vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations


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Boskovice: town of the Ungar ancestors

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The KaiserHaus, where my grandfather Hermann Ungar was born and the most imposing house in the Jewish quarter

We set off early for Boskovice. The drive takes us through gentle undulating hills, with verdant pine forests adorning the hilltops like crowns. Once off the main road, we pass a cart pulled by two handsome palomino horses with a pony trotting alongside and we are in countryside that looks much as I imagine it would have done in my grandfather’s time. Now there are fields of lavender pyrethrum, green wheat and yellow rape, all contrasting with the azure blue of the sky. It reminds me of Ungar’s story The Brothers which describes such a landscape. Continue reading


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Prague: travels with my long-lost sister

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Bonnie on the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral in the background

This was my fifth trip to Prague, but one with a difference. Eight years after discovering the existence of an older half-sister, I am taking her on a journey to discover her heritage. Bonnie has never been to Prague, let alone Boskovice where our family hail from, and she as thrilled as a little girl waiting for her Christmas presents. Continue reading


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Looking for my roots in Berlin

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Ross took this fine photo of the Brandenburg Gate using HDR

A romantic weekend break in Berlin. Sounds wonderful, but it gets off to a bad start. Ross and I are all set to arrive simultaneously from London and Basel and meet just in time for pre-dinner drinks in our boutique hotel, i31, in the Mitte area. Continue reading


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Israel 3: visiting Bethlehem and the Palestinian Authority

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View from Mount of Olives

My driver G turns up early on my last day, to take me to places that people don’t normally go. He suggests that my itinerary is a bit tame, and says really I should go further afield, to Bethlehem, which lies in the Palestinian Authority, take in some new settlements and see more of the wall. He says it will be more interesting. I say that I defer to his judgment, when I should have said ‘So how much extra with this be?’ After we have agreed on the new itinerary, he says, diffidently, that it will of course cost more. As it turns out, exactly what I have in my wallet. ‘God must have meant for this to happen’ I say to him. He is a Christian Arab as a matter of fact, a Catholic; there are only 10-12,000 in Jerusalem compared to 530,000 Jews and 350,000 Muslims. He says they are having a hard time and are discriminated against by both sides. Continue reading


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Jerusalem: searching the Central Zionist Archives for clues

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The Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives

The three days in Tel Aviv fly and I have to move on to Jerusalem. I choose the train, cheap and scenic. Like all Unwins I am horribly early and mooch around waiting. When it comes to board, I am not surprised that no one lifts a finger to help me, despite my limp and large unwieldy case, stuffed with Christmas cake, shortbread and gifts for cousin Helen. The scenery on the trip is pretty, in an arid sort of way, fertile fields, recently tilled, orange groves and vineyards bordered by magenta bougainvillea, giving way to a steep ascent thorugh rugged hills, larches and conifers before levelling out on the Jerusalem plateau. I have arrived! Continue reading


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Tel Aviv: on a mission to unlock the family secrets (1)

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I feel ambivalent about coming to Israel: I would never had considered coming here had I not learned about my Jewish ancestry. As a girl I was an avid boycotter of Jaffa oranges and supporter of Palestinian rights, and closed my mind to it – no doubt out of ignorance as much as anything else. But the discovery of two elderly cousins living in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem respectively has forced the U-turn in order to research my book, and also to reappraise my  opinions with an open mind. I am told Israel is not as one might imagine. So let’s see! Continue reading


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Prague: in the footsteps of Hermann Ungar

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Prague Castle from Charles Bridge

Today, 25th October, my father would have been 93 and here I am in Prague, retracing his childhood haunts. I have asked a genealogist, Julius Muller, who has helped me trace my Prague relatives before, to accompany me on my trip today. In the research I am doing for the book on my Jewish family history, I came across the addresses where my grandfather lived as a student, as a young lawyer and then banker, and finally as a diplomat and family man when he returned to Prague after five years in Berlin. Continue reading