A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: svjorber

Kyoto (and more Tokyo Baseball)

sunny 30 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Jordan and I spent Saturday biking through the streets, alleyways and bike paths of Kyoto.
c_bikes.jpg

We visited and saw a few things including Nijo Castle and its beautiful gardens.
2456031981_4a35ee54a9.jpg

On Sunday morning, we visited Kyoto's Golden Temple (made out of real gold!)
2456055197_74bee4b298.jpg
2456885296_b2a94b82a1.jpg

then took the bullet train back to Tokyo to see the Tokyo Yakult Swallows crush the Baystars 6-2...
c_swallows.jpg

The excitement came in the 6th inning when Jordan and Sveta were featured on the scoreboard....
c_board.jpg

Tomorrow is our last day....

Posted by svjorber 18:31 Archived in Japan Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Hakone Area

semi-overcast 33 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Hakone is a major tourist area in the Tokyo region located near Mt. Fuji. We reached Hakone by the express 1 1/2 hour "Romance Train" from Tokyo. The Japanese know how to do trains...
2455988261_6c156e4fd9.jpg
We bought a fare card that enabled us to ride all the modes of transport in the area for three days, including buses, trains, funiculars, cable cars and ships!. We reached our hotel by bus, the venerable Fujiya Hotel
2455992949_2b7724c401.jpg
2455991023_3d222d219f.jpg
and rested for the evening. The next day, we explored the area, starting with the Hakone-Tozan Railroad.
2456006931_a965ef727d.jpg
all the way to Gora where we switched to a funicular...
2456019563_4451330842.jpg
and then to a couple of cable cars to reach the top of the mountain at 3000 ft. The mountain is the result of a volcanic eruption and still spews boiling water laden with sulfur and other minerals.
2456847232_fd0b28e8df.jpg2456827018_b954616fcb.jpg2456825630_e7528c51ab.jpg
This water is also used to feed the local hotels for hot baths and a thriving wellness industry. A local custom is to cook eggs in this boiling mess. The eggs turn black and are said to add 7 years to your life if you eat one and 14 if you eat two!
begg.jpg

From the top of the mountain, one can catch glimpses of the elusive Mount Fuji, which appears and disappears throught the clouds in an instant.
2455999671_42d1ab1408.jpg

One the other side of the mountain lies lake Ashi, where we cruised the lake on a replica of an old ship.
2456015809_4562050599.jpg
In the afternoon of the third day, we also visited the great Hakone open air museum
2456850088_8bc4543e7b.jpg2456851590_c659af0c6e.jpg2456026787_b1d0034f88.jpg
and then ended up taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto with top speeds of 160 miles per hour...
2456857326_547cd75d5a.jpg2456857200_b8b6a66349.jpg
See you in Kyoto...

Posted by svjorber 06:03 Archived in Japan Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Tokyo

sunny 34 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Before taking off for the short 3 hour hop form Shanghai to Tokyo, Jordan visited the Northwest Airline 747-400 flight deck to ensure that everything was under control.
a747.jpg
Upon arrival in Tokyo, we sampled all the modern culinary delights so dear to us, including Starbucks, and Jordan's favorite... Subway!
asubway.jpg
The next day, we visited Sensoji Temple and the area surrounding, walked through a couple of other neighborhoods and ended the day at a Giant versus Dragon baseball game (well planned in advance) at the Tokyo Dome.
agiants.jpg
The next day we headed for the countryside.

Posted by svjorber 05:15 Archived in Japan Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Shanghai

overcast 33 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

We concluded our trip to China with a couple of days in Shanghai, a city of 17 million... Our visit included the famous Yuyuan Garden located in the heart of the old city,
d_Yu_Gardens.jpg
and the old city which has been mostly rebuilt into commercial developments (here is a view at night)
d_old_town.jpg
We also visited the waterfront, also known as the Bund (here is the view opposite the Bund)
d_Shanghai_view.jpg

That's it. Japan is next.

Posted by svjorber 15:33 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Luoyang & Kaifeng

rain 31 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Separated by 2 1/2 hours on the highway, Luoyang and Kaifeng are both former imperial capitals. In Luoyang, we visited the White Horse Temple and then spent some time at the Shaolin Temple, home of the most famous Kung Fu school. We had a chance to visit the temple and the amazing "Pagoda" forest
d_shaolin.jpg
followed by a Kung Fu demonstration
d_shaolin_3.jpg
Jordan and I even tried some of the monk's training equipment...
d_shaolin_2.jpg

At the end of the day, we visited the carved Buddhas of the Longmen Caves
d_longmen2.jpg
including the largest Buddha which is 25 feet in height
d_longmen.jpg

The following day, we visited Kaifeng, home of the best documented Jewish community in China. We met with a couple pf descendants of the community and learned of efforts to revive the community. We also visited the 700-year old Iron Pagoda
d_iron_pagoda.jpg

Posted by svjorber 04:38 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Xi'an

semi-overcast 33 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Following Guilin, we flew back north to Xi'an, one of the seven former imperial cities. The city is best known for the tomb of Emperor Qin, which contains the Terra Cotta Warrior Army
c_terra_army.jpg
Each of the 7000 life-size warrior is different and amazingly lifelike. Following the visit, we were treated to a dumpling banquet
c_dumplings.jpg
followed by a show
c_tang_show.jpg

The next two days, we visited some of the attractions in Xi'an, including the Great Wild Goose Pagoda
c_great_pagoda.jpg
the lesser wild goose pagoda
c_lesser_pagoda.jpg
a bike ride on the 600-year old city walls
c_walls.jpg
and a visit to the Feng Shui museum
c_pishu.jpg

We left Xi'an by train for the 6 hour ride to Luoyang where Jordan displayed his social skills...
c_train_1.jpg
c_train_2.jpg

Posted by svjorber 15:36 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Guilin

sunny 34 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

We flew from Beijing to Guilin in the Southwest of China to admire some of the most dramatic landscapes of then whole country. At first, we took a 4-hour cruise on the River Li to admire the famous karst formations...
b_cruise1.jpg
On the following picture, Jordan shows the 20 Yuan bill in front of the landscape that inspired its engraving.
b_cruise_2.jpg
Following the cruise, we toured the countryside and visited an old farmhouse used by the same family for many generations. Here Jordan made fried with the owner...
b_farmer.jpg

Posted by svjorber 08:31 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Beijing

semi-overcast 32 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

We met in Beijing with our friend Jackie for the China leg of our trip. Our visit to Beijing included all the traditional landmarks, including the forbidden city
aForbiden_City_1.jpg
the Temple of Heaven,
aTemple_of_Heaven_2.jpg
The summer Palace
aSummer_Palace.jpg

and the Great Wall of China
agreatwall.jpg

In addition, we experienced other sights of Beijing, including he famous Pandas at the Beijing Zoo (like the Moscow zoo, they could use some help)
aPanda.jpg
We also tasted the deliciously famous Peking Duck
aSveta_Duck.jpg
but stayed away from some of the street food...
aStreet_Food.jpg

Posted by svjorber 08:37 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Moscow

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Hello from Beijing! Now I have a few minutes to tell you about our days in Moscow. The first thing we had to learn was to navigate the Moscow subway.
subway1.jpg
Besides being fast, reliable and showing up every 2 minutes on the dot, the Moscow Metro boasts some very nice stations, thanks to its Soviet legacy...
subway2.jpg
subway3.jpg

Of course, we visited the main Moscow sites, such as the Red Square and the Kremlin,
kremlin1.jpg

Sunday afternoon, we also visited the Moscow Zoo. Quite frankly, many parts of the zoo are in need of serious attention. as the wolves below decry...
zoo1.jpg
The bear did not care so much...
zoo2.jpg

Posted by svjorber 00:53 Archived in Russia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Футбол!!

(Football)

semi-overcast 23 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

I am running out of internet time but I wanted to post about our evening at the football game here in Moscow where we had a chance to watch Spartak Moscow, the league leader win over Tomb 3-2. The game was played at the former Olympic stadium in Moscow, home of the Spartans.
foot1.jpg
The action was excellen, this is where Tomb scored the first goal...
foot2.jpg
The fans went crazy when Spartak scored back

Posted by svjorber 11:59 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Hermitage

sunny 23 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Our trip to St. Petersburg would not be complete without a visit to the prestigious Hermitage, one of the great World museum, housing two of the twelve known Leonardo da Vinci paintings in the World.
xhermx0.jpg

Not only is the Hermitage a great museum, but it is also an amazing palace with hundred of opulent and lavish rooms.
xHermx1.jpg
We spent a few hours admiring the amazing art ranging from roman statues,
xhermx4.jpg
to rare Michelangelo statues,
xhermx2.jpg
to the Dutch Masters...
xhermx3.jpg

Finally, at 4 PM, we boarded the express train for Moscow :)
aurora.jpg

Posted by svjorber 22:17 Archived in Russia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

A bit of investigative work...

overcast 18 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

St Petersburg is the town where Sveta is from, and we wanted to go back to the place where she spent the first three years of her life. I was told that Children's House #11 was closed but our guide told me that he went there with other parents last year. So we went.
xdetsy_dom_11.jpg

It looked very familiar. When we introduced ourselves, a nurse said she did not remember Sveta. When we talked to the Director, she vaguely remembered but we could not find her name in the register. This is when we discovered that we were in The House of Children #11 (Detsky Dom) as opposed to the Children's House #11 (Dom Rebenke) - The Director had no idea where this other place was. Back to ground zero.

We search the internet in Russian and found a list of Children Houses but no Number 11. We called #14 and they said they used to be #11, so we went... Wrong number 11, but there we found a nurse (Valentina) who remembered Sveta and used to work at #11.
xvalentina.jpg

We spoke to the Doctor in charge at #14 and they gave us the phone number of the Doctor who signed Sveta's orders 14 years ago in #11 (she is now director at #2) So we went to visit her at Children's House #2
xdoctor.jpg

It turns out that Children;s house #2 (they are a lot nicer inside now)
xdom_rebenke_2.jpg
xorphge.jpg
is 200 meters from the original House #11 where Sveta was, which was closed and is now turned into a dental clinic.
xdom_rebenke_11.jpg

Mystery solved. The next day, we printed pictures of the reunions with the Dr, and Valentina and gave then a framed copy as a souvenir. :)

Posted by svjorber 21:38 Archived in Russia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Saint Petersburg

overcast 19 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

At our next stop, we had the opportunity to visit St Petersbug, the Venice of the North... Here are a sample of the beautiful palaces and monuments to be seen...
The Spilled Blood Cathedral which marks the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.
xspilled_blood_church.jpg

Then comes the statue to Peter the Great presented to him by Catherine:
xpeter_statue.jpg
followed by the famous Aurora ship, involve in three Soviet wars
xaurora.jpg

Here we are posing across from the Hermitage museum
xhermitge_in_back1.jpg

On other days, we ventured outside the city to visit the famous PeterHof
xpeterhof.jpg
and then Catherine's Palace in Pushkin:
xpushkin.jpg

They know how to do palaces...By the way, all these palaces were nearly destroyed in WW II and the Russians have done an incredible job rebuilding all this.

Posted by svjorber 21:25 Archived in Russia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Dead Sea

sunny 43 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

Important Facts About The Dead Sea:

  • Dead
  • 1200 Feet below sea level
  • Hot as Hell! (45C=113F)

Anyhow, we had a lovely time at the Dead Sea, the Lowest Point on Earth
lowest.jpg
We visited the fortress of Masada, where Jewish rebels fought the Roman army in 66 CE.
masada.jpg
then some of us took advantage of the nearby En Gedi spa for a delicious mud then sulphur bath...
mud1.jpg

Posted by svjorber 07:45 Archived in Israel Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Baseball!

sunny 36 °C
View Trip Around the World 2007 on svjorber's travel map.

On the evening of July 25th, we had a chance to attend a game of the brand new Israel Baseball League. The League is a professional league consisting of 6 teams, mostly made up of US and foreign players.
bball.jpg
The Bet Shemesh Blue Sox won 10-1 over the Ra’anana Express behind a dominating pitching performance from Sacramento, California native Rafael Bergstrom. Bergstrom earned his fifth win with a complete game two-hitter, giving up one run first inning before cruising the rest of the way to shut down the Express and strike out six batters while walking two.

The Blue Sox offense gave him more than enough support as shortstop Gregg Raymundo put Bet Shemesh up in the first inning with a two-run homer. Designated hitter Johnny Lopez went 3-for-4 with two RBI while rightfielder Jason Rees provided three more RBI as the Blue Sox won for the first time in four games.

As a special treat, my old friend Gadi who I had not seen in at least 15 years joined us around the 7th inning.
gadi.jpg

Posted by svjorber 07:31 Archived in Israel Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 15 of 38) Page [1] 2 3 »