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Travel Pictures - Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary - 1992

All images Ron Miller

          I traveled through Eastern Europe from Poland to Hungary just after the dissolution
     of the Soviet Union - a fascinating time when the region exuded a charming innocence
     as a result of years of isolation behind the iron curtain. Also, as a result of the weak
     currencies, travelers could eat in the finest restaurants at a mere fraction of the price
     paid back home. And lastly, because of the struggling economies, travelers were usually
     greeted at train and bus stations by elderly women offering a room in their home for
     only six or eight dollars a night.
Fellow American travelers in Warsaw's Old Town. All of the Old Town's buildings were completely and systematically destroyed by
the Nazis in response to the Warsaw uprising (as well as the previous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Jewish resistance). It is estimated
that 85% of Warsaw's buildings were completely destroyed - first by aerial bombing during WW II and, finally, Nazi demolition crews
with flame throwers and explosives. SS chief Heinrich Himmler was quoted as saying, "The city must completely disappear from the
surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must
be razed to its foundation." However, the Old Town was meticulously rebuilt by referencing architectural drawings and,
when possible, utilizing the original bricks and decorative elements -
Warsaw, Poland
Another fellow American traveler, Tom, using his video camera to capture the largest public square in Europe -
Krakow, Poland
One of Europe's most colorful central squares -
Zamosc, Poland
Striking view up to Poland's highest summits with peaks towering above 8,000 feet -
Tatra Mountains, near Zakopane, Poland
Tom and I befriended these two Polish sisters during their annual retreat from Warsaw -
Tatra Mountains, near Zakopane, Poland
Check out the wild leggings as we descend from the lofty summits of the Tatra Mountains back to the tourist town of Zakopane -
Tatra Mountains, near Zakopane, Poland

These wonderful sisters, Halina and Mirella, put me up for several days while I prepared for my return to Ukraine. The sisters taught me a
valuable lesson about women when I politely asked them if they could help me to shop for gifts/essentials to take to my Ukrainian relatives.
To me, the exercise was pure drudgery, so I was somewhat surprised to witness the zeal and enjoyment with which the sisters entered
each shop. I did not realize that it was every Polish woman's dream to be set loose in the department store with gift money -
Warsaw, Poland

My favorite Kiwi, Annie, posing on the Charles Bridge, which was completed in the early 1400's and later
closed to vehicular traffic in 1978. In 1991, Prague had beautiful architecture, unhurried streets,
and a charming innocence resulting from decades of isolation behind the iron curtain -
Prague, Czechoslovakia

The Town Square of what many believe to be Europe's most charming city -
Prague, Czechoslovakia

Vista of the Hungarian capital including the Buda Castle and the Danube River. It was in the Budapest train station where I met a very intelligent,
young Chinese lady. She was standing alone, frightened, and unable to pay for accommodations in spite of the fact she was on a government assignment to find some Chinese chefs with visa problems. Although she was troubled by her country's communist regime, her education and
work ethic clearly represented her country's future. She even had a bullet wound received during the terrible incident at Tiananmen Square!
It is one thing to read about history and quite another to experience historical events through those who lived through it -
Budapest, Hungary

View across the Danube River to the "Inner City" - the historical old town of Pest. The city was founded by the Celtics and did not
officially acquire the name of Budapest until the merger of the towns of Buda and Pest located on opposite sides of the Danube -
Budapest, Hungary

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All images Ron Miller
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