Calendar
Staying In Touch
About Cherokee National Forest

Are you adventurous enough to camp out and party with hippies? Or did you go? If so, share your pictures and stories! Have questions for me? Then, ask already!