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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Wow .. I must admit, this part of our trip just blew my mind.  It reminded me of when I’ve traveled to less touristed rural areas of India (which I love!)  And frankly if we had more time,  we could’ve hiked around and found so much more.  But it’s a lot of terrain to cover.  It was amazing to learn that Bedouin communities still live in these caves – and the erosion of the stone around here is so beautiful; revealing so many differing colors of minerals.  At first it seemed crowded with tourists but then after hiking around for hours, I had moved beyond the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ feeling and this mystical place took on a whole new meaning of its own.

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glorious Treasury at Petra!

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People do still live here in the caves

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camels galore!

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Jordanian flag waving proudly by this monumental site

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cousin Tali examines the foot of an ancient and worn statue

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cousin Jake gets bit while getting a selfie near a camel ; )

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Zoe keeps her distance

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carrying his drum sticks, even into a cave in Jordan!

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look at all that patterns in that stone –

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and in the end, a stop for rose water treats and lunch in a restaurant nearby

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I don’t even know what to say because it’s almost more rewarding just to enjoy the sprawling desert scenes/photos … which at times reminded us of canyons in the States (only different in that they were so ripe with archeological finds that are so much older.)  Makhtesh is not quite a ‘crater’ but filled with wildlife like these sweet and unafraid ibex who approached us in the park.  The makhtesh is named after a beloved Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon – who perished in the space mission Columbia.  Solomon’s Pillars and the Mushroom Rock are grand and otherworldly themselves.. it was yet another beautiful day of hiking at least 20 thousand steps over rocks and sand!

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‘camel rock’ really looks like a camel !

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friendly critters are usually out at dusk and sunrise

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Solomon’s Pillars… so majestic!

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these cuties; always ready to pose

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the famed ‘mushroom rock’

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Some of the most exciting leg of our trip happened in these places… especially according to the kids! Needless to say – floating in the Dead Sea is the biggest hit for kids.  We loved the healing mud and other-worldly float on water that is made of up at least 1/3rd salt and minerals.  We also learned how one would farm in the desert, and tasted the world’s greatest tomatoes and berries.  And Mount Masada – amazing!  The kids’ heads were stuffed with stories of King Herod, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony to name just a few .. and it’s amazing to me how much ancient proof of existence lies everywhere.  The smartest cistern and public water system exists here as well..

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Zoe watches people walk up, from the comfort of the tram

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atop Masada and the blue Dead Sea in the background

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the gang’s all here!

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a dip and mud bath in the Dead Sea..

 

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so much hard layering of salt

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best tasting berries ever…

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the trick is to grow them OVER the sand

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I now have new ideas on how to tame our tomato growth!

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By night we did a quick run to the Christian Quarter to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Christian Quarter.   The site was packed .. and it was hard to move around .. but this mix of Greek Orthodox and Armenian church architecture was fascinating.  By dark we made our way back to the Wailing Wall and got a glimpse over the city while walking back to our hotel…

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While we had some cold, drizzly weather to start –  the clouds did eventually part and we had some delightful sunshine while starting our tour of Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter.  What a fascinating city of history and culture.  By the time we got to the wailing wall with grandma and grandpa (the folks who catalyzed this trip in the first place) the sun and blue sky made an appearance for us.  It was so moving to be at the wall as several generations of Jewish family… grandparents, parents and kids.   When we walked around on our own – we found winding little streets where neighbors repurposed their recyclables and made charming art on their front gates and homes.  And the kids loved trying on the food at the Old City muslim market before Shabbat – we learned that Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness (because it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Torah.)  No wonder there’s pom juice and seeds everywhere!  IMG_2154IMG_2157IMG_2164IMG_2165

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more cats snoozing in market stalls…

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moving moments at the Western Wall with grandma

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Ezra and grandpa leave a note..

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feasting on pomegranate seeds

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Wow… it was an epic “year end of travel”:   4 countries in 2 weeks from Dec 21 to Jan 4!  We have lots of pix to share… starting with beautiful Lisbon which is where we had a quick 6 hour layover before traveling on to Israel.  Stay tuned for more pix!

 

Lovely Lisbon full of textures, patterns and colors.  We hope to return again some day, and have more time.  The only thing Zoe didn’t like were all the canned anchovies and sardines – The Portuguese love canning up their seafood ; )

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who doesn’t love pink streets?!

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Hope you have a great and healthy holiday season … See below, our scenes from a little family round up that kept Chanukah, Christmas, family and fun in mind.   Stay warm – and we hope to see you in the exciting next new year and new decade!

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Are you ready for Halloween?  We have been gearing up with multiple costume changes (even for Louie) – but sadly it may be raining too hard tonight to give out as much candy as we have in years past… Not sure exactly what mashup of costume Ezra is coming up with, but his goal is to ‘not be too scary’ – and Zoe is apparently going for ‘Ginny Weasley’ from Harry Potter’s series.   This is the first year in awhile that I haven’t had to make costumes from scratch, but we are just reusing everything we find around the house… what are your plans?

Happy Halloween~ !

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We missed the boat (or ferry? pun intended) on getting out to Governor’s Island this past summer. However as it turns out it’s really nice to get there in the fall.  The cooler temps means that the kids have more tolerance of being outdoors on the slides and walking around in the sparsely shaded areas … and the small/new trees were starting to turn!  Best of all .. kids could walk around the abandoned houses (now turned into temp gallery spaces) and trick or treat for candy, which was a pleasant surprise. And the sprawling displays of pumpkins can’t be beat.

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I love this tradition we have of having our own party in the alley for Halloween.  Residents came up with their own ‘station’ to have in back of their home or in their garage.  We made a photo booth of sorts (selfie station) and there was a cookie decorating zone, a ‘chocolate (fountain) bar’, potions-making station, apple bobbing area .. and of course we had to finish the fun all up with a ‘make a mommy into a mummy’ out of toilet paper contest.

 

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