Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Travel with Jan Weekly Digest

Svoboda and Schaffhausen



May 11, 2013

My Dear Family and Friends, 

I am in Zurich, Switzerland where, for the first time, I have met my cousin Michal Svoboda and his family.  

Now I am one step closer to achieving a personal family goal.  I want to meet all my Poláček - Polatschek cousins.  There are more than one hundred of us and we live in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.


Kyoto: Arashiyama - Neat and Tidy




February 19, 2014

My Friends, 

No matter where I go in Japan – on a crowded city street, a subway platform or the subway train itself, a bus, public park or the busy grounds of a festival or tourist attraction - I find not one, not one scrap of paper anywhere.  Not one discarded candy wrapper, not one stray cigarette butt tossed in the street. 

Nara: Daibutsu


(pop 369,000)



The Daibutsu beckons the pilgrim to Nara.  

Daibutsu or Great Buddha sits quietly in the Todai-ji Temple, his right hand raised in the position of protection, reassurance and blessing, 

The Buddha is surrounded by respectful throngs of travelers, tour groups and children who converge on Nara – a large city about thirty minutes by train from Kyoto. 

Kyoto: Three Temples



February 15, 2012

Dear Friends, 

There are no fewer than seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto.  I planned to stay for a week so I could visit a few.


The weather in Kyoto is sub-freezing cold and dreary; snow and rain almost every day.   So what can I do?  I visit a few.  A few. 

Otaru: The Details




February 10, 2014

My friend and professional photographer, Ralph Velasco recently published an ebook entitled “Essence of a Place.”

In the book, Ralph provides a list of types of images that capture the unique elements of any location. 

I followed Ralph’s advice.  In addition to the architecture and the remains of the Snow Festival, I searched for Ralph’s “details” and “patterns” in Otaru, this port city near Sapporo.

I found a few unlikely yet rewarding scenes as I made my solo and lonely stroll in the warehouse district and port alongside the harbor of the Sea of Japan.  (The warehouse district?)

Yes, Ralph is quite correct.  It’s all in the details.

Sapporo: Ice Sculptures and Snow Structures




February 9, 2014

Threatening Clouds. Cold. Bitter Cold. Painful Cold.

-9C  16F

So what did you expect, Khun Jan?  Palm trees and a papaya salad?

It’s the Sapporo Snow Festival in the dead of winter.  Across the Sea of Japan.  From Vladivostok.

A layer or two or three.  Hat, scarf, gloves.  Get out of the house!