“I think the main task in life we all have received, is to become the best version of ourselves, no matter how difficult life can be. ” King Harald V of Norway
Det kongelige slot, or simply, Slottet is the royal residence home to HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja. Slottet is located at the top of Karl Johans gate, completed in 1849.
The Royal Palace Park surrounds the palace on all sides and features grassy areas, majestic trees, small ponds and statues. These grassy ares are perfect for a quick picnic/ hanging out in front of the castle while admiring the majestic neo-classical style with the facade of stuccoed brick.
Beyond hanging out during sunny days (or any cold days!) there are tours in summer, changing of guards every 1:30pm and service in the Palace Chapel every Sundays at 11am.
Our family believes the King Harald of Norway is THE coolest monarch. He is a champion sailor; he represented his country three times in Olympic Games; he support all genres and religions.
Not so long ago, he quoted Love Actually, in comparing Norway with United Kingdom,
“We may be a small country, but we’re a great one…”
He is certainly has more right to state this than Hugh Grant.
Once upon a time in 1950s…. so the real fairy tale starts King Harald saw a commoner, love at first sight, chased after her, courtship of nine years! King Olav V disapproves of the Prince not marrying another royalty from Sweden, a country of alliance. They defied all odds and eventually got married and live happily ever after ruling a great country… making it greater every day…
It’s a lot better than Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s story, right?!
Obviously, lots of positive energy around The Royal Palace that our family wishes to absorb. And really, it’s a fine place to visit!
Don’t miss passing through The Royal Palace when in Oslo, Norway!
We arrived in Chicago when it was rainy! We underestimated the windy and chilly weather about the city so we decided to enjoy the city from the indoors. We planned for a quick stopover at the Chicago Children’s Museum for about 1-2 hours only yet we ended up staying until closing time!
Kids rule in play and learning in Chicago Children’s Museum. We have all raves and praises about this awesome kids place.
The staff were friendly, the place is ergonomically designed for kids to play and for parents to enjoy their kids play; or better yet, to enjoy playing with their kids.
Now, let’s talk about Mission. Obviously, our family is advocate of setting family goals linked to one own’s Mission Statement. With the mission statement, “to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect”
“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.
Promised berries will not fill the basket.- Latvian Proverb
There are no promises for family satisfaction. Only commitment and lots of goal setting. In this case, plans how to get berries to fill our basket! It’s either we want baskets full of berries or not. No half hearted berry lover, right!
There is however, best way to enjoy life… Slowly or quick and dirty… hoops, family blog… uhhmm quick and dreamy!
With this in mind, Latvia! A very musical, creative, artistic, spectacularly cold country.
First.. enjoy slowly. Get to know the country.
Latvia is a not-so-big country by the the Baltic Sea . Come on, check it out. It’s really a country! Oh the occupation regimes seems endless… In early times, it was occupied by Balts, and was later ruled by Vikings, Germans, Poland, Sweden, and Russia. It only became an independent country in 1918. (Corrected by our favorite Rebel Travel Family from Latvia, so this should be accurate. – Advanced Happy 100 Years of Independence, Latvia! Exciting year ahead.) That’s barely like a person who discovered traveling to new places and enjoying new found freedom after series of boarding schools after schools after school after 8-to-5 corporate slavery.
We stayed in Riga, the capital city, for ten days. Our eldest traveller stayed with a host family for a Youth Choir trip while we stayed in the heart of the Old Town of Riga. She had a lot of fun with her host family she didn’t want to leave. They are all so musically inclined, something missing from her real family. We were sure that if they offered her to stay for a longer time even after the scheduled choir concerts, she would have said stayed. Sending all gratitude and love to this fantastic Latvian family
We didn’t see nor appreciate how green the city was. We visited March, beginning of spring. Hence, our desire to go back during summer season. Another wish list in our growing travel to do list with family.
We did however stayed indoors a lot a experienced a taste of Riga, literally and figuratively.
The more we stay in Latvia, the more we were hooked. Off we got on the trains and enjoyed this super affordable public transportation.
Out of Riga, maybe our quick and dreamy version of Latvia. We head on to Jumarla for three days to freeze our beautiful .. faces.. by the Baltic Sea. Such a shame we didn’t get to swim and see the beach crowded with hot bodies. There still saw lot of tourists walking by the beach.
We took more trains and visited more quiet towns, we have enjoyed the serenity and silence of empty streets. The kids definitely has their share of echoing screams. We felt like we were in the opening credits of a country movie, eerie silence, solitude. We’ll, it was fun, cold experience.
Oh the food, wine, cheese and coffee! Let’s not elaborate on that in this blog or we might go booking a ticket to Latvia for a hot wine and salmon. We ate a lot of meat, too. It might be not politically correct to post photos of them, you know…. pork.
No matter how you travel Latvia or any country in particular , slow or quick, night or day, fast food or fine dining, herbivore or carnivore, medium rare or well done, train or bus, music or story, travel it your own unique busy way! Just be alive. Let’s be busy being alive.
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.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out? ‘ – Dr.Seuss
Oh the places we find together, we even managed to find Dr.Seuss House! Or at least, that’s what we call Hotel Galeria! A unique hotel very close to the Main Train Station in Bratislava, Slovakia (our 29th Country! )
The facade of the Hotel Galeria is full of colors, screaming for admiration. The irregular shape and architecture is quite pleasing to watch from afar, much more in a closer view.
The view from the inside of the hotel also never disappoints. The lobby looks like an artist hard-at-work and all wall and table covers look like abstract colorful painting!This is not a sponsored post. We were just in awe having to experience a hotel like this that our eldest traveller described the hotel in her IG account as “one of the best hotels she has stayed at.” We book our hotel reservation one day before heading to Slovakia from Hungary. It was a reasonable rate for a 2-star hotel.
Yes, it’s a 2-star hotel. We could recommend a lot of improvements on facilities, yes, but we always get what we paid for, right? With this hotel, plus lots of color, art and good customer service!
Hoops, the name of the hotel is Hotel Galleria. However, this hotel will always be Dr. Seuss House for our family. It’s a really unique concept worth benchmarking anywhere. Don’t you agree?
“Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.” – Dr.Jose P. Rizal, Pambansang Bayani ng Pilipinas
Translation: The youth is the hope of our nation, – Dr. Jose P.Rizal, Philippine National Hero
Well, the world changed a lot since that Dr. Jose P. Rizal made that quote infamous. There is still a ring of truth into that quote at this day and age, that we believe. Despite the fact that how many generations of youth have let down Dr. Jose P. Rizal? Well, we are not an authority on Philippine History, much more an expert on interpreting Philippine current events based on history. Although, proudly we say, our family is raising three global citizens exploring the world (Turknoy Travels 100 , now 30/100) using their Philippine passports.
So, from one Pinoy family to another, we encourage you to travel with kids and we have three persuading reasons:
Pinoys are World Class, Traveling Magnifies Opportunities For Pinoy Kids to be World Class. Bragging aside, we know how Filipinos contribute to international workforce, arts, science and new discoveries. Monkey see, monkey do. When kids see Filipinos all over the world, doing what they like best and being admired for it by almost all nationalities, that fire of passion will burn until they accomplish something similar.
A lame comparison, albeit common, would be to be so excited about having a Filipino Restaurant in a certain city in any country! We will definitely be tempted to visit and chat with the owner about how that success came to be.
Don’t even get us started about Filipinos winning in international competition, mainly in singing or in fashion. Don’t we all feel that same old “Proud to be Pinoy” sentiments? Speaking of which… “Uyy, there’s a Pinoy winner in Project Runway.” or that Isn’t Bruno Mars Filipino by blood line?!
There’s fire burning in every adult Filipino to succeed in international scene. When that fire started kindling at an early age, there’s no amount of life’s fire extinguisher can void that.
The World is Beautiful. There’s More to Life Than SM.
Disclaimer alert, these statements are written from a village Filipino perspective, as our family came from a far away village with happily-ever-after endings. Yes, a remote, small village where everybody knows everybody’s names and sadly and happily, depends on how you look at it, everybody’s business.
Way way back, do you know where our family go to entertain guests? Where we think, we would go for an adventure? SM! Yes, those big, gigantic, enormous buildings, apparently the biggest malls in Asia or in the world. molding the minds of millions of Filipinos to buy their hard earned dollars, euros, pesos or any denomination because they are SM! Imagine how small scale entrepreneurs and small scale real estate agents would prosper without these gigantic commercial monopoly.
Okay, got a little carried away there. The point is, the Philippines has lots of magnificent islands, mountains, seas, waterfalls to explore. Thanks to a gazillion of tourists who got viral attention in the internet because they showcase the beauty of our motherland, The Philippines.And yes, we know that Pinoy millennial have been traveling the world and the country quite extensively, like no other generation has ever done. Why not Pinoy kids, follow millennial lead?
Going farther, when we travel with kids, we get to see that other countries have a lifestyle, not necessary like our country that works. In Europe, there are no big malls, yet the tourists and locals visit Old Towns patronising small shops earning their living for centuries! Okay, maybe for decades. But that’s the point. Business can run for decades because they have the sense of heritage.
It’s a beautiful world, not in a supermall, megamall kind of way! The earlier the kids learn this, the better for the country!
That Colonial Mentality (Hey Joe!)
Most – Hey Joe! You American?
Some: Not all white people are Americans! Some of them are Brits!
Obviously pun intended. But hey, not Filipinos fault! Our gorgeous archipelago has been colonized for centuries and the school textbooks are yet to be revised to include stories about other countries (you know, like what are Bohemians?! – seriously, hope we are wrong for thinking this, do educate us!)
Every country is different. Each one has different history and culture. White, black, brown, yellow, pink. If we are not open to this understanding and keen on generalizing skin colors, we might as well be uneducated. Europe has 50 countries, each one of the countries have diverse backgrounds and most of them, black, white, yellow, pink and every color in between. Africa is not country, the continent has 54 countries and no, not all of their inhabitants are black! Add in the other 4 continents, and we have almost 200 nationalities. We know how it feels to be stereotype as ” You Asian looks the same with your small eyes and like rice so much!” Ggrr
I guess, our point is, travel with kids for them to introduce diversity!
These are our three personal reasons why we travel with our Pinoy kids. There are more, like appreciation of world religion, which we elaborated on our Singapore blog post and our worldschooling ideas. We intend to share more as we go on more adventure with our family goals.
Do you have a burning reason why Pinoy kids should travel the world?