Elderhostel Notebook #69 July 8, 2000

Welcome to Elderhostel Notebook, the e-zine where hostelers
compare notes on elderhostel programs.

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    From the Editor's Notebook

The next issue of the Dialogue will come out early next week as I
wish to complete mailings before we go on the road for the
remainder of July.

I will be able to get e-mail on the road but mass mailings are
not easy as the AOL mailer I use on the road is not a reliable as
my Eudora that I can only access from my home base here in Eau

Earlier I mentioned a personal project involved in developing a
web site for my memoirs of the Korean War. It hasn't been easy,
but I have a basic site up that is still a work in progress as I
add material to it from my collection of 35mm slides and the
letters I wrote home to my wife, Maggie.

Later I hope to develop a site for some WWII memoirs. Tom Brokhaw
says we of this generation ought to let future generations know
what we were up to. So for better or worse I am doing it.

I hope to be able to juggle all of this web activity with the
work on the Notebook web site.

The Korean War web site is  http://members.aol.com/fab987th

    Program Reviews

    Greece, Village Lifestyles
    Civilian Conservation Corps
    Intergenerational Denali, Alaska
    History Comes Alive at Niagara -
    San Juan Islands/Victoria, B.C.
    Boston Freedom Trail


April 2000

I have recently returned from the above Elderhostel study tour to
Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. We were a small, very congenial
group of only 21 including four of us who had met on the French
Impressionist EH trip the year before!

The Hotel Petr was newly renovated, very attractive with a
friendly and caring staff. The location was on a quiet street but
not in the most interesting part of town. However, with a little
walking one could reach a small shopping area. Our guide was a
lovely, young woman whose attentiveness and enthusiasm made up
for the fact that we were her first group.

The food was plentiful but simple with the exception of this
fabulus machine that, with the push of the appropriate button,
served cappucino, espesso, cafe au lait and hot water.

The lectures were outstanding, especially Prof. R. Kvapil, a
celebrated Czech pianist, who accompanied his remarks with
beautiful piano interpretations. I bought 2 of his CD's and
continually listen to his mastery with never-ending awe. Other
notable concerts included the Herold Quartet at Bertramka (Mozart
Museum) and a Vivaldi concert with original instruments and
period costumes.

One of my fondest memories of Prague was our tour of the Estates
Theater, where Mozart conducted Don Giovanni, and which appeared
in the movie Amadeus. Dr. Vondruska, our witty, charming and
knowledgeable guide (and also an extra in the movie Kolya),
enchanted us all.

The food in Prague ranged from average to excellent depending on
the establishment.

  We were happily ensconced in the Hotel Regina, a four-star
hotel in this wonderful city. It was elegant -- the rooms, the
food, and the location, only 10 minutes to the city's center,
were close to perfect.

Prentiss Dunn, an American living in Vienna, was an exceptional
lecturer, who, for 3 mornings, brought Mozart's music to life
using building blocks to illustrate recurring themes. He was
extremely knowledgeable as well as entertaining and we looked
forward to learning more each day. We studied the movie Amadeus,
and the operas Don Giovanni, the Marriage of Figarro, and the
Magic Flute.

A private concert and a Schlossconcert at the Schonbrunn Palace
were performed with perfection. A field trip o the picturesque
town of Rust (complete with storks on chimneys) and the walking
lecture through the Tombs of Honor spun their own webs of

Fritz, our guide in Vienna and Salzburg, was very kind and
helpful in getting us to ATM's and concerts that weren't included
in our schedule -- all with wit and good humor.

Our bus trip to Salzburg took us through picturesque
farming communities. We stopped twice -- once for lunch in the
pretty, movie-set look-a-like of Steyr; the second -- for a
memorable tour through the St. Florian monastery, where Bruckner
is entombed and which contains an unforgettable library of
ancient and priceless tomes.

The Hotel Drei Kreuz was clean, comfortable and well-run. The
food at this location however, was just mediocre. Many of us
would have preferred a choice of charming eateries just a few
minutes down the street. In this location also, it only took 10
minutes to walk into the old town of Salzburg from the hotel.
Public transportation was readily available.

Two wonderful lecturers led us through the music and history of
Salzburg and the musical developments around Mozart. A few in our
group found the technical aspects presented a bit too involved.
However, there were those of us who welcomed this.

A marionette production of The Magic Flute was a charming
highlight and a field trip to the Lake region of Salzburg was a
welcome respite from the Easter Week hubbub of the city.

All in all the trip was a glorious success with a feeling of
closeness that developed quickly throughout the group. Many of us
still keep in touch via both snail and email.

An A+ all around!

Greece, Village Lifestyles, 80936-0602
June 2-19, 2000

Helen Sternheim, Helen@k12s.phast.umass.edu

My husband and I just returned from the above Elderhostel in
Greece.  Our group was small, only 12 people, and we all got to
know each other during our 16 days together.

We spent our first 4 nights in Athens, and then 6 nights in
Karystos on the Island of Evia.  This was followed by 2 nights in
Delphi and 3 nights in Portaria (near Volos in the Pelion
mountains). Our final night was in Athens and then some of us
went home and others continued on to other planned outings.

All of our hotels were comfortable, well located and had air
conditioning. The a/c was very necessary since the temperature
was in the mid to high nineties all but the last few days.  The
Hotel Hermes in Athens was in Plaka and near to tourist shopping
and tavernas.  The Hotel Galaxy in Karystos was a block from a
lovely beach on the Agean Sea and  a short distance from the many
tavernas that lined the waterfront. The hotels in Delphi (Hotel
Xenia) and Portaria (Hotel Portaria) had beautiful swimming
pools.  Breakfasts were in the hotel breakfast rooms and had many
choices, each hotel was different, but all were good to
excellent.  Most of our other meals were in different tavernas
for each lunch and supper.  In  Delphi and Portaria we had dinner
in the hotel dining room.  All of the meals were good to
excellent and we got to try many different Greek specialties.

Greece is a truly beautiful country and we got to see many
historic sites. As a group we saw the Acropolis and Parthenon in
Athens, as well a the fish, meat and vegetable markets.  We also
visited a family at home for a Greek dinner and had a bus trip to
Sounion and the ruins there.  We had two free afternoons in
Athens and we all followed the suggestion of our coordinator
Charis Velahoutakou and went to Lykavittos and took the funicular
to the top for a good view of Athens.  We then walked back to our
hotel as a group stopping for refreshments and window shopping on
the way.  There was plenty to see and do in Athens so the free
time was not a problem there.

At our next stop in Karystos we had lectures every morning from 9
- 11 AM. These were held in an auditorium that was a 15 minute
walk from our hotel. The lecturer knew her subjects but often
read her notes. Despite the "Village Lifestyles" title of our
program, many of the lectures dealt with Greek history In
addition there was a grade school next door and we always had
lots of noise during recess that lasted for at least half of our
lecture time.  We always had 4 to 6 hours of free time in the
afternoons and this was just too much unstructured time.  Some of
us went swimming, some of us napped and all of us got to know all
the little shops in town.  We did have 5:30 PM field trips on
several afternoons to nearby towns, Churches and a Castle.  There
was only one after dinner program given by a local Folk Dance
group at the hotel and that was very nice.

While we were in Delphi we visited the archaeology museum and the
archaeological site. In Portaria our hotel was on the hillside
and there were no sidewalks for easy walking to the local town.
Our lecturer traveled from Karystos to Delphi with us and
finished her series of lectures there.  In Portaria we visited
nearby towns, museums, churches and other local places of
interest. Our coordinator Charis was very knowledgeable and
helpful and we learned a lot of Greek history from her when we
toured all the historical sites and museums in all the locations.

The bottoms line is that we all enjoyed our visit to Greece.  The
program required a fair amount of walking, often on cobble stoned
or marble walkways and up and down hills.  A walking stick was
very useful for balance.  I would guess we all averaged 2 or more
miles of walking everyday except when traveling on the bus from
one location to the next. The formal program was a bit weak, and
needs improvement, but in spite of that we had a good time.


University of Pittsburgh Elderhostel at Brandon, PA.
Civilian Conservation Corps, l933-l942:
June l8-23,2000
itisalive@erols.com EH No. 54.

A song can sum up a decade: "Brother Can You Spare A Dime." A
camera can freeze family values of the thirties: bony hand on
anxious face of "Migrant Mother." A film can mirror a generation:
"Wild Boys of the Road." Soon, more people left the country than
were clamoring to enter it. USA l933: America had come to a dead

Enter FDR and the fight against "fear itself." Only 37 days
later, the first enrollee began his 6 months term in "Roosevelt's
Tree Army." Involving over 3 and   million men between 18 and 26,
the C's were established in more than 4,000 camps in all the
states and territories. An attempt by Mrs. Roosevelt to have a
Corps for girls failed. The US Army ran the camps, and the
Interior and Agriculture Department planned the projects. Known
chiefly for its forest work, planting over 3 billion trees, the
C's built beaches, museums, created more than 800 state parks,
many fish ponds, bridges, roads, water supplies and drainage,
fought forest fires, and added greatly to our enjoyment of life
today. The enrollees retained $5 a month, which kept local
businesses alive, and $20 a month was sent home, which kept
hungry families alive.

Although their outfit was the most successful and popular of the
New Deal experiments, the CCC "boys" are still not appreciated
today. The late actor Walter Matthau, may be taken as an example.
In his obituary, MSNBC noted his parents' immigrant Jewish
background, his career as a "forester in Montana," and his
"graduation" to six battle stars in the US Army Air Corps. Not
noted was his is life out of the New York slums and into the CCC,
where he redeemed the land and himself

This Elderhostel was a tour de force for each of the 17 lucky
seniors who were present at this beautiful campus. The food was
good; the accommodations were in private apartments in a
dormitory, and most of all, that our three wise teachers offered
warm friendship along with creative scholarship. They were in
harmony with us and with each other.

Dr. "Rick" Frederick, Chairman of the Social Sciences Division,
explained the causes and effects of the Great Depression in
several classes. He was impressive without being depressive.
Professor Isabel Champlin, archaeologist, discussed the ways in
which CCC camps can be uncovered and understood through her
science. Isabel educated us about a little-known triumph of the
C's-education. Thousands achieved literacy through a vast system
of night schools and correspondence courses, which resulted in
more literate and skilled war services by l942, when the Corps
ended. Our walking CCC website, local guide and all-around buddy,
Dr. Michael Schultz; was exhaustive but not exhausting. Mike is a
retired teacher, historian, novelist, playwright, and author of
"In the Shadow of the Trees." The latter is a very sensitive
novel about the tragic-comic adventures of one Wynn Odum, a CCC
enrollee, and a true "diamond in the rough." Mike distilled
interviews with hundreds of C "boys" into this fascinating book
about life and work "from the inside." It is a masterpiece.

Our classroom was also under the trees. We had trips with our
"Big Three" into the Allegheny State and National Forests to view
various CCC sites. One memorable visit was to Camp One, now
privately owned, which functioned through the life of the C's. In
addition, we saw a lumber and CCC museum, and the World War II
museum at Elderon, PA. where we listened to one of the women who
worked in a British munitions plant. Among the stirring exhibits
was The Wall of Valor, recounting the deeds and photos of Medal
of Honor winners. As an "extra" we were invited to a Rotary Club
picnic and a live concert featuring many of the bittersweet songs
of World War II.

There were many interesting videos: Bonus March, Huey Long,
Mike's interviews, "Riding the Rails", the logging industry in
the area, and the classic "The Grapes of Wrath." We were given
many handouts, and saw four different displays of CCC life.

Unfortunately, Brandon will not be offering any more
Elderhostels. I was told this has something to do with Boston's
regulations. In my view, this is very sad, as Brandon was what
every Elderhostel should be. I have been to few that I enjoyed
more, and many that I enjoyed less. This was No. 54 for me.

It has been noticed that since my return home, I am walking
straighter, and my head is higher. I am certain this is true not
because of any of my own deeds, but because of the people I once
walked among.


Intergenerational Denali, Alaska
June 25 - July 1, 2000

My husband and I just returned with our two older grandchildren
from an Intergenerational Elderhostel in Denali, Alaska. I want
to share briefly with all of you fellow Elderhostelers while I am
still basking and sorting through all of its wonderful gifts and
experiences offered and delightfully accepted by the four of us.

I do not know how the program could be improved as all of our
expectations were vastly surpassed. My only offer of constructive
criticism would be for all grandchildren applications be
accompanied by a copy of a birthcertificate for proof of age.
There were definitely children there over the age limit of 10 and
11. The older children were not as respectful and attentive as
the children falling within the guidelines. Of course there was
an exception or two.

The leaders/presenters of the program all possessed a wealth of
"on the job experiences" to share with us both in lecture and in
the field. Their job performance was excellent!!

Both the food and cabins were adequate. The grandchildren were
not wild about the food but with the socializing among peers and
fantastic experiences there was no complaining.

There were many program highlights for the children as well as
the adults. However, for the children I believe it may have been
the scaling of Mount Healy toward the end of the week - after
making several shorter climbs and hikes. And of course it goes
without saying that the two trips into Denali Park with the first
time viewing of several grizzly bears, caribou, moose, etc., as
well as an excellent view of Denali Mountain on the very first
venture into the park was an experience of nature to never be

For my husband and me our highlight for the week was actually
getting to see, touch, and hear a real life climber of Denali
Mountain - the highest point in North America. The scaler of this
awesome, deadly mountain, Mike Mays of Montgomery, Alabama kept
us spellbound for well over an hour as we viewed his slides,
examined his equipment/tools and listened to his first hand
experience of this almost beyond belief adventure. Mike weighed
145 pounds and had only six percent body fat for which he gives
credit to his successful climb/venture.

For anyone interested in more information concerning this trip I
would be happy to share more with you.


Center of Renewal, Franciscan hospitality house
Stella Niagara - New York
History Comes Alive at Niagara -
June 18, 2000

This is a very restful site, on the Niagara River ten miles north
of Niagara Falls. The program is very active, with classes in the
morning and associated field trips in the afternoon and a good
selection of activities in the evening for those people who
haven't collapsed yet.

There is a lot of history and great scenery in the area from the
US and Canadian perspectives.

Niagara Falls - Even if you think that you are thoroughly
familiar with the falls, there is a lot more to learn about the
dynamics of this great work of nature and of man's interactions
with it.

Fort Niagara - Visit this historical fort and learn details of
its occupants and how it figured in the War of 1812. Get a feel
for life on the frontier.

Erie Canal and Welland Canal - Cruise through the locks at
Lockport, study the canals, their historical development and
continued use. See an international freighter go through locks of
the Welland Canal.

Hydroelectric Development and the Electro-Chemical Industry -
Study the developmental projects and errors. Visit a very large
power generator and the Love Canal area.

The program is organized and coordinated by a member of the
Sisters of St Francis - she is well organized and unflappable,
always pleasant and caring for the participants.

The instructors are well informed and entertaining. Can you
imagine a man who used to be a professional chemist being
entertaining? Well, you had better believe it.

The food is served buffet style and I ranked it among the better
Elderhostels. Alas, the rooms are very small. There is a wash
bowl in the room but the toilets and showers are down the hall.
My wife and I usually opt for programs that have private bath
facilities, but I think that this program warrants a little
sacrifice. When you do have to make those trips down the hall at
night, you don't usually meet anyone, when you do - well, you are
both in your nightclothes. It's not that bad.

The site is handicapped accessible but some members who had
difficulty walking had to bypass some parts of the field trips.

There were only 22 hostlers at this program and it was a very
compatible and interactive group.

   Grace and Bob McAllester
   Santa Fe, NM

San Juan Islands/Victoria, B.C.

I went on this combination trip in May and it was the most
enjoyable Elderhostel that I've been on! We spent 5 nights in
Friday Harbor and 5 nights in Victoria. The weather on San Juan
was cool but in Victoria it was magnificent. Food in Friday
Harbor was so-so, but really good in Victoria. There was ample
opportunity to explore on your own, such as whale watching (we
saw orcas aplenty!) high tea in the Empress Hotel and a visit to
Parliament. An inter-island ferry trip to all the San Juan
Islands was free!

Included was a trip to the magnificent Burchard gardens that you
cannot miss. We also taken to a local castle where we saw a
superb Japanese garden. A review of local antiques was somewhat
disappointing, as I expected much better. Logistics to get to
this location can be somewhat complicated, so it is recommended
that you use one of the local travel agents that the sponsor
ecommends. They did a good job for me. I flew from Seattle in a 9
passenger Cessna to Friday Harbor and returned to Seattle from
Victoria via the Victoria Clipper, a hydrofoil ferry. Others
chose different methods. I highly recommend this trip!

William Kosloff (wkosl@aol.com)


Boston Freedom Trail

We just returned from the Elderhostel, Walk The Freedom Trail,
sponsored by Humanities International in Boston. It was a very
enjoyable experience-we learned a lot and met some great people.
The Constitution Inn is the Armed Services YMCA. It is very
comfortable and has good facilities. We were on the sixth floor
and had a room with two single beds and a private bath. Not
luxurious, but clean and neat. Good facilities and an excellent

The programs consisted of telling us the historical data and then
going out and seeing the site. Charlestown is across the river
from Boston, so we took a water shuttle, a bus or rode the
subway. We were out every day seeing the various sites. There was
free time every day to do things on our own. On two afternoons we
were free to explore. Many in our group went to the excellent
museums, etc in the Boston area. One word of caution, do not plan
to drive in Boston. The "Big Dig", plus the normal traffic makes
it a giant traffic jam in Boston. The public transportation is
excellent. The food was served across the street in a cafeteria
that is basically for people that work in the area. It was above
average for an Elderhostel, was plentiful and good quality. One
thing that I was impressed with, they knew we would be on field
trips for a lunch and a dinner, so they gave us a refund of the
amounts that the vendor would have charged. This covered part of
the cost of buying the meals.

The staff from Humanities International was enthusiastic and knew
the area and the history very well. The primary speaker on the
history had written a book that each of us received prior to the
Elderhostel to read for background. I would definitely recommend
this Elderhostel and will look for others sponsored by Humanities

Bud Hall