Coming Soon

Movie theater in australia
Movie theater in Australia, photo by Fernando de Sousa courtesy of Wikipedia


Sometime in the next week I am going to be publishing a collection of some of my travel essays about traveling in Europe. The way things go for me the actual collection won’t be available till the beginning of next week and then the writing will only be available as an e-book on Smashwords and Amazon. Even though most of the material has already been published on the internet, I am spending more time editing and collating the articles than I originally planned. I have yet to put together a cover, for the book, so that will probably happen at the last minute. Nonetheless, putting together the old material has required more work than imagined, mainly because I can’t run through an old essay without making at least a few editorial changes.

Old and new towers in Berlin
Old and new towers in Berlin, including the bombed William Kaiser church


The title for this collection ¬†goes back to President John Kennedy’s famous speech inside Berlin during his term of office. While speaking to the German audience he made the wonderfully comical statement, “Ich bin ein Berliner”, which can be translated to mean, – you guessed it, “I am a jelly doughnut”. This is just one of the many interesting things, readers will discover, while digesting these traveler’s tales.

The shore of the Mediterranean Sea at Finale Marina, Italy
The shore of the Mediterranean Sea as scene from the youth hostel/castle at Finale Marina, Italy


The inspiration comes from two journeys I made to Europe in the new century. My first overseas voyage took place during October 2003, when I visited  Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Three years later, I made a six week journey that included repeat visits to Denmark, Germany and Austria, as well as new explorations into Slovenia, Italy, France and Switzerland. Who knows when I will return again (hopefully soon), but my initial experience did open me up as a writer.

Rainbow over Lake Geneva on the French-Swiss border
Rainbow over Lake Geneva on the French-Swiss border

Philadelphia’s Hostel Mansion

Waiting Room At The Mansion
Waiting Room At The Chamonoix Mansion

Chance Find

I came across the listing entirely by chance. I just did a search on Google and two hostels popped up, both part of the Hostelling International network. One listing was located downtown near the downtown historical sites in the heart of Philly, while the newest entry seemed to be a large mansion located outside the main city right next to a large city park. The reviews seemed good, but not quite as good as the more popular and centrally-located HI Apple Hostel. So I took a chance, contacted the Chamounix Hostel and made a reservation for two nights.

Air Conditioning

Getting to the hostel was not difficult, but it did involve a long bus ride past the Museum of Art and through the working-class neighborhoods of North Philly. However, the bus stop was situated about a mile from the hostel, so I had to hoof it along a city sidewalk, underneath an old railroad bridge and then along a gravel path that ran next to the paved road. After passing public tennis courts, a horse stable I came to end of the public road, where the hostel was located. It was a green location well within the city limits of Philadelphia.

Chamonoix Hostel in North Philly
Chamonoix Hostel in North Philly

Walk-up Stairs and Fourteen Foot Ceilings

The ground floor featured 14-foot high ceilings and the complete furnishings of a mansion. One of these rooms even held a large screen TV and a collection of DVD movies. The other two rooms made for great reading or sitting rooms. As the place I had free Wifi, I grabbed a chair and went online, my favorite pass time as of late. To reach my bed, I had to haul my belongings up two flights of stairs and took my place in a somewhat crowded bunk room. Fortunately, a functioning air conditioning system made my stay very pleasant. Anybody, who is hostelling through the Northeast should consider a stop here as well as a visit to the old historical sites in the downtown area. This slightly out-of-the-way place-to-stay makes it all worthwhile.

More Luxury at the Chamonoix Hostel