In the southern part of the Black Forest in Germany is the town of Hinterzarten. The town is like a resort, in that each season, there is an abundance of outdoor activity and many of the homes are available for renting a room or have been turned into the equivalent of a bed and breakfast/hotel. It quickly became a favorite destination for a few days, either in the spring or the fall. One Sunday in early April, we had intended on taking one of the many wanderwegs south through the dark and dense forest.
Sunday morning hike,
aborted by the hard hail,
On a business trip to Rotterdam in 2009, I had the privilege of staying at the Hotel New York which was the former headquarters of the Holland American Line. This was one of the departure points for many immigrants leaving for the United States. The hotel was designed like the inner-workings of a cruise ship making it quite unique. I was given a first floor suite right next to the harbor. Upon entering the room, I noted that it was part of the original building dating back to around the start of the 20th century. The wall facing the harbor was all windows but the rest of the room was completely paneled in wood and there was a deep musty smell. The kind of smell that casts off into the air, not only the age of the building, but the stories of its former occupants and those who had passed that way, to begin a new life, in what had become known-as the Isle of Freedom. That night, I was not to be the only occupant of that room, for some of those souls, were still there-for reasons unknown.
Nearby the hotel on another part of the harbor was a dock, the length of which, sat moored, restored sailing vessels of the 19th century. These ships were beautifully redone and looked as if they had not aged a year since they first had sailed. Like the hotel, those ships also had stories to tell.
I later wrote the following:
Ghostly and musty,
Masted vessels of days past,
The Hotel New York.
I am among things an energy sensitive. So whether or not you believe spirits are among the living, trust me they are. I have encountered and connected with spirits in many places, including my present home. Once while in Dublin, we went into a subway shop for a quick lunch on Grafton Street toward the end, near St. Stephen’s Green. The shop was located in an old Georgian home. The only open table was located in what had been an upstairs parlor room. As we ate, I suddenly felt a presence which I determined, was a woman who had previously owned the house. This presence or spirit was apparently angry- because her house had been turned into an eatery.
In the Subway shop,
a spirit interrupted,
lunch in the parlor.
Dublin became a Viking stronghold when the Danish and Norwegian invaders decided to settle there around 841 a.d. There is a part of modern Dublin dating back to this time known as Viking town. It is there that you will find the 1000 year old Christ Church Cathedral. During one of my visits, I went down into the crypt under the church. It was quite humbling to be under one of Dublin’s oldest buildings and as I walked around, the energy I sensed, was both sad and dark.
A sorrowful past,
echos silently in the crypt,
beneath Christ Church.
When I visited the island of Santorini, I stayed at a hotel located directly opposite the caldera of the volcano, overlooking the Aegean, and facing toward North Africa. My room was built into a rather steep part of the cliff from which, I could see the small picturesque harbor port far below and the cruise ships mooring off shore.
Every morning to get breakfast, meant climbing up stone steps to the hotel’s terrace-30 feet above. The coffee served was laced with exquisite-intoxicating cinnamon spice, which wafted in the air from its pot, before you even poured a cup.
This haiku captures that morning ritual.
Climbing the steep steps,
for the cinnamon coffee.
A cliff-side breakfast.
One mid-afternoon to grab a bite and escape the heat we went inside a small cafe restaurant in the town of Molyvos, located on the eastern side of the island of Lesvos. We had were taken to a table with a westerly view, where long rays of the sun streamed through an old pane glass window. A large moth had also come inside and was desperately trying to escape its unintended prison. It repeatedly flapped its wings, while hitting the window in futility.
Moth at the window,
trying to leave the cafe,
fluttering its wings.