Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Realize it's Not Thursday, But....

When I saw this week's themed edition of Thursday Thirteen over on Ashley's blog, I just had to take part. What could have such drawing power, you ask?


I love to go to new places and see new things and people. This week's edition is 13 places I've visited. Here's some of my highlights:

1. Salzburg, Austria - This is actually where I spent my 21st birthday with a great group of friends. We spent the day traipsing around town looking for scenes from The Sound of Music (and saw quite a few too!), visiting a castle, playing a game of life-size chess in the town square. A beautiful city.

2. Amman, Jordan - Hubby's hometown. Did you know that there is an amazingly well-preserved Roman amphitheater there? My first visit to the Middle East - little did I know what lay aheah, huh?

3. Rome, Italy - While backpacking through Europe with my dear friend, this was one of my favorite stops. The sights, the food, this history, the boys...Ahh, it was a delightful few days.

4. Vienna, Austria - While spending a year on a short-term mission I was based one hour south of Vienna. Each weekend we would head up to the big city to take in as many of the sights as we could on our missionary stipend of $5 a week (or so) spending money. We didn't get to go to any great cultural events, but loved walking along the Danube River and hanging out at the plaza in front of St. Stephan's Cathedral. Our biggest goal was to get standing room only tickets to see "The Phantom of the Opera." Alas, it never happened.

5. Ensenada, Mexico - I spent a long weekend there as a college student working at Aqua Viva, a ministry which provides campgrounds for Mexican churches to use as retreats. That basketball court? I helped build that! Those cabins? Them too! While there we got to visit a local family who touched us with their love and warmth in the midst of utter poverty. It was a life-changing experience.

6. Petra, Jordan - This ancient city of Nabateans, carved out of red sandstone is truly a wonder to behold. Hubby and I took a little mini-vacation last time we were in Jordan and went there for a couple of days. Amazing! To think that this entire city (which is huge! ask my poor tired feet) was done without the aid of modern tools or technology is incredible. As you walk to the city, you go through a long, narrow gorge. The first glimpse of the building known as the Treasury is breath-taking.

7. Amsterdam, Netherlands - This was one of the final legs on my European backpacking trip. Alone in the big city (having left my friend behind in Budapest so she could continue on into Russia), I briefly considered getting a tatoo and then, wisely, thought the better of it.

8. Czechoslovakia - Ok, so I only rode through here on a train, but I think it's cool that I've been to a country that doesn't even exist anymore. Add East Germany to that list too.

9. Niagra Falls - I know I went as a kid and was amazed. But it was even more fun to go several years ago with my own children and see them be awestruck.

10. Paris, France - Sorry, but I was not impressed by gay Paris. The people there were rude, spoiling the fun for my friend and I. It was amazing going to the Louvre, but sadly I did not have the same appreciation for art that I do now. And the Eiffel Tower is so much bigger than you can imagine. Seriously. Huge. I had my Eiffel Tower earrings up until a couple of years ago when the post broke and I was really, really sad.

11. London, England - Last stop on the "Europe in 23 days" tour. I only had one day to spend there, but my friend Angela did a bang-up (see, that's an English phrase!) job of being a tour guide. We rode a double-decker bus through town and saw all the sights, went to Buckingham Palace and watched the changing of the guard and had a great time.

12. West Berlin, West Germany - Stopped off her on my way to a short-term mission trip in Poland. This was before the Berlin Wall came down, so we got to see it. Very, very powerful experience to think that on the other side of the wall were people living in total repression. I wept for joy when, just a few years later, the wall fell and people were dancing on it.

13. Doha, Qatar - Does it count as visiting if you move there? We've been here a month now and are beginning to see all the good things. Not much interesting touristy-wise, but we are getting to know the town and hope to get to know some of the people.


Mylinda said...

I've always been amazed at Petra and have wanted to visit it. Knowing what the future holds for it is awesome! What a special place and how lucky you are to have visited it....and all the other places!!


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