Michael Weigel


These pages are mostly about pictures I have taken while traveling overseas. In fact I can’t think of anything more exciting than traveling to distant places. I reckon I got hooked up with this pass-time while browsing my local library in the early eighties. What I found there in a sale bin was a book from the fifties in which a young man was riding a bike all the way from the American west-coast to the east-coast. I found myself digging through this book in a matter of hours. What probably kept me from doing the same right away was my rather young age combined with the unwillingness of my mother to see the necessity of an endeavor like this. Another part may have been that bear thing, the herein described encounter with a skunk, and the reluctance of fellow motorists to help out and give him a ride.

What I did instead was, as soon resistance subsided, getting an Interrail ticket and travel Europe by train. Since I was on a very tight budget it was imperative to sleep on trains as often as possible. This did not exactly help becoming a bright eyed and bushy tailed young person, but kept me going for four weeks.

The first real big trip was at the end of my compulsory duty with the army and just before I would start studying physics and engineering. I traveled the US for five weeks on Greyhound buses. This brought me all the way down to Miami, and, which is the nature of this transportation mode, down the social ladder, which didn’t really bother me. What troubled me more was this indescribable odor-mix of chemical toilet fumes and used diapers. This smell I had visions of for many months to come. The main entry point to America for me was New York. What I did not know was the shortage of reasonable priced accommodation which brought me to a YMCA place in Chelsea. The travel guide promised they would have rooms left. They did and beside annoyances like cold water communal shower rooms, I was convinced I would not make it through the night. I did and I made it just in time to see Hurricane Andrew visit Miami and New Orleans.

New York really made a lasting impression, and after that trip I returned twice or at least once a year, while being a full-time student.

welcome to the world as seen through my eyes

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Miriam Beard