Wednesday, March 5, 2008

'Made it to Israel

I'm in Jerusalem: really an amazing city to see for the few hours that I've been here.

The county is surprisingly green and compact: the settlements of the West Bank, for example, are a stones throw (literally) from the city and the highway.  There are a surprisingly high proportion of American evangelicals around the airports and hotels (probably due to the Easter holiday nearby), but the city itself is diverse and vibrant.  I'm really looking forward to getting a formal guide through the Old City on Friday.

A few pictures:

Jerusalem 35

Jerusalem 48

 Jerusalem 26

Jerusalem 33

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Away with the wind

I'm entering a busy travel period for the next two weeks, so things might get a bit quiet depending on internet connections. I'll post pictures or snips of stories along the way as I can.

I'm particularly excited to have the chance to be in Israel for the next week. I've never visited the Middle East or Africa before, and friends have given me glowing reports of places to visit and foods to try.

'look forward to keeping up along the way, and catching up on my return!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The daughter cometh

My 18-year old daughter arrives for twelve days on April 2.

This is really great: in the years that I've lived out of the country, no-one of my family tagged along nor visited.  Nothing malevolent about it: I'm back to Seattle every quarter, the kids are older teens DSC03241with school and work and their own agendas, and Europe seems a loooong way away from Seattle (beyond New York, even).  But, now, she and a friend have decided to take time at April break for Grand Tour.

How best to spend your first twelve days in Europe (without Dad getting in the way too much)?

"I want to do Amsterdam!"  she says.  I'm still thinking that one through; I know what she's thinking!  So, the Van Gogh is probably required, and they'll enjoy the city center and canals (boat?) -- then Jamie Oliver has opened '15' here (or a rice table?).  Should I worry to keep them out of the red light district (fat chance).

They asked about tulips, and it's a good time of year for the Keukenhof and the fields near Leiden.  My birthday falls in there too: they can come along to the office, share treats, meet colleagues, sing The Song.

Or just turn them loose locally: wander Arnhem and get to know the local neighborhood experiences, navigate the stores, and see how people actually live here.

Beyond...

A weekend in Paris would be fun for them: Eiffel Tower, a bit of good food, skip the Louve, let them shop?  Take the train or the  4-hour drive: if I drive, then swing down through Belgium (how exciting is Brugge beyond chocolate) and back around Luxembourg (got to get out the maps...they wanted to see a castle...).

DSC03240 And / or I suppose a trip to London isn't impossible: cheap Ryanair from Einthoven or the Chunnel: day in the city, stay over in Cambridge at night (parties at that colleges on the weekend).

Okay, lots of possibilities for a first trip to Europe.

In general, I want them to have the 'experience', to come away with some insight and some positive feelings.  I'd want a mix of the everyday experiences and the grand 'must-see' things in about equal proportions, with ample time for wandering and discovery.  My job is to supply venues and advice, not to be tour guide.

Suggestions, Please...?

Oh, and keep my daughter out of temptation and trouble!