Noi6 Around-the-World

Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Twelve and Counting

October 26, 2015

Today is going to be a long and full day. If yesterday we saw three temples, today we’re going to double that number.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Penguins of Syracuse

We first lost our passports. I found them after about 40 minutes, it is not so hard to check all the possible places were they could have been put, starting when we returned from our last international trip. Which was fresh on our mind, because it was then that a dead 1500 year old monk split my head open and my coworkers reminded it me of it all day. "Have a great vacation but watch your head." I knew we must have had the passports on arrival and eventually we found them. Later that day I had a freaky accident playing table tennis and the injuries made me feel in a daze. I kept misplacing and losing many more things. Great start - all the bad luck was wasted. 

This morning we left half an hour late, the car was frozen including the inside of the windshield. The temperature is 10F (minus 12)." Windows are overrated!" I decided and I took off while Ileana Ruxandra was scraping the ice from inside. It only took 95 minutes to get to the airport. It was a gorgeous ride, clouds of vapors were raising from the lake and the hills were covered in snow. The icicles on some bushes looked like diamonds and the empty trees in the Montezuma wildlife reserve were a eery dead forest. 

We had time, it was 9.37 - the kids kissed us goodbye and took off, Ioan driving. We went to print our boarding passes. We got an unusual error "you will miss your connection, do you want to look for alternative flights?" There are no alternative flights. We fly from Syracuse to Bariloche. We would have had more than 2 hours to connect in JFK but our plane was rescheduled because of a "rest break". Now it was supposed to depart at 1.20 and our boarding time for next one was 2.25. We would have still made it, except that we would have to change terminals at JFK and another pass through security would make it impossible. We decided not to check any luggage. Passing through security took a very a long time and as he took apart all our belongings the guy told us about where he went in South America. Later, brainstorming with the gate agents while waiting and looking for alternatives, one suggested: "Tell them to give you a ride in their Porsche!" Seeing my face he explained "they do that for their valued customers." Yeah, this would be on the tarmac, behind security. And then he said "watch this!" With the flick of his index he changed the sign, our plane would leave at 12.50! As we still have to wait and CNN goes on and on about Trump, I did not want to read more of "Fire and Fury in the White House". Ileana Ruxandra helped me choose another book on my kindle: a travel guide to Patagonia. Lady Florence Dixie in 1878 says on page two: "we only took one servant with us, knowing that English servants inevitably prove a nuisance and hindrance in expeditions of the kind, when a great deal of "roughing it" has to be gone through, as they have an unpleasant knack of falling ill at inopportune moments." We feel for her and congratulate ourselves, we left all our English servants home. Up in the plane waiting to take off, in the snow we see four plastic waving penguins. Maybe we'll see some real ones.

We left at 1.05 and landed at 2.10. On the plane we asked Leah, the flight attendant, if there is anything she can help us with and she explained that we'd have to take the shuttle bus to the airtrain and then... I cut her off. Porsche? She had no idea. She moved us in the 5th row and wished us luck. We deplaned fast and ran in front of everyone. No sign for airtran, just a shuttle bus. No gate agent to ask for the Porsche. We get first on the bus, the driver is half asleep, "get off at the first stop", but he wouldn't leave until the bus was full. We get out first and run up in terminal 2. Terminal 2?!? Security says there is no airtrain, get back on the bus. Two people say this, but the bus people send us back inside. Another gate agent points to the exit, cross the street get out toward the parking lot you'll find the airtrain. Courtesy ride? Never heard of.  
It's a circular track and from terminal 2 to 7 you can go both ways. I asked three people which is the shortest and since they agreed, we get the first train. It's too slow but as we approached the terminal I saw our plane at gate number 5. By 2.50 we got to our stop. With the tickets in hand we ran down the stairs and the long corridors, got inside the terminal and straight toward the big crowd waiting at security. I spot an agent: "please help us!" She moves and takes us to cut to the front of the line and the security person who checks the boarding passes and the passports is also helpful: "please relax, you'll make it. Take a deep breath people have had heart attacks here, it's not worth it!" The machine doesn't want to read my boarding pass. When it did we all cheer. Then we ask nicely a few more  people to let us go first, load several trays with our stuff and pass security by 3 pm! Up the escalator running, no TVs for the gates, but I go for number 5 and in the empty hallways a lady comes toward us. She is from Aerolineas Argentina and she came to look for us. Six staff and security wait at the gate, we run toward them and some cheer like in an episode of the "Amazing Race". As one of them reissues our boarding passes we get to share our story and they are all amazed. "Your luggage will not make it." "That's fine" I say "we have no luggage" "wow, that's smart!" Everybody else is already on the plane., set in their seats, belts on. As we ran through the last empty corridor I yell "next time they have to pay us more!"

We used 60,000 Delta miles and $11.20 to buy these particular economy tickets to Bariloche, it would have been many thousands dollars. Since these were sign up bonus for the Delta American Express card, they were free. The first Delta purchase gave us $50 back. So we earned $38.80 to get through this. Ten hours later we land in Buenos Aires. It is 3.50 am and the temperature is 70F (20 degrees Celsius).

Monday, July 17, 2017

Old Temples

Sunday October 25, 2015

Breakfast, Ioan takes his test and then we leave for Biyodo-in, a World Heritage Site. We change the train and we sit in the new one, waiting for the scheduled time to leave. A young man, while entering the wagon, juggles his many possessions and his iPad cover slips in the space between the train and station. Immediately he deposits his phone and iPad on a chair, but takes his backpack and runs to get an attendant. The other people are calm, there is nothing wrong with leaving your things behind. We, foreigners, are more concerned about his things and start calling him. He bows and makes signs that he will return, not to worry… No one is interested in stealing a phone and an iPad just sitting there…This is the second time in Japan when I think this is a safe country. The first time was when I saw a pigeon sleeping on the rail of the bridge in the middle of the traffic. The attendant comes armed with a mighty claw, but he is not able to grasp the cover. Our young man collects his possessions and waits for our train to leave, so he can have his cover back.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red Gates and Grey Turtles


What is so special about Kyoto?
The old capital is imbued with history and lore...
It still has many pre-war buildings as it was not heavilly bombed during the second world war...
People are encouraged and rewarded to wear the traditional kimono (the buses and the temples offer a reduced rate)...
It has a harmonious mix of old and new ...
It has gardens and temples….lots and lots of gardens and temples...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The White Heron of Himeji

The morning is different for each of us: Mihai goes to the Prefectural Art Museum of Hiroshima to see “The Dream of Venus” by Dali, Ioan does Calculus, and I am doing domestic things. At 11 we board the train to Himeji and arrive in no time. It takes more time to find an empty locker, all the ones from the train station are taken, but eventually we find plenty in the bus station. 

Hydrant hidden in the sidewalk.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017



One of the Three Views of Japan.

That’s where we’re going today.

It’s called Itsukujima or Miyajima. The Strict Island or the Island of the Shrines. The Strict, because no death or birth is allowed on the island, to keep it pure. Even today, women close to term and people who will dye imminently go to the mainland. I could not find provisions in case of an accident. For this strictness it reminds me of Delos, Greece. The Shrines, for the so many shrines found here, hidden by the forest.

While Ioan is doing school, Mihai masterminds the transportation there: first train, then a ferry (free for the JR permit). He also buys a picnic. He takes care of us. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Spirit of Hiroshima

It is silence now…my thoughts are not fighting, but wait…

We wanted to visit Hiroshima, because we couldn’t in 2011.  And here we are, walking over the bridge and looking at the dome. It seems small, considering its significance. The ruins of the Product Exhibition Hall on a manicured lawn, surrounded by black iron fence and people taking pictures — somber modern art.

Friday, October 21, 2016



What will this bright and beautiful day bring us? And the ones that come after this one?

A volcano.
And another one.
And there…another.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


“Ohayō gozaimasu! Good morning! We know you have two places in your tour bus, but we are three, and if someone from your group doesn’t come, could you take us?” We want to go to the historic village of Shirakawa-go and this company has the best schedule for our time frame. Alas, everyone comes, so seconds before departure time, the guide (and the driver!) come to us, apologize because they couldn’t take us, bow and leave. Well, we’ve tried!

From tunnel to tunnel to the next mountain.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tateyama Kurope Alpine Route

I don’t know if it’s because Mihai is eager to start the day, or Ioan and I are really tired … Mihai makes our breakfast, makes the beds, gets all of us out the door. While we wait for the taxi to take us to Ogizawa, a baboon walks nonchalantly on the street. Soon enough we find ourselves in a car with lace on seats. Novelty worn, we swivel our heads to take in the view.