New York, The City That Dreams Blissfully!

Free educational and fun family activities Turknoy style aka deep-rooted into our family lifestyle are readily available in New York. There are lots of ideas, discussions and pondering mover aching feet and full stomach. Our senses are all overwhelmed.

Broadway is to talent and making it big in the world;

She’s a Harry Potter fanatic, an: watching the play brought lots of reading memories, lessons and bliss moments with Albus and Scorpius! #KeepTheSecrets (Broadway, June 2019)
Our first Broadway performance experience. How the kids have grown since the . (Broadway, October 2017)
When at home, we watch Late Show a lot. So kids know Stephen Colbert more than.. uummm Tom Hanks! 😂

Times Square is to branding and consumerism and making it known in the world

Times Square with family means discussion on economics, world inequality, wants over needs and lots of business ideas! (Times Square, June 2019)
Times Square, October 2017

Then, then… .. Financial District is money management and getting power over money in the world!

And until then… let’s get all the money vibes from The Wall Street Bull’s Balls. Legend has it that those who touch them will have prosperous and wealthy life. So, oohmmm we go. Seriously, we saw a Hindu lady who was actually doing this like a solemn prayer. So why not?

Our little ladies and the Charging Bull of Wall Street
Grab the bulls by balls and we’re set for life! Girl power!
All that financial wealth vibe with the ball and the Bull. 😀
Happiness is grabbing the Bull by the balls!

“My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength.” – Sicilian artist Arturo Di Modica, creator of The Charging Bull.

Broadway, Times Square or Wall Street, New York can make dreams come true for this fearless and are able to stand tall and proud.

Freedom is NOT the absence of fear… but by being able to act fearless.. whoever we may be!

World citizens, worldschooler or not, New York sets an example. It may be the place, it may be the city’s history, it may be capitalism, it may be a lot of things… yet we firmly believe that these ideals can be replicated.. anywhere in the world. Dreams are dreams without time zone and coordinates. With positivity and a lot of hard work, sprinkled with luck (bulls’ balls!) dreams do come true, whatever they may be.

We don’t use ❤️ to reflect our emotions towards any city easily. We’re snobs sometimes… but New York she really ❤️💛💚💙💜

Drøbak, A Pearl By The Oslo Fjord

One fine day from Oslo, after the Constitution Day, off we went for a day trip to enjoy  the impression of Norway’s most northerly “Southern” town. Drøbak is one of the Oslo fjord’s historic summer resorts, popularly known as A Pearl By The Oslo Fjord.

Feeling a little gloomy in Oslo weather… so off we went to a day trip!

Drøbak is situated at the narrowest point of the Oslo Fjord. From about the middle of the 1700s and onward, this tiny coastal hamlet developed into small town, supported by the timber industry and shipping. The town obtained its  own Trading Charter rights in 1842, prior to this it was controlled by Christiana (Oslo).  From 1850 until 1900 the export of fresh water ice to the Continent and England was very important trade. Drøbak may be a typical small town they have capitalized on industries and Nordic models (which our family thinks work!) but as we see this town now, is a pearl city with a fantastic view.

Drøbak may mean “Drøye bakke” in Norwegian words which literally means — for a man and his horse– an every lasting hill, a hill that drags on and on.

Drøbak was also used as an outer port for Oslo. In the days of sailing vessel the inner regions of the Oslo fjord were often frozen during the winter months and ships were unable to reach the city. The water around Drøbak was ice-free  for most of the year. Cargo intended for the capital, Oslo, would then be returned back in Drøbak and transported over-land and the frozen fjord by horse-drawn sledges. Some of the ships that were registered in Olso were often laid up for the winter in Drøbak in order to be rapidly commissioned at the start of the new freight season. Ships were laid up at the Kaholmene (Oscarsborg) and in Vindfangerbukta (literally means,”Catch the wind bay.”)

The Turknoys  very happy expression by the Drøbak port! 

 

The Tourist Information Office in Drøbak recommends three walking tour in the pearl island.

Recommended Tour 1 – The Whisper of history, the rumble of war.

Recommended Tour 2- Bathing Huts and Artists

Recommended Tour 3 – Hills, Commons and Quays

From the tour titles alone, we can infer that that this pearl city island has everything to offer! We’ve done a mix  and match of tours at our leisure and we had a blast.

All tours start from the Tourist Information Office  withe the view of this marina.

The Marina where all the fun starts  exploring Drobak

Starting our family walk from the harbour, which was established early in the  1920s, passing through Fiskerkroken between small wooden houses from 1700s to 1800s.  The first building standing so beautifully we saw when we arrived at the market  is the Julenissens postkontor- the post office of Santa Claus right after admiring the town’s library. (we love love books!) The library is built in the style of the late 1700s, with a rococo curve  to the roofline and with a Louis XVI main door opening to the market place.

Behind the tiny park with the statue of a fisherman catching a famous Drøbak cod is Tregaardens Julehus which was originally a chapel and now the House of Christmas where the festive season of Christmas can be experienced all year round.

The market is  the centre point of Drøbak which was renewed by world renowned architects, Snøhetta, way  back in 1977. Life in the market square seems to be very active despite being in the spring season when we visited. There are cafes in the center wherein beautiful classic Norwegian houses can be seen. Along Storgaten, we noticed a merchant’s house from 1800, which was a secondary school for many years and prior to that, a hotel. It has been in the possession of ship owners, timber merchants and exporters of ice as well as the Consul for The Netherlands, Henry Parr Samuelsen.

Julenissens postkontor- the post office of Santa Claus
Behind the tiny park with the statue of a fisherman catching a famous Drøbak cod is Tregaardens Julehus which was originally a chapel and now the House of Christmas where the festive season of Christmas can be experienced all year round
The Library and the Old Merchant House – classic!
There’s always time to read at the town’s library
Timber Classic and Norwegian Houses ❤️
Timber Classic and Norwegian Houses – this is actually someone’s house! Fabulous
We got lost in the town, and drool over houses!
Timber Classic and Norwegian Houses ❤️

The large timber merchant houses are good illustrations of how Drøbak  was built; a centrally placed main house surrounded by smaller  buildingsfor the labourers, the sawmill staff and sea-farers. We know that in 1800, these properties were comprised of several buildings. In addition to the main house, there was an outhouse for the stable  boys and there were stalls, pigsties and boatsheds, in all, some 12 buildings. Bankløkka, the large open area towards the church, was pasture and gardens belonging to the property. According to the people of Drøbak, Christian Magnus Falsen drafted the Norwegian Constitution in this house.

Kirkegatan (Church Street) with its avenue of trees which, when they were cut down provoked  public outcry but fortunately they were re-planted again in 2013. The avenue leads to the town’s church, built in 1776. The writing above the door informs us that the entire building was a gift from Niels Carlsen, a merchant and a shipowner, and his wife, Martha Zacharuasdatter. This is one of the only churches in Norway donated to a community by a husband and wife. The  interior is very interesting. The altar board has the same motive as the altar board in Our Saviour’s Church in Oslo. A curiosity worth noting is that the church clock has only one hand.

Drøbak Church

A bust of Niels Carlsen is situated close by, in the garden, by the path. Niels  Carlsen (1734- 1809) was a rich businessmen and one of the country’s most powerful shipowners at the end of 17001s. He owned a large part of the property along the seafront as well as the small islands where Oscarsborg fort is now situated.  He was the district’s most powerful and important citizen and benefactor, and demonstrated this by, among other things, his donation of the church.

The inscriptions over both the main door and the entrance to the north door tell us much about the spirit of times. The Carlsen family grave is a plot raised above the other graves in the churchyard.

By the church an entrance to Badeparken (Bathing Park), an area of smooth rock,  paths and beaches for swimming and walking.In the park, we can see the old bath house  from the time when there was a very active spa situated in the park. It was then possible to  have a Roman bath or a mud bath or other facial treatments. Here, as in other places along the coasts, efforts were made to attract visitors and develop tourism at the time when sailing ships had to give way to steam-driven vessels and the timber trade and export of ice were no longer the same importance.

Some small distance to the east of the church is a characteristic square, wooden building that was also a donation to the community from the Carlsen family. It is called Drøbak Hospital, and a board over the main entrance (facing east) tells us of the donor’s intention for the house, for the benefit of impoverished widows.) This became the town’s first Old Peoples’ Home, but today, it is used by the church and for Senior Citizen activities such as canteen, a hairdresser, a chiropodist and numerous hobby activities and contact personnel for senior citizens.

In the middle of the park  is the statue of Colonel Birger Eriksen. It  was he who gave the order to open fire on the German cruiser, “Blucher,” on 9th April 1940. The statue of  the Colonel shows him gazing out across the fjordto  his fortress form where the cruiser sunk. This action helped to delay the German occupation of Norway by one whole day, making it possible for members of the government and the king himself to escape Oslo and avoid being taken prisoner by the Germans.

 

The view of the Colonel
In the middle of the park  is the statue of Colonel Birger Eriksen
Remnants of war aside, the view is majestic!
Beautiful houses, beautiful flowers! Drøbak is gorgeous!

As we step out onto the breakwater with the view, we passed a bronze statue  of three very attractive mermaids, a work by a local painter and sculptor Reidar Finsrud.  Returning from our walk from the mermaids scuptures, we keep being amused by the gorgeous collection of small houses surrounding the small strip of coasts that many years ago was used for fishing boats (1750 – 1850)!

a bronze statue  of three very attractive mermaids — a work by a local painter and sculptor Reidar Finsrud

Would you  like to explore Drøbak  like we did? The Pearl By The Oslo Fjord… a stone’s throw way from Oslo. Well, figuratively of course. 

COUNTRY 35: ICELAND, Really… Inspired By Iceland!

“þetta reddast”- Icelandic wisdom which means, it will work out okay. (Of course, it will – all the time!)

As the cliche goes, If we’d  learnt one thing from traveling, it was the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them… and add  in that Icelandic wisdom… “IT WILL WORK OUT OKAY!)

So, how do we write about our one-month experience in Iceland  which turns out to be  THE BEST and THE MOST EXCITING family adventure we had, to date, in one single post?

Iceland is the  35th  Country out of our 100 Country Goals, the only “new”country  for us for 2018 – where the mom celebrate her 40th  birthday, dad’s 42nd and their 10th wedding anniversary! Out there in the very  cold summer breeze of Iceland, out in the wild. With only the the three kids, camping tent, winter clothes and blankets. More than enough to realize that “Life” indeed begins.. very happily!

I wish I can tell the stories of our adventures quite elaborately, comprehensively and articulately. But I really can’t. There were mostly moments that we take pictures, make sure it’s capture (albeit barely) and we’ll unplug and  be with Iceland nature, be with each other… be in moments with  each other together in perfectly inspiring  Iceland.

 

Jökulsárlón-Glacier Lagoon – the place we  used to associate with James Bond now has a totally new meaning…  “Tomorrow says the lazy.”- Icelandic Proverb 
“Tomorrow Never Dies “- James Bond 
Tomorrow… tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow! 

Powerful, magnificent falls and hopefully-not-so active and yes, magnificent volcanoes are mainly the stopovers during the drive around the Ring Road. We stopped sometimes were tourists stopped depending on the queue and the kids  momentum about  exploring!

 

Our Iceland Trip Highlights in bullet points – we  don’t recommend that families take this as guide -we went around Iceland with carefree, spontaneous, adventurous spirits -no  exact plans, no notes whatsoever and we didn’t want to stop!

Vestur til Suðurlands (West to South Iceland)

 

Gulfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss

And lots and lots of Puffin Watching and stalking!

Suður til Austurlands

✅ Jökulsárlón-Glacier Lagoon

✅ Endless waterfalls along scenic snowy mountains to glaciers and icebergs in lakes to ocean! Oh ha! Stunning and breathtaking!

Norður-Austurland

 Almost Permanent Rainbow and the most powerful falls in Europe, Delfoss and Selfoss

 Myvatn Nature Baths and lots and lots of bloopers!

 Artic Ocean Wildlife – seals stalking and whale watching!

Norðurland til Vesturlands

 More waterfalls every 15 minutes road trip! ☺️

 

 Godafoss (and the history of beginning of Christianity in Iceland!)

 Leif Ericson’s birthplace (and a lot of real facts about explorers!)

 More waterfalls 😋

 Jules Verne’s entrance to the Centre of the Earth

 Lots of authors books and literature

 Way more family bonding and laughters we will forever treasure! ❤️

Reyjavík, Ísland
✅ Hallgrimskirkja
✅ Lots of delicious fish and cheap 

 

Volcano crater, let’s put some science into our adventures!

There are consequences in traveling to this beautiful, modern and isolated country island. It made us question a lot of countries’ political and economic realities.  “Resource Curse” is real for most geographies blessed with natural resources and gorgeous landscapes. But Iceland- what have they done? Everything seems to be prospering – farming, tourism, energy utilization, gender equality?  Thinking about Iceland  makes our family pause for these questions we have yet to fully answer!

All that powerful energy of waterfall, we invite into our traveling and dreaming family..ooommmmmm

Iceland

Leif Ericson’s birthplace (and a lot of real facts about explorers!) maybe the highlight of our trip – explorers love to learn about explorers

 

Of course, trolls– stories, monuments and real ones — all over the islands! 

 

þetta reddast.

COUNTRY 30: Czech Republic, Land of Stories 

Kdo hledá, najde.
“He who looks, finds.”- Czech Proverb

 

First, a disclaimer – we never explored all parts of the country, like  what we attempt  for other countries we explored , at the very least, two cities of the country. Our thirtieth (30th, baby!) was mainly spent enjoying the Renaissance, baroque and gothic architecture of its capital city, Prague.  No matter,  boy, did  we  get ourselves full  of stories, facts,  science and history in, arguably, the city with  the most tourists.
We explored the city of Prague, mainly by foot. Yes, our 10 itchy, wanderlust-y feet, plus the three-wheel stroller, which turned 5 years in the family. 
New Town or Old Town, all bridges crossing the River Vlatava, ornate castles , holy churches, monasteries and our family’s favorites, library and brewery! 

Czech Republic, Land of Stories , oh boy do we have lots of stories
Library, architecture, churches and food! All in one city – Czechia

The heart of Central Europe definitely left a mark in our hearts to come back. We want to know more about the Bohemian and other parts of the country. 

 

Hey-O! Completed 30% of our goals. You can be like our family, too! Whatever your families’ priorities are, just go for it

COUNTRY 27: Incredible India 

“The world is a bridge. Cross it, but build no house upon it. ” – Akbar 


Finally made it to India as family! We’ve been to parts of India for last two years back, but we were not together and based on our own goal setting criteria which we have articulated  our own family’s travel goal   in Turknoy Travels 100 is a Lifestyle encouraging families to do the same.

 

Visiting countries separately doesn’t  count. India is our Country 27 when  we visited Goa, India , all five of us last July 2017. We definitely had the best  time  relaxing by the beaches of Arabian Gulf.

 

 

Of course, the seventh biggest country in the world deserves way more than one time visit, especially for India where the one city is a world different from the other when it comes to religion, traditions  and even geography. Visiting one city barely scratch the surface to understand India’s culture, religion, people and economy.

 

New Delhi, India

Them,  our  family traveling mom (ehhem, me! So far, the main author  of this blog) visited New Delhi twice. One time way back 2015 with kids and  their grandma and favourite  Aunt. The  second time was last year (2016) for mom-dad travel date. Fingers crossed,  we get to explore India every year,  one city at a time while we are based in the Middle East as expat family.
New Delhi  is a very progressive city with its train and metro  system ready to cater to more than20 million people living in the city. The city is crowded and buzzing with adventure ready to be discovered by local  and tourists alike.
Exploring New  Delhi is like a crash course or gateway for India’s diversity.  A very interesting city indeed.

Visited Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple with Kids in New Delhi (2015)


Couples Getaway in New Delhi (2016) visited Gandhi’s Memorial, Lotus Temple, India Gate, Red Fort and a lot of temples



Agra, India

From New Delhi, we took a  very  comfortable train transport to Agra to see a Wonder  of the World , Taj Mahal. What amazing structure it really is. Spending the day in Taj Mahal as a  couple   was very peaceful and yes,  cheesy and  romantic.

 

Taj Mahal and lots of cheesy couple talk 💞

Our conversation during our day out in Taj Mahal: 

Turknoys Mum: Would you build me a Taj Mahal when I die?

Turknoys Dad: No. I would love you more than Emperor loved her wife when she died while you are alive. 

Ha! 

Goa, India


With all honesty,  Goa reminds us of Turknoy’s Mom’s hometown Indang, Cavite. The tropical culture and the Catholic-village  practice has resemblances. Understandably, since that’s  how geography  and religion works.  The food,  however, couldn’t be more different.  Of course, we  love both.
 

A Worldschooling travel date with Unico Hijo in Goa, India (2015)


Finally explored Goa, India with all members of family (July,2017) – Country 27/100 ✈️


Needless to say, India is incredible! It’s obvious as we keep on coming back! 


With God’s will, we’ll  update this  blog with places we  will visit  in India. What is  your favourite city in India?  Please give suggestions.

 

 

COUNTRY 22: Ethiopia, Land of Origins

Do not hesitate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing. – Ethiopian Proverb

Woohoo! Our 3rd continent and our first  African country  to explore with kids. 

It maybe our love for discovering human history when our family travels that had drawn us in visiting Ethiopia. Our primary goal was to see Lucy, the 3.2 million years old fossil, probably the first evidence of humanity. The continent Africa is known as The Cradle of Humanity, then Ethiopia is its evidence repository.

Our Exploring Family with Lucy (model)
These traveling kids with Lucy!
As a worldschooling family who sets SMART goals to travel to 100 countries in all continents by 2022. This is our attempt to live life to the fullest with kids. Ethiopia is our first country in Africa (our third continent, 30th country visited, to date.
Ethiopia Tastes Awesomeeee!
When it comes to food and accommodation, we had the most unique experience in the country. Barely 4 hours away from Qatar, we were amazed with a totally different world. We definitely had a crash course in archeology and paleontology and how it works in the real world. Our three traveler kids had been to countless of Natural Museums in Europe and Asia yet we were impressed with somewhat “shabby” museum in Addis Ababa containing real human history treasures.

Look at our 5-year old, at home in a new continent ready to explore!
Lucy aside, here are 5 interesting facts about Ethiopia that everybody, yes, including kids, can appreciate:

1. Country History: Ethiopia is the only African country, which successfully fought against the scramble for Africa. It was never colonized, though Italians attempted to occupy it twice.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country worthy of independence.

2. UNESCO Heritage Sites: There are nine, day trips from Addis Ababa possible! Most famous sites are Lalibela twelve-rock-hewn churches. We visited Christian Orthodox churches which gave an interesting perspective for a family with both Islam and Catholic members.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

3. Religion: Ethiopia appears in the Bible 45 times both in Old and New Testament.

Inside An Orthodox Christian Church

4. Origin of Coffee. Coffee is Ethiopian’s gift to the world. It was found in the Kaffa Region (South-Western Ethiopia.) Even before the visit, we are non-Starbucks coffee drinkers. Enjoying the real “coffee culture” experience in Addis Ababa with really strong and delicious coffee with local ceremonies

5. Abebe Bikila, a star Ethiopian marathon runner, won Africa’s first Olympic gold medal in 1960. Add in the country’s high elevation Addis Ababa is athletes’ heart’s working out paradise. Made us want to become runners and marathoners.

Street Soccer in Adus Ababa
Vast fresh air, massive wild… Ahhh life is perfect with a horse
And oh, more pluses — the Ethiopian women are really gorgeous and almost everybody is kind to tourists. Ethiopia is one of the safest country in Africa to visit. With low costs airlines flying to Addis Ababa almost every day from Doha, Qatar where our family’s currently based, for sure, we would be back for some backpacking with kids.

Take us back to Addis Ababa where kids run wild with the horse and dogs

COUNTRY 20: Kingdom of Cambodia and Angkor Wat (and So Much More!) With Kids 

“Don’t  take the straight path or the winding path. Take the path your ancestors have taken.” – Khmer Proverb 

The proverb made us think  and ponder about the ambiance all throughout the country when  we visited. What we felt as family is that the country has been  living out the glory of their ancestors,  mainly from Angkor Wat legacy.  From flag symbol to beer labels, Angkor Wat is very prominent in all the places we’ve visited in the country.

 

Is that a good or bad thing? Well, we think it depends. Do they improve of what was  and capitalize on growing at  the  rate what it  was like during “ancestors” period, then yes. However, if there’s no significant growth and  milestones since the  past,  and  the present got stuck with the thinking of the  ‘great old days” then, it’s definitely a NO for us. This is  coming from our family, who are strong advocates of goal setting based on own family ideals – it takes courage. 

CROSSING THAILAND CAMBODIA-BORDER

Straight from our family adventures in Amazing Thailand, we walked to the Kingdom of Cambodia by foot. Ain’t that cool? Crossing the borders by walking, yes definitely.
Good

Crossing Thailand- Cambodia Border with these kids happy exploring feet
Walking from one country to another – yes, this deserves a family groupie photo ❤️

SIEM REAP

Exploring this vibrant city Siem Reap means visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor Wat and  discussing at length the  wonders of one of the largest  temple of the world.

Our October visit to Angkor Wat  may be the  best weather to go. It was hot and definitely humid. With   kids, hyper and cranky at  the same time, serious discussion about different belief system in ancient culture mixed with the region’s histories of empire was very challenging! There were a  lot of whining and a  lot of playing,too! Add in a lot of tourists.

The mere wide area of the temple already fascinated us  and our  youngest reactions to temple, terrorised us. Her view of temple at five years old is not favorable,  although quite amusing for the rest of the  family members.

Angkor Wat With Kids in October
The best view of Angkor Wat With Kids Playing and Running Around
Don’t forget to be blessed by Buddhist Monk inside the Angkor Wat
Standing On The Very Center of Temple
Angkor Wat With Kids is Quite Educational and Great Fun… Really!
From A Hindu Temple to A Buddhist Temple – Can you Explain that to this Muslim/ Christian Family Please?! Oh, we get it!

 

OVERNIGHT BUS WITH KIDS FROM SIEM REAP TO SIHANOUKVILLE

Although, we love tropical weather over desert weather, we really  rather be at the beach or any body  of water when in  a tropical country like our dear country home.

From Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, we took an overnight bus thinking we’ll save a night   in a hotel plus save time to be able to explore more of the  Kingdom of Cambodia. Did we?  Oh yes, we did! We do NOT recommend it to family with kids, though. It’s not safe,not to mention, not convenient nor hygienic. The bus has not  toilet. There are pit stops every few hours of bus speeding recklessly in the night, passengers coming  and going at every busy stop. It was pretty stressful for us parents, while the kids sleep beside  each other with dirty blankets. We needed to use the blankets as  the bus air conditioning was on full blast.

Yeah, the things we subject ourselves into when we travel with kids. This is definitely under the list of “why did we do that?” category of our travel “Remember when?!” conversations.

Cambodia Backpacker Style – Waiting for the Overnight Bus

Our Overnight Bus – Oh Dear Lord, Not Again For Kids!
Siem Reap to Sihanoukville Overnight Bus

 

SIHANOUKVILLE

The beach stay in Sihanoukville is almost worth  the bus ride. The beach is fantastic, although the water is more on the  lukewarm side than refreshing.

The Gulf of Thailand Beach Sunset
Nothing Like The Sea to Take a Break from Temples

 

KOH RUNG ISLAND 

Somehow, we don’t often hear Cambodia and beach in the same sentence together. Yet Koh  Rung Island, the second biggest island in Cambodia is said to be one of the best in SouthEast Asia. So, off we went.

What do we think of the Koh Rung? It’s a good beach island, yes. The  best? We’ve seen better in Philippines, of course. We were  also expecting the same convenience we had during our  Maldives trip so a little bit disappointed when we learned that there’s no electricity in the island during certain period of the day. We also got a tree house  with no air conditioning with little to non facilities. Koh Rung is a little still developing island, based on our opinion.

Overall, the beach is fantastic and one of a  kind. Beachlovers would definitely be awed if they do visit.

 

This island is fantastic! Fine white sand and fine gold sand in the same shore! Plus treehouse stay is fabulous
Fine Gold Sand Beach adjacent to Fine White Sand Beach – Kao Rung!

 

Life is awesome by the beach
Life is the beach ❤️

PHNOM PENH

We explored this quite crowded city in two days. As a worldschooling family, we spent a great deal  in the Angkor Wat  museum and Royal Palace. As usual, the kids enjoyed running around  and parents wishing that they are learning something.

😃

Royal Palace

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia  is a fascinating country with resources that are diverse, culture that is rich in history and legacy. The people definitely are one of the nicest in the world. We wouldn’t mind going  back to Cambodia with kids if they do request!

 

Have your family  been to Cambodia? Explored temples or beaches? Do tell. 

 

COUNTRY 9: NEPAL – Mt. Everest, Hinduism and A Whole Lot of Kindness!

“To travel, to experience and learn, that is to live.” – Tenzing Norgay
Nepal is beautiful country. With the country’s majestic landscape, the country has more to offer than any countries of Europe we’ve been to. Add in the Mt. Everest, nothing less than the tallest mountain in the world, to explore, to conquer, to use as magnificent backdrop, or to just admire the wonder of nature at its best! It is no surprise that there are a lot of tourists visiting the country, no matter the season.

our favorite landscape photo!

 

waking up to this for several mornings is serenity!

Nepal is different to our eyes. Instead of churches or mosques, there would be Hinduism temples. There are holy cows (no pun intended) freely roaming everywhere in the country. Holy people basking in the sun, conquering the feat of being holy. It is refreshing to see a new perspective on religion, while enjoying the Himalayas. It is humbling and interesting experience of all family members.

One of the Hindu Temple

 

Pashupathinath Temple where they cremate Hindus when they die

Ten days in the country left us in huge awe with lots of questions about our lives’ priorities. We didn’t see huge mansions or tall buildings yet most of the houses have open rooftops to be able to view the Himalayas freely, probably with a cup of coffee or tea. What a blessing it is to be able to look at the world’s highest peak any given time! Yes, there are no luxury cars, fancy houses or maybe even state of the art appliances and expensive furniture! But who really is richer? Uhhmm, that is a rhetorical question for someone who has wisdom. To experience nature is to live. To actually see beauty of nature in this purest form is to be alive happily! This makes traveling to Nepal worth everybody’s while.

We visited four major cities in the country, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nagarkot and Patan.

Kathmandu – Three lovely days of Hinduism, Buddhism, Temples and Local Living

posing with the Hindus Holy Men

Going to Pokhara to Kathmandu, we followed the land route. We instantly regretted this when we saw two trucks falling off the road, and our local driver nodding it off like it’s the most normal event in the world – “The land route “normally” have two or three accidents daily.” Well, it was not in the tourist information! I don’t remember the kids huddled so closed together for the remaining four hours of our land journey!

Pokhara – Hello Annapurna for Two Days!

by the Phewa Lake, Pokhara overlooking Annapurna
such carefree joy by the lake!

Nagarkot – Four beautiful days of enjoying the sunrise and sunset with Himalayas as backdrop

We feasted our eyes waking up the majestic nature scenery and marijuana plantation (we kid you, not!) We checked in a hostel in Nagarkot where we didn’t need any hotel amenities, the view in itself is the attraction.

Patan – One day exploring Patan plus our Mt. Everest Flight

Our Mt. Everest Flight

The highlight of our trip, is of course, the Mt. Everest Flight. It was a great experience for the family. Seeing the Annapurna and peak of Mt. Everest from an airplane with fellow tourists – the oohss and the aahhhhs! It is an experience of the lifetime.

More memorable,though,  will be how friendly the Nepalis are. Where we live, there are a lot of Nepalis working, expatriates like us. Their noble intention to not cause any harm to anyone or anything is just something that makes us want to convert to Hinduism (being overly simplistic here).

There may not be infrastructures, even the basic ones, in Nepal. The feel-good feeling over any luxuries in life, hearts over pockets – that we could use all of us, any day in our lives.
For our family. Nepal means kindness. To experience that fully from both ways is how we should live fully.

COUNTRY 7: Liechtenstein: The Prince and Us!

“I think it can be taught, but of course, to be successful, you have to be at least gifted to a certain extent. When I was a boy I was taught to play the piano. The teacher gave up soon because I was totally ungifted,” he says. “I think it’s the same with leadership. It’s still a little bit of a black art.”
– Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein on Leadership
 
After our family’s visit to Monaco, a very small country, our family started to become fascinated with small monarch countries. It’s amazing how a small group of (very rich and powerful) people look up to their monarch leader and enjoy all the citizen’s benefits of a what-it-seems to be a powerful state.
 
Liechtenstein is a tiny alpine state nestled on a narrow strip of land between Switzerland and Austria. The landscape of this narrow strip of land is indeed magnificent and resembles mountain paradise.

Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

We spent a full day of awe in Liechtenstein. We watched a marathon of healthy people, young and old, we ate at the healthy restaurant, we trekked the path leading to the Castle of Vaduz, where apparently, the Prince of Liechtenstein live. 

A majestic landscape of a small monarch country!
kids watching the marathon!

Having that bold tourist attitude, after the long beautiful trek up the Castle, we knocked at the gate of the Castle of Vaduz and asked with lots of enthusiasm the heavily armed guards where the entrance to the Castle is. To which they replied with a polite laugh, that the Castle of Vaduz is not open for public as the Castle is where the Prince of Liechtenstein lives.

Castle of Vaduz , not a museum but a monarch residence!

 

Ooopps!

We retreated to our family photo taking when the citizen running pass by and we asked him, again boldy, to take our family picture with the castle. Poor guy didn’t have any choice; we won’t let the moment pass by without that family photo.

One of our most loved family travel photo!
Turknoys Exploring Liechtenstein

 

And then the gate of the Castle of Vaduz opened! The BMW car drove out of the Castle, the Prince on the driver seat looking so ..”normal.”

We were not sure it was the Prince himself until another citizen, this time a beautiful woman passed by us and we asked her again to take a family photo of us (yeah, we know, tripod, right?!) and she asked: Did you see the Prince?

And husband replied, quite merrily: Yes!

Kids were curious and happy. The prince driving his own car, without a desperate princess running after him asking him to save her! A prince who is actually a real person living in a real life castle.

Just like that, our kids’ eyes were open to the “real world.” Which turned out to be more wonderful than what Disney fairy tales want us to believe!

It turns out the Prince Hans-Adam II really lived quite a great monarch example. One of the wealthiest monarch who saved his family’s business right after business studies like any other normal student. He then saved the country and built a name for it, hence, he is quite well-loved among all the citizens.

 Prince Hans- Adam II will always be a great example of a leader for our family. 

We feel very lucky spending one day in Liechtenstein. The Prince will never know how much his life gave so much impact to a traveling family like us. Yet, we will remember this as one of our fondest traveling moment.

We want to be part of this world!!

What a beautiful place to be!!!

The Camel Story

Look out! Camel Crossing!

One of our favorite story goes:

Not too long ago:

Baby Camel: Mother, may I ask you some questions?

Mother Camel: Sure, my son.

Baby Camel: Why do camels have hump?

Mother Camel: Camels are desert animals. We need the humps to store water and we are known to survive without water for a long time.

Baby Camel: Why are our legs long and feet rounded?

Mother Camel: Obviously, they are meant for walking in the desert better than anyone does.

Baby Camel: Why are our eyelashes long? Sometimes these bother my sight.

Mother Camel: Those long eyelashes are your protective cover. They help protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind.

Baby Camel: The hump is to store water for long days in the desert, our legs and feet to walk in the desert and our eyelashes as protective cover. Mother?

Mother Camel: Yes?

Baby Camel: What are we doing in this zoo?!
 

Moral Lesson of the Story: Skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences are only useful if you are in the right place.

Travel Lesson of the Story: Find the perfect place for your skills, knowledge, abilities and experiences. Travel. A Lot. Get to know all different places in this world. The world is huge to settle for the zoo.

Home Education Lesson of the Story: You can’t really know how to use your skills, abilities and knowledge and gain experiences if you are stuck in the zoo!

Kids look up to their mothers and fathers for the answers. Most of the time, the obvious questions need the obvious answers. Obvious answers need obvious actions.

We home educate our children. We aim to travel. We want to use our capabilities to the fullest. Zoo is so confining. That’s obvious, right?

Camels shouldn’t be in the zoo but in the desert! Free range!!! ❤