8/9 Jan. 2011

(day depends on your timezone; it's the wee hours of the morning here)


The Planet D is hosting Round 7 of Travel Photography Roulette: Portraits.  I entered a picture I'd taken of the mother of my friend, Gusti.  I just realized that I didn't post my entry on my own page.  So here you go:


Valerie on Stromboli


Valerie was born in Hungary and was a Holocaust survivor. She is the mother of my friend and first Couchsurfing host, Gusti. Her sense of humor and mischief were HUGE! She always had something clever and insightful to say.

Indeed, it is her outspoken spirit that saved her family’s lives as they were being led away with everyone in the neighborhood to be executed. It was a silent winter day, and she complained loudly to her mother, “I am not used to this cold!” A young soldier, who was from the village, heard her and caught her mother’s eye. He quietly motioned for them to get out of the line and run. They were a short distance away when the first shots were fired.

This photo of Valerie was taken in August 2008 on Stromboli. She died in July 2010 and is greatly missed. I am very glad I got a chance to know her.



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  1. What a great photo and story! How I can imagine her personality was shines through here!

    1. Tour Absurd says:

      Thanks, Annie! I really must do that post on Vienna so I have an excuse to post more pictures of them.

      Since you’re in Italy, I highly suggest you go visit Stromboli. It’s just too effing fantastic! Seriously, you can eat dinner and watch a volcano erupt. How cool is that? Oh, and the water is gorgeous… Ah, Stromboli!

      Here’s a cheesy Sinatra song for you:

      More relevant, is this video that shows a hell of a lot of fire dancers. Gusti has been running Teatro del Fuoco (now Festa del Fuoco) for a few years there. I think this may have been made by one of the the dancers: Freakin’ rocks! :D

  2. Armelle says:

    I love it!
    The picture is great! Spontaneous, mischieveous, and deep at the same time. I would have loved to meet this woman!!

    1. Tour Absurd says:

      I wish I had gotten some video of her so you could hear her voice. Fantastic! I have a couple more pictures of her, and of Gusti’s dad. I never did do an entry on my visit to Vienna with them, so I’ll have to do that one of these days. They were both great people with a fine appreciation for food, art, and living.

      Thanks for the feedback. :)

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