Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meeting Felix the Donkey and Daisy the Kitten by Wiley

This is ACE which means Animal Care in Egypt.  It is an animal hospital in Luxor, Egypt that cares for dogs, cats, donkeys, horses and sometimes cows, water buffalos and camels.  They provide free care to local working animals and pets. 

This is Felix the playful donkey.  He picks up a rope and swings it around.  He gets excited and wants to play.  He is an orphan with club feet.  His donkey friend was wounded by a wall falling on its back.  He could not walk for several days but now is starting to walk again.

This is a picture of two baby orphan donkeys.  One of their mothers died in a fire.  They are both 4 months old.

This is Daisy.  She is a one-eyed kitten.  She is also an orphan. Whenever the donkeys make noise, she gets scared and crawls up on your shoulder.  We got to pick out her name.  I wish we could keep her and take her with us on our travels.

We found a praying mantis in one of the donkey stalls.  I picked him up from under the door and he crawled up my arm.  He flew away and then we found him again and he crawled on my shoe and up my leg.

If you would like learn more, or to donate money or supplies to help wounded and sick and animals you can go to ace-egypt.org.uk to help.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

We spent three nights in Istanbul where Mac put his negotiation skills to use in the Grand Bazaar He relentlessly wore down the best of the vendors and made the most of his spending money. The Grand Bazaar is a very old (opened in 1455) and massive covered market which still thrives today.  It spans 61 streets and has over 3,000 shops/booths.  The haggling that goes on is unbelievable. But they met their match in Mac!
Entering the Grand Bazaar

Mac's cool Turkish scarf....one of the things he haggled for in the market...in fact he negotiated for all of us  so we could each have one.
Then the animal adventures continued when Mac, Levi, and Wiley befriended dozens of Istanbul's street cats near our hotel.  There are many "stray" cats and dogs living in Istanbul.  I hesitate to call them strays because the people of Istanbul take care of them, putting out food and water for them.  The authorities make an effort to vaccinate and spay/neuter many of them.

 The tag in this dog's ear indicates that he has been vaccinated.
Mac's new friends.  I counted 18 cats living next to our hotel.  The boys named all of them!

We enjoyed our visits to Topkopi Palace, former residence of Sultans and their harems, the Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia, all of which are spectacular.  The call to prayer, broadcast by loudspeaker   from both Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque can be heard all over the city 5 times each day.  To those of us not used to hearing this, it gives the city a mysterious aura....the locals on the other hand seem to just carry on with whatever they are doing.
The Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Hagia Sophia has been both a church and a Mosque.  Now it is a museum.

Of course no visit to Istanbul would be complete without a trip to the Turkish baths!  These baths have been in operation for hundreds of years.  I don't think the kids have been so clean in their whole lives!
Turkish Baths

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Levi's Gulet Blog

In Turkey we went on a Gulet.  A Gulet is a big sailboat.  Ours had four cabins and three crew members.  There was a Captain, a cook and a helper.  This is our Gulet.  It's name is Atalante.

We stopped everyday and swam, ate, and took the dingy to explore.

This is me driving the dingy to the sandy beach to explore.  There were ruins and old pottery pieces on the ground.  We saw lizards and Mac caught a snake.

I enjoyed the peace and relaxation on the Gulet.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mac's Blog About Camping and Waterfalls in Croatia

When we got to the camping spot in Croatia I thought it was one of the coolest camping spots ever and I was so excited.

This is our camping spot. another cool thing about our camping spot is that just up the road there is a very  cool place that has a whole bunch of cool waterfalls  that you can hike around.

These are some of the waterfalls that we saw on our hike.  After our last day camping we were all sad to go but we were happy to get to Split, Croatia. After a four hour drive I was very excited to get to Split.   When we entered Split I thought it was a very cool town. When we got to our apartment there was a beagle in a cage. When I knocked on the door a very nice lady greeted us and showed us to our room. After we settled in we got up and walked around the town. On our walk we saw a really cool trail that went through the mountain. The next day we went to the trail again and we rented bikes and we road around then we left to go to a other great adventure.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Our Travel Map is Up on the Blog!

If you look to the right------------------------------------------>

You should see "Our Travel Map."  If you click on "Lastinger RTW Map" below it, this should link you to our travel map that shows every stop we have made thus far on our journey.  It should hopefully also show our current location (if we are keeping it current).  This will largely depend on our ability to access wifi.  Special thanks go to great friend and computer guru, Paul Zielske, for getting the link to work!  After trying for 5 days, I had to call for reinforcements.

Setting sail from Bodrum, Turkey

The water here is amazing.

I took this picture 10 minutes ago (5:15pm) from our current location in English Harbour.  If things are working, that should show on the map as our latest location.  Cross your fingers!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Budapest by Wiley

In Budapest we went to the Baths where there is a current that takes people around in circles.  It's a lot of fun!
This is the current pool.  Levi is waving.

The water is really warm.

We walked across the bridge and took the cog train up  a steep hill.  When we went across the bridge we went from Pest to Buda.  At the top of the cog train there was place where you could look over to Pest across the Danube river.
Here we are on the cog train going up the big hill.

This is the view from the top of the hill in Buda.

Here we are with the statue of an old Budapest burgomeister

Next we went to a restaurant and ate dinner pancakes wrapped around meat with very good sauce.  Then we looked around Buda and saw a big church where there are cool areas to see Pest.  The church had a whole bunch of really cool details.

We walked down through a tunnel under the church and left Buda to go back to the Pest side where we were staying.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

See you later Europe!

Yesterday was the official end of the Europe segment of our journey.  It's hard to believe we have been traveling for over three months already!  Our last week in Europe took us from Budapest, Hungary to Croatia where we visited Zagreb, Split,  and two beautiful National Parks.  (the kids will post blogs on all of this)
Yesterday we left Zagreb for Turkey.  We are now on the Asian side of Turkey and will spend the next few days on a boat sailing along the Agean coast.  This was another spontaneous decision ....we were headed to Greece but ended up here instead after we learned how long it would take us to get to Greece.   Greece has apparently stopped letting trains across its border.  So we would have had to travel to Belgrade then Skopje, Macedonia and take a bus the rest of the way.  This would take DAYS!!   (renting a car or flying was outrageously expensive)  It turned out to be more economical to fly to Bodrum and rent a sailboat.  So here we are!
Wiley took this photo of the beautiful clouds and rainbow from the window of our plane on the way to Bodrum.
5 minutes later we were flying through thunder and lightening and the plane landed in torrential rains....not the best sailing weather!

We spent a rainy night on the boat but by this morning things were clearing up nicely!

Gangplanks are good jumping spots....

.....and reading spots!