“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?
We’ve been traveling for the past two months and it’s really very difficult to go back to our “normal” including blogging! But hey-o! It’s New Year and we intend to make 2017 way better than 2016, which is saying a lot because 2016’s filled with lots of travelling and great vibes! 2017 is still new, so here’s our family wishing you and the rest of the world health, prosperity, happy feet, mind, energy and soul for 2017!!
“Let’s be more amazing than last year!” – Turknoys
Here goes the blog about Thailand! 😘 “A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in society; other person is also be good.” -King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 1927-2016
When it comes to family travel, seeing a new country or a new place all at the same time, brings a lot of emotions! Yet we realized, when we traveled to Thailand, a land both of the Turknoy parents have visited, separately almost a decade ago, that it brings more emotions, add in the nostalgia and fascination how much the country have changed since we last visited. There’s a little bit of biased when traveling as we wanted desperately for kids to see Thailand as we saw the country when we were younger. That was interesting feeling!
We visited three cities in the country and we can’t get enough! We explored several temples in Bangkok, mesmerized by Chiang Mai festivals (which were in our bucket list for quite some time) and were fascinated by Chiang Rai!
For this adventure, the best travel moments are the cheapest ones! We took the sleeper’s train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, went family biking around in a very scenic rural park, and lots of street food market – really a lot! (This will be part 2 of the blog.😘)
Thailand’s capital city has the longest name of any city in the world (it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records – you can look it up – Kroong Tep or Bangkok!)
There’s also the Unicorn Café which we wanted to go because of our fascination with #UnicornVibes . Although a little bit underwhelmed by the café, we still managed to enjoy the uniqueness of the place in the city!
We also had a quick chat with a relative who has been working in the city for quite some time and loved it there! We loved it there and we only scratched the surface of an amazing country!
And more favorite part of the city – their Science Museum! Very underrated, we’d say! We’ve been to a lot of Science Museum, including Scandinavian countries’ museum and the Bangkok Science Museum ranks high for us to top!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Loi Krathong could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. The festival takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai Lunar Calendar; hence, the exact date of the festival changes every year. The festival usually falls November. When we visited Chiang Mai, it was November 18-20 . It was a bit toned down because of the year of mourning of the King of Thailand but it was still very fascinating for all family members.
The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits. Each one of us made us wish as we send out a krathong to the Ping River. We also sent out all bad thoughts we have wishing for all the great things yet to come for the world.
Yi Peng or Floating Lanterns Festival coincides with Loi Krathong. Floating Lanterns are launched into the air where they gracefully float through the sky – oh such blissful sight! The festival is meant as a time to make merit. Our family sent out two lanterns to give thanks for all the blessings and to make a wish! We also watched the major parade, it was all meant to honor the greatness of the Thai King reign, solemn and beautiful parade.
Three memorable nights , two festivals! Our hearts are overwhelming with happiness and optimism enough to last us for a long time! We believe we should celebrate life like this all the time. Less commercial, more looking forward and giving thanks to life’s energy!
During the days of the festival, we managed to squeeze in a day trip to the Long Neck Tribe where life is simple, faith in tribe is strong! When we see places and people like this, we are always reminded that life is always simpler than how we made them to be.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
White Temple is a very contemporary designed temple! Not an ordinary temple and worth the visit, 3-5 hours ride from Chiang Mai.
One of the most memorable activities we’ve done as family was our family biking around Singha Park – beyond words! The majestic view, the stunning landscape, the kids laughters for two hours, the parents panting and struggling to bike up the slopes! Ohhh what memories!
One very interesting and profound Thailand experience:
All throughout the country, the Thai people are all in mourning, showing their grief and loss of the King of Thailand, the longest reigning monarch, by wearing black or non-bright colored outfits for a year. We also wore black or white when we can even when attending festivals. The loyalty towards a leader and a country is very evident among the Thai it’s humbling and overwhelming! This is when a lot of leaders are being scrutinized all over the world. Maybe we should obey more than we are complaining as a world’s citizen. Maybe we should act like Thais every now and then.. Maybe the world would be in a better, more unified state. Maybe that’ll work.
The Land of Smiles, Amazing Thailand, we want more! (there’s Part 2 of our Thailand blog.)
Turkey! Turkey! It’s great country to travel with kids!
Home sweet home adventures are the best! There is just pure joy in traveling in Turkey. This country is home for us. We don’t live here for now, but our hearts will always be thinking of family and awesome places in this majestic and historical country. To use Alexander The Great’s metaphor, The Capital of The World. (He’s referring to Constantinople, now Istanbul… but the entire Turkey for our family is, The Capital of The World.)
Since, we have been asked often what are the places to visit in Turkey, thought it would be a great idea to list our favourites, so far. Places we actually visited with kids, where it is possible for the parents and kids to enjoy both at the same time, while learning from the adventures.
There are a lot of places to visit in Turkey. This list is no way comprehensive (our five top favourite places!) and no way connected to any travel agencies.
1. Pamukkale – This means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish. Travertine thermal springs, pools and limestone walls can be enjoyed for several days in any season. We have visited the place during winter and we still enjoyed the springs with much lesser crowd. We also enjoyed the oldest swimming in the world.There are a lot of limestone fallen formation which makes the place look like a make-believe world. Discussions with kids can be focused on science or geography!
The Ancient City of Hierapolis is also adjacent to the city which can be a huge playground for kids while studying archaeology and history.
This is number 1 on our list and seriously, an underrated tourist attraction in Turkey!
2. Cappadocia – This place is also number 1 in our hearts! Lots of first for our family. First Hot Air Balloon Ride, stayed in an actual cave for several days, can hotel, that is, explored the underground city, definitely seemed like a make-believe world like Pamukkale.
3. Troia – This maybe Brad Pitt influenced way more than Homer, but being the actual place of Troy, where the Trojan Horse maybe located for real, is just awesome baseline discussion about Homer with kids.
This is a personal choice for us and unless you really love history and archeology, this may be a bit of “tourist trap.” for those tourists who will get of their way to visit.
4. Temple of Athena – The place is close to Izmir and Ephesus, but the view from the Temple defines serenity. Not necessarily recommended for travel with kids, but for those looking for solitude. We were just lucky, we managed to enjoy the view and serenity with kids. Great moments.
5. The Capital of the World – Constantinople or modern day Istanbul – There are a lot of things to do. Full week exploring with kids may not be sufficient. The list just goes on.. Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Bhosporus Boat Trip!
To stay in one continent and see the the other one from afar – this should be on everybody’s bucket list, don’t you think?! Visit Istanbul!