Ended our trip in first class luxury! This is the only way to travel✈️. We had a wonderful trip - just too short!
7 October 2016
Several of the castles are now youth hostels and hotels!
A few castles and towns along the Rhine River.
Our restaurant and city sites. We also had a very simple wine tasting.
We rode a tram down to our restaurant and boat tour pickup spot.
Some sites from our city bus tour
6 October 2016
Our airport experience in Shymkent was very memorable🙀. We knew it was going to be interesting when, at the boarding gate, they rushed up to the counter, wanting to be first to get on the bus to the plane and then onto the plane so they could store their bags. Verbal fighting broke out between several upset passengers. The flight attendants had to referee several times. It took over 20 minutes just to get everyone settled in. Little did we know this was just a mild foreshadowing of things to come. As soon as the plane touched ground, passengers were unbuckled, getting their stuff down and heading down the isle. Once through passport check (which was very intimidating) we were herded like cattle to the baggage claim area. We were packed in like sardines. There was pushing and shoving, even knocking some people down😦. They were allowing only one person at a time to go through customs and everyone wanted to be next. We were never so happy to see Zach and Kaitlin's sweet faces‼️
A few interesting side notes.
1. Cars must always stop for pedestrians. Once your foot steps on the street, all traffic must stop.
2. Need a taxi? Just hold your hand out. Random people will stop - you tell them where you want to go and bargain a price. It's super cheat - like $2.00. Kazakh Uber!
3. Never wear your shoes in a home.
4. Toilet paper goes in the trash. 💩
5. People always ask you how old you are, but you don't say 59, you say 1957.
Sad day having to say goodbye- but what an exciting adventure we had. ❤️
5 October 2016
We went to a billiards parlor and played kazakh pool and snooker. So fun! We had baked potatoes for dinner with all the fixings including homemade Italian sausage.
We had a fun trip to the local bazaar. Prices were crazy. Two pounds of strawberries were $0.70 and 6 potatoes were $0.20 cents!
Some sites in Zach and Kaitlin's neighborhood.
4 October 2016
The hospitality was more than we could have ever imagined.
We had a sweet time at a traditional Kazakh home. Got to try many interesting things including horse milk and a rice and horse meat dish. The family was extremely generous and gifted tony and me with traditional outfits, as well as sending us home with breads, fruits and candies, which is the Kazakh way.
3 October 2016
We had a great dinner with some sweet kazakh friends. Fun food and sharing.
We had a great time hiking in the mountains.
2 October 2016
We finally got to hug our Zach and Kaitlin on Saturday morning. We toured the city, had a lovely lunch, checked out the grocery store, cooked yummy chicken pot pie and played Ticket to Ride. Sunday morning we went to House Church. Was great hearing the kids singing Jesus Loves Me. Then we went to their Kazakh church. That evening we went to Laura and Justin's house for dinner and games.
30 September 2016
Grand bizarre and more sites.
Boat cruise on both European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
Fun lunch at Ali. We had kobobs with thin wraps almost like tortillas.
29 September 2016
Turkish tea is served in these great little glasses.
Views of the city from our bedroom window.
Cute Bankerhan Hotel
The Topkapı Palace
We had lunch at the Orient Express.
Very interesting mix of Christian and Muslim. The main window faced Jerusalem, but when the Muslims took control, they build the platform facing Mecca. The Muslims also plastered over any murals representing Christianity. Just recently Hagia Sophia became a museum and the plaster is being removed from the murals.
This is Hagia Sophia, one of the oldest mosques.
Some more pictures of the blue mosque.
We toured the Blue Mosque. The walls were covered in gorgeous tiles and Turkish rugs. We had to carry our shoes and I had to cover my head.