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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Berlin



Berlin was a very special place.
Top picture is of the boys at Checkpoint Charlie. a much different place today than in 1989.
Middle picture is a fabulous place we found to have dinner-this was their spectacular large pizza and it was a mere 15 Euro before topping (5 Euro per 1/4 pizza extra for topping)
Bottom picture is commerative crosses for the many people who died trying to climb The Wall from East Berlin to West.
The history was very moving in Berlin and we enjoyed the musems as well as the food.
Joanne

Vienna/Munich





Street performers are everywhere, even in Vienna. What a beautiful city and the heat finally let up for us and even seemed cool.
Munich and its famous Glockenspiel which goes off every hour was a big hit among tourists. For those of you who don't know, a Glockenspiel is a giant music box. This particular music box with its moving parts on the town hall was built in the 1500's. Clearly they knew how to build things to last.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bulgarian Obstacle Course

This is how you know you're not in the United States. After purchasing tickets to the obstacle course, a guy hooked us up with saftey harnesses and made sure we knew to clip both carabeiners of the harness to the saftey lines on each obstacle and sent us on our way. No forms required and we were, at points over ten feet off the ground hanging upside down! It was so much fun and we knew we probably wouldn't find anything like it again so we did it for two hours, even though our hands were extremely sore. Nathaniel top, Hunter bottom

Nathaniel

Pamukkale, Turkey


A must see! This place looks like it should be Christmas time and it is one of the most beautiful places we've seen. In addition to seeing these chalk ponds we were able to have our feel exfoliated. The fish give off what feels like little shocks on the bottoms of your feet. Very different experience, but necessary after all the walking we have been doing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ice Cream Everywhere

Despite the many different kinds of foods we have encountered on the trip - see Joanne's boiled pig knuckler - we have been able to find ice cream fairly consistently. While the Italian gelato in Rome still seems to be the favorite, the Gondola sundae in Prague is close, and sometimes that atmosphere makes it better like eating it on the main square in Krakow.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pottery in Cappadocia



Two weeks ago we went to a pottery shop where everything was handmade. The entire shop is located in a cave which was 4,500 sq. meters. In Cappadocia they take advantage of the caves for many of their businesses like making wine, hotels, and pottery. In this video they are showing the kick wheel technique. Our friend, Alexander from Canada, who we met on the tour that day, got to try out the wheel and shows that it is not as easy as it looked.

Hunter

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Busses



In a 5 day marathon across Turkey, we spend 3 nights on busses and 1 night in a cave. I highly recommend the cave over the bus because I slept much better in the cave. The cave didn't have air conditioning, but its temperature was better than the bus. There were no crying children in my cave. In the cave, lights did not turn on at 1 -hour intervals and I was able to lay flat in the cave. In addition, if I need to go to the bathroom, there was one in the cave I could use whenever I felt the need and I didn't have to pay extra. I can't say this for the bus.

Seriously, we covered a lot of ground on the bus and by traveling overnight, we were able to accomplish a lot. We went from Istanbult to Cappadocia (where I stayed in a cave hotel), from Cappadocia to Pamakkule, and from Efes back to Istanbul and on to Sophia Bulgaria.

I hope we won't be taking any more overnight busses on this trip.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tortoise Trainer


Here I am standing next to one of the most famous paintings by the Turkish Artist Osman Hamdi Bey at the Pera Museum in Istanbul. The Pera Museum isn't very big compared to some of the museums we have been in, but it had both interesting paintings and a collection of weights through history. The painting is titled Tortoise Trainer. Osman painted this picture to show that you need to have patience to live live. Can you imagine trying to train a slow moving tortoise to do anything? I also liked this picture because my favorite animal is the turtle. I am going to see if I can get the tortoise trainer made into a Fathead to pin up on my wall.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jerusalem



When we went to Jerusalem, we went to the 14 stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa and were lucky enough to be able to go to them with the Franciscan Monks. The video is from the
14th station, the tomb of Jesus Christ which is in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Going to the 14 stations and going to Bethlehem made me my senses tingle when I thought of what had happened at these places. When I put my hand in the hole where the Jesus' cross had stood, it made me shake. I had read about Jerusalem Syndrome. Jerusalem Syndrome is when someone that visits Jerusalem is so overwhelmed by what is there that they believe that they are the next Messiah, the Virgin Mary, a prophet, or even Samson. This affects 50 to 200 people in Jerusalem per year. After my visit here, I can imagine how this could happen. The next day I saw someone with no shoes, a white toga, holding a worn down bible, long brown hair, who was calling himself the second coming. Freaky.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dead Sea


When we were crossing into Jordan I asked if we could go to the Dead Sea, but I got a "no, it's too far away and we can't go." After bringing up to my parents they checked it online and said we could stay one night at the Movenpick. Everyone was so happy that I encouraged the Dead Sea, because bobbing in the Dead Sea was so much fun. There is 8.6 times more salt concentration in the Dead Sea than all the other oceans. So, it wasn't swimming, it was floating. Don't worry we have bathing suits on but if you want to lift your limbs all the way out of the water your butt has to sink.

7 Wonders of the modern world-Petra

Side trip to Petra to see one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World did not disappoint. Petra is in Jordan and in one morning we went from Egypt, through Israel and into Jordan and to Petra by 3pm! If you've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade this may look familiar, Petra and the Treasury is where the ending part was filmed. The Hostel we stayed at plays the movie every night and Hunter and Nathaniel were very impressed with the fact they were there. View from Hostel was amazing.

Joanne