"About Harry"

     I am a retired educator from Pennsylvania.  I have been traveling every winter since 1999, mostly by myself, but with occasional visitors and traveling companions.  The idea began as a way to escape the cold Pennsylvania winters and the snow, but quickly evolved into exploratory, soft adventures (not sky diving, mountain climbing, etc., since I have a phobia about heights) that expand my knowledge of the geography that I once taught in public schools.
Traveling alone has a few disadvantages, like no one to share conversation over dinner, but there are also advantages. The most important of these is that it requires me to reach out to people in other countries for human contact. Trying their language (even if I have to use a small Berlitz-type pocket manual to start), their food, and their customs really gets me involved with the other culture. I don't miss the tourist highlights, but I do it slowly, in the off-season when the tourists are few and far between.   
     I travel with no hotel reservations and usually plan each day as it happens. I love staying in a place long enough to learn where the locals eat, so that I can enjoy the food they eat in their daily lives.
     I stay in very inexpensive hotels and, because I usually travel where the dollar goes farthest, it is sometimes amazing at how inexpensive this trip is.  My first winter getaway was to drive with a friend to Costa Rica.  We traveled from Pennsylvania to the Mexican border using only two-lane roads and then traveled south through Mexico and Central America to Costa Rica. It was a sensational experience and I learned much about the cultures of the countries through which I passed.
    The following year I traveled alone on a small motor scooter that I purchased in Bologna, Italy, hugging the warm Mediterranean coast through Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.  The cultural differences and the interesting people I encounter during my odyssey make these trips educational as well as fun.
    In 2001 I traveled with my trusty motor scooter once again.  I started in Germany, rode through France, Belgium, Spain and finally on to Portugal, before returning to Germany.
    In the winter of 2002, I traveled to Europe for four months.  I taught English to Spanish business executives for 10 days each in January and February.  After that I traveled southern Europe, mostly by train on a Eurail pass, and visited Portugal, Tenerife in the Canary Islands, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, and Germany.  I then returned to Madrid where I met my wife and another couple and embarked on a 17-day jaunt around southern Spain.
    The winter of 2003 saw me depart from home in the beginning of January and meander to Miami. I took ferries crossing the Outer Banks, visited friends in Sarasota, and stayed with a nephew in Miami before leaving for Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where I spent two months basking and sweating profusely in the sun and oppressive heat. I absorbed much Brazilian culture in this beautiful city on the south Atlantic and especially enjoyed seeing Carnival, the most spectacular human event I have ever witnessed. Iguacu Falls on the Pirana River straddled between Argentina and Brazil was an equally spectacular natural phenomenon.

    In the winter of 2004, I put 12,000 miles on my 1986 Volvo by driving to California, then down the Baja. I took a ferry from there to the Mexican Riviera (think Mazatlan, Ixtapa, Puerta Vallarta, and Acapulco), before meeting a friend in Mexico City. We then drove together through Central America to Costa Rica, where I really did escape the snow. Another friend flew to Costa Rica and rode back with me to Mexico City. I continued by myself from Mexico City, along the Gulf of Mexico, and finally back home. The old Volvo held up nicely, although a few overheating problems made the trip more memorable. The car is doing fine, sporting a new radiator, and has just passed the 225,000 mile mark. She (her name is Glee - you'll have to read the trip's log) will get a rest this winter, however.
    Back to teaching English in Spain in the winter of 2005, my efforts for two weeks of free room and board, the only compensation for teaching to Spanish business executives, returned me to a country that I love very much.  The students were wonderful and enthusiastic as always.  After two weeks of teaching, I headed to Tangiers, Morocco, for my first visit to the African continent.  I returned to Spain after three days and experienced the thrill of Carnival in Cadiz, in southern Spain.  I stayed with an architect, a student in my just completed English class and had a fantastic time at the celebration I found more intimate and exciting than the Carnival in Rio that I experienced a couple of years earlier.
    After Carnival, I headed to Cascais in Portugal where my wife and friends visited me for a couple of weeks in a whirlwind tour of Portugal.  On the way home, I traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic for three days, then trained through Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary, where I met friends from a pub back home on their annual junket.  Then, it was back home through London to reintroduce myself to my grandchildren and the rest of my family.
     2007 took me to Buenos Aires where I spent a few days discovering the so-called Paris of South America with its many unique neighborhoods before my friend, Schim, whom I met one year teaching English in Spain, joined me for a three-week trip by bus and ferry through a wide swath of South America.  We traveled to Uruguay, across the grasslands of Argentina to the wine center of Mendoza, then through the Andes to Chile where we explored Santiago and two cities on the Pacific coast.  Schim returned to the friendly environs of Orlando, Florida, after three weeks and I continued to Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu in Peru.  After the exhilarating visit to Machu Picchu, I headed for Panama and a reunion with my family that included a great fishing trip.  Most of the family accompanied me to Costa Rica for a three-day visit before they, too, headed home.  I finished the year's adventure with five weeks of solitary lounging around San Jose, reveling in the dry, warm climate that reminds me of San Diego, California.  It was a delightful way to complete a hectic winter of touring.
     I keep my adventures posted here on the World Wide Web, so friends and family can keep up with my journey.  I make occasional stops at Internet Cafes along the way, enabling me to communicate with family and friends, some of whom, for whatever reason, seem to worry about me.  I invite you to follow along as I update the web page along the way.


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