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;
Times Square is to branding and consumerism and making it known in the world
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?
“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.
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.
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.”)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)!
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.
“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.
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)
✅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!
✅ 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! ❤️
✅ Lots of delicious fish and cheap
✅ Second hand bookstores and fancy ones, too! We love books!
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!
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!
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!
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
3. Religion: Ethiopia appears in the Bible 45 times both in Old and New Testament.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.