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Friday, June 15, 2018


These are the three sisters of Glencoe Valley
Does it remind you, somewhat, of Brigadoon?

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Copenhagen is a cosmopolitan city.  Everyone speaks English.  Most visitors do too although they are not all from English-speaking countries.  Signage is in English more than it is in Danish.  On the one hand, any English speaker can feel comfortable, but on the other hand, if you are trying to get a feel for all things Danish, you might have a tough time--especially when it comes to food, once a sure way to get a taste of another culture.

For advice, we head to the hotel concierge.  We are lucky that our concierge is honest with us even though his honesty brings sadness.  Most heartbreaking to me is the fact that Hans Christian Anderson is not the beloved figure in his native land that he is in the United States.  We do take a photo with him right outside the Town Hall, there is a ride for him in Tivoli Gardens, and the Little Mermaid watches over the harbor, but, alas, that is all except for a skipped something or other in the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum.

Anyway,  the concierge tells us that trying to find traditional Danish food is tough.  He knows of only one restaurant, Axelborg Bodega.  This restaurant becomes our destination.  Danish food here we come, and Axelborg Bodega is just a short walk from our hotel, Raddison Blu.

It is still too chilly to sit outside, but the restaurant's interior is perfect.  Wood-paneled walls, heavy tables and chairs, and a wonderfully warm staff, who,despite the descriptive Danish/English menu, wants to help us make the right choices.

Axelborg Bodega is not very crowded, but judging that Danish is the language of choice and people are meeting each other in small groups, the other patrons did not appear to be tourists.  We are on the right track.

What is Danish cuisine?  It's heavy on pork, fish, and vegetables.  Rob, always more adventurous than I, orders two home-breaded filets of plaice served with a remoulade.  Little did he know until the platter arrived that there was a lot more--two kinds of shrimp, vegetables, and other pieces of fish.  It is essentially a fish sampler to which he gives two thumbs up.

I order roast pork with home pickled red cabbage (delish) and cucumber salad (delish) and rye bread.  When that arrives, there are scrumptious potatoes too.  There is enough pork to split three ways.  Incredibly ample serving.  Absolutely perfectly done, and the vegetables are exceptional.  The edges of the pork are crackling, but the interior is soft enough to forego using a knife.

And Danish beer, of course.

We leave Axelborg Bodega with renewed hopes for more exploration of Danish cuisine. 

The next day we are up and early to explore Copenhagen.  Breakfast in the hotel is delicious with a buffet offering all kinds of cheeses and fish, fruits, different yogurt combinations, eggs, etc.  There are quite a few Asian guests, and there are many offerings to satisfy that palate.  That is an unexpected treat.

We have a walking map and feel sure that when lunchtime comes, we will be able to find a second restaurant specializing in Danish cuisine.

We are so wrong!  The plazas are full of people picnicking on take-out acquired from one of the many shops along the plaza or sitting at outdoor tables eating hamburgers.  Hero sandwiches, salads, hamburgers and other fast foods familiar at home. As far as restaurants--if you are interested in Italian, Chinese, or Indian, your wish would be granted.  We pass an English pub, a Scottish pub, and several French restaurants.  Among the restaurants listed in our guide book, none in our area seems to specialize in native Danish cuisine.  We find it quite sad, and while we sit in one of the large plazas enjoying the spring weather with the other people, literally surrounded by eateries of all kinds, there isn't one that satisfies our quest.

Know what we do?

We walk back to Axelborg Bodega, stopping along the way to investigate other restaurants but coming up empty.  We enter Axelborg Bodega for a second, but different, delicious Danish food experience.  And it is just as good as the first.

This time I order smoked salmon served with home-baked bread, asparagus and a creamy, scrumptious herb sauce. It is a platter big enough for three, and every delicious bite is a reward for our return.

Rob, knowing it is now or never, tries a sampler--traditional open face sandwiches (smorrebord), chef's choice, each one presented beautifully and touching every tastebud in his mouth.

In no way do we feel we've missed anything by not going to another restaurant.  Each visit is unique and special on its merit.  My advice is that if you're looking for Danish cuisine in central Copenhagen, visit asap.


Saturday, June 09, 2018


With Kilauea on a rampage these days, I keep going back to look at our photos of a more peaceful time in this part of the world.  We helicoptered over the area, and this is the amazing, steaming caldera.  
Kilauea is between 300,000 to 600,000 years old.
In my blog's search box, type in Hawaii to see other photos of this extraordinary place.


The Tavern Museum was the original Tavern in Salem.
So much to learn inside!

Visiting Old Salem is stepping back in time, but as we walk the main thoroughfare, many of the houses are not open to visitors.  These are private residences, and the people who live there maintain their homes according to the rules of an historic district.  That’s not always easy, but it is necessary.  Most of the homes, however, have plaques giving the name of the original owner as well as the date.  Later in the afternoon, a docent told us that probably no more than two of these houses are owned by Moravians.  Rather, they are owned by people who want to live in the city of Winston-Salem but without the hustle and bustle of city life.

We walked up the main street to the Tavern area. The Tavern seems to be a dividing line between the earliest homes and the later development of the community.  Originally it was set on the outskirts of the town, a location that would prevent mingling with “Strangers” from outside the community.  No town residents other than the carefully vetted tavern keeper were allowed inside.  As Salem grew, the Tavern found its way toward the middle of town when buildings on the other side were erected.

 Today the complex includes a huge wooden barn, dating back to 1835 and  relocated in 1961 from Bethania, North Carolina where another Moravian community existed.

Pretty big barn

Inside we get a view of the construction as well as the hay in the loft.

Next door is the Tavern Museum where much is original including the floorboards on which we walk.  This building, actually, was the original Tavern.  The sign below includes a diary excerpt that is disturbing but authentic and a saddening lesson in history.

Difficult as this is to internalize, I applaud that there is no attempt to hide or to erase history.
Rather, there is an attempt to reveal and to learn from it.

George Washington, in 1791, spoke to the residents from the front porch.  While possible, it was not believed that he actually slept here, not because he was a Stranger but because the best bedroom was on the first floor.  Other bedrooms were upstairs, and his six bodyguards would have been forced to be upstairs, unable to do their jobs should that be necessary.  In 1791, there were still Loyalists around.  It is not known where the President slept that night.

Residents’ diary entries say Washington addressed the people from the front porch.  The people were in a field.  Today there are buildings dating from the 1800s across the street, further evidence that as the town grew, the Tavern became part of the center.

The Moravians are not teetotalers, and there was the public room within the tavern where drinks were served.  The “bar” as we know it today did not exist back then, but it’s interesting to learn that the word “bar” originated because the liquors and beer were kept in a room with bars to prevent theft.  The word became associated with drinking, and it was kept.

In the Tavern Museum, you can see how liquor was locked up behind the bar.
Is that costumed docent standing guard?

 The dining room of the Tavern was on the second floor.  Food was laid out buffet style and remained on the table for several hours.  The second floor location meant people could not just run in off the street, grab some food, and run out again.  The location was meant to prevent thievery.

The kitchen, however, was down some stairs and out the back.  It seems very well stocked.

Perhaps the most astonishing building we visit this day is the Single Brothers’ House.  Single Sisters had their own house.  Residents in the Single Brothers’ House ranged from about age 14 into the 70s.  Whites and African Americans lived together, and as the docent informed us, that did not change until segregation became the law.

Notice the two sections of the Single Brothers' House.
The first was built in 1769.
As the town grew, the addition was built in 1789.
The entire building was restored in 1969.

Among the Moravians, marriage was arranged by lot.  Should a man want to marry, he would present his case, and lots were picked.  There were three lots:  yes, no, and neutral.  Yes, he was allowed to marry but the prospective bride had the right to refuse. No, he was not allowed to marry.  If the neutral lot was chosen, it was interpreted as a “not sure” (so no) or “not at the right time” (so no).  Seems to me, the odds were not in the man’s favor.

Music was a great part of the Moravian life and religion, and the people were divided into choirs.  Choirs were the social divisions in the community, and people basically lived and died within their choirs. In the cemetery, God’s Acre, which we will visit when we return, the people were even buried according to their choirs.

The docent in the Single Brothers’ House who also masterfully played the organ for us, explained the lot system and the choir system to us.

Don’t underestimate the importance of music in their ministry.  The Moravian Music Foundation has 10,000 early manuscripts, sacred and secular.

The organs are spectacular.  The organ crafted in 1799-1800 by David Tannenberg for the Home Moravian Church has been fully restored and has been lent to Old Salem.  It resides in the Visitor Center and there are free recitals, last year in December.  PBS even did a documentary of the restoration. 

I'd love to come back for an organ recital in this hall.
What a magnificent , and huge, organ!

The organ in the Single Brothers’ House has also been restored, in 2007, but it dates back to 1798.  For more incredible information, take this link:

This beautiful organ, played by the informative docent in the Single Brothers' House, dates back to 1798.
It was totally restored.
Originally, someone had to pump the bellows to allow it to work.  Not easy work.

I’ll talk about our lunch at the Tavern in a separate post, but before I get to the last stop of the day, I want to post an example of what the organization is trying to do.  In several places on the street and in buildings were signs similar to this one but about various subjects.  It will be interesting, now that we are members, to come back and learn more about the Hidden town within the town.

This aspect of Salem is something that should interest everyone.
It's good that in recreating another era and bringing it to light that the bad is recognized as well as the good.
In the years to come, I think there will be even more to learn here.

 Our last stop of the day was, as you would have guessed, C, Winkler Bakery built in 1800 with an addition in 1818.  Moravian sugar cookies are sold here, and they are available all over North Carolina.  Wafer thin and delicious.  There are artisan breads, pastries, etc., and there are demonstrations of the old ways of baking, the way Mr. C. Winkler did it.  I would love to end with a picture of what we bought, but….uh oh, it somehow disappeared shortly after we left the shop.  So I will leave you with a photo of the handle of the front door to the Single Brothers’ House. 

Nothing was plain and simple in the artistry of Salem.  

There’s so much more in Old Salem, but time just didn’t allow.  As I said, we became members, and we will be back, I guarantee that you will hear more about this remarkable place.  If you get an opportunity, please visit.

Monday, April 23, 2018


Old Salem has got to rank toward the top of the many terrific places to visit in North Carolina. Old Salem offers a treasure trove of knowledge.   Its development as living history, a place where you can visit the original sites and see many of the original buildings recreated BASED ON ACTUAL RECORDS just makes you burst with conversation and questions—many of which can be answered by the knowledgeable docents and staff.

We lucked out. Got there on a beautiful Spring day just made for exploring.

Located in Winton-Salem, North Carolina, Old Salem is an historical district, a community founded in 1766 by Moravians, German-speaking Protestants whose church bought 100,000 acres and set up several separate religious communities.  Old Salem was established specifically as a Trade Community, and only Moravian tradespeople were allowed to live there.  Moravian farmers, for instance, might come to buy things, but they were not permitted to reside.  Non-Moravians could also come to do business, and if they needed to remain overnight, there was a tavern in which they could rent a room.  Moravians, other than the carefully vetted tavern keepers, were not permitted in the tavern although they were not teetotalers.  Facts like these REALLY pique our interest and raise many questions.

Visiting this craftsman’s village, today’s visitor is in for a lot of surprises and some very beautiful workmanship on display. There’s beauty in every building, inside and out..

From the informative Visitor Center, we crossed the covered bridge to the village, walking under the Moravian Star, a universally recognizable Advent symbol I’m sure most of us have seen even if we didn’t know its origin.   

The 110 point star probably originated as a geometry lesson
at a boys' school in Germany in the 1830s

At the other end of the covered bridge, we enter another world.  The docents are dressed in period costume as is the staff at the Salem Tavern where we have lunch.

Our visit begins at the Frank L. Horton Museum Center (where photography is encouraged), a significant collection of work not only by the craftspeople of Old Salem which is assembled in one gallery but also, in another gallery, a collection of work coming from seven other Southern states, exhibiting the beauty and skill of early American society.  Additionally, if one is intent on research, the center contains over 85,000 craftsman files and 20,000 object files.  The Moravians were organized and careful record keepers.  We spent a lot of time at the museum, talking to docents, asking questions and leaving the building with a lot to think about.

The Salem gallery is divided into sections by trade.  The names of the chief tradesmen or women are listed.  Meticulously kept records give this information.  The work was beautiful.  I'd like to share some of it with you.  It's merely a small sampling.  We spent quite a bit of time there.

Music plays a huge part in the lives of the community.
Music was part of the religious services.  There were brass bands, organs, other instruments and choirs.
Several of the finest organs were crafted by Moravians, and two pipe organs were in Salem.
Look at the beauty of this work
Intricate patterns on silverware, serving pieces, and decorative pieces. 
Weaving, sewing, all manner of needlework.
Not woodworking 101.
Wouldn't you love a secretary as beautiful as this one?

This watercolor and ink on paper dating to 1775 is one of very few pieces with a religious theme.
The leaves represent all the Moravian congregations around the world at that time.
They hang on branches of a grapevine nourished by Christ's blood.

Our first period stop was the reconstructed African Moravian Log Church from 1823 and its next door neighbor the original St. Philips African American Moravian Church from 1861 with an 1890 addition.  Nearby is the African American and Strangers' Graveyard (1772-1859.  Non-Moravians were known as Strangers in this closed community. 
African American Log Church

St. Philips African American Moravian Church
The history of African Americans among the Moravians is perplexing to me.  Both free and enslaved people lived with the Moravians, were addressed as “Brother” and “Sister” as the Moravians addressed each other, spoke German as the Moravians did, often were educated as the Moravians were, sometimes were baptized as Moravians, but still retained their positions as enslaved or hired.  

There was concern about slavery among the Moravians, so it was the Church that actually owned the slaves and then leased them to the tradesmen.  Yes, you read that right, and then, as the Moravian community began to absorb the racial prejudices of the South, they began to separate the races more and more by not worshipping together and by not being buried together, etc.  The docent in the Single Brothers House, however, said that black and white men shared rooms there but that as segregation laws from outside the community were enacted, the Moravians followed them and separated the black and white men.

Today, in reconstructing Old Salem as it stood in history, archeologists and researchers try to learn more about how the enslaved people were treated, for whom they labored, where they lived, and how they worshipped.  Throughout the town are signs about these people as well as written accounts by enslaved people of different eras in an effort to make the depiction honest and true history and to educate those who visit.  History is not being erased; it is being revealed and taught. 

Rob and I need to return to take the guided tour of both churches.  Unfortunately, they were closed for lunch, and we never got to see the interiors.  We thought we’d return later in the day, but we had no idea how comprehensive Old Salem is and how much there was to see and do.  We did become members and supporters of Old Salem, and we will be back.  One day is not enough to see it all.

We did get to tour the T. Vogler Gunsmith Shop, and this was quite an exciting experience.  We met Blake Stevenson, the Assistant Director of Historic Trades at Old Salem and the Manager of the Gunsmith shop.  He and another gunsmith were actually making guns there. 

Timothy Vogler Gunsmith Shop 1831

The craftsmanship is amazing.  Watching these men is being in the company of artists.
A new visual experience for me, I was awed by the workmanship.  The long rifles were works of art, and Mr. Stevenson showed me how he was able to bring the beauty of the wood to the surface.  When I saw the raw wood of the rifle’s stock, I thought he had created the marks, but that was part of the wood itself.  With the different oils and varnishes he applies, he is able to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. 

Look at the beauty of the wood
Mr. Stevenson point out how he will work with this wood to create the finished product

Mr. Stevenson shows us a work in progress.

It was also fascinating to hear Mr. Stevenson talk to the children who came in.  Their wonder and attention was marvelous to see, his explanations and questions mesmerizing his young audience.

In a separate room, we saw the forge and other tools used to create these and other metal objects for the community.

At least part of the amazement, once again, is that art is incorporated into all these objects.  There’s nothing rustic or back-woods about Old Salem.

Despite the fact that Old Salem existed as a closed, religious community, apparently there was enough of a problem with raucousness that this sign was pinned to a board in the gunshop.  Just a touch ironic, I’d say.

Read this and shake your head.
There must have been a lot of jollity in order for this to be put in place.

There’s so much to see that one day is not enough.  The place is fascinating, and each stop at a home, shop, or Moravian building gave us ideas to discuss and questions to ask.  We have yet to visit, for instance, Salem College, the oldest private college for women in this country, God’s Acre, the Moravian Cemetery where people were not buried with family, but according to the “choir” to which they belonged.  See, what I mean?  Still a lot of interesting questions to answer. 

More on Old Salem in Part II.