Steve Kondracki - SJHS Class of '68

Steve is a free-lance director/videographer (recent credits: Good Morning America, Imus on MSNBC, and programs on PBS, TLC, Discovery, Golf Channel and MTV).  He's been living in Norfolk, VA since May of 1977 (except for a period in 1980-81 when he was a cameraman for the Phillies).  His passion is bicycle touring in Europe (and travel in general). Steve has never been married, but he's still looking, and his favorite color is green.  He forgot to tell us what flavor of ice cream he likes best.


Steve Kondracki
Norfolk, VA

Accomplishments: Travel. I've been able to visit 47 states and over 40 foreign countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. I've bicycled more than 10,000 miles in Europe and am planning next year's trip to Italy.

Memories: Lunch

Future: To continue working an easy schedule, keep traveling, and start looking for a wife. I'd like to live in Europe for at least a year or two.

HOW I SPENT MY 2004 SUMMER VACATION by Steve Kondracki

June 9, 2004

From: Steve Kondracki []
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 1:09 PM
Subject: bike trip 2004

Guten Tag - Greetings from Aachen, Germany. We are now 6 days into Bike Tour 2004, from Amsterdam through Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and France, and back through Be & Ne to the airport. While cycling through Holland, along the canals, I thought I had the perfect name for this tour: Bikes On Dikes (I hope you read that carefully). But the Flat land is gone now, and we encountered some hills yesterday which wore us out in the 900 heat. Thank God for good Belgian beer, served here at domestic prices! Today we took the train from Liege, BE to Aachen, Germany, mostly as a break from the heat, but also because Joe Lash spent the morning in an attempt to find records of his (WW2) wartime sweetheart in Liege. She had a common name (Collard) but he could find nothing specific about her. So now we are in Germany, and will work our way towards the Rhine, perhaps to Cologne (Koln), then cycle south along the river to Koblenz, pick up the Moselle and ride into Lux. on our way to France. It tires me out just to write about it. So, to sum up: Excellent bike trails in Holland and Belgium (we almost never had to share the road with cars) good weather (but hot), flat land in NE & BE (but hilly here), river valleys ahead (flat, we hope) with good bike paths. Food good (have you ever had pommes frites (french fries) with flavored mayonnaise? Try the green pepper flavor! By the way, getting along well with the Europeans, not just the ones who want our business. Few political discussions, and when they occur, we just agree with them. Auf Wiedersehen und Gute Fahrt!


June 15, 2004

From: Steve Kondracki []
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 1:32 PM
Subject: More Bike Trip 2004

Wow! I heard from a lot of you in response to my last email! But I will write more anyhow! I forgot to mention that we started off with five cyclists, and one dropped out our group three days into our trip. He was retired Navy, and we weren't up to his precise military standards. He left us a week ago in Belgium, and we haven't seen him since. After the heat wave, things cooled down considerably. We had several days of showers and cool weather, but we cycled on nonetheless. We visited the village of Roetgen, near Aachen, where Joe Lash (of Sacramento) was encamped after the Battle of the Bulge. (By the way, he had no luck trying to find his Belgian WW2 girlfriend) We then pushed on to Monschau, which is one of the most picturesque towns I have ever seen. The problem was, that it is at the bottom of a steep valley, and once we made it down there, we found that the trains no longer stop there. Since it was a wet day, we decided to stay for the night, and the next day we talked a bus driver into putting our four bikes onto a bus back to Aachen, where we caught a train for Cologne. (Gee, Steve, I thought this was supposed to be a BIKE trip!) We took the bus and train because we were falling behind schedule, and it was raining! Cologne was beautiful, particularly the cathedral, one of the largest in Europe. From Cologne, we cycled south along the Rhein, passing the remains of the bridge at Remagen, destroyed in WW2. Joe and Al had about 6 flat tires between them. By then, the weather was changing from showery to clear, and by the time we got to the Mosel River at Koblenz, it was another heatwave. The last few nights, we've stayed in Cochem, a resort town on the Moselle, and Bernkastel, another picturesque medeival town. Tonight we are in Trier, the oldest city in Germany, settled by the Romans 2000 years ago. There are still buildings here from that era. I'm traveling with three guys who are old enough to be my father, and they are difficult at times, but hey, we all have our idiosyncrasies! It's tough to find people who like to travel by bike, but you don't know how rewarding it is! Yesterday and today we cycled through about 100 mile of vineyards along the Mosel, growing all the way up the sides of the hills (small mountains, really). We are mostly on bike paths, free of cars, riding on flat land along the rivers. There are hundreds of other cyclists along the bike paths, mostly Germans, but others, as well. We meet interesting people along the way, and at night, having burned up thousands of calories, we eat and drink as though we never heard of Dr. Atkins. You should see us at the breakfast buffet! Well, that's about all for now. These internet cafes are not always easy to find, and the keyboards are arranged a little differently, slowing down my two-finger typing. B|t they dv cvme with svme interesting characters: _, D, etc. Tomorrow, we will continue along the Rhein, and should cross into Luxembourg. I hope to send at least one or two more. Can somebody forward this to Joy Nimmo? I thought I had her email address at Creativedge, but I was wrong! Thanks! Guten Abend, and Auf Wiedersehen Mr. Lux, wherever you are! Steve


June 18, 2004

From: Steve Kondracki []
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2004 2:15 PM
Subject: Now in France

Bon Jour- Since my last writing, we left Trier, Germany south along the Mosel River, crossing into Luxembourg, cycling through that country till it ran out a few hours later at France. That day we cycled an amazing 130 kilometers (about 80 miles, I think) for an all-time personal record. But we had everything in out favor: good weather, flat land along the river, good roads (bike lanes, actually), and a tail wind. We spent two nights in Metz, France, and today cycled to Verdun, over hills and past many WWI battlefields, monuments and cemeteries; we even passed a cemetery for German soldiers 1914-1918. Now we start heading north along the Meuse River towards Belgium and Holland for our flight home Thursday. If I can, I may write one more dispatch from over here.
Bon soir. Steve


June 25, 2004

From: Steve Kondracki []
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 2:15 PM
Subject: Home At Last

Greetings from Norfolk! It was too difficult to send another email from Europe; internet cafes are in nearly every town, but when you're in a great town in Europe, who wants to sit in a stuffy room next to a sweaty guy mumbling to himself while he pecks out an email message with his index fingers? At least that's what the woman next to me said before she got up and moved to another computer. Just a short email to let you know how the trip ended: After leaving Verdun, we cycled along the Meuse River through the beautiful French countryside to Sedan for the evening, and then a short ride to Charleville-Meziers, an attractive town on the river. We determined that we were about 6 cycling days from Amsterdam, with only 3 days left 'til our flights home. So it was back on the train! Al and I got off in Antwerp, Belgium, hoping to get in as much cycling as possible (on flat land), while Joe and Lee headed to Amsterdam to maximize sight-seeing. Al and I cycled another 100 miles in 2 days, (I finally got a flat) through Breda and Rotterdam into Gouda, where we took a short train ride to Haarlem, just outside Amsterdam. (Haarlem is a great base for seeing Amsterdam, being just a 20-minute train ride away) After a day of sight-seeing, I planned to get to sleep early on the night before my flight. What I didn't plan on was Netherlands winning its Europe Cup soccer match that evening. The celebrating, horn-blowing, and firecrackers went on from about 10:45 'till after midnight on the city square outside our room. Anyhow, I made it home OK, and here are the final totals: Approx 750 miles cycled through 5 countries in 16 cycling days (avg. 47 mi. per day). One new country for me (Lux.) means approx 11,000 miles cycled through 22 European countries in 17 trips. That's it for this trip - thanks for reading, and especially for the feedback. I don't have digital pictures to send, but I'll try to send some snaps when I can scan them. I'll be glad to send more info to anyone interested. Anybody care to join me next year? Steve


Steve Kondracki - Norfolk, VA

Accomplishments: I’ve made my share of mistakes (taking too long to finish college, forgetting to get married, not buying Apple stock in 1979, etc), but I have done some things that have worked out okay: I pursued a career in television production, which has been challenging, fun, and rewarding; I wisely settled in Norfolk, Virginia, which has been a great place to live, and continues to get better; I listened to Mr. Annechino and others, and started investing early; and I’ve always made it a priority to travel, visiting more than forty countries. My August 2018 bike tour of Italy is my latest trip, putting me at around 13,000 miles cycled in Europe. I’m involved in work, my church, local Norfolk political activities, and the Underemployed Cameramen’s Cycling Club. I have a lot of friends, and look forward to making more.

Memories: My memories of SJHS are of football and basketball games, assemblies and pep rallies, and getting into trouble for trying to make people laugh. I remember some great teachers that deserved respect, and probably didn’t get it from me. A look at the yearbook reminded me of freshman year homeroom teacher, Mr. Werner, a great guy. I always seemed to have a lot of interaction with Mr. Plocharski and Father Pieczonka. And who can forget Miss Szumska and Mr. Erwin Lux?

Future: I hope to continue working in TV/Video production, traveling to countries I haven’t seen yet (with or without a bicycle), cycling on a regular basis, and possibly, meeting a woman who would put up with me working, traveling, and cycling - and trying to make people laugh.