Monday, March 18, 2019

Castles and Calendars: Where we've been!

Mooses at Peles, Castle


Bran Castle - "Dracula's Castle"


Greetings.

We are in Bucharest, Romania, today. We saw two castles while we were here: Peles Castle and also Bran Castle, also known as "Dracula's Castle" (though I think more than one has this claim).

Tonight we will flying to Athens, Greece.

Khevron has updated the map and calendar of our travels.
Here they are:





CASTLES AND BUCHAREST:
We stayed in a hostel in Bucharest, the Antique Hostel, and they sponsored a new tour that went to Peles and also Bran Castle that was 20 Euros cheaper than the standard tour (but had only been going a week). We took it but the guide was new and we took too much time and partly, this was our fault, eating lunch too long. But he said, take your time. So, we arrived at Bran Castle at 5:00 PM and it had closed at 4:00 PM.

So, we were fairly upset. We told him we wanted to stay in Bran and he helped us find an accommodation and dropped us off at a fairly nice hostel, called Casa Miracole. The woman there was very kind, though she didn't speak much English. The next morning we went and saw Bran Castle and made our way back to Bucharest by bus, then another bus, then another bus, then the metro.

Our complaints about the tour fell on unsympathetic ears and we were never sure if the owner of the hostel had organized this tour or not (because he sometimes acted as if he had and other times denied that this was his tour). And at one point, he demanded to know how I had gotten his phone number to text him. I told him I'd found it on the website. Anyway, he alternately apologized and also blamed us for getting to Bran late. And then tried to guilt us into being the reason for the guide to get in trouble and maybe lose his job.

Overall, the entire debacle has left a very bad taste in our mouths. And I, for one, will be glad to fly to Athens!

BRAN CASTLE
is a national monument and landmark in Romania. It is called "Dracula's Castle" but the connection is pretty thin, as I understand. It does have a connection to Vlad the Impaler, on whom Dracula was said to be based. But the castle is not in the spot described by Bram Stoker, and also isn't crumbling. Still, it's an amazing castle.

BRAN CASTLE PHOTO ALBUM (FB):
PART ONE:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10219757557068930&type=3

PART TWO:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10219757626750672&type=3


PELES CASTLE:
PeleČ™ Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883. It was constructed for King Carol I.

PELES PHOTO ALBUM (FB):
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10219757254821374&type=3


KHEVRON'S MOOSEADVENTURES PAGE:
Here he puts up the maps and calendars of where we've been.
http://khevron.tripod.com/khevron/abroad/


Peles, Castle, in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, Romania.


Outside view of Bran Castle. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Mooses in Moria!



THE BASILICA CISTERN
Istanbul, Turkey

Hidden under the city of Istanbul are ancient cisterns that once supplied the city with water. 

The Basilica Cistern, is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, Turkey. The cistern, located 150 metres southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Wikipedia

"...this big underground water reservoir is called as 'Yerebata"n Cistern' among the public because of the underground marble columns. As there used to be a basilica in the place of the cistern, it is also called the Basilica Cistern."

(informational plaque on the site)






The pillars are made from various kinds of marble. In 1985, the city began restoration of the cistern and in 1987, they opened it up for people to view.

THE CRYING COLUMN


"As different from the other columns, Columns of Tear or Crying Columns, have an appearance as if it is crying since it is wet.


"It is reported that it was erected in memorial of the slaves who died during the construction of the Great Basilica."


THE MEDUSAS

At the very end of the cistern are two Medusa heads. 

"Two Medusa heads, which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern, are the great work of art from the Roman period. What attracts most attention from the visitors is that the structure from which the Medusa heads have been taken is unknown. The researchers ofthen consider that it has been brought for being used as supports to the column at the time of the construction of the cistern."
(Informational plaque)








Moria Dwarrowdelf, er, Basilica Cistern
Facebook Photo Album
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10219588961094136&type=3


Saturday, February 9, 2019

We Go on Safari!


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA


LION PARK
February 3rd


We made it to Johannesburg, South Africa! And have been here a week.
Our friend, Carina, took us on a mini-safari at the Lion Park. It was a lot of fun, and we even got to pet baby lions!

Watch the Safari 360 Video:



(360 video, use mouse to move picture)



BABY LION INTERACTION

Of course, we'd never had a chance to pet baby lions before. They were so cute! (Though their teeth were very big...). We were told not to touch their head or their tails. Easy enough. The lions were very well behaved, though one did bite one girl's shoe (here in the video). Playful, like a cat!


(360 video, use mouse to move picture)


OUR NEXT STEP:

We will take the overnight Sleeper train to Cape Town, South Africa.
More adventures await!








Sunday, January 6, 2019

Happy New Year & Trip Summary




MERRY CHRIST-MOOSE!!!








HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!


& OUR TRIP SUMMARY SO FAR.




Our Mission.  To seek out Castles and historical places, collect all the countries we can, in Europe and beyond, all in under 8 months.  We’re travelling “Off-Season”, which limits crowds and allows us to move about with little notice - i.e. in the summer we’d have to have reservations 2 months in advance…  but some attractions we find are closed for the winter, or have limited hours.   It's been great - but if you're considering traveling off-season, for a shorter time, trying for April/May or September/October may be best.






















We only carry all our stuff like this when on our way to/from a Bus, Plane, Train!

MAP AND DATA:





After a visit to Portland, Oregon, here’s where we’ve been so far - in order:










REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

Cost-wise, Iceland and Scandinavia are most expensive, Central Europe medium or similar to the USA, and the Baltics and Eastern Europe the least expensive.  We’re hoping the average comes out reasonable overall.
London
LONDON, UK IRELAND:


The fated Ryanair Flight that couldn't land...

INTERESTING TIMES!
We’ve had ‘interesting times’, with cell phones and online accounts, but are managing.  Pay telephones are few and far between.  We’ve had only a few ‘bad’ days.  One was when flying to Dublin from London on Ryanair, which is a no-frills airline to start with -- strong winds had us attempting to land twice, then diverting to land in Liverpool and waiting, on the plane, for 5 hours before successfully landing in Dublin on the third try.

DUBLIN.


Trim Castle, Ireland

(Trim Castle)


Lareena, Jack and Anna Wilson, and Donovan

Castle Ward, south of Belfast, near Downpatrick
NEWTOWNSAVILLE. ARMAGH.
Cashel Castle, Ireland
CASHEL.


Cahir Castle, Ireland`

(Cahir)
DUBLIN.

Viking Museum in Roskilde, a bus ride away from Copenhagen.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK OSLO, NORWAY
The Stave Church, in Oslo

BERGEN, NORWAY OSLO, NORWAY

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN LULEA, SWEDEN UMEA, SWEDEN KEMI, FINLAND
Turku Castle, Finland
TURKU, FINLAND
HELSINKI, FINLAND
A medieval tour of Tallinn!
TALLINN, ESTONIA

We were very pleasantly surprised with the Baltics - not having any pre-conceptions of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and found them inexpensive and charming.  Almost every city in Europe has preserved an “Old Town” area, historic building and experiences, with museums and entertainments.  They vary from Medieval/Renaissance to Baroque to 19th Century, but are all appealing and interesting.  Tallinn Estonia’s Old Town really caught our attention, as did Riga in Latvia and Vilnius in Lithuania.
Riga loves cats!
RIGA, LATVIA VILNIUS, LITHUANIA WARSAW, POLAND
Krakow Castle
KRAKOW, POLAND

We’re enjoying all the old world stone constructions, and are happy to find nearly everyone speaks very good English.  Most countries play American music and Movies, and show the movies in English.  Even in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, English is everyone’s third language.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
Venice, Italy
VENICE, ITALY
FLORENCE, ITALY

PISA, ITALY
Seriously ... the view from our B & B in Cinque Terre!


Need to come to Cinque Terre (Corniglia) by train.
CORNIGLIA, ITALY MILAN, ITALY LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Liechtenstein Castle

(LIECHTENSTEIN, day visit)


Fussen Castle: example of Illusionist painting on outside windows.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Hohenschwangau Castle in Germany. A walk from Neuschwanstein Castle. Separate entry ticket and both are amazing!
FUSSEN, GERMANY
Christmas Markets are everywhere in Europe in December!


NUREMBERG. GERMANY

Sven sports a festive Santa hat while eating traditional noodles in Luxembourg.
(LUXEMBOURG, drive through)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM


Gravensteen Castle in Ghent, Belgium. Front.

Gravensteen Castle from the back.


GHENT, BELGIUM
Visiting Stephanie and her family in Hengelo, Netherlands.

Van Gogh self portrait.
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
With Brigitte in Jever.
JEVER, GERMANY

HAMBURG, GERMANY PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (rerun) BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
ZAGREB, CROATIA (Christmas)

SPLIT, CROATIA

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA




CHRISTMAS MARKETS:



We can only be ‘in the Schengen’ 90 of any 180 day period.  So we have to explore Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, and more, before our return to the European Union once again to finish collecting Countries.  We need to visit Greece, More of Italy, Germany (for genealogy), Malta, Monaco, France, Spain and Portugal, and revisit some countries we’ve seen, but in the Springtime instead of Winter.  We're heading for Turkey and the Middle-East now.  We'll be back in Europe in March!


The Longest we were in a single country so far is 15 days (both Sweden & Croatia), the shortest was 3 hours (Liechtenstein). We’ve explored at least 8 castles, viewed several more close-up, and delved into 2 Salt Mines (Krakow and Salzburg).  We’ve traveled via intercity train 14 times and bus 12, and earned our stripes navigating the extensive rail and bus systems that gets people where they’re going here.


Our trip is a rushed run through of these countries, and sampling only, and we’ll now have the experiences to return and plan a longer, more intense visit.  Maybe.  Or, and more likely, we’ll go somewhere else new and rush through there, collecting more countries and wide experiences before slowing down and returning to favored places.  230 days seems like a long holiday, and it is, but to see so much more thoroughly would take years, or a lifetime.  If we figure a way to permanently travel, we just might!


WHAT DO WE MISS?
What do we miss about the USA or Alaska?  Our friends and family, of course, certain creature comforts or foods hard to find in Europe.  (Additionally, Lareena misses her VR computer/VIVE … and having an actual dryer for doing laundry). Driving everywhere without adhering to bus or train schedules…  But overall it’s amazing to see how others live and bustle about their business, and gain an outside perspective on America.  My take is we produce too much waste and do little to make use of it, and as much as I like the near unending variety of products, we could do with things being a little simpler down in the States.

Our Mooseadventures Facebook personality posts where we generally are, featuring our two Mooses*, Sven & Svenga, but our personal FB pages hold all the albums and details of our trip.

FB PAGE LINK: https://www.facebook.com/ourmooseadventures/

MOOSEADVENTURES EUROPE BLOGGER SITE: www.mooseadventures.net


PHONE NUMBERS. 
Currently our U.S. phone numbers are on temporary hold. We'll have these numbers again when we return to the U.S. Khevron currently has a European phone number.  

Lareena has a Google phone number: 801-810-0126 (mostly good for text msg when I have wifi; I think maybe you can call me and/or leave a msg)


BEST WAY TO CONTACT:
Via email:
khevron@warpmail.net
lareena@warpmail.net

And via Facebook chat/messenger.

We wish all our friends and family a fantastic New Year!
Lareena and Khevron












This was suspended over a river by a crane. Ancient d20, maybe??

*Yes, "moose" is the singular & plural form for moose, not "mooses", but they're cute that way!