world travel

usa: cedar rapids

USA, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, houses

Pretty much everything about this year has been unexpected, including major health problems for both my aunt & uncle… at the same time. We’re a family of three people only, so I went in February to Cedar Rapids to help however I could. Almost 25 years had passed since I’d last visited! Normally I would have looked forward to the trip, but I was in crisis mode with very few days available. Plus a wind chill of -25°F prevented me from exploring more. About the only memories that come to mind are yummy smells from the Quaker Oats factory plus a couple of beautiful, cold weather sunsets.

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romania: bucureşti

Romania, Bucharest, Bucureşti, Caru' cu Bere, papanaşi, dessert

I know… it’s taken forever to write this. Almost as long as it took me to get to Romania! :-) The country had long been on my radar, especially after watching the 1989 Revolution unfold on tv. Images of the Ceauşescus’ execution were shockingly graphic in those pre-internet days. I may have been only 19, but I wanted to know more & knew that I’d be in Romania one day.

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tel aviv: beach & bauhaus

Israel, Tel Aviv, beach promenade

As expected, Jerusalem during Shabbat was pretty much a ghost town. A couple restaurants in the First Railway Station defiantly opened, so we didn’t have to trek to the Muslim Quarter for breakfast. That morning we explored the new part of the city (the Jerusalem YMCA!) then found a sherut to Tel Aviv. On the way, Darío & I stopped for an early lunch at a sidewalk café run by American students… best salad of the entire trip.

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jerusalem: jewish & armenian quarters

Jerusalem, Israel, Jewish Quarter

An attractive piece of art welcomed us to the Jewish Quarter. Right away we noticed a difference: the area was more open & better maintained than any of the two previous sections we’d explored. An open plaza behind the Hurva synagogue attracted lots of families, & a small tour group explored the few Roman remnants of the Cardo:

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jerusalem: muslim & christian quarters

Israel flag

Our first full day in Israel! I’m not a particularly religious person, so I find it difficult to understand why I’ve always wanted to visit this controversial country. Perhaps it’s the history, maybe the conflict itself. Not sure. And to be honest I was more interested in Tel Aviv for its architecture, but Jerusalem was on the way. Turns out, the city was more amazing than I ever imagined.

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