Inspiring Women Summer 2019

inspiringwomen.editor

June 2019, Volume 3, Issue 2

September 2017, Volume 1, Issue 3

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INSPIRATION IN THIS ISSUE

The Travel Issue – A Brief Intro 4

Nairobi, Kenya: A Life Spent in Africa 5

Basel, Switzerland: Guiding Visitors to the City 9

Luxembourg: Small But Perfectly Formed! 15

Bogotá, Colombia: Flying All Over the World 19

Copenhagen, Denmark: Dancing the Tango 26

Casablanca, Morocco: In the Spice Market 30

Lyon, France: Interpreting What I See 33

Nairobi, Kenya: A Second View 41

Bern, Switzerland: From Peru to Europe 44

Genoa, Italy: Cruising Round the World 50

Berkshire, England: From Australia With Love 53

Frankfurt, Germany: Walking Tours 60

Marrakesh, Morocco: Magical Medinas 63

Barcelona, Spain: Remember to Look Up 65

OUR FEATURES

Paris, France: April 15, 2019 - The Fire 13

Be Our Guest. Just Don’t Let the Cat Out 23

Just For Fun 1 32

The Beauty of Kenya: A Poem 36

Inspiring Women Travel Quiz 37

The Journey: 1975/76 in the USA 48

IN EVERY ISSUE

Inspiration From the Editor 3

From the Cover Coordinator 3

Inspiring You 68

Magazine Feedback 68

More About This Issue 69

A Club Inspires: AWC Bogotá 56

Just For Fun 2 62

Dalmahoy Hotel p.12 Janet Darrow p.35

London & Capital p.18 The Pajama Company p.25

ADVERTISERS’

INDEX

Inspiring Women would like to thank our long-term advertisers for supporting us:

Janet Darrow, The Pajama Company and London & Capital. For this special

“travel issue” we welcome the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club from

Edinburgh, Scotland, the venue for FAWCO’s recent Biennial Conference.

FAWCO club members - do you want to take your business worldwide? Consider advertising in

Inspiring Women. Contact Elsie Bose at advertising@fawco.org to get started. We offer great rates

and comprehensive packages for almost any budget.

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Inspiration From the Editor

This issue is all

about travel so I

thought I would

see what the

internet had to say

about it:

T r a v e l T r i v i a

( i n f o r m a t i o n

c o u r t e s y o f

Wikipedia)

Travel is the

m o v e m e n t o f

p e o p l e b e t w e e n d i s t a n t

geographical locations and travellers are

those who travel. Personally, I think you

could quite legitimately also define a

traveller as a woman involved in FAWCO!

We’ve all travelled at least once from our

home countries and often many times. The

women in this issue of Inspiring Women are

no different.

The origin of the word "travel", first used in

the 14th century, may be from the Old

French word travail, which means “work”.

According to Simon Winchester in his

book The Best Travelers' Tales (2004), the

word "travel" has an ancient root: a Roman

instrument of torture called the tripalium. It

makes you realise that travel in ancient

times must have been somewhat different

to what we think of when we use the word

today (although I’m sure we’ve all got our

tale of travel woe to share!)

Today we can travel relatively easily and

quickly depending on our destination. It’s

quite something to remember that

Christopher Columbus took over 10 weeks

to get to his final destination, a journey that

today would take just a few hours.

Travel for pleasure dates back to the

wealthy Greeks and Romans who travelled

for leisure to their summer homes and villas.

Then in the late 16th century it became

fashionable for young Europeans to do a

“Grand Tour” round Europe as part of their

education. It wasn’t until the advent of the

railway networks in the 19th century that

more people could travel for fun as travel

was no longer a hard and challenging task.

Since then a whole travel industry has

grown up and we haven’t looked back!

So that’s travel according to the internet. Now

for travel according to a group of FAWCO

women from around the world. Hope you

enjoy the read! Don’t forget to complete our

survey to let us know what you think (p. 68)....

Best wishes, Liz x

Liz MacNiven,

inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org

From the Cover Coordinator

The cover photo for this issue is made up of photographs taken by Fannie

Kakonge and Patricia Jentz, the FAWCO Co-Representatives of AWA

(American Women's Association) Kenya. The beautiful Maasai ladies

Fannie met in Nairobi and the animals shot "live" by Patricia, depict the

specificities of this country and reveal its wild beauty .

If you have a photo that you would like to see on a future cover of

Inspiring Women, you can reach me, Marie-Bénédicte Luxem, at

inspiringwomen.cover@fawco.org. There are full details of the photo

requirements on page 56 of this magazine. Please note: we can only

accept portrait orientation images.

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“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

— Susan Sontag

Welcome to our first “travel issue”! We thought that the best way to get you around

the world was to ask FAWCO members to tell us about how they came to fall in love

with the cities that they live in and tell us how they have been able to convert that

love in way that can be shared with others.

When we meet other FAWCO club members we know that we have at least one

thing in common: the desire to take adventures beyond our borders and experience

things that make us grow and expand our personal horizons. We are curious. But we

are not afraid.

And let’s reflect on those experiences. For me, it has been laying a wreath as part of

a delegation commemorating the 50 th anniversary of D-Day in Bastogne, attending a

cocktail party inside the Kremlin, visiting the sights of Jerusalem, taking the most

breath-taking morning run around the Wohlensee in Switzerland (Yes! The hills were

actually alive with the sound of...music!) and achieving a lifelong dream to visit China

and walk on the Great Wall.

Over the years, one of the wonderful aspects of being part of FAWCO is talking to

members of clubs from other cities. No matter how remote or exotic a place is, to

them it is their home away from home and there is something unique about it that

they willingly share. Sometimes it’s something they don’t tell friends and family back

home, but they’ll share with you because as a FAWCO club member we do have

that one thing in common. We are curious. We are not afraid- we get it.

Elsie Bose

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Nairobi, Kenya: A Life Spent in Africa

TERESA HANDA

American Women’s Association of Kenya

From: California

Lives: Nairobi, Kenya

I spent most of my childhood in sunny Southern

California in a lovely small town surrounded by

orange groves. Everyone knew their neighbors and

were connected in many ways. My father was a big

fan of camping and fishing; he gave me exposure to

wilderness training and a love for nature and the

great outdoors. My mother, “a people person”, had

a passion for helping others and recruited her

children to help her with her church charities.

After high school I attended several colleges over a

period of 8 years and moved to many cities in

California: in South Lake Tahoe, I was a maid; in

Sacramento, I was a live-in attendant for an elderly

person; in Reseda I was a live-in student with a family

while doing mostly computer and office work for companies in the San Fernando Valley and

attending college at night. I graduated from Pierce College with degree in Graphic Design

then went to Northridge University where I studied Business Administration. These experiences

made me flexible and accommodating.

While working for an NGO in Ventura County California I developed a software program to

track and report to 11 affiliate countries 21,000 sponsored children in Africa. Through this I ended

up going to Kenya in the early 80’s, eventually becoming the East African Coordinator and

managing educational programs and working in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo

(DRC) and Kenya. I found the

women in these countries very

loving and welcoming even if we

didn’t speak the same language.

Our NGO hired an accountant

whom travelled with me to 8 field

offices in three African countries.

While travelling and working

together in very remote unsecure

areas Molongo, DRC and

Karamoja, Uganda we fell in

love. My husband now of 33

years came home to California

with me to ask my father for my

hand in marriage in 1986. I was 29

years old at the time.

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Me in Africa in the 80’s


Deepak and I lived in Southern California two

years before returning to live in Kenya. In late

80’s Kenya everyone knew each other and

there was trust and bartering between

neighbors and merchants; for example when

you went to the grocery store if you didn’t

have any money, they would just write your

name and amount owed in an exercise book

and you paid on your next visit. Living and

working in Nairobi you felt like you were in a

small town, like the one where I grew up.

In 2002 we returned to the United States and

bought a 55-room franchise hotel in South

Carolina. But after 8 years we sold our hotel Children learning about their culture

and moved back to Kenya. When arriving

back, Nairobi had greatly changed however; I still found many of the friendly generous

accommodating merchants and people I had left behind were still where I had left them. The

newspaper man on the corner selling papers, our vegetable lady still came to my mother-inlaw’s

home and a few of my old friends had not left the country. Nairobi still felt like home.

I joined AWA upon my return to Kenya and found many women were new to Nairobi and

needed to feel comfortable and familiar with their surroundings. My new friends also had many

foreign visitors they wanted to show Nairobi. Taking them around Nairobi the city I know so well

was sheer joy for me and seeing their amazement of the unique animals and places in Nairobi.

They also needed help with practical everyday living in Nairobi as finding similar ingredients to

cook with which can be a challenge for someone from another country. Connecting new

women with Kenyan women is exciting too. We have so much in common and so much we can

learn from each other.

IN CONVERSATION WITH TERESA...

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live?

1. Daphne Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage

because of all the new personalities of

elephants I see each time I visit and it is in

beautiful nature surrounds on a hill

overlooking the national game park.

2. Zen Restaurant because of the large

Feng Shui designed garden and healthy

locally grown vegetables and, luckily for

me, I know the owner.

3. Hemmingways for High Tea – Love the

décor and landscaping and the ceramic

tea pots and cakes they serve.

4. The National Game Park – I like the

openness and adventure of watching

beautiful African animals in their natural

environment and homes.

5. Sweet Waters in Nanyuke 2 hours drive.

You will see all the game you would see

in the Mara in a small area at the base of

beautiful Mt. Kenya located in Ol Jogi

Wildlife conservancy. Sweet Waters is

clean and comfortable with a tented

camp overlooking wildlife water whole.

One morning I got up and could see the

sun rising above the snow-covered peaks

of Mt. Kenya and about 30 giraffes

drinking at the waterhole. It was like a

ballet. So natural and graceful.

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Tell us about a typical day for you. Leave

home at 10 am to miss the traffic. Arrive at

Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant orphanage

located in the Nairobi National Game Park on

the south side of Nairobi at 11am. The area is

bush like so it is advisable to wear casual jeans

and tennis shoes.

Daphne by God’s grace was given a small

bungalow in the National Park after her

husband died where she started a trust in her

husband’s name for orphaned elephants. I

have found zebra and rhino there on occasion

too. I have been visiting this location since it

started in the 1980’s and seen the babies

increase in number. I am thankful for Daphne’s

compassion and commitment to these

beautiful little ones.

The baby elephants are

fascinating to watch. They

remind me of naughty

children. They sometimes will

come under the perimeter

rope and wipe mud all over

you if you are not careful. The

orphanage is open only for an

hour when they feed the baby

elephants at the waterhole.

12 pm we continue only 10

minutes away to the Giraffe

Manor where we stand on a

wooden gazebo and feed

giraffes for about 30 minutes!

It’s beautiful and breathtaking

to find yourself standing next to

a 6.1 metre tall velvet coated

Tribal dancing display in Nairobi

animal with black eyes the

size of golf balls; the giraffes

are very friendly.

12:45 pm we travel another

10 mins to Utamadumi for

lunch and shopping. It was

started by Maive Leakey, Dr.

Richard Leakey’s wife,

collecting fine African

handcrafts from across Africa.

This is a two-story house with

16 rooms of items from baby

cloths to kitchen wares. The

garden restaurant there has

excellent sandwiches.

After lunch we travel through

beautiful Langata up market

neighborhood to the suburb of Karen (where

Out of Africa was filmed) and the story

originated to a ceramic bead factory for a

tour and shopping.

3 pm we drive a very short distance for High

Tea at Hemingway's, owned by Richard

Branson (Virgin Airways). Stepping out of the

car at the front entrance you feel you are

stepping into another world, very simple, clean

and luxurious. High Tea is served every day

from 3pm to 5pm on the back veranda of the

hotel that looks out over the famous Ngong

hills. Tea includes your choice of hot beverage

and three trays with scones, layered cakes

and finger sandwiches.

4 pm back to Nairobi after a full day.

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What is the best-kept secret in your city? First

are the back roads to avoid traffic around

Nairobi and second is Karura Forest (2,570

acres), just 15 minutes away from Nairobi city

center and you are in a beautiful quiet forest

filled with well-posted walking paths and a

large lily pond and a substantial water fall! My

husband and I walk 5 miles through this lush

indigenous forest almost every Sunday.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? Allow

hawkers in the vegetable or artisan markets to

look among the vendors for whatever the

tourists are trying to find. The hawkers will chat

them up then take them to the artisan or

vegetable stands to meet the vendor and the

vendor will add an additional 20% on to the

price to pay the hawker.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? Cape Town the

oldest South African City. There are lots of

beautiful beaches, horseback safaris, diverse

landscape, it’s clean, with all the

conveniences of a developed country and I

have two friends that live in the area.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

Leicester in the UK. Leicester has lovely green

fields and sheep farms and canals and walking

paths with great shopping areas.

What is your favorite mode of transport? Train

because I like to see the landscape and

people as I travel through and enjoy sleeping

on the train.

You Tube video of Kenya

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Basel, Switzerland: Guiding Visitors to the City

DEANNA BRITTAIN

American Women’ Club of Basel, Switzerland

From: Henderson, North Carolina

Lives: Basel, Switzerland

I grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina on my family’s

apple farm. I remember my mother would encourage my

sister and me to play outside and imagine what could be…

For me, this meant pretending to prepare and serve elegant

meals to people who were wealthy and world-travelled.

These delicious meals were made out of mud, presented on

the old pottery my parents used when they were first

married. I would also pretend that my bicycle would propel

me to far away lands that I read about in the Encyclopedia

Britannica books that my parents purchased from a door-todoor

salesman one summer. Every Saturday morning meant

that I would get to accompany my mother to the salon

where she had her hair styled. I was inspired by all the

magazines and dreamt about the faraway places I would visit, the exotic foods I could eat and

the fashion I could see.

Once I left home and finished college, I was soon married and then along came my son and

daughter. I worked part-time until Christopher and Megan were in high school. I worked for

Continental Airlines so, as a family, we could travel the world. I believed that traveling outside

our comfort zones and realizing that we

are not the only people on the planet was

the best education I could give my

children. My husband and I love to travel

to any country where we can enjoy the

local culture with cuisine and wine. Our

favorite wine country is Italy. We fantasize

about owning a vineyard one day.

My husband’s job moved us from North

Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia to Miami,

Florida and then to Basel, Switzerland.

Through our life in Basel I’ve found myself

wanting to share its culture and history

with others. In addition to sharing this with

my family and friends who visit, what

better way to help make a memorable

impression of Basel for others than the

captive audience a local river cruise

company provides?

9


IN CONVERSATION WITH DEANNA…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live and why?

1. The Muenster Church and Muenster Square

for its rich history dating back to the First

Century. The actual church turns 1000 years

old this year!

2. Mittlere Bruecke - The Middle Bridge:

Originally built in the 13th century by Emperor

Heinrich II. and constructed of wood and

stone so that it could be burned down, if

needed, to protect the city. The bridge today

is reconstructed out of stone to allow the trams

to cross. It is the oldest crossing point on the

Rhine between Lake Constance and the North

Sea. Death sentences were carried out here

by throwing people who committed crimes off

the bridge into the Rhine until about 1600,

when most criminals had learned how to swim.

3. A long walk down Freiestrasse to Marktplatz

to Schifflaende and over the Mittlere Bruecke

every Saturday with my husband after we

have coffee. We shop for food at the farmer’s

market while sampling a variety of cheeses

and have lunch at an Irish pub before

returning home in the afternoon.

4. The Blue and White Houses - Very large

stately homes built just after the reformation

and still well kept today by the Basel

Government and used as offices for Social

Services and Environment. Rich in the history of

the beginning of the chemical industry, which

then morphed into the pharmaceutical

industry that eventually brought us to Basel for

my husband’s career.

At the Muenster Kirche

5. My favorite place to ski is in Zermatt,

Switzerland. We spend a week every

December/January and include our family

from the US whenever possible. It is truly a

Winter Wonderland.

Tell us about a typical day for you A typical

day with guests from our local

river cruise company consists of

helping plan their time in Basel.

Guiding them through the Old

Town of Basel on a 2-hour

historical walking tour, pointing

out monuments, buildings,

churches and giving them facts

and some fun stories about living

in Switzerland. Most guests are

fascinated about what they see

and hear on my tour, but mostly

ask questions about why I came

to live here and how life in

another country compares to

the USA. (95% of our guests are

from the USA).

10


Skiing at Zermatt

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? Egypt. I have always

been intrigued by Cleopatra’s history and all of

the pyramids there.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

Vienna, Austria. I love the musical history, the

art and the architecture there.

What is your favorite mode of transport and

why? Train. I love taking the train throughout

Switzerland and seeing the snow-covered

villages that you cannot see by car. Also, the

train just lulls you into a peacefulness like

nothing else.

I will also suggest restaurants and make dinner

reservations; teach guests how to use the

trams (public transport); help them find the

museums and/or get them set up at the train

station to take a day trip to the Alps.

What is the best-kept secret in your city/

country? The wine from the Valais region is

exceptionally delicious for Switzerland.

Hosting an AWC Basel Christmas Tea

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? When

I hear someone in the Marktplatz farmers’

market asking if the merchants accept US

Dollars for payment. ;-) Or if I hear someone

speaking American English asking for directions

to the Old Town.

You Tube video of Switzerland

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12

"Wherever you

go becomes a

part of you,

somehow."

Indian Novelist,

Anita Desai


Paris, France: April 15, 2019 - The Fire

I did not look at the north rose window as I hurried into

the chancel to make my announcement for the 2:30

tour. I never do. The north rose is enchanting. If I look

at it for even a second, I will delay, and I will be late. I

have been doing this for twelve years next month, and

I know my weaknesses.

Announcement made, I walked back to the front of

the cathedral with my new, wonderful, official “ND”

flag in hand, (burnt now, I suppose,) to see the results. I

had 42 people on my tour. Way too many, but most of

the stalwart souls who couldn’t really hear me stuck it

out until the end. I suspect that now they, like me, will

have a story to tell their grandchildren.

I live a three-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral

of Paris, on the south side of the Seine. On that day I

was sitting at my computer when I got a text message

from Rebecca Bouygues at 7:28 pm: “NDP on fire! Go

look!” Rebecca is a fellow guide, President of the

American Catholic Women’s Organization and the

legendary brownie maker of the Association of

American Women in Europe (AAWE). Suffice it to say, she is not given to hyperbole. I grabbed

my coat, my keys, my ND badge and my phone and ran out onto the Quai de la Tournelle. Cars

were still going past. It all happened so very quickly. I saw the flames. I saw the roof on fire. I saw

the spire collapse. I remember holding onto a stanchion for support. Finally, chased out by the

police, I went home to watch TV. I went back out an hour or so later to join the vigil in the street.

I live almost equidistant from Sallie Chaballier and Suzanne Wheeler (and, yes, that does make

for a great volunteer opportunity, my dear FAWCO friends). My internet and TV were out the

following day - because of the fire or all the TV trucks, no idea, so I didn’t see pictures of the TV

cameras posed on Suzanne’s balcony or the soot than fell near her apartment until much later.

Notre Dame has been my pierre

d’angle (Editor’s note: in case

your French isn’t up to it, this

means cornerstone!) since I

arrived in Paris in 2004. Everyone

seems to know this. I have said

an embarrassing number of

times about ND, that I can bore

the living s**t out of every soul

on God’s green earth. So I

received innumerable texts,

phone calls and e-mails

Monday evening - many from

FAWCO friends who have been

subjected to my ranting on

about Louis XI and XIII and XIV

and XIII and XVII and so on.

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Hysteria spreads quickly and, at one point, I was told that the bells were melting. The funniest

question was from a friend who asked me if I had a “firesafe.” I replied that I have a dandy, cast

iron Le Creuset pot, in which I keep my passport and some emergency cash. As a fully efficient

FAWCO gal, the passport and emergency cash were, of course, in a Ziplock bag inside the Le

Creuset pot. Still are.

Yesterday I was so bereaved, I could barely speak. When I was out walking, trying to get close

to the cathedral’s north side, I ran into a French friend. He told me the flying buttresses had

moved. Since the flying buttresses were built specifically to withstand stress, that seemed

alarming but okay. As I had given what was, almost certainly, the last tour in English, I got

interviewed by the British TV channel, Channel 4.

Today, things are looking up. The millions and millions of euros needed to rebuild Notre Dame

are pouring in. Most of the

artworks seem to have been

saved. It appears that the

iconic 14 th century Virgin of the

Pillar is still standing. And the

famous pieta in the chancel

seems to have come through

the blaze more or less intact.

Yesterday, it seemed that I

might not get back into the

Cathedral in my lifetime,

remembering that it took Viollet

-le-Duc and his team 20 years

to restore ND in the mid-19 th

century. But, as I write this,

architects are already arguing

(it’s France) and theorizing (it’s Notre Dame before the fire

France) about how to rebuild a

different roof, as there are not 1,300, 800-year-old oak beams to be found anywhere.

I am remembering my own words. When people would ask me, “When was Notre Dame

finished?” I always responded that the custodians were continually fiddling with things. At one

of our obligatory volunteer meetings, the topic under discussion was “The Modern Windows.” I

assumed, of course, that this meant the abstract, post WWII stained glass windows by Jacques

le Chevalier. Nope. In Notre Dame terms, “modern” meant the 19 th century windows by Didron

and his team.

This time round, Notre Dame will be even more modern. By necessity. And with any luck at all, I’ll

still be around to give another tour.

Rebecca DeFraites has called Paris home for 15 years. She and her late husband, Gerry, sold

their house in New Orleans, retired and moved to Paris in 2004. She is a past President of AWG

Paris and is also a member of AAWE. She served as interim FAWCO 2 nd VP, from 2016 – 2017,

and has held the position of FAWCO Membership Chair since 2017. She is also past President of

the American Catholic Women’s Organization (of Paris.)

When not in Paris, you will likely find Rebecca on a home exchange. She and Gerry began

exchanging their home in 1987 (New Orleans and then Paris) and, to date, she has completed

50 successful home exchanges. This summer she will be in San Francisco, Washington DC and

New Orleans, while other liked-minded, intrepid souls are in her Paris apartment. Although she

will, sadly, not be giving tours of Notre Dame for a while, she assures me that no grass will be

growing under her feet.

14


Luxembourg: Small But Perfectly Formed!

HELENA NOWAK-SMITH

American Women’s Club of Luxembourg

From: Bexley, UK

Lives: Wasserbillig, Luxembourg

I grew up in Bexley, a suburb just southeast of London,

England, in the county of Kent – a very stable upbringing

attending local schools and making some great friends

who I still see today when I’m back in the UK. I went on to

study chemistry at the University of Exeter and thoroughly

enjoyed student life down in Devon, at the same time

realizing that chemistry was never going to be my

choice of career! As a student, I spent two summers with

friends travelling around Europe by train on an Interrail

pass – so maybe that’s where I caught the travel bug.

A post-university temp job for a major building society

gave me the opportunity to apply for permanent

positions internally – so I landed in the financial services world by chance. My research and

analysis background turned out to be good grounding for analysing competitor companies,

which I did for several years. I stayed with the same business, and the bank that acquired it, for

my entire UK career, morphing into various different roles and lastly a communications position -

writing and editing financial content for different media, amongst other things.

In my single days, I was fortunate to get to travel to several places in the US, courtesy of friends

of friends (so no accommodation costs!) – including Texas, Alaska, California and New York City

– as well as taking plenty of the usual sun-based holidays to various Greek and Spanish islands,

and European city breaks.

In 2010 my husband was asked to

extend his contract with a UK company

in order to cover a vacant role in

Luxembourg, flying in and out each

week from the UK, for six months. He

was soon offered the job on a

permanent basis, and I applied for a

career break from my job in London.

We made the full-time move to Lux in

2011 and have been here ever since,

recently moving from the suburbs of

Luxembourg City to the wine-growing

region along the River Moselle, on the

country’s border with Germany.

Luxembourg is a small country, but

charms many who take the time to

appreciate it, and persuades a lot of us

who only intended to stay a short while

With Ian on the Biltmore Estate

15


to put down deeper roots. So, I guess I like to share that thought with visiting friends and anyone

who’s interested.

The country’s nationality requirements changed a couple of years ago, making it easier for

foreigners like myself to acquire citizenship. So, after taking a year to learn the Luxembourgish

language and finding out more about the country in citizenship classes, I became keener to get

involved. My citizenship finally came through earlier this year, so I now have dual British-

Luxembourgish nationality. (The reason I’m looking so pleased in my headshot photo is that I’d

just found out I’d passed the language exams!)

I organize a monthly meeting at AWCL called Travel Talk, the main feature of which is that each

month a member talks about her home city, region or country – or one she knows well – as a

potential travel destination. We also make time to share our own recent travel experiences,

recommend upcoming events or ask each other travel questions. It’s proved to be a popular

formula. Thanks to the generosity of our speakers giving their time to prepare and to speak, and

we’ve managed to cover many places

in Europe and beyond, but there are

plenty more still to explore!

Afterwards, we go and try out a local

restaurant – in keeping with the country

theme if possible, or otherwise,

somewhere new to the group.

My Travel Talk co-host, Mary Jo

Magruder, was instrumental in pulling

together a series of chats called “Living

in Luxembourg” to help newcomers

learn about various practical aspects

of life in the Grand Duchy, such as the

health system, public transportation

and pet care, in an informal way. I AWC Luxembourg Travel Talk Group

facilitate the “Ticket to Ride” public

transport chat, explaining how best to use the bus, train and tram here, and hopefully

encouraging members to leave the car at home sometimes.

IN CONVERSATION WITH HELENA…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live and why? In Luxembourg City, the Grund

area, for its picturesque bridges, views to the

upper old towns, steep cobbled streets and

the Abbaye Neumunster courtyard, looking up

to the centuries-old Bock casemates dug into

the rock walls of the valley.

Also in Lux City, but in the newer Kirchberg

quarter, for the contrast between the very

modern, multi-pillared Philharmonie concert

hall, the nearby Mudam Museum (Grand Duke

Jean Museum of Contemporary Art) built into

the partly restored Dräi Eechelen fortress,

(which also houses another museum) and the

view back across the valley to the old city.

The Mullerthal, or “Little Switzerland” region, for

its hiking trails between unusual rock formations

and the cute little Schiessentümpel Waterfall,

whose wooden bridge makes me think of

somewhere a hobbit might live.

Bourscheid Castle, although mainly ruined, it’s

one of the few key Luxembourg tourist sights

that stays open throughout the winter. It

occupies the top of a hill in a river bend, so

looks spectacular viewed from the other side

of the river or above.

The Moselle River, for enjoying a view of the

river or the rows of vines from a winery terrace

with a glass of Luxembourgish wine or crémant

(the local sparkling wine).

16


What is the best-kept secret in your country?

Probably the wines – they’re virtually unknown

outside Luxembourg itself, but there are some

fantastic white wines, some crémants to rival

champagnes, and even the few red wines

produced have increased hugely in quality in

the time we’ve been here.

and affordable. From March 2020 Luxembourg

will become the first country in the world to

make its entire public transportation network

free to use, which will hopefully encourage

even more residents to leave their cars at

home and take the bus or train.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist?

Puzzling over a tourist office map, looking for

the Corniche… If I see someone looking

confused with a map in Luxembourg City, I’ll

often ask them if I can help. More than one

has asked how to get to “the

Corniche,” (which is a road marked as a tourist

sight, but a bit hard to locate as the paths

double back on themselves,) and I can’t help

giving my personal opinion that you want to

look down onto it, not get onto it yourself, as

it’s more scenic viewed from above.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I’ve travelled a lot in

Europe and North America, a little in southern

Africa and a few other places, but the place

that tops my lengthy bucket list is New

Zealand. It looks to be beautiful, rugged,

outdoorsy and varied – great for the ultimate

fly-drive holiday, and did I mention the wines?

Plus it has none of the deadly creatures that

Australia does!

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

Hmmm, Paris or Rome … Rome or Paris? I’ll say

Paris – as it’s so photogenic and very walkable

I can’t imagine running out of places to visit or

areas for strolling and exploring; new modern

sights are springing up among the older

architecture, it’s very accessible, plus I can at

least speak the language (enough) and …

there is of course the food!

What is your favorite mode of transport and

why? Other than walking, I’d say the train.

There’s more room, and usually more comfort,

than on a bus or plane. Plus you can see so

much out of the window (and the view is often

of more countryside than from a bus), and as

get up and stretch your legs if you want to on

a longer journey. Plus you can use the time to

read a book, which you can’t if you drive, so

should arrive less stressed than if you’d driven. I

very much advocate for using public transport

system here though; while it doesn’t cover the

country comprehensively, it’s pretty reliable –

Grund Bridge, Luxembourg

You Tube video of Luxembourg

Editor’s Note: The next FAWCO

INTERIM MEETING is being held

March 20-22, 2020 in Luxembourg.

Visit www.fawco.org for more details

and ...maybe see you there!

17




18


Bogotá, Colombia: Flying All Over the World

MARY STANGE

American Women’s Club of Bogotá

From: Florida, USA

Lives: Bogotá, Colombia

Despite my early love for travel, my first

international trip wasn’t until I was 19. I threw

caution to the wind and signed up for a study

abroad program to Limerick, Ireland. There were

tons of reasons why I shouldn’t have taken that

trip, money was one of them. But I kept asking

myself, Why not me? Why not now? So, I went.

My three months in Ireland were transformative.

More than anything, it taught me that the world

is full of people. It seems so simple, but it’s true!

People are out there! People, living their

everyday lives, going to the grocery store,

making dentist appointments and picking their

kids up from school. They were doing it before I

got there, and they will continue to do it after I

leave for sure.

I always had a sense that the world was bigger than

my home in Florida. I knew it was complex, I knew there

were things I would never understand. After a report on

the life of Amelia Earhart in the fourth grade, I became

fascinated with air travel and knew from a very early

age that I was meant to fly.

My family didn’t travel much as I was growing up. My

father was a merchant marine, taking three-month jobs

in which he would sail to all sorts of exotic places -

Turkey, Morocco, Israel, Panama, the Philippines.. He

never failed to send back postcards from the places he

traveled. I can say with certainty that this is where my

interest in the world stemmed from.

After college, I joined the US Navy as an aviator

flying the EA-6B Prowler. My two ship-board

deployments took me across the Pacific Ocean,

visiting many countries through out Asia and the

Middle East - countries I might never have

experienced otherwise. On one such port call in

Chennai, India, I encountered a group of

women gathered in the empty warehouse

building of the port where we were disembarking

from the aircraft carrier. I remember them so

Flying the EA-6B Prowler, a carrier-based electronic attack

jet

19


clearly; they were of all different ages gathered in a

stairwell, simply sitting. I couldn’t help but wonder, Who

were they? Who or what were they waiting for? Were

they there by their own choice? Where did they sleep?

What was their story? I often think about them.

For years, I had been yearning for an opportunity to

experience the world. Not simply through one vacation

a year, but by living in it. So, once my military

commitment was complete, my very young family

made the choice to join the US State Department’s

foreign service. Not long after, I found myself with a 20-

month-old baby in Yerevan, Armenia. I guess you can

say I jumped into the deep end of living the life. Those

two years as an expat in Armenia taught me more than

I could ever hope it would. It was hard, really hard. It

was lonely sometimes, really lonely. It was beautiful,

really beautiful. I made unbreakable friendships, and a

piece of my heart will be in Yerevan forever.

But foreign service life is a temporary one. Just as soon

as you get settled into one town, one house and one

tempo, it’s time to go again. We live our lives in two-to

three-year increments, recreating normal wherever we

go. New schools, new doctors, new hairdressers. The

Max and I goofing off on a boat trip in San Andrés,

one of Colombia’s own Caribbean Islands

only thing constant in my life is change, which is how we ended up in Bogotá, Colombia. And

before long, we’ll be off again to new adventures.

Once my children were born, my entire mission in life

was to make sure they were raised in a global

environment. This seemed more important to me

than any other part of their development. The more I

researched what it means to be a global citizen, the

more I wanted to share my knowledge. I believe

that the only way to truly learn about the world is by

seeing it. Through travel, children learn valuable

basic lessons that set the stage for global interest

and future change.

I launched my travel blog, Bambinos Without

Borders, in 2017, which strives to encourage parents

to travel more with their children and to teach

empathy, respect and cultural tolerance. The blog

even made its debut as a podcast earlier this year,

in which I explore how we can raise our kids to be

global citizens, by interviewing parents from around

the world.

While hiking to La Chorrera waterfall, I stopped to

hug the Tree of Wishes.

The concept of transformative travel has had such a

strong impact in my own life that I wanted to give

back in some way. So I became involved with an

organization called FLYTE, the Foundation for

Learning and Youth Travel Education, which helps

students in underserved communities make their first

international trips and begin their global education

through transformative travel experiences.

20


IN CONVERSATION WITH MARY…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live? Paloquemao Market: No visit to Bogotá is

complete without a trip to Paloquemao. It’s

big, it’s overwhelming, it’s confusing, it’s many

different colors and textures of fruit and

vegetable stands. Smells of lunch stalls cooking

el menú del día, usually a soup and rice and

Usaquen: Usaquen is a small, trendy

neighborhood of Bogotá on the north side of

town with serious bohemian vibes. While only

spanning a few square blocks, Usaquen is

packed full of incredible restaurants, cozy

cafes and off-the-wall shops. Make sure to visit

on Sunday mornings to catch the weekly

Mercado de las Pulgas. Stalls overrun the

streets to bring the best handicrafts in the city,

artisanal snacks, art, jewelry and much more.

Ciclovía: Not so much a place to visit as an

excellent opportunity to stay active in the city.

Every Sunday and federal holiday, the city of

Bogotá closes over 125 km of roads to auto

traffic, opening them instead to cyclists,

joggers, walkers, scooters, strollers, etc. It’s a

great opportunity to get outside and move. If

you’re visiting, you can rent a bike and head

out on your own or join a tour of the city!

I take all visitors to Paloquemao, our largest fruit and

vegetable market, for an authentic food experience

Monserrate: This is another tourist-must.

Monserrate is one of the most iconic spots in

the city. Sitting 10,000 ft above the city, the

summit provides a breath-taking view of the

enormity that is Bogotá. And it’s literally breathtaking

because you’re at 10,000 ft in elevation!

At the peak, you will find a few restaurants, a

small market and the centerpiece, the

sanctuary of Monserrate. You can even see its

sister monastery, Guadalupe, on the

neighboring hill. There are three methods to

ascend: a cable car, funicular and a walking

path - if you enjoy climbing stairs for an hour.

chicken plate. One of the best ways to

experience Paloquemao is through a guided

tour to try traditional Colombian breads, exotic

fruits and typical picada lunch. Go early in the

morning for an unforgettable flower market!

Orso Heladería: Colombia may not be known

for its ice cream, but when you’re ready for a

sweet treat, Orso is the place to go. In addition

to the decadent traditional flavors, such as

stracciatella and salted-caramel cookie

dough, they also routinely have local flavors

that are out of this world. Try lulo, a local sour

fruit that makes great juice - akin to lemonade,

but an even better ice cream. Or maybe

bocadillo con queso, which is a common

Colombian snack consisting of cheese and

guava paste. That’s right. Cheese in ice

cream. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Bogotá is for coffee lovers

21


y the selfies they take. That’s not to

say I don’t also take selfies while

traveling. Perhaps by being a shortterm

expat, I am also considered a

long-term tourist. And, hey, there’s

nothing wrong with being a tourist in

your own city!

La Candelaria, Bogotá

What is the best-kept secret in your city? While

it’s no surprise to anyone that we have some

of the best coffee or chocolate you can find,

the real hidden gem in Colombia is its actual

gems. Colombia is rich in emeralds, which can

be found in plenty and rather inexpensively.

Colombian emeralds have grown in popularity

in recent years and account for 70-90% of the

world’s emerald market. Said to be among the

purest in the world, you can find all types, from

raw, uncut stones to the most valuable deep

green gemstone. Although gem mining

doesn’t have the most reputable history,

Colombia has taken great efforts to ethically

source the jewels. There are many high-profile

dealers in the city, but it’s always good to do

your research before buying.

If you could travel to one place

you’ve never been, where would it

be? I would love to do a wine tour

around the Tuscan region of Italy.

While I’ve been to some of the larger

Italian cities before, I’ve never had

the chance to explore the

countryside. Like most things in life,

I’m sure it’s been over-romanticized

in movies and TV, but it doesn’t

mean I don’t want to do it. Sign me

up for all the wine!

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

My favorite city in the world is unequivocally

Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s dramatic, gothic,

moody, alive, and is steeped in such

interesting history. And how fortunate that it

was the site of the 2019 FAWCO Biennial

Conference! It’s one city in the world I will

never tire of visiting over and over.

What is your favorite mode of transport? I have

to say airplanes, and it’s not just because I was

an aviator! While I’m all for “enjoying the ride,”

I also love efficiency. I really just want to get

where I’m going. I’ve had a few too many

road trip disaster stories, so I try to fly whenever

I can.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? Selfies!

It probably makes me a terrible Millennial to

say, but it’s true. You can always spot a tourist

You Tube video of Colombia

22


Be Our Guest. Just Don’t Let the Cat Out

We recently moved to Amsterdam and love having visitors and showing off the wonders of our

new city, but it didn’t take us long to realize there are some aspects of hosting that grow old

quickly. Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your visit without

vexing your host.

23

Do Your Research

It’s best to arrive with a general knowledge of the major attractions

and a plan for your activities. Your hosts will likely have some good

pointers but it’s best not to expect them to plan your whole itinerary.

Look online to see if you can book tickets in advance. Things sell out,

particularly during high season, and it’s disappointing to arrive excited

for your adventure and not be able to do the things you want.

Independence is Bliss

This is tricky because you don’t want to make your hosts feel like

they are providing a free hotel, but the truth is, no matter how

much your hosts love you, there are only so many times a person

can visit the Van Gogh museum. My favorite guests come

prepared with a list of things they want to do independently

(including eating some meals out) but leave time to hang out.

Also keep in mind that your host isn’t necessarily on vacation

when you visit. In our case, we had four sets of visitors in three

months (hooray for tulip season!). If your hosts work or have kids

in school they need their routine to stay intact as much as

possible. Venturing out on your own a bit will help your host’s real life stay on track.

Phone, Keys, Wallet

Before you leave home contact your bank to make sure your credit

and ATM cards are authorized and will work. It’s surprising how

many people don’t do this and show up with no access to their

money. Buy a data plan so you can use your phone. Relying on WiFi

is dodgy. We advise our guests to download WhatsApp for talking

and texting. Public transportation is usually the best way to get

around in a city. Learn how it works and download transportation

and ride sharing apps.

Pack Smart

Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately. Make

wise choices about footwear especially. If you live in the

suburbs but are visiting a city, know the shoes you wear to drive

to Target may not be comfortable enough for hours of walking

on cobblestones.

If traveling to Europe, keep in mind your host has European

appliances, which tend to be small and take several hours per

load (dryers aren’t standard – lots of line drying in Europe so get

ready for crispy towels). It’s generally okay to ask to wash one

small load, but keep it limited to socks and underwear and a few

other items. Your host will be washing extra loads of towels and

bedding for your visit, so keeping your personal laundry needs

minimal will help a lot.


Try to Adjust to the Time Change Quickly

Do your best to get on schedule as quickly as you can. We recently had a

guest who didn’t emerge from her room before noon (and not before 3pm

one day) so by the time she was ready to go out the markets and museums

were about to close.

Devil in the Details

We only have one bathroom, which is literally a bath room -- as in

there’s a tub and a shower, but no toilet. There’s a separate toilet room,

which doesn’t have a sink. This charming arrangement creates some

challenges. We had a guest who settled in for a long bath just before it

was time for our son to get ready for bed on a school night. Be mindful

and do your business quickly. Another quirky thing about our European

apartment is the front door locks automatically when it closes. We

came home to discover our cat had escaped when our guest left her

bedroom window open so she and the cat were sitting outside in the

rain waiting for someone to let them back in.

On Being “Helpful”

We have a narrow galley kitchen with small European-sized appliances. It’s

lovely that guests want to help, but it’s not very practical for everyone to be

in there while we’re cooking or trying to do post-meal dishes. One of the best

things a guest offered to do was take our dog for a walk while we were busy

getting ready to leave for the day. Taking out the trash and recycling is

always awesome.

Catching the (wrong kind of ) Travel Bug

Planes, trains, and trams are a festival of germs. The last guest we had

picked up a nasty stomach bug and barfed on a city bus, then

twelve hours later our son caught the same bug (I blame the

aforementioned shared toilet/no sink situation). Obviously there’s not

a lot you can do about being exposed to germs, but do engage in

lots of soapy hand washing, my friends. Bring meds with you as many

aren’t available abroad – our Dutch doctor tells us to put an onion by

our bed when we’re not feeling well. You’ll probably prefer to take

your own NyQuil!

A Gift Goes a Long Way

One of the best ways to show your host some love and

appreciation is the good-old-fashioned offering of

gifts. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The absolute best

gifts we’ve gotten are bags of microwave popcorn,

packets of ranch dressing seasoning, and, for our little

guy, York Mints. Find out what your host misses most

from the States and bring it to them. They will love you

for it and you’ll probably even score an invitation to

come back!

Jennifer Barnett is from Falls Church, Virginia and currently lives in Amsterdam with her husband,

son, cat, and very spirited dog. She is a member of AWC Amsterdam.

24


Visiting your Favorite City this Summer? The Pajama Company

has the Perfect Sleepwear for Traveling on the Road!

The Cat's Pajamas team searched the globe for the

perfect knit fabric for their pajamas. They started with

hand-pulled Peruvian Pima cotton, which is known for

its silky luster and unbelievably soft hand. They

combined this Pima cotton with Modal to get the

perfect drape and added Elastane to give it stretch and

recovery so they look and feel great with every wear.

Ellie Badanes, FAUSA Member and The Pajama Company Founder

“Surely, of all

the wonders

of the world,

the horizon is

the greatest."

Anglo-Italian

Explorer, Freya

Stark

25


Copenhagen, Denmark: Dancing the Tango

JONELLE LEMCKE

American Women’s Club of Denmark

From: New York City

Lives: Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

I grew up in Europe, due to my Dad’s postings in

the military, so you could say that being an Army

Brat is a defining element in my life story. We

were fortunate to spend a block of years in one

place, so although we were subject to the

tumbleweed character of military family life, we

had the opportunity to sink some roots. The good

is that in military communities, people tend to be

friendly and open because everyone has

experienced what it’s like to be the new kid on the block. Not to mention that there are almost

always common acquaintances around the world… making it a small place.

We lived in Orleans, France and Augsburg, Germany. I remember my childhood fondly and lived

a charmed life. I was active as a Girl Scout; our family was musical and my two older sisters and I

all had different activities and friends. My younger brother was just the annoying little kid who

got in the way, but we loved him. We traveled

Europe and I became an international citizen

in my early years.

My father’s family lived in Catskill, NY. But I was

always particularly fascinated by New York

City. It was the City of Oz! It was the place

where all dreams could be fulfilled and where

one could become whatever one wished - all

were welcome and all contributed to the mix.

So a year or so after I graduated from college

at Johns Hopkins University, I moved to live in

New York City where I accepted a job as a

director of graduate admissions at Pace

University in Manhattan.

While living in New York, one fateful night I met

my future husband while dancing Argentine

tango! The Fates had to work hard to make this

happen… My future husband, Erik, was in the

USA on a business trip to New England and

NYC. While in Denmark, he had lined up a

place to dance that particular Sunday night.

He arrived in NYC that particular evening after

concluding meetings in New Hampshire earlier

in the day; he arrived at the address for

dancing, but the dance had been cancelled

that evening. Events/places where one

26

Dancing with Erik


dances Argentine tango are called “milongas”. He returned to his hotel and had decided to

call it a day, but a nagging voice urged him to find another milonga. He did so and wound up

where I was. For my part, I never danced at this particular milonga on Sundays because there

was a milonga in New York City’s South Street Seaport by The Brooklyn Bridge that was outdoors

and more fun. However, this was the week of a heat wave and my regular dance partner

wanted to dance in air-conditioning… therefore I was in the dance hall where Erik arrived later

that evening. We married after a whirlwind courtship and I moved to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Through the Argentine tango I met my husband, but it also helped me find a fantastic career as

a tourist guide. Erik had attended a milonga without me one evening and reported back about

meeting one of his tango friends who worked as a tourist guide. They had spent the evening

chatting about this fellow’s work with groups from all around the world and the University

education that is required to qualify for a particular international certification. Erik and I agreed

that this sounded good and after researching the program further at Roskilde University, I

applied and was accepted.

I completed the tourist guide curriculum full-time … in Danish and graduated as a certified

guide in 2010. I have never taken a more demanding exam. It requires examinees to be

proficient in the details of a three-hour bus route that covers one’s city, proficient in a

designated walking tour and proficient in museum guiding in at least one museum. The exam

requires all of the guiding to be done in two languages. Mine were Danish and English. Passing

this exam with high marks was one of my proudest moments in life!

IN CONVERSATION WITH JONELLE…

Tell us about a typical day for you A typical

day involves work beforehand where I prepare

things. I design the route with the sights we will

see, the rest stops and weather shelters if

needed. Construction, visits in town by VIPs,

valuable items on loan to exhibitions,

Working as a tour guide

accidents or merely the unexpected

“whatever” can mean changes in routes or

itinerary. Doing one’s homework in advance

can cut down on surprises!

Next is meeting the day’s clients. It could be

an individual on a private tour or it could

be a group from a cruise ship and

certainly everything in between! Our tour

could be the standard sights of

Copenhagen or it could be a specialized

tour based on hobbies or professional

activities. I’ve worked for example with a

WWII historian on Denmark’s history of the

period and I’ve worked with porcelain

collectors looking for old pieces of Royal

Copenhagen. I’ve worked with guests

looking for original pieces of Danish

Modern furniture/lighting and I’ve

worked with others shopping for unique

designer clothing. I call my company

“Copenhagen Your Way” because I

tailor private tours to the individuals and

their interests/hobbies/professions/etc.

After the tour is over, I hang around a bit

to make sure that all questions are

answered or advise on restaurants or

sites, as called for. I learn all the time from

my guests. A question or comment leads

me to explore a new angle of a subject

27


opposite, English landscape

architecture.

The Little Mermaid: ‘Nuff said. Who

would come to Copenhagen and

not see her?

Castle Island in Copenhagen: It

i n c o r p o r a t e s m a n y o f

Copenhagen’s must see sights

directly on the Island or within sight

from the Island. Sights such as The

House of Parliament, The Queen’s

Reception Rooms, The Danish

Supreme Court, The Old Stock

Exchange, Holmen’s Church,

Absalon’s Statue, The National

Museum, Stroeget, and more!

Copenhagen

or down a different path. It’s impossible to

know EVERYTHING, so I can simply relax about

what I don’t know. This is the best job in the

world because I get to explore my interests in

history, art history, material culture, current

events, architecture, philosophy, psychology…

and more… sharing these interests with other

people and enhancing their visit to my

backyard at the same time.

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live

Fanø: Denmark’s westernmost island with a

unique topography and unique culture that is

alive and well.

What is the best-kept secret in your

country? The best-kept secret in

Denmark is that as a country it strives, even

today, to uphold an ideal articulated in the

1830s by its philosopher, N.F.S. Grundtvig of

creating a society where “few have too little

and even fewer have too much.” The

egalitarian ideal is expressed throughout

Danish society in numerous ways.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? How

does a tourist stand out? One can spot a tourist

on bicycle from a mile away! A friend once

said that he could sum up Danes on bicycles in

one word… that word is “confident”.

Egeskov Castle: Located on the

island of Fyn, it’s the historic home

of Count Michael Ahlefeldt- Laurvig

-Bille whose family has lived here

over 460 years. One can visit public

wings of the ancestral home and

other parts of the ground are like a

tasteful theme park.

Frederiksborg Castle: a 35 minute

drive north from Copenhagen,

Frederiksborg Castle is stunning

structure created as a royal

residence in the 1500s and after a

devastating fire in the 1860s was

restored as a museum to the Danish

people. The grounds are devoted

to both French landscape

architecture and its intellectual

The Storm Bridge, Copenhagen

28


Tourists on bicycles are the exact opposite.

They do not follow established traffic rules and

are pretty shaky on the bicycle path.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? As a new travel

destination, I would go

to Budapest, Hungary.

I’m very interested in

their spa culture. I like

the idea of thermal

baths, massage, body

oils, soaps, etc. Then

sleep. Then there’s

great food and

pastries! Sounds like an

indulgent vacation!

What is your “other”

favorite city in the

world? Paris is my

favorite city in the

world. It’s a difficult

a n d c h a l l e n g i n g

place, but it changed

In the Botanical Gardens

my life. I had visited as a child when we lived

in Orleans and the magic of Paris was already

part of my psyche.

Believe it or not, at a certain point of my life I

was bored living in New York City. Then I was

given a business trip to Paris. I combined all of

my outstanding vacation time for the trip so I

could be there for as long as possible. I would

be there for almost a month.

The trip was exhausting and exhilarating. Then

I started to feel depressed the week before

my return to New York. “ Oh bummer, gotta

go back to New York…” is what ran through

my head. Then I gave myself a good shaking

and talking to. I reminded myself that I lived in

one of the most exciting cities on the planet

and I just needed to rediscover it, block by

block, on foot… just as I had discovered Paris.

I immediately

felt better and

h a p p y . I

b e c a m e

excited about

the return home

and I identified

three unknown

neighborhoods

to discover. I

bought a “little

red book” in

w h i c h t o

document my

discoveries and

make notes. I

i d e n t i f i e d

appropriate bus

routes so I could

ride through unknown areas and cover more

ground. I made lots of new friends, became

involved in new activities and came to know

New York City in ways that astounded my

friends. I became involved with East Village

artists and jazz musicians. I began working as a

volunteer with a major jazz producer and got

to meet and attend the concerts of a number

of big name artists. I had definitely

regenerated my life.

The final chapter of this incident is that I

started taking Argentine tango lessons when I

returned from Paris. A few years later I met Erik

and the rest, as they say, is history!

You Tube video of Denmark

29


Casablanca, Morocco: In the Spice Market

NEZHA CHERKAB-SEBTI

American International Women’s Club of

Casablanca

From: Casablanca, Morocco

Lives: Casablanca, Morocco

I was born in Casablanca in a modest and

conservative family. We lived then in Derb

Sultan (Sultan's quarter), not far from the Royal

Palace and the mythic Habous.

world and meet people with different horizons.

After graduating from high school, I joined the

National Airlines company as a flight attendant.

Such a lovely experience! Through my work I

was able to see many big cities around the

After a few years I got married and today I have a 33-year-old daughter who's married and is

living in France. My husband and I live an area called California these days. It’s a quiet place

though quite far from the city center.

In 2000, I joined AIWCC, the American Women's Club of Casablanca. I love volunteering with

such inspiring ladies coming from different countries.

In 2010, I heard about some heritage days being organised by an association called

Casamemoire. I went on one of their visits of the Habous area, loved it and joined the

association right away as

a volunteer cultural

mediator. As part of this I

lead visits to the different

sites and monuments of

my city.

Through this experience I

became eligible to sit a

p r o f e s s i o n a l e x a m

sponsored by the Tourism

ministry. So, I am now an

authorised official guide.

I’m love this role as it gives

me the chance of some

income from time to time,

but I’m still volunteering

with the Casamemoire.

Celebrating my birthday with my husband

30


IN CONVERSATION WITH NEZHA…

Tell us about a typical day for you. At the

moment we are in the Ramadan month,

during which people love to go out after they

break the

fast. This

year we’ve

had the

idea of

organizing

nocturnal

g u i d e d

visits of the

city. The

days have

been very

long and

we’ve had

to recruit

and train

some new

Introducing the Habous area to a group of guides and

children

do some

p u b l i c i t y

about the tours too. My days vary depending

on what is going on.

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live?

Habous area: of course! I grew up there, and I

love its architecture, a mix of traditional and

modern styles.

“secretly" consult some fortune tellers hidden

behind their stores!

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? When

I see someone looking for an open shop at

sunset during Ramadan! It's closed

everywhere, except some restaurants who

serve the breaking fasting meal (iftar)!

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I'd like to visit some

villages in deep Kenya. There are some tribes

who resist strongly any kind of modernism and

who live with Mother Nature in a complete

symbiosis… for still how long?

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

Lyon in France is my favourite city. It’s not too

big but its history is very rich and there are so

many museums and the cultural activities are

so varied.

What is your favorite mode of transport? I love

to travel by train. It allows you to admire the

scenery and sometimes exchange nice ideas

with your compartment neighbors.

The Ancient Medina: not really as beautiful as

the medinas of Marrakech and Fes, but It’s full

of history and the modernism got into

Morocco through its gates!

Hay Mohammadi: that labor quarter where

workers revolted against the French occupants

during the first half of the 20 th century. Many

famous artists come from it too.

Ain Diab: the so beautiful seaside area! Sunsets

are stunning and there's animation all day and

night long!

The spice market Jmiaa: I love the flavors of

the spices and the diversity of the fresh veggies

and fruit.

What is the best-kept secret in your city? A

Polichinelle’s one actually! It’s a small street

behind the spice market, where women are

sure to find all kinds of rare plants and spices

for some old remedies. They can also

Dancing in Tangier

You Tube video of Morocco

31


If You Could Own A Famous Building Which Would It Be?

The Sydney Opera House because of

its design, location, the talented

people who are invited there to

entertain and of course I would stage

a 4 th of July celebration there annually.

TERESA HANDA

It’s not a building, but The Brooklyn Bridge in New

York City. The bridge is a suspended structure

connecting two of New York’s borroughs, Manhattan

and Brooklyn, and traveled by car, bike or by foot.

The views of

NYC by night

and the

A t l a n t i c

Harbor by

day are just

gorgeous.

DEANNA

BRITTAIN

The Palazzo Farnese in Rome, now

the French embassy. You can only

visit it on a pre-booked guided tour

and can’t take photos of the

amazing Caracci Gallery. By

owning it I’d get to see that every

day and enjoy the walled garden

at the back. Plus it’s in Rome!

HELENA NOWAK-SMITH

The Chrysler Building in New York City. It’s

heart-stoppingly beautiful with its Art Deco

towers and spires. It’s as though the building

itself is reaching out to the heavens,

embodying the

strivings of millions

who make their way

to New York City in

the hope of realizing

their dreams… doing

s o m e t h i n g ,

b e c o m i n g

something or simply

finding a place

where they can be

themselves.

JONELLE LEMCKE

WWF building in Switzerland! I'd take care of

wild animals around the world and prevent the

extinction of some of them. I would also make

vote laws to banish the exploitation of animals

in circuses and aquariums. Having in Morocco

so many stray cats and dogs and injured

working animals such as horses, mules and

donkeys, I would, of course, do everything to

allow them to have a very comfortable life.

NEZHAD SEBTI

32


Lyon, France: Interpreting What I See

BECKY REYNAUD

American Club of Lyon, France

From: Berkeley, CA

Lives: Lyon, France

I was born in Baltimore but spent my early

childhood in Gulfport and New Orleans. My family

moved to Berkeley when I was 10 and I suppose I

mostly consider myself a Californian, though I left

for good at the age of 23.

In the summer after my sophomore year at UC

Berkeley, with a little French and Italian under my

belt, I travelled across Europe with 3 friends and

eventually struck out on my own – the others were

too slow getting up in the morning! That was my

first real taste of travel, and it became a passion of

mine after that.

In time I married a Frenchman I had met at UC. His first job was in the north of France, then we

did a 3-year stint in Japan. We returned to France (with 2 babies in tow), settling in Lyon, and

have been here ever since, except for a one-year sabbatical in Oregon.

I got involved in tourism in Lyon by taking on interpreting assignments for Lyon City Hall, the

town planning agency and the transit authority. I learned a great deal about the city and often

found myself providing visiting delegations with insights about local life. There is so much to

admire and enjoy in Lyon that it’s easy to convey my love of the city.

33


IN CONVERSATION WITH BECKY…

Tell us about a typical day for you. Often in

the course of my interpreting assignments,

during lunch breaks or casual activities,

foreign delegates ask me questions about

Lyon or for advice on what to visit in the area.

I have even found myself informing French

Lyon, France

down a corridor and come out on a different

street. The locals often use them as shortcuts.

What is the best-kept secret in your city? Lyon

is something of a secret itself, often

overlooked by French and foreign tourists. The

French think of it as the place they get stuck in

traffic on the freeway to the Mediterranean,

and foreigners only go to Paris, Mont Saint

Michel, and perhaps a Loire Valley castle or

two if they are especially adventurous!

What is the one thing you see someone do

that makes you know that they are a tourist?

Taking pictures of everything! You have to

wonder if some people actually see the place

they’re visiting because their eyes are always

glued to their mobile phone screens.

visitors! I find American visitors, even

professional ones, rather ignorant about

France (and Europe in general). I have to

admit I enjoy the look on their faces when I tell

them that tuition at French universities is

around €350 and that we get five weeks

annual paid vacation.

What are your top places to visit where you

live? The historic part of Lyon is a listed

UNESCO World Heritage site (1000 acres!), so

just walking around and admiring the different

eras of architecture, starting from the Romans,

will keep you busy for a while. The thing I like

to do most with visitors is explore the traboules,

which are passageways running through the

oldest buildings. It’s fun to push a street door

open, venture up the corridor and perhaps

discover a fabulous Renaissance courtyard in

the heart of the building. Then you continue

Modern Lyon

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? India since I’m

interested in the people, architecture, food

and colorful everything.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

London, but with a lot of money.

What is your favorite mode of transport?

Walking. I like having the time to see details.

You Tube video of Lyon

Lyon traboules

34


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35


The Beauty of Kenya: A Poem

Butterflies fluttering in my tummy

then blue & lilac birds arrive

peace

impala males a few with many delicate ladies with young

giants galore trumpeting

butterflies again

missing something so much

then a hippo snorts and splashes with baby

zebra stripes everywhere and long necks saunter by

here come those butterflies

and giants again and again

so quietly they tread

Water bucks with white circled bottoms

it’s a never ending live show

& the butterflies never go

Dust, warm breeze and pink desert flowers

silence but so much sound

my heart beats fast & those butterflies abound

My love is aching and about to burst

tears fill my eyes with the thought of leaving such beauty and wonderment

now baby giants & naughty baboons

two herds meet and greet with trunks & tusks

water splashing & excitement

butterflies again

I dare not move or blink.

Judi Roselli-Cecconi is English but born and raised in Kenya, currently living in Tuscany, Italy. She

is the President of The American International League of Florence and spends her time, when not

writing, enjoying helping charities, water colour painting, taking photographs, looking after

guests visiting her home in the Chianti and she loves to travel.

36


In this issue we are proud to present

photos from Inspiring Women’s recent

“Project 62” photo competition. We

have also created a “cheeky” little quiz

to test your global knowledge. The

answers are located on p. 67 Give us

your feedback (CLICK HERE FOR THE

INSPIRING WOMEN SURVEY)

and let us know how well you did!

Q1: This city gave the world

famous Toblerone chocolate

bars. 100% of all of these

bars are produced here:

Madrid

Genoa

Basel

Bern

Q2: Karl Marx wrote much of

his Das Kapital in this city:

Vienna

Berlin

London

Amsterdam

37


Q3: 70% of the world’s

emeralds are mined in:

Dublin

Bogotá

Casa Blanca

Malmö

Q4: Gustave Eiffel

proposed that the Eiffel

Tower be located in this

famous city:

Barcelona

Zurich

Paris

Cologne

Q5: This country is the largest

country in the world without

a river:

Lebanon

Kenya

Saudi Arabia

Germany

38


Q6: The world’s

largest functioning

bell is located in this

city:

Cologne

Rome

Antwerp

Gothenburg

Q7: In the 17th century,

this city was run by

pirates under the

Republic of Bou Regreg:

Seoul

Rabat

Aquitaine

Bogotá

Q8: In 1899, the first

international peace

conference was held in

this city:

Heidelberg

Oslo

Lyon

The Hague

39


Q9: The world’s most

expensive house is

located in:

Mumbai

Paris

Lichtenstein

Dublin

Q10: This city has the biggest

library in Europe

Brussels

Moscow

Frankfurt

Luxembourg

40


Nairobi, Kenya: A Second View

JANA LINHARTOVA-SAMDANI

American Women’s Association of Kenya

From: Prague, Czech Republic

Lives: Nairobi suburbs (Karen), Kenya

I grew up in the heart of Europe in one of the

most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, the

capital of Czech Republic. Since my early

childhood I was introduced to theatre,

museums, galleries and nature.

I always loved travelling and I left home

when I was 16 for an exchange program in

Switzerland, where I spent the whole of a

wonderful winter season.

Fast forward a few years to one cold evening

in July 2010, when my husband and I arrived in Kenya. He was transferred to one of the leading

hotels in Nairobi from our former post in South India.

Nairobi is a great city, and Kenya is a great country which can flourish with a little bit of help. The

social workers, NGO representatives and project leaders are very grateful for any kind of

assistance or help. It is the best sense of achievement to see the projects one supports going

ahead and becoming self-sufficient. A visit to a children’s home, self-help group or shelters for

abandoned animals always charges me up and makes me count my blessings.

On a visit to Kitengela, Kenya

41


IN CONVERSATION WITH JANA…

What are your top places to visit where you

live?

Nairobi National Park – It’s a very unique

place. Kenya is the only country in the world

with a safari park inside its capital city and is

home to many varieties of animals. There is

nothing better than an early morning game

drive followed by bush breakfast overlooking

the lush green plains with giraffes walking on

the horizon. If you’re not really an early bird,

than an evening game drive with a

sundowner on the terrace of one of the hotels

facing the park will do just fine for you.

Brown’s Cheese Farm – Nairobi is not only

about wildlife: we have many local producers

of yummy delicacies, like Brown’s Cheese. This

amazing family company is a proud winner of

many prestigious international awards, making

their cheese one of the best in the world. To

come closer to their customers, they offer

farm and factory tours followed by cheese

tasting and a proper farm lunch. Come

hungry and wait for their dessert to be served.

In my opinion the mango baobab frozen

yoghurt is to die for .

Kitengela Glass Factory – Situated on the

edge of Nairobi National Park, this place is a

paradise for art lovers and shoppers. Entering

the compound of Kitengela Hot Glass &

Amselm Croze, you can get lost walking on

the mosaic pavements, discovering the

workshops of artisans transforming recycled

glass materials into works of art, jewellery or

home decor objects. Hint: stop by the factory

At Brown’s Cheese Farm with AWA members

workshop where you can buy many items for

discounted prices. Part of the village has an

unusual hippie hotel with the most amazing

pool, well worth a look.

Kiambethu Tea Farm – If you feel like going

back in time, be sure to visit Kiambethu Tea

Farm. This lovely colonial house is surrounded

by cushions of tea bushes and indigenous

forest with medicinal

plants and trees.

Kenya tea is famous

worldwide, and here is

the place to learn

everything about this

delicious drink: what

happens from the

moment one of the

skilled farmers harvests

the finest green leaves

until the moment you

pour yourself a cuppa.

And why not taste

some and have an

elegant lunch with a

lovely host, Fiona?

42


What is the best-kept secret in your city? The

best secret is surely the Boho restaurant – a

great place in Hardy, an upscale suburb of

Nairobi. This small, cosy eatery offers an

eclectic menu of the most delicious dishes

from the Far East, accompanied by the best

selections of wines. Although it’s a very low-key

venue, this place has hosted several show

business icons from all around the world.

Friendly staff and a passionate owner equal a

winning combination.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? For

sure walking around in a safari outfit with a

camera hanging over their shoulder.

Tell us about a typical day for you. My usual

day starts with dropping the kids off at school,

followed by an exercise lesson in a local gym,

which always concludes with a coffee in some

cosy coffee shop in the neighborhood. My mid

-morning is usually dedicated to meeting

friends and discovering new places to visit.

And in Nairobi, we are not lacking places to

go. Every day we have something new

popping up – a gallery, a boutique with

upscale fashions, coffee shops or restaurants.

Sometimes we also go to visit an NGO or a

charity project that needs support or visibility.

Tuesdays are exclusively dedicated to AWA

events. In Kenya, schools are over by 3 pm, so

afternoons are dedicated to children. We go

to swim in one of the ice-cold Nairobi pools,

have a treat in some ice cream parlor or just

lounge in the lush green gardens. Dinner is

usually served at home, as I love cooking and

it’s a good opportunity to meet as a family

after a long day. A majority of my food supplies

comes from farmers’ markets. Late nights are

usually reserved for a movie or a cosy time at

home, and in cold season, with a lit fireplace.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? Iceland. I share this

dream destination with my teenage son.

We’re both enchanted by the wild beauty,

mystical Northern lights and cold weather.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

My favorite city is Lucerne, in Switzerland,

because that’s where I met my husband more

than 20 years ago.

What is your favorite mode of transport and

why? As I said, I love to travel and it doesn’t

really matter how. I enjoy business class in an

A380 as much as I enjoy taking a rikshaw to

discover a downtown area of an Indian city.

At Kazuri Beads in Nairobi

43


Bern, Switzerland: From Peru to Europe

DENISE O’GORMAN AEBERSOLD

American Women’s Club of Bern,

Switzerland

From: Lima, Peru & Bern, Switzerland

Lives: Bern, Switzerland

I grew up in Lima, the capital of Peru. I was an only

child. My father was Swiss and my mother Peruvian.

At home we spoke Swiss German, French and

Spanish. We travelled once a year to Switzerland to

visit my father’s mother and family. I liked to read a

lot and enjoyed spending time with my cousins.

My great passion was sports, and I started early taking

ballet lessons, swimming and horse riding classes. In

school I was good at athletics and team sports:

softball and basketball. I particularly excelled in

basketball and joined a club; then I was selected to

represent Lima in a national championship and later

became a player in the Peruvian national team

which won the championship at the Bolivarian Games in Tachira, Venezuela in 1972.

The political situation in Peru in the 1970s was very unstable, and the economy suffered. This

situation deteriorated further following a military coup, when a junta took power and remained

in power for many years. There were student protests and marches; universities were closed;

foreign companies were nationalized; an agrarian reform was initiated and land expropriated.

Under those unstable conditions, my parents decided I should further my education in Europe. I

travelled with my mother first to Switzerland, then to Spain. Afterwards I was sent to boarding

school in England, where I

o b t a i n e d m y l a n g u a g e

proficiency certificate and my

Advance-Levels in English, History

of Art and Spanish Literature. It

was a complex period in my life

with many changes: country,

language and friends. I joined that

tribe of foreign students who

attend schools in Europe, stay at

school at midterm and public

holidays, only to return home for

the summer break.

I did my university studies in the US,

where I attended college in New

Jersey. The fact that the college

was only 45 minutes from New

York City influenced my choice.

Me with my family

44


After about six months, I moved out of campus and shared a flat on Main Street with two other

foreign students.

I studied philosophy and religion with a minor in art. It was then that I discovered a new passion,

photography. I used to work in the darkroom with my flatmate until late in the evening,

fascinated by all the possibilities photography offered. I took part in photo competitions and

won first place at the annual photography exhibition.

In the summers I travelled back to Europe. I visited northern Italy, Paris, London, Munich and a

few other cities on the continent. In my junior year I took some time off and travelled with two

friends through Europe, from London to Zurich and from Bari in southern Italy by ferry to the

island of Corfu. From there to Athens and to Crete. We worked in Crete as olive pickers for the

season from September to January. My Greek was rudimentary, but I somehow managed to

pick up enough of the language to work and fend for myself. Travelling was different back

then: it was more of an adventure, not an organized and paid-for trip. There was the risk, of

course, of running out of money and having to go back, so whatever job was available on the

road, we took, and in this way financed the next leg of the trip. We travelled to Israel, where we

visited friends in Jerusalem and got a job working on a farm in the Negev desert.

Cityscape of Bern, Switzerland

After the trip I returned to school in New Jersey to complete my studies. Before returning to

Europe I worked in New York City as a photo researcher, a photo agency assistant and as a

temp in a bank on Wall Street.

As the economic and political situation in Peru did not get any better, my father decided to

return to his home town of Bern, the capital of Switzerland. I joined him after my stint in New

York City. Although I had visited Switzerland often, I had never lived in the country, so it was a

completely new experience for me: a new country, a different language and culture, new

friends. I was lucky, however, and within three months I had a job. I worked for the British

Embassy in the public affairs section and later for the American Embassy where I was

responsible for protocol and the organization of events. I married, and my two children were

born in Bern.

One day I saw an advertisement in a local newspaper for tour guides that caught my eye and I

decided to apply for the position. The thought of changing careers, reducing my working hours

and doing something different had long been in my mind. When I was invited for an interview,

then a second, I realized that this was a unique opportunity to start anew. I did the required

four months intensive training in the history, institutions, attractions and customs of Bern

specifically, and Switzerland in general, before obtaining my certification as a city tour guide.

45


IN CONVERSATION WITH DENISE…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live?

Bern’s foundations go back to the twelfth

century. It was built on a narrow peninsula

surrounded on three sides by the river Aare.

The buildings on either side of the streets are

from that period and are still standing; so are

the first and second gates of the city, built in

1191 and 1255, respectively. Despite a major

fire in 1405, after which much of the city was

rebuilt in sandstone, and substantial

construction efforts in the eighteenth century,

Bern's old city has retained its medieval

character to today.

The landmark of the city is the Clock Tower

(Zytglogge). At three minutes to the hour,

crowds of visitors gather below the tower to

watch the sixteenth-century clockwork figures

move, from the rooster to the golden man

with a hammer at the

top, tolling in the hour.

The Paul Klee Centre was built in 2005 by the

renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. The

bold and modern masterpiece made of steel

and glass symbolically recreates the hills of the

Emmental. It is more than just a museum

housing Paul Klee’s works; it also hosts a

number of activities such as readings,

concerts, a children’s museum and frequently

temporary exhibitions.

What is the best-kept secret in your city? The

fact that Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize

winning physicist, lived and worked in Bern for

seven years. Between 1903 and 1905, he

rented a small flat on the Kramgasse, one of

the old town main streets. At the time he

worked as a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office

and was married to Mileva Maric, a

mathematician whom he had met while both

were studying in Zurich. They had a son called

The Bear Park – the city

of Bern has had live

bears since 1513: until

1857 in the town itself,

then in the bear pit and

since 2009, in the new

and spacious bear park.

Currently there is a family

of three brown bears:

Finn, Björk and Ursina.

T h e B e rn M i n s t e r

(Münster) is the largest

ecclesiastical building in

Switzerland and the most

impressive example of

late Gothic architecture.

Construction started in

1421 and continued with

a series of builders for

generations. The spire was

finally completed in 1893. The main portal with

its depiction of the Last Judgement is

remarkable. The minster with its spire towers

over the Bern cityscape.

The Rose Garden is a mecca for flower lovers

and gardeners. Located across the river, it

provides the best birds’ eye view of the old

city. It is not only a park with a lily pond but

also a recreational area with a restaurant and

a playground.

46

City tour with the AWC Bern ladies

Hans Albert. The miraculous years (Annus

Mirabilis) papers, which presented

Einstein's theory of relativity and contributed

substantially to the foundation of modern

physics, were written here and published in

the Annalen der Physik.

Today the Einstein house (Einsteinhaus) is a

museum showing the living conditions of

Einstein and his family in the apartment on the

second floor with furniture from that period.


Einstein's biography and his life's work are

presented on the third floor.

Tell us about a typical day for you. I work as a

tour guide for the city of Bern. A regular day

starts when I meet the visitors at an appointed

hour in town and take them for a walking tour

through the old city. I start in front of a map

where I summarize the history of the city of

Bern from its foundations through the modern

city of today. We walk through the old town,

stopping at monuments and buildings of

historical interest; we visit the weekly markets

which specialize in “slow food” and sell local

produce; and I point out curiosities and

peculiarities typical of the city of Bern. Legends

and funny anecdotes are also part of the

repertoire. In addition, I also explain our system

of government, the political structure, the

military and schooling systems, taxation, health

insurance and social services, among other

current matters the visitors may find of interest.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? The

look of awe some visitors have when they stroll

through the streets of the old town (Altstadt).

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I would love to travel

to Argentina and spend a few weeks there.

Not just visit Buenos Aires, but the hinterland as

well, with its changing geography and nature,

the Pampas and the Andes. That combination

of customs, culture, Catholicism and tradition

appeals to me.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world? I

love to visit London. It is a vibrant city, a real

metropolis with its ethnic mix, great food and

culture. Spending a morning at the market on

Portobello Road, followed by a visit to an art

exhibit at the Tate or Victoria & Albert Museum

and a meal in Chinatown is my preferred way

to spend a weekend away. Not to forget a visit

to the bookshop Waterstones with its four floors

full of books.

What is your favorite mode of transport? I am

aware this is not a politically correct answer,

but I love cars and I like driving them. My

father imported American cars to Peru, so

every year he had the latest model. He was

also an amateur rally driver, so I was exposed

to cars since I was very young. One of the

games I used to play as a child during long

drives was to count Volkswagens (the Beetle).

A white one was 20 points, a black 50 and a

red was 100; the rest just counted as 10. I

usually won the game.

“I feel like B sides

Me with a tour group in Bern

47


The Journey: 1975/76 in the USA

USA or bust… off to Buffalo from England we went, for a year. An exchange of university

professorship for my husband meant swapping houses too, so we redecorated our home,

cleaned it to the point of insanity (mine) and packed up, while looking after an eighteen-month

old toddler and a three-year-old, all in a heat wave (yes, despite what you might think, even in

the UK we do get heatwaves occasionally).

The children stayed awake throughout the flight, until on landing we were enveloped in the

warm marshmallow of a summer's night in Washington. A good night’s sleep restored us all,

because our offspring had stayed awake so long on the journey that they slept through the

time change. We picked up our car, an impressive 6-cylinder Ford, a little shorter than a jumbo

jet and just about as difficult to park, and drove north.

Our house in downtown Buffalo, NY, was straight out of Lady and the Tramp, two minutes from

the police watering-hole of Dunkin’ Donuts. We inherited a network of friends in the Buffalo

Philharmonic and the faculty, and we spent every vacation travelling, while John still managed

to fit in holding an exhibition of his work and teaching people to climb, up in Canada.

The car broke down on every trip - Alabama in a tropical storm, the middle of Kansas on a

sweltering summer Sunday, the Quebec hinterland with nothing between us and the North Pole

but moose and caribou.

We gazed in wonder at the Fall in New England

and Niagara Falls in the winter. We experienced

“Lake Effect” snow and an ice storm. We visited

Santa in his workshop, and we met a hungry bear.

An Algonquin elder in his long house became

aggressive with my husband when he realized that

he came from Gravesend - “Give us back

Pocahontas!” We went down the Mississippi to New

Orleans and up the Eastern Seaboard to Maine. We

survived a hurricane in the Delta and lost the car

keys forever beneath the sands of Florida. We

endured the wettest summer for years in the

Rockies, complete with mudslides, and got altitude

sickness going over the Great Divide. We camped

in Monument Valley and bought Navajo jewellery.

We walked in the desert in 49 degrees Celsius. We

marvelled at Bryce, Arches, Zion, Yellowstone,

Mount Rushmore, Mesa Verde, the Grand

Canyon… so many places.

Our fearless two-year-old daughter tried to hurl

herself down every canyon and over every

precipice. She survived the trip only due to welltethered

baby reins.

At the top of the Grand Canyon

We met a rich cross-section of intelligent, fascinating people (musicians, conductors, professors,

artists, writers ) and idiots (“Mummy, are those people supposed to be feeding popcorn to the

bears?”), (“Gee, you come from England… what language do they speak there?”), and

benefited from great kindness - “I’ll jess leave my [nearly 7-foot tall] son here to guard your wife

and kids while we go into town and find a garage that’s open on a Sunday afternoon.”

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Rules for long-distance driving with small kids:

-Drive at night whenever possible.

-Don’t stop to eat - you eat in the car, and

you stop to run around!

The years were 1975 and 1976 - the Bicentennial! On

our trip through New England we coincidentally

arrived in Concord, Massachusetts, 200 years to the

day after the first shots of the Revolution were fired…

The re-enacting “militiamen” of varying ages and

girths did their best to impress us. I quote from

Garrison Keillor - “All in all, these were not the sort of

people whom you would want firing muskets around

a crowd…” By the end of ‘76 the children thought

that the only colors in America were red, white and

blue, with silver stars.

When the time came to leave we held a potluck

party and said a reluctant good-bye to the amazing

friends we had made, swapping last-minute recipes

which are still family favorites.

The journey home - a mad dash to Hamilton, Ontario

(before visa expires and we can’t get back in to the

States!) with a huge crate of accumulated

possessions to be shipped home, including bales of

items from the summer White Sales, which we are still

using. Clean up Buffalo house in summer heat

(again!) - forget the windows (because I keep losing

count at 44), collapse in hot train, catch plane, oof!

John and the kids, Arches National Park at 49 °C

We landed back in London in an all-consuming heat wave (again!), the hire car took hours to

collect and was the wrong size, being too small by a factor of at least 4! We crammed in and

piled the luggage on top of ourselves. The long drive north in the non air-conditioned car,

became the journey from hell, the children remaining wide awake. They had slept on the plane

- their mother had not.

Mummy: “I’ll drive… please let me drive!”

Daddy: “Oh no need, really! I’m fine, you just amuse the kids.”

It was like coming home to Hades… without even a Dunkin’ Donut to comfort us.

Rosie Bevis is from the UK and currently lives in Montpellier. She is a member of the AWG of

Languedoc Roussillon, and when not writing spends her time teaching, travelling and

volunteering. She is a very bad patchworker, loves walking and exploring the region, being with

her grandchildren, reading and playing with the cat.

49


Genoa, Italy: Cruising Round the World

ANN DeSIMONI

American International Women’s Club of

Genoa, Italy

From: Chicago, IL

Lives: Genoa, Italy

I was born in Chicago and I lived in three other states

on the east coast while growing up. I moved back to

a Chicago suburb to finish high school and complete

nursing school.

After graduating from nursing school I moved to

Chicago’s south side and worked an intense 2 years

at Cook County Hospital female gynecology city

prison facilities and psychiatric unit and, to calm my

nerves on the weekends, I worked at Children’s

Memorial, now known as Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Immediately after graduation I had this inner necessity

to serve and assist. So as you can tell, in these two

years I worked and worked.

To experience a different side of nursing I moved to

Atlanta, Georgia to help a friend open his private practice. On my first vacation I took a cruise

with this friend and his family to the Caribbean and that is where I met my future husband, deck

officer on “The Love Boat” and, from that day forward, my passion for travel and overall cruising

began. Eleven months later I moved to Italy to start a new life beginning with a new work

experience at an international hospital in Genoa. Because I did not speak a single word of

Italian, the tales of many funny language stories came into being.

As a young mom, it seemed

only natural to get involved

at my children’s school, their

sports activities and events,

and at our church. I was the

only nurse (and still am) in our

small village. So everyone got

to know me as a lot of inhome

care is routine in Italy.

At the hospital where I

worked, I introduced the first

Christmas party and grab

bag gift exchange. Then it

was one party after another.

The Italians loved it.

I have been involved with

FAWCO for many years and

had many positions, both in

my local club and in FAWCO.

Porto Antico of Genoa

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To me FAWCO is an exciting no-pay

work sector, which is full of challenges

and surprises. It engages my head

and my heart. It motivated me from

within to give the most of myself for

the welfare of others. It meets my

values in life. I’ve met and become

friends with numerous people in

different positions and walks of life.

Being a FAWCO volunteer has made

me a better person. I’ve been saying

it since 1990: FAWCO is my passion, it is

what I do for myself.

There are three things that have

happened through my involvement in

FAWCO that make me happy. First

was my own “Kids Help” project for

the Target Project which created Target cruise with FAWCO friends

awareness among our members’

children of the less fortunate kids in the world. It consisted of gift certificate in the name of a child

of your choice. This certificate, piece of paper that it was, earned thousands of dollars for Target.

With the sponsorship of my club and their trust in me, I happily organized the charity cruises for

the various Foundation projects: 384 passengers raised more than $32,000 while being together

in a harmonious group of friends, old and new, being on the same track and giving from the

heart. Third was receiving the Caroline Curtis Brown Spirit Award in 2007 which was special.

IN CONVERSATION WITH ANN…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live? My favorite region in Italy is Tuscany and

the city of Florence only a few hours’ drive

away from my home. It is packed full with

amazing architecture, history, it’s the

birthplace of the Renaissance, culture and

let’s not forget the Chianti wine. I encourage

everyone at least once in their lifetime to visit.

My second choice is the Amalfi Coast, which

requires more than a day to visit. You can’t go

there without seeing the cliff-side village of

Positano and stopping in at the church of

Santa Maria Assunta, which has a majolica

dome and holds the sacred Byzantine icon of

the Virgin Mary. Enjoy the Isle of Capri boat

experience and visit the Blue Grotto and the

Gardens of Augustus. Sorrento hosts a majestic

cathedral and is home of the delicious

limoncello liqueur. Amalfi is a waterfront village

with colorful houses and famous beaches. No

visit would be complete without going to

Pompeii or Herulaneum to see the ancient

ruins.

Third, Verona is a city in northern Italy that

won’t disappoint you if you are looking for

romance. You can walk or bike the footsteps

of Romeo and Juliet. You’ll find the pink

marble amphitheater that dates back to 1 st

century AD, which today host thousands of

people for the annual summer opera and rock

music festivals.

Fourth, Venice is the ideal honeymoon

destination which I can attest for in person.

This, fairy-tale city is best known for its lagoons,

magical alleyways, romantic bridges and

golden domes. If you’re in Venice you must

take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal.

Fifth, Rome is the place where you can step

back in time and have one of the best history

lessons ever. Known as the Eternal City.

Ancient fountains, Renaissance palaces,

classical ruins, places of worship, museums and

a smorgasbord of eateries will make your time

in the city fly by.

51


What is the best-kept secret in your city?

Genoa probably is not on most people’s list

when they start to plan a trip to Italy, but it is a

great place to start for experiencing the

“dolce vita,” and why not start at the gateway

of the Italian Rivera. The city hosts the largest

harbor aquarium in Europe, kids love visiting

the life size pirate ship permanently docked in

Porto Antico and only a few steps away you

can discover the charm of the old city and its

medieval winding streets, historic center and

the UNESCO Palazzi dei Rolli. Most people

don’t know that pesto sauce and foccacia

bread originated right here .

What is the one

thing you see

someone do that

makes you know

that they are a

tourist? It is almost

impossible for any

tourist to resist the

special inexpensive

treat of gelato with

its more than 80

flavors, so when I

see the crowds of

happy faces

outside the icecream

shops, I

could bet my

bottom dollar they’re tourists.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I couldn’t possibly

pick just one place with so much of the world

I’ve yet to discover but one continent, yes, I

could do that. Spectacular nature, music,

dance and great passion: South America is a

single destination full of life. I could choose to

stay on the splendid beaches of Brazil and

explore lively cities or go to Uruguay and

search out its colonial heritage corners, visit its

famous Finger Beach, which is host to the giant

fingers emerging from the sand. Head to

Argentina and the city of Buenos Aires, the

water falls of Igazù and the blue glaciers of

Patagonia. This seductive continent could

conquer me for sure.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

One of the cities that I enjoyed immensely

during a 28-day stay was Tokyo. The Skytree is

the world’s highest skywalk, and its view is

different from all the others I’ve ever seen.

Tsukiji fish market with its everyday 5 am live

tuna auction is a crazy moment of adrenaline

rush for many. If you like trains, then you’ll love

the Shinjuku railway station, which moves 3.5

million passengers a day. It is actually a station

where 5 stations all come together. No wonder

it took me 30 minutes to find my platform! A

fascinating fact about Tokyo is that every few

meters you’ll find vending machines. They sell

everything, really everything. Clothes, toilet

paper, umbrellas, hot and cold food and drink,

batteries, fresh flowers and vegetables, to

name just a few. The Hanami festival in April,

which lasts

a b o u t t w o

weeks, features

the national

s y m b o l o f

Japan, the

c h e r r y

b l o s s o m s .

People are

always in awe

when they view

my photos of

S h i b u y a

Crossing, where

2500 people

cross the street

At the Shibuya train station in Tokyo, watching commuters cross the

road

i n s e v e r a l

directions all at

the same time. What about the invention of

the capsule hotels? Just a cubby hole space

to spend the night that is cheap and cozy.

Most of all, I loved feeling safe while I walked

the streets alone at night to see the neon-lights

and the kindness of the local people.

What is your favorite mode of transport? A

cruise ship of course. I love being able to visit

several places during a holiday and then

choose to go back for a longer stay at the

places I enjoyed the most.

You Tube video of Italy

52


Berkshire, England: From Australia With Love

SHELLEY FREDMAN

AWBS International Women’s Club,

England

From: Sydney, Australia

Lives: Ascot, Berkshire, England

I was born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Sydney,

Australia, in Rose Bay, between Bondi Beach and Watsons

Bay. My immediate family was pretty run of the mill for the

time: mum, dad, younger brother. My brother and I attended

local schools and I never really ventured far from home. My

family is very close-knit, surrounded by aunts and uncles and

cousins and friends who were as close as family could be. My

father once said in a speech, you can choose your friends but

not your family and we are blessed with both. He was

right! Family celebrations are HUGE and that’s just my father’s

side. Mum’s side is just as big, but we are not as close with that

part of the family.

I’m the second youngest of first cousins; they are all married

now and some of them have had kids and, yes, we are so close that 3rd, 4th cousins are seen

often, and are counted as friends.

I always knew I wanted to work in advertising and marketing. Despite doing well at school, I

failed my final year exams. My dream disappeared in seconds. I remember slamming my

bedroom door and howling for hours. My parents said there are many ways to get into the

industry; I just had to think of a different approach. And so I went to secretarial school instead

and set off into the world.

I had several secretarial/administration jobs in various local businesses. But I still wanted to get

into the advertising/marketing industry, so I enrolled into a part-time evening course at college. It

was there that I met

T o d d , w h o j u s t

happened to work at a

large multinational

advertising agency. He

told me they were

desperate for a

receptionist in the

media department and

that he thought I’d be

perfect. I was the worst

receptionist ever, but

somehow, somewhere

they saw promise.

Long story short, after a

while as receptionist I

got an interview with

At the rugby with my family

53


the advertising director of a leading women’s magazine and I never looked back. I had a stellar

career on some of Australia’s leading women’s magazines, and ultimately The Australian

newspaper. I have had many proud career moments, but the biggest one, was leading the

change from black-and-white newspapers to colour in Sydney and Melbourne for News Limited.

When my (now) husband and I decided to have a baby, we moved about an hour and 15

minutes away from home/mum/family, and I stepped back from my career. To be honest, I

struggled for a few months in this new area, so several days a week, I would pop bub in her car

seat and drive “home” to hang out with friends in familiar surroundings. The funny thing is,

moving to Dublin with no

friends, not knowing my way

around and with a toddler

was in many ways so much

easier. I think it was the

excitement of a move; the

unknown was kind of thrilling,

and even when things got

tough home was too far

away so I had to just put on

my big girl pants (yet again)

and deal with it.

M y h u s b a n d w a s

r e c o m m e n d e d f o r a

contract assignment in

Dublin by several colleagues,

and after a bit of discussion

we thought why not? It was a

2-year contract. There was a

beginning, a middle and an

end, so why not?

Still Aussie through and through!

This was to be just the start of an international life. We’ve lived in Dublin; Japan; Winchester, UK;

back to Dublin and now Berkshire, England. We’ve had tons of visitors over the years and

travelled around the places we’ve lived. We are probably going to move on to our 6th

adventure summer 2020, but who knows?!

IN CONVERSATION WITH SHELLEY…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live? Windsor Castle – the history, the artwork,

the grounds, King George’s Chapel, the fact

it’s still used today as the Queen’s main

residence when she’s not at Buckingham

Palace, all great.

Great Fosters for afternoon tea – Dating back

to 1224, Great Fosters was King Henry VI’s

hunting lodge. The building is stunning. The

grounds are magnificent. And afternoon tea is

truly delicious.

The Great Windsor Park – the magnificent

grounds, the abundance of nature and open

space. Perfect open space for families.

Winchester – the Saxon capital of England.

Winchester Cathedral, the resting place of

Kings and Queens and Jane Austen (who lived

a few streets away for a few months before

she died); pretty High Street, farmers’ markets,

River Itchen, Winchester College, lots of small

villages surrounding the centre with great

restaurants and thatched-roofed houses.

London – a mere 40 minutes by train from our

home to one of the world’s most dynamic

cities. Museums. Galleries. Theatres.

Architecture. Shopping. Restaurants. The list

goes on.

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Highclere Castle with AWBS

To walk into the Louvre, where millions of

people have gone before me and will go after

me, was just incredible. To stand in front of so

much art that I had only seen in books. To hear

our then 4-year-old, say “there’s Julia” when

she saw Degas’, Little Dancer, made me cry

tears of joy. She had been watching Little

Einstein's children’s TV, and knew all about

Egyptian hieroglyphics and Roman statues,

and was eager to explore that section of the

gallery herself.

One visit back to Paris was to see a friend’s

daughter from Sydney perform her last show at

the Moulin Rouge! She had been there two

years, and we simply had not got around to

visiting, but there was no way we were going

to miss her very last show.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? Just one? That’s not

fair. Since becoming an expat I found that

there are simply too many places to explore.

Our bucket list just keeps expanding as friends

post their holidays onto social media and we

think, wow, that looks great, let’s go there. But

IF I have to choose one, it would be Africa to

see the animals, visit a school/s and help with

the kids, experience a home stay.

What is your favourite mode of transport and

why? My car (as bad as that might be). Why?

Because it gives me control over when and

where I go. It gives me independence. It can

be packed to the brim for a driving holiday, or

take friends on an adventure.

Or Egypt. Friends just got back from spring

break there and it looked amazing!

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

Paris, because it was our first visit to an

international city as a family. To finally be

there, when I had only seen it in movies, or

books or friends’ photos, was incredible. I

walked around with my eyes bulging and my

mouth open in WOWness and my husband

needed to grab my arm several times as I was

in a world of my own, oblivious to the other

people on the street or the crazy drivers.

At the Greenwich Mean Time line

There are just so many heart-warming firsts for

us. Our daughter turned 4 years old on our first

trip (I have been fortunate to have been 3

more times), and she was engaged and

curious, which obviously helped us enjoy the

few days we were there.

55


A Club Inspires: AWC Bogotá

There are FAWCO clubs of all sizes and shapes across the world. “A Club Inspires” is a feature

where you will learn more about one of them. This time we are pleased to introduce to you the

American Women’s Club of Bogotá, Colombia, from Region 10. Over to their president, Mary

Stange...

When, why, and by whom was your club started?

The American Women’s Club of Bogotá has been

operating and flourishing for over 72 years since its

founding in November 1947 by a group of 30 North

American women residents of Bogotá. With President

Florence Smith at the helm, the group wished to

“promote unity and good fellowship in the American

community” while furthering “social, cultural, and

benevolent activities” within Bogotá.

AWCB President Mary Stange

How many members do you have and what is their

nationality? Today, Bogotá is a very multi-national city

with tons of international business and a large

diplomatic community. Within our club, we have 185

women representing countries all across the world!

Our club breaks down to approximately 46%

Americans, 24% Colombians, and 30% other

nationalities representing countries such as Canada,

Germany, Russia, and Peru.

Additionally, there is a great variety of reasons why

each member is in Colombia to begin with. Many are expats, either diplomats, brought by a

spouse’s job, or married to a Colombian, but many members are also locals who have lived in

Colombia their entire lives. Our club is diverse and cultured, much like the land of Colombia!

How does the club run? The

board of our club consists of 16

members elected annually in

November, serving a one-year

term. Many board members

have served more than one

term in their current positions.

All clubs, no matter their focus

or agenda, desire higher

participation and volunteerism

f r o m t h e i r m e m b e r s .

Considering the size of AWC

Bogotá, our members have a

high level of activity and

engagement in the club.

What kind of events do you

have in your club? Our Program

Coordinators do an excellent

job at bringing unforgettable,

The AWCB Shopping Group visited a local carpet factory

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unique activities to club members. These range from a trip to a private orchid garden, a visit to

the presidential palace, and informative general meetings on the current Venezuelan crisis.

Members remain active through many exclusive activities only found within AWC.

Since our club is so large, we have had to find a way to break it down to effectively engage

our members. While we have many programs that cater to the club at large, most of our

activities are centered around smaller, interest-based sub-groups. There is truly something for

everyone in AWC Bogotá!

One of the most popular

sub-groups is the Shopping

Group. And let’s be honest

— shopping really is most

people’s favorite thing to

do when they travel. The

Shopping Group really

serves two major functions

within the club: first, to

organize monthly shopping

outings to unique, off-thebeaten-path

locations,

and second, to provide

shopping and living tips

around the city.

Our popular Shopping Group with Mario Hernandez, handbag designer

Several of our sub-groups

focus on physical activities:

cooking clubs, out-to-lunch groups, coffee meetups, happy hour, dancing, hiking, playgroups,

book clubs, etc. But many of our sub-groups are information based, centered on sharing

information on the city and different activities! The “Getting Glam,” Families, Travel, and Arts &

Crafts groups are the most popular.

Which cause do you raise money for and how do you do raise it? AWC Bogotá supports 13

local charities through donations of milk and groceries. We help a diverse population, from

young girls in rehab to

paraplegics, elderly care to

after-school programs. The

extremely dedicated

members of the Social

Services team spearhead

this effort, visiting each

organization quarterly to

ensure recipients are

following ethical practices

and effectively using our

donations. Our club is

poised in a very good

position to help local

o r g a n i z a t i o n s s i m p l y

because there is so much

need within Colombia itself.

We have immediate

access to our organizations

and are very hands-on in

their development.

Ladies of the Hiking Group explore a new trail every month

57


Much of our philanthropic

giving is sustained through

m e m b e r d u e s ,

supplemented with the

occasional fundraiser. In the

past, those have included

larger events: fashion shows,

galas, or concerts. As the

club has grown and

changed in recent years, we

have felt the necessity to

change with the flow and

interest of members. Today,

we sustain our fundraising

through smaller events such

as bingo, trivia night, and a

Christmas bazaar, with even

smaller, “micro-fundraisers”

thrown in the mix.

Members of the Melting Pot group donated pies to our annual Thanksgiving Lunch. A

treat for all!

What was your own favorite activity last year?

This past year, my favorite activity was our annual Thanksgiving lunch. What made this event so

special was the way it incorporated many segments of our club that might not otherwise

interact. Rather than being provided by one group or committee, our sub-groups were all

engaged to donate specific dishes. Potatoes and stuffing were provided by the Cooking Club,

green bean casserole by the Vegetarian Cooking Group, pies from the Melting Pot and drinks

from the Out to Lunch Bunch. It was truly a celebration of coming together and cooperation to

create a truly amazing meal with local flair. And to me, there’s no better way to come together

than through food.

Tell us a little about your city and country in general? Is it as you imagined? Colombia might be

most known for its dark and violent history, but there is so much cultural beauty that is present

just below the surface. With artists such as Gabriel García Márquez and Fernando Botero, not to

mention the enormous music scene, Colombia is bursting with color, flavor, and personality. A

simple walk through Bogotá’s La Candelaria neighborhood will show the heritage this city holds

with its colorful facades and small, cobblestone streets.

A collection of hats in the traditional style of Colombia’s

coastal regions

It’s been uplifting to

see young Colombian

entrepreneurs doing

everything they can to

c h a n g e p u b l i c

perception of their

home country in any

way they can, mostly

through tourism. They

want to remove that

negative stigma about

Colombia that you still

h e a r t o d a y .

Everywhere you look,

you’ll find young

people engaged in

opening their hearts

and culture to show

the real Colombia, the

58


one that’s full of life, food, a

little pain, but most of all, pride

in who they are and where

they came from.

Colombia has some of the most

diverse land on the planet,

from misty mountain climates to

sunny Caribbean beaches,

both rich in fauna and flora.

Moreover, Colombia has some

of the greatest agricultural

diversity in the world and even

has the capacity to be a future

world food reserve!

Tell us about any unusual/

interesting traditions or traits of

the locals. My favorite

Government buildings inside Bogotá’s largest plaza, Bolivar Square

Colombian phrase is que pena.

It can mean anything from “excuse me” to a laid-back “what a shame”. If you bump into

someone on the street… que pena. If your fork falls on the floor… que pena. If you’re caught in

the rain without an umbrella… que pena.

I’ve been told this flexible phrase has different connotations in other Spanish-speaking countries

and one might even take offense if it’s used to a non-Colombian…. But I suppose all one can

do is shrug and say… que pena.

Why not come and visit us one day! Mary x

An aerial view of Bogotá’s most well-known vista and accompanying church, Monserrate. It sits on a hill above the city and can

be reached via cable car, funicular, or hiking path.

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Frankfurt, Germany: Walking Tours

JODEAN ATOR

American International Women’s Club

Frankfurt Taunus Rhein-Main, Germany

From: Columbus, OH

Lives: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I was an only child. My

parents divorced when I was 4, then Mom remarried

and my step-dad adopted me. He died of ALS when I

was 12 and she remarried again when I was 15, giving

me 4 step-siblings.

After high school I tried college for 2 quarters, then

moved to Florida for 2 years, then back to Ohio. I

worked in fast food management and joined the Army Reserve when I was 26. At 28 I had my

son and married his father. Sadly, this only lasted for 2 years.

My Army Reserve unit came to Germany

in 1986 and I met a German man whom I

later married and had a daughter with.

We divorced when she was 5. In 2001, a

childhood friend found me on

Classmates.com and we reconnected,

leading to marriage 2 years later. We

have been happily married since 2003.

I have always been a history buff and

living in Frankfurt provides me with tons of

material to choose from. My husband

and I began a walking tour business in

2008, which lets us indulge our passion for

history and get paid for doing it.

it feels like I have led an adventuresome

life, grabbing for the gusto wherever I

could, laughing as often as possible. It

has also been a rather poor life with true

struggles just to pay rent, raise my kids as

a single mom, living in a foreign country. I

h e l d b a c k f r o m j o i n i n g

the Women’s Club here for many years

because I wasn't sure if it would be a

good fit. Frankly, I wish I would have

joined a long time ago. The women are

fantastic and I have made lots of friends.

My worries were unfounded.

In my Army Reserve Unit

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IN CONVERSATION WITH JODEAN…

Tell us about a typical day for you.

Many days, I am at the airport picking

up a tour, as we specialize in layover

tours in Frankfurt. We tour the city for

several hours and then they fly away.

On days off, I may go to a nearby

town to explore or go on a tour in

Frankfurt led by one of my many tour

guide friends.

What are your top 5 places to visit

where you live? The Rhine and the little

towns along it. Büdingen, which is a

walled, medieval city. Frankfurt

Höchst, which is a charming

neighborhood in our city. Limburg, a

town filled with unique half-timbered buildings.

What is the best-kept secret in your city? The

Carmeliter Cloister. Beautiful, old wall paintings

from the 1500’s and it is not in any guidebook.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist?

Waiting to cross the street at zebra crossings.

Everyone else just walks because the cars and

trams have to stop there. There is also the

“Tourist Clutch,” people holding on to their

bags for dear life, afraid that someone will

grab them.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

San Francisco. It’s beautiful, historical, multicultural,

great food, and it is on the water.

What is your favorite mode of transport and

why? Trains. So comfy and fast. It is scary riding

in cars after only using trains and buses for the

past 32 years.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I would go to Egypt. I

have always wanted to go there since I was a

child. I longed to be an archaeologist.

You Tube video of Frankfurt

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If You Could Own A Famous Building Which Would It Be?

Burj Khalifa in Dubai would be my dream building

to own. It always impresses me … how could

something so tall be built? Dubai is fun – fun for

the whole family with a pinch of a dream …

perfect holiday destination. Everything in Dubai

seems perfect, which gives me hope that there

would not be much

to do to maintain

“my building” and I

could just interact

with the incredible

international mix of

its visitors.

JANA LINHARTOVA-

SAMDANI

The White

H o u s e

because

then I

would be

President

a n d

could try

and get our country straightened out as I

have common sense. I wanted to be

President when I was a child and

everyone told me I couldn’t because I

was a girl.

JODEAN ATOR

The Longaberger basket making company building

in Newark, Ohio. Its got the WOW factor. Happy

memories pop into mind! Wouldn’t it be marvelous

to give away picnics to the hungry people in the

w o r l d ? T h i s

wouldn’t just be

an act of charity,

it would make a

happy memory

for someone by

creating a unique

and dignified

experience. ANN DeSIMONI

The Sydney Opera

House simply

because it is unique

and brings such joy

to so many people

for so many different

reasons.

It’s in my home city,

on the most stunning harbor in the world. It’s

located on Tubowgule, a place of gathering and

belonging. The Gadigal and Sydney Basin clans

would meet on the island, dance, feast and sing,

exchange knowledge and share stories - and that

spirit lives on under the sails.

SHELLEY FREDMAN

The buildings around the Piazza Santo

Stefano in Bologna. The view of the

churches, the windows of the very old

buildings, the square itself, is breath

taking. There is one particular flat

there that has a terrace with a huge

bouganvilla that I love looking at.

FRANCESCA BRASCHI FACCHINI

Warner Brothers’ studio in Los Angeles.

It’s a very interesting place for someone

who works in the movies. I could see

behind the scenes and all the hard work

going on 17 to 18 hours a day. I could

be on

the spot

to see all

that.

JEANY AL

SAHURI

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Marrakesh, Morocco: Magical Medinas

JEANETTE AL SAHURI

American International Women’s

Association of Marrakesh, Morocco

From: Germany & Morocco

Lives: Marrakesh, Morocco

I was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany. My

father is from Palestine. My mother is half-

German and half-Moroccan.

My grandmother and mother were a big part

of my early life. They ran a Versace boutique,

which was full of celebrities. So, in my early

childhood there was lots of laughter and I often

saw racing drivers, football players and other

well-known figures.

In 2000, my father got very sick and was in hospital in Leipzig, Germany, 700km away from

Stuttgart. So, we spent six months there, sleeping in the hospital to be near him.

Then, in 2003, my mother who

was in Morocco, asked me to

go there. Since I fancied some

better weather, I decided to go.

I left Germany on Friday and by

Sunday I was in Morocco.

Marrakesh caught me and now

I will never go back to live in

Germany. I just go there to visit

and see family.

I remember vividly my first visit to

Morocco at the age of 3. Since

then, I have always been

inspired by the religion, the

food, the culture and the

people. The country is magical

for me. Every day, I am inspired

by everything. It’s the full

package. Now thanks to AIWA

Marrakesh I have been able to

get involved in charity work and

fund-raising so that I can give

something back to this country

that I love so much.

Shooting with SJP for Sex in the City 2

63


If you could travel to one place

you’ve never been, where would it

be? I would travel to Japan. I

would love to wear a kimono, take

part in the tea ceremony and

experience a culture that I have

never experienced before.

What is the one thing you see

someone do that makes you know

that they are a tourist?

They have big cameras and they

are wearing sandals and shorts. In

the medina they are on their cell

phones looking for Google Maps.

The Medina

IN CONVERSATION WITH JEANY…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live?

The Medina – it’s so colorful and never sleeps.

Bahia Palace – the architecture is stunning and

it’s full of history. It is a very impressive building

and full of positive energy.

Selman Hotel – it does a wonderful brunch and

is very child-friendly. It also has a stud farm.

An organic pharmacy (for example Herboriste

Marrakesh) –- with argan oil and spices. It is

very interesting to sit and listen about natural

products and medicines. We are used to

medical things, but I think natural things are

much better.

Spa and hammam (the Mamounia hotel or

Selman hotel, for example) – to relax after a

day’s sight-seeing.

What is your “other” favorite city in

the world?

New York is my favorite city. My

father was there in the 1990s. We

all visited him for a month. It’s an

amazing place and I would like to

live there for a year or two, in a

big apartment in a 40-floor

building. I also love all the food;

especially the food in Chinatown.

What is your favorite mode of transport? With 3

children or VIP guests, the car is definitely my

favorite form of transport. (Even in Marrakesh!)

Tell us about a typical day for you. I like to

show people the medina, the streets, the

spices, the carpets and rugs. There is no typical

day. Every day there is something new; it’s like

an adventure, a story book. Sometimes, I

receive a message requesting a VIP tour of the

medina, the Atlas Mountains, Essaouira or a

movie or photo shoot, with vintage clothes.

Jeany in Marrakesh

64


Barcelona, Spain: Remember to Look Up

FRANCESCA BRASCHI FACCHINI

Barcelona Women’s Network, Spain

From: Bologna, Italy

Lives: Barcelona, Spain

I was born in Bucharest, but I left when I was 3 and a

half owing to World War II. My mother and 3 girls

(including me) went to Bologna (Italy) to her father´s

house. My father stayed behind because of his work

and was able to come to Bologna only two years

later. From Bologna we moved to Madrid.

I lived in Madrid until I married and went to Milan.

That was my first winter in Italy, since, as children we

only went to Bologna and to the Dolomites for the

summer. After a year of marriage, my husband and I

went to live in Venezuela, where my son was born.

Daily life there was not easy due to crime.

After two years we moved to New York/

New Jersey and then, after another three

years, we went back to Milan. We lived

happily in Milan for five years before my

husband was offered a job in Lagos

(Nigeria). We lived in Lagos for what felt like,

three long years.

Life was very difficult because of scarcity of

food. Driving not advised without a driver.

We could not walk in the streets. Other

factors were: lack of water and electricity

(only two hours a day of the latter for days

and days), unknown diseases and scarcity

of medicines, etc. etc.

But one good thing about our time in

Nigeria was that, after so many years away

from the country, we were able to return to

Spain at the end of the assignment: not

Madrid this time, where my family was still

living, but Barcelona.

When I got to Barcelona, I took many

courses on the art of the buildings and the

city in general and I loved them. So, when

the BWN was founded, as a devotee of

A BWN Outing

65


group excursions, I volunteered to organise outings for members once a month. Talking

inspiration from Barcelona architect and academic, Joan Bassegoda i Nonell, whose

architecture tours of the city I had long enjoyed as a participant, I set up our club activity,

Outings, and it has grown and developed continually for the last two decades.

I try and seek out something extra, so the visits take in not just the touristic highlights - of which

there is no shortage in Barcelona - but also hidden gems and more painstakingly arranged trips

to see interesting places in and within easy reach of the city. I keep my ears to the ground for

newly - opened sites and insider suggestions for captivating trips. We have been to all kinds of

places over the years.

IN CONVERSATION WITH FRANCESCA…

What are your top 5 places to visit where you

live? People who come as tourists all want to

see the same things, Sagrada Familia Church,

Casa Battló, Casa Milá, Walk along Ramblas

and Passeig de Gracia, Boquería Market,

Museums. I like to take members of BWN to

places they wouldn´t normally go as they

wouldn´t know them unless they lived here for

a long time.

What is the best kept secret in your city? I

always recommend going to Colonia Güell , a

few kilometres from the city. There is a chapel

designed by Gaudi before attempting the

Sagrada Familia and a village that gives a

good picture of industrial life in the early 1900s.

And there are very few tourists.

If you could travel to one place you’ve never

been, where would it be? I would like to know

Italy more deeply. I know Spain well but I have

never been to the south of my own country, so

that would be good. Also, I would like to visit

Doing a tour in Barcelona

Germany. I know some cities but I would like to

know more of them.

What is the one thing you see someone do that

makes you know that they are a tourist? I hate

to see these groups of people following the

guide with an umbrella or a stick, all busy

taking selfies and not really looking at

buildings. One of my favorite quotes is this:

“When you walk in Barcelona, you cannot look

at your feet, you have to look up!” – Joan

Bassegoda i Nonell. It is so very true.

What is your “other” favorite city in the world?

The older I get, the more my favorite city

becomes Bologna.

What is your favorite mode of transport? When I

was younger, we liked to travel by car. Now I

prefer airplanes.

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Photo 62 Quiz Answers

We hope you have enjoyed our quiz. Please note all information for this quiz can be

verified at YOUR leisure on Google!

Q1: Bern

Q2: London

Q3: Bogotá

Q4: Barcelona

Q5: Saudi Arabia

Q6: Cologne

Q7: Rabat

Q8: The Hague

Q9: Mumbai

Q10: Moscow

Thanks to the Photographers

Barcelona - Farhat Tyebji : Barcelona's Women's Network

Bern : Denise O'Gorman - AWC Bern

Cologne : Gerda Kohrs - AIWC Cologne

Bogotá : Mary Stange - AWC Bogotá

London : Christine Humphreys - AW Surrey

Moscow : Deborah Hoehner - AWO Moscow

Mumbai : Karen Boeker – AWC Denmark

Rabat : Cecilia Zhuang - AIWA Rabat

Saudi Arabia : Therese Hartwell - FAUSA

The Hague : Greetje Engelsman-Postma - AWC The Hague

67


Inspiring You

Founded in 1931, FAWCO is a global women’s NGO (non-governmental organization), an

international network of independent volunteer clubs and associations comprising 60

member clubs in 31 countries worldwide, with a total membership of around 10,000 women

and men. FAWCO serves as a resource and a voice for its members; seeks to improve the

lives of women and girls worldwide, especially in the areas of human rights, health,

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has held special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

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• to build strong support networks for its American and international membership;

• to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide;

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• to mobilize the skills of its membership in support of global initiatives for education, the

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More About This Issue

For more information about this magazine, please contact Inspiring Women Editor in

Chief Liz MacNiven at inspiringwomen.editor@fawco.org.

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Advertising and Sponsorship Manager Elsie Bose at advertising@fawco.org.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to Ann, Becky, Deanne, Denise, Francesca, Helena, Jana, Jeany, Jodean,

Jonelle, Mary, Nezha, Shelley, Teresa and the ladies of AWC Bogotá for taking the

time to participate in this edition and for the use of their photos and those of their

friends and families. Thanks also to writers Jennifer, Judi, Rebecca and Rosie for their

pieces, too.

Special thanks to the proofreading team of Karen Boeker (AWC Denmark), Sallie

Chaballier (AAWE Paris), Laurie Brooks (AWC Amsterdam/AWC The Hague), Mary

Dobrian (AIWC Cologne), Carol-Lyn McKelvey (AIWC Cologne/FAUSA), Janis Kaas

(AAWE Paris/FAUSA), Lauren Mescon (AWC Amsterdam), Mary Stewart Burgher (AWC

Denmark) and Jenny Taylor (AIWC Cologne and Düsseldorf).

Copyright 2019 FAWCO

Inspiring Women© Magazine is owned and published electronically by FAWCO.

All rights reserved. All bylined articles are copyright of their respective authors as indicated herein and

are reproduced with their permission. The magazine or portions of it may not be reproduced in any form,

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