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Entries about churches

Skopje 2020 - North Macedonia

and Ohrid

sunny 50 °F
View Turkey 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

As an add-on to the Turkey trip, we spent a few days in Macedonia. We had time to check out Skopje (capital and city of statues), Mavrovo Lake and National Park, Matka Canyon, and Ohrid.

Recommend:

  • Day trip to Ohrid to see Lake Ohrid, the fortress and roman ruins, and the Church of Saint Clement
  • Matka Canyon hike
  • Senigallia boat hotel and the Old House restaurant in Skopje

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and for this trip: Macedonia album

There are LOTS of statues around town. We stop counting after a thousand. They are on every bridge and building and street corner.
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There are also many ruins of forts, castles, and roman theaters around the country.

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And many ornate church buildings

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And opportunity to enjoy nature and small towns.

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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 20:26 Archived in Macedonia Tagged churches nature europe nationalparks 2020 northmacedonia Comments (0)

Istanbul 2020 - Turkey

Turkey for Thanksgiving - the country not the bird

sunny 40 °F
View Turkey 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

After being mostly contained all year (minus some road trips, camping, hiking, and seeing family) we decided it was time to break out of the country. It wasn't an easy decision. To travel during a pandemic, knowing that if everyone wouldn't have traveled anywhere for a month at the start of this thing, it would be over long ago.
We considered the safety of travel; however we, the airlines, the hotels, and almost everyone we interacted with took great precautions.
We considered the impacts to family and friends and even strangers; but we quarantined before and after and got tested several times.
We considered the financial impacts; it wasn't that much for us, but it was a huge difference to the groups we talked to that rely on tourism to live.

Our trip included a flight from Denver to DC, then a long ride to Doha Qatar. Once there, we couldn't leave the airport, so managed overnight there before heading onto Istanbul Turkey. We were in Turkey for Turkey Day ... although we ended up eating lamb instead. During the day was some sight seeing, and during night for a week or so was working, back on Denver time.

But then there was a full week of vacation. It included seeing more of Istanbul. It is such an interesting city where Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all meet and have cultural influence. I also spent a few days in the Cappadocia region. It's pretty much right in the middle of the country and is known for the fairy chimney rock formations and the underground cities and churches carved into that same rock.

We took a hot air balloon ride, visited countless mosques, had great local food, witnessed talented artists making Turkish rugs and pottery by hand, tasted local wine, toured underground cisterns, museums, castles, churches, did some shopping and bartering at the bazaars, slept in a cave (hotel), experienced a Turkish full service bath (hammam), and again ate some really good food.

We also add a few days of the vacation in North Macedonia.

Recommend - Istanbul:

  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Galata Tower - to watch the sunset
  • Dolmabache Palace
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Kadikoy & Moda
  • full Hammam experience

Recommend - Cappadocia:

  • watching a sunrise with a hot air balloon ride over the region
  • Goreme Open Air Museum
  • views from Uchisar castle
  • underground city tour

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and for this trip : Turkey album

Cappadocia
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Dolmabahce Palace
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views around Istanbul
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Beyazit and Ortakoy Mosques
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Istanbul at sunset from Galata Tower
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Links

MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 20:43 Archived in Turkey Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises churches boats museums travel turkey wine europe asia 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Cairo 2020 - Egypt

a trip back in time

sunny 85 °F
View Israel 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

After visiting Israel, we extended our trip into Egypt. We ventured from the Red Sea beach area across the desolate Sinai peninsula, and into the large metro of Cairo.

There is so much history here with the ancient kingdoms of Egypt and all the artifacts, both large as pyramids and as small as tiny jewels and carved art. Unfortunately, regional and global events have devastated the countries economy. A large and visible portion of the population is in extreme poverty, and their is little in the way of social services to help individuals or even keep the city clean.

They are building a new Egyptian musuem near the Giza pyramids. But we got to tour the original one in the main city area. In addition we saw a couple other museums, and local craft stores dealing with papyrus and rug making. Our time was short, but we saw some highlights and got a feel for the city.

Recommend:

  • Egyptian museum
  • Memphis museum
  • Giza plateau for sites of the pyramids
  • local shops that make rugs, parchments, or other products by hand

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
Egypt folder

Giza
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Memphis
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Egyptian museum
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Red Sea resort
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 10:31 Archived in Egypt Tagged me churches museums history travel egypt africa 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Jerusalem 2020 - Israel

pilgrimage

sunny 70 °F
View Israel 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

Dad and I took a family and group pilgrimage to the Christian holy lands in Israel. Our agenda took us from the capital Tel Aviv to most parts of the country. We stayed up north around the Sea of Galilee, got to check out the Mediterranean Sea coast on the west, drove through part of the West Bank and Golan Heights, stayed in Jerusalem, and then headed south to the Dead Sea and Red Sea.

There is an amazing amount of history in this region of the world. Lots of the cities are just layers of civilizations built over the previous ones. You can see a large influence of Europe due to the Roman rule for so long, and currently there's a very international feel to some of the large more culturally modern cities. Although it seems like most of the Israeli's prefer to socially separate themselves and resist any change.

It's definitely recommended, and was very helpful that we had a knowledgeable guide to lead us around and provide more insight.
Afterward we added on some time in Egypt.

Recommend:

  • Caesarea historic site
  • Beit She'an ruins
  • Dead Sea float
  • all of Jerusalem: 4 quarters, Israeli museum, Yeshuda market
  • Sea of Galilee area

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
Israel folder

Roman Ruins
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Sea of Galilee
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Dead Sea
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rural view
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urban view (Jerusalem)
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 09:15 Archived in Israel Tagged me churches history israel asia 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Stockholm 2019 - Sweden

Swedish capital

sunny 60 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the median

I'm going to make a disclaimer right away, that I do really like Stockholm. It may not seem like it from the post, but I would take the opportunity to go back. Seems like a fantastic city to live in and experience for a longer time. I was only there a day and a half.

My initial thought as I was walking around the metro is that Stockholm is Europe's most average city.
• Its clean but not sparkling. Dirty but not trashy. Somewhere on the scale between Copenhagen and Naples.
• There are green spaces but not excessive in quality or quantity. Above Antwerp, but it's no Dublin.
• You'll see some sculptures and fountains, but nothing that people flock to like Trevi in Rome.
• The Royal places are spread around town, mostly plain looking and among other buildings; no Buckingham Palace experience.
• The cityscape is generally the same level with homogeneous looking blocks and structures. It doesn't match the endless supply of spires like Prague, but there are a couple.

The people thrive in mediocrity too.
• Not taller like the Dutch, but not shorter than average either.
• They're nice but not in an outgoing manner like. Straight forward but not bluntly British.
• They stroll and live casually but don't shut down for Spanish-esque siestas.
• A fair number of the populace enjoy their fashion, smoking and cafes, but pale in comparison work the Parisians.
• Its a mix of socialism and consumerism. Ikea style shops for electronics, home improvement, clothes, sports.

I only had a day, so I made the most of it and walked all around the city center. Stockholm is a bit of a shopping haven and there's lots of pedestrian streets with shops, mega malls, and little out of the way center. The main ones are: Drottninggatan, Biblioteksgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, the Gallarian, and NK Stockholm, which are generally in the Norrmalm neighborhood and east of the main train station.

Although most of the Gamla Stan island, also has a lot of shopping, but it's more known for the royal buildings, nobel museum and views of the surrounding harbor and islands. In nearby neighborhoods are the city hall, kings garden, observatory, history museum, modern art museum, Vasa museum, and Skansen. I would easily recommend them all.

While I was there, the city marathon was taking place so I got to witness a bunch of runners throughout the town and several markets and exhibits set up for that. There was also a large food truck and music festival going on. There was some delicious food from all over the world represented and I had several meals there.

Recommend:

  • Drottninggatan pedestrian mall
  • Gamla Stan island
  • park by City Hall

Some of my favorite photos:
The city panoramic view from a hike I found.
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The park and waterfront by the town hall.
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The historic Gamla Stan island buildings.
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Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 13:34 Archived in Sweden Tagged me bridges churches art boats museums stockholm sweden castle capital europe cold murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Kyoto and Hakone 2019 - Japan

history in real life

overcast 60 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

classic spa

After leaving Tokyo, we headed to the area of Odawara and Hakone, to spend the night at a ryokan. It's a traditional Japanese inn, involving shoes off, straw mat floors, mattress on floor for bedding, tea ceremony, traditional meals, with kimono-like robes ... all very authentic. There was also public and private onsens (hot springs water spa) available. It was very relaxing. The one we chose was also close to the Japanese museum for the Little Prince book, including a replica French town and information about the author's life. Sharon is a big fan, so we checked that out before hopping another bullet train (Shinkansen) to the former capital of Kyoto.

classic Japan

Kyoto, the very historic and ancient Japanese city. It's well known for all the shrines, temples, and religious sites. Here we saw a lot of locals and families dressed in traditional kimonos and clothes. First up was a smaller Buddhist temple that we randomly stumbled upon taking a back way (a less crowded way) to a more famous site. I don't even remember the name of it (Otani?), but it was very peaceful. Then onto a large packed site of Kiyomizu-dera. It has a very instagram infamous temple balcony as well as several pagodas. It's part of the UNESCO world heritage site within Kyoto made up of several temple grounds. We then wandered around the historic area of Gion and found the Hokanji temple pagoda (which was a famous picture we used as the background photo of our trip plan).

Our second day in Kyoto involved a quick train ride a little south of town center. That took us to Fushimi Inari. It's a mountain (really a small hill, compared to Colorado living) that is covered in orange torii gates as memorials to relatives that have passed away. Some are huge enough to walk through (they go over the pathways), while others are small hand held versions just laying around. There's miles of trails and tens of thousands of the gates. We walked to the top of the mountain and had some great views of the city. We ended our time in the city at Nishiki market. It had all authentic local food and crafts, and not so tourist based souvenir junk seen at a lot of popular markets in Japan.

Recommend:

  • a stay at a ryoken w/ an onsen
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Fushimi Inari
  • timing - if you're really into temples and history you could spend a week here. we only had a couple partial days to see some of the famous sites that were relatively close to the train station. but there's a ton more that was on our list that we could have done if there was more time: silver pagoda, bamboo forest, golden temple, parks, philosophers walk

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Pictures

View of Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera
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the Gion pagoda
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orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 02:12 Archived in Japan Tagged churches skylines trains nature japan temple travel castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

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