Thailand: Visiting a Buddist temple

Thailand Adventures – Bangkok

 Today we visited a beautiful Buddhist temple near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Since it was out of the tourist zone, the temple was very quiet. Upon entry we were happily greeted by smiling faces and iced tea drinks. The kindness and smiling is something I love about the culture in Thailand. Most people who we pass on the street look up and smile at us, which is very different from the custom in America to mind your own business. Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”.

Right as I entered the temple, a kind old woman motioned for me to come over. She invited me to walk inside and to explore the temple at will – which I took advantage of. Unique decorations, huge golden Buddhas, and monks where a common sight. I listened to a monk, dressed in flowery orange fabric, lead a chant along with many other people, surrounded by colorful flowers and decorations.

Taking part of the temple experience felt very spiritual, and very different from the western church experience.

The woman who I mentioned earlier was very eager to talk to my family as she knew a little English. She asked us where we were from and told us she was 83 years old. After, she wished us happiness forever. Her blessing was so kind and genuine, my favorite memory from Bangkok.

 

Croatia: Plitvice Lakes National Park

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While in Croatia about two weeks ago I visited what is now my favorite national park, Plitvice Lakes National park. I love the park so I choose to write about it for wanderingeducators.com . Here is a bit of the article I wrote.

Postcard from Plitvice Lakes National Park

As Croatian folk music blasts in the background, my family makes our way through windy mountain roads in our tiny rental car. We drive quickly by tiny villages and rolling green hills, dotted with trees, where happy sheep graze. The mountains are very beautiful, but only a preview of the spectacular place we are soon enter. Before long, the drive is over, the music turned off, the tickets bought, and we are entering the park…

Read the rest here on wanderingeducators.com. Thanks! -Iz

 

Adventures in Croatia: Zadar

The wonderful city of Zadar

The Airbnb that my family stayed at was just a twenty-minute walk from downtown Zadar and the sea. We spent wonderful two weeks exploring the area.

Downtown Zadar is beautiful fortified city in Croatia. It is the oldest city in the country with evidence of human life since the late stone age. Walking down its smooth cobble stone streets you can see religious ruins from Roman times and gates from Venetian times. In the center of the Old City there is a lovely open area to have lunch, people watch, and relax by the sea.

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You can find lots of cafes, ice cream shops, and bakeries around every corner. They all have delicious food for a very inexpensive price. There are also nice restaurant serving dalmatian cuisine, but we did not go to any to save money. During the summer the streets get really busy with tourists, but during the off-season it is very tranquil.

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At night the city lights up. Near the harbor there is a giant circle in the pavement that is covered in 300 layered glass plates. It is over 20 meters wide. During the day it collects energy from the sun and at night it lights up for a gorgeous color show. Near it are the famous steps of the Zadar Sea Organ which plays music from the waves via tubes under the steps.
Zadar is a very interesting place. It is beautiful, historical, and has some delicious food. If you ever make a trip to Croatia during any season, I recommend you visit Zadar.

Thanks for reading! -Iz

Croatia: Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

Croatia: Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

The instant my toes touch the water they are numb. Ah so this is why no one swims here during the off-season, I say to sisters in between shivers ‘Here’ being the Adriatic Sea, the body of water which separates Italy and Croatia. During the summer thousands of tourists flock to Croatia and its hundreds of islands to swim or sail in it’s deep and mysterious, blue waters. The water is crystal clear, the clearest I have ever seen, and so calm. Tiny waves lap onto the pebbly shore creating the relaxing background music of the beach. In the background I can see hundreds of orange roofed houses resting peacefully on rolling green hills. Far as the eye can see are more blue-green islands, small compared to the vast sea and sky. It’s cloudy, but the clouds are finally starting to break letting warm rays of sun peek out warming the air a bit.

Despite the cold, the off-season has its perks. The beach is ours, no one around for miles. Only sail boats and the occasional ferry disturb the serenity of the sea. The weather is still nice, it’s sunny and in the sixties. My sisters and I swim and splash in the cold waters. We leap around rocks and shells until we can no longer stand the cold and then go to dry on the rocky shore. Soaking in the last rays of sunlight, we say goodbye to a wonderful day at the Adriatic Sea.

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