Ancient Near East
I know things are a little hot there right now, but if you ever get the chance I recommend a visit to the cradle of ancient civilization. Mesopotamia. Including the ancient states of Sumer, Akkad and Babylon. Modern Iraq. Significant expeditions have been led over the years by various institutions and artifacts are on display at major art museums throughout the world. A good alternative given the political situation there now.
- University Museum.Philadelphia. http://www.penn.museum/long-term-exhibits/iraq-s-ancient-past.html date accessed 11/12/13
- University of Cincinnati. Department of Classics
- University of Chicago. Oriental Institute. http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/catalog/as/as6.html date accessed 11/12/13
- Louvre, Paris: Standard of Ur, Stele of Narum-sin, Law code of Hamurabi, Sargon of Akkad
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Ashurnasirpal II
- British Museum, London: Layard excevator of Nineveh and Nimrud, Assysia, Leonard Woolley
- Berlin Museum: Ishtar Gate of Babylon
- Ancient Near East 101: Akkadian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Near East 101: Ancient Egyptian (jdbeltz.wordpress.com)
- http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/meru/hd_meru.htm date accessed 9/18/14
- http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/diyala-project date accessed 9/18/4
Kallmunz was a village north of Regensburg on the Naab river a left bank tributary of the Danube, where Kandinsky lived a short time in 1904 during his formative period.
Napoleon was hospitalized at the Karthauspruell abbey after being wounded at Regensburg in 1809.
Kloster Pruefening west of Regensburg has the largest Roman cemetery in Germany.
Things about Germany that are German
- Max Beckmann
- Wasily Kandinsky-Bauhaus Desau
- German Expressionism
- Black Forest tort
- Beer and hundreds of kinds of sausages
Now, I’m asked tell us more about that first trip to Europe in 1974. The one when you were 17. The one forty years ago.
Madrid was the first city I visited in Europe.
Well, actually I was supposed to go when I was in 8th grade with my PE teacher, but that one fell through because we didn’t get enough people to sign up. There were other trips to choose from including ones to Germany and Salzburg.
The great thing about that Madrid trip was we spent a month studying the art, history, and culture of the countries before we left. Europe has some great art museums. We spent time in Madrid just walking around looking at shops and supermarkets. They had interesting soft drinks and coffees for sale. I am very excited. It is so much fun just walking around the hotel looking at things. We also visited Retiro park, the Rastro, Botins, a bullfight, and my favorite department store in Madrid el Corte Ingles. We also visited the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace.
There is no king. Other landmarks include the great post office and telecommunications building and plaza mayor.Our trip also included a side trip to the ancient capital of Toledo. Madrid is a lively city with a great nightlife. I returned there in 1975, 1978 and with my wife in 1992. Well with the death of Franco in November 1975, Juan Carlos became King of Spain. He served until 2014 until he
abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI.
We ate most of our meals in the hotel, chicken I think, a few times we got beef. I went to my first discotheque in Madrid. Some of the girls got their nails done at Elisabeth Arden. After a few days in Madrid we flew to Rome on Alitalia.
Madrid has a different culture. Everything shuts down after lunch. Shops close. Dinner often isn’t taken till after 10 o’clock at night. The national delicacy is pulpo in su tinta squid in its own ink.
Edie’s big five art museums, two are in Italy.
- The British Museum, London a little different no paintings
- Vatican Museum, Rome the atlanten, Gallery of mosaic maps, and of course the Sistine Chapelhttp://www.atlasobscura.com/places/gallery-of-maps-galleria-delle-carte-geografiche
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence Botticelli, Leonardo, and Raphael. Now you have to wait in line forever. In 1974 you could just walk right in.
Hermitage, Leningrad/Saint Petersburg I went there twice.
- Louvre, Paris the word’s most famous and most visited museum with all those goodies. O, where to begin? You can visit the Louvre for free any day until your 18th birthday. Closed Tuesday.
The Prado, Madrid
Museum of Fine arts (Kunsthistorishes museum) Vienna http://www.khm.at/en/
Old picture gallery, Munich (Alte Pinakothek) http://www.pinakothek.de/en/home
National Museum, Tokyo http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3019.html
- What is your favorite museum?
- Do you remember your first trip abroad?
- What interesting drinks or foods do you remember about that trip?
- What was your favorite thing of memory about high school?
What is your favorite travel destination? Please share your travel experiences.
Who is your favorite painter?
Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day?
Berlin and Istanbul are both considered divided cities, but in a different way. Explain.
We are on the third week of our honeymoon. We crossed the Allenby bridge over the Jordan River to enter Israel. The customs was intense. They even took our shoes and magazines. They gave the shoes back, but kept the magazines. Our destination was the ancient city of Jerusalem. Israel is a country of 8,500 sq mi. The climate here is low 70’s and dry in June. Some places have air conditioning.
We found a nice hotel with a nice patio porch outside the Damascus gate. They had a nice breakfast. The food situation is still Middle Eastern, but with a twist. Many restaurants are small, privately held with three or four tables only. We are staying near the Arab quarter.
I will relate two coincidences. We met a man, who had a nephew who owned the Falafel House a restaurant in Clifton in Cincinnati. I met this man and talked to him before our trip. We also met an Armenian at a souvenir shop in the old city. He told us his name Karagesian meant black eyebrows. Bedukian a famous flavor chemist is also Armenian.
We know some Karagesians, he said they were related. The old city is divided into four quarters Armenian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim. The language of Israel is Ivrit or modern Hebrew. Arabic and English are also widely spoken. Known as Palestine it was a British mandate and before that part of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Sacked by Roman general, later emperor, Titus in 70 ad, destroying the second temple. Site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On medieval maps Jerusalem was considered the center of the earth.
Six churches share custody of the Christian relics.
- Armenian http://youtu.be/BsFtF8aTL1c
- Abyssinian http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/encyc01.html?term=Abyssinia%20and%20the%20Abyssinian%20Church
- Coptic https://sites.google.com/site/copticorthodoxjerusalem/our-church-in-jerusalem
- Assyrian-Syriac Chaldean
- The Russians and protestants got there too late
There are many religious sites in Jerusalem including the Mount of olives, site of the Last supper(Cenacle), Golden Gate, Solomon’s stables, Absalom’s tomb and the Western Wall.
We followed the Stations of the cross. Culminating at the church of the Holy sepulchre on Golgotha. The Aedicule shows the place of the burial of Christ.
Way of sorrows via Dolorosa we had trouble finding the sixth station. A man had to show us were it was. I t was hidden inside of the Ethiopian church
Here are some things we bought, an olive wood creche. A bible with an olive wood cover. A book form the British & Foreign Bible Society describing 900 languages, one of my favorite books. We went to the Hadassah medical center at Mount Scopus to see the Chagall windows. We couldn’t get in, unlike Peru they weren’t friendly at all. If you missed it by ten minutes that’s just tough, come back tomorrow.
Dome of the rock is one the Temple mount. Also the Al-Aqsa mosque site of the assassination of Abdullah the grandfather of the King of Jordan in 1951.
Stopped for a Gin tonic at the Intercontinental Hotel. It was so good after walking in the hot sun all day. We had two, even at $3.00. Worth every penny. It even had ice and a whole bottle of tonic, apiece. Next time we’re definitely staying here.
We visited the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron. The burial site of Sarah, Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac. We also saw Rachel’s tomb it is right by a bus sop in Jerusalem.
Bethlehem The birthplace of Jesus. We met a man outside the Church of the Nativity. He showed me a hand illuminated bible written in Syriac ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ and told us the sad history of his church. He invited us to come back and visit him in the winter at Christmas. The start of the Crimean was over custody of the keys to this church. The entrance to the church is a half-door to keep the Turkish from riding their horses into the church.
Milk Grotto, this is where Mary and Joseph are said to have stopped during the Flight to Egypt. Quite a day for an old Sunday school teacher/ http://www.syrianchurch.org/
It is impossible to sink in the Dead Sea. It was warm enough for me to go swimming, however. The Dead sea is 400 m below sea level. En gedi and Bersheba are near by. http://www.bibleplaces.com/engedi.htm
We spent the night at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv TLV, before returning home in the morning. We weren’t allowed to leave the airport because of the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, which started that day June, 6 1982. We had to sleep on the chairs in the airport. This is the airport serving Israel.
- How many languages are spoken on Earth?
- What is you favorite book of the Bible?
- When is the last time you went to Church?
Jordan al ‘Urdan اَلأُرْدُنّ Al-ʾUrdunn
- Do you like to travel?
- What is your favorite country in the Middle East?
- Do you know any other languages?
- Does the current political situation make you afraid to travel there?
- Amman, Jordan (myconnectedworld.wordpress.com)
We left Lima for Caracas, Venezuela. The plane made a stop in Bogotá BOG, Columbia El Dorado International one of the busiest airports in the world. Another high plateau with more samples of coffee. It’s really popular and all the countries compete with each other. I’m sorry but Columbia beats Brazil hands down. Katie remembered the beautiful emeralds they had for sale there. We would visit Cartagena on another trip.
Caracas CCS only 15 miles from the coast sits at the top of a high cliff. Fifteen miles at an altitude of 2200m It seems like the drive from the airport is straight up. We are back on the Atlantic side now. We are visiting Belgian friends who had transferred from Cincinnati. Jean-Pierre was with Procter & Gamble. They had a new baby. The baby’s name was Lucie. At 18 mos she was just learning to talk, French. She was a Belgian baby being raised in Venezuela. All she could say was qui, qui, qui or who? She is very cute. We stayed with them at their apartment. It was very nice. It was a high-rise. It is hot in Caracas.
Jean-Pierre had to work but on the weekend he took us to the German colony of Colonia Tovar. The original settlers from the Black forest in 1843. The efficient Germans were quickly isolated and kicked out of town to form their own colony by the people of Caracas. One day Dominique drove us to visit the faculty of chemistry at Ciudad University. The Capitolio is a small gold domed building downtown.
Well, the most important thing to know about Caracas is that it is the birthplace of the great liberator, Simon Bolivar, the George Washington of South America. He was raised in Caracas by his nursemaid Hipolita. During the Napoleonic Wars Spain was occupied by France. One by one, Bolivar picked off the Latin American colonies winning them independence. In sixth grade I wrote an oil company pamphlet asking people to come to work in Caracas.
Jean-Pierre is an excellent host. He gave us some gifts. Locally grown cocoa. two bottles of Polar, a local beer and a small reed bow and arrow. Use by the natives to shoot and poison frogs. He also gave me samples of the local coins and currency.
Did I mention we are using the same backpacks we used on our honeymoon in Egypt in 1982?
Stella took us into town to a shopping mall with a travel agent were we booked our trip to Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and the flight back from Bolivia. She didn’t seem sure we knew what we doing, but we were. It all seemed a little adventurous to her. Bolivia just sounded so interesting.
We were going somewhere she had never been. Her favorite destination was the United States. Jackie, Stella’s daughter told us, I’ve never been to Bolivia. It’s our neighbor like Mexico is to you. Katie got a really nice purse it was really soft. Later we gave it to Marion. We also went to a very famous silver shop, Camusso. They had really nice things. http://www.camusso.com.pe/
We got up early and to take the plane to Cuzco CUZ, the capital of the Inca Empire. Pancho took us to the airport . When you get there you drink coca tea and rest because of the altitude change. Those that didn’t sure regretted it. The train for Macchu Picchu leaves at the crack of dawn. It follows the valley of the Urubamba river valley that is a beautiful view in itself.
Macchu Picchu remained hidden until 1911 when discovered by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham. The thing about it is the days and nights are about the same leangth. Being near the equator it gets dark early. We spent that afternoon exploring the ruins. We spent the night at Macchu Picchu, also known as the lost city of the Incas. In the morning we climbed to the top of Huayna Picchu, the small peak. The view is actually better from the ground. As is so often the case, something big looks better when you’re not standing right underneath it.
When we got back to Cuzco, the children were buying bundles of grass to feed their cuy or Guinea pigs. Yes, they’re actually native to SA.
Back at Cuzco we visited the nearby fortress of Ollantaytambo and Saksaywaman.
Believe it our not in fourth grade I had a friend who moved to St Louis from Bolivia he spoke French. There was a scary guy on he train named Jerry. He had come all the way from Iquitos in the rain forest in one day, sea level and was obviously suffering from altitude sickness. We got to Puno after dark we had been warned about the crime at the train station and the backpack slashers. We got out of there as fast as we could. The next day we got on a boat and were on our way across lake Titicaca for Copacabana in Bolivia.Much of Bolivia is Called the altiplano. It’s the highest plateau in the world after Tibet. In the sixteenth century Bolivia provided fantastic wealth to the Spanish empire from Potosi or mountain of silver. Today the silver is played out and tin is mined. Bolivia is a poor country as shown is the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One of the best buddy movies ever made. Originally known as Upper Peru the name was changed to Bolivia to honor Simon Bolivar. On the boat we met a couple from Austria.
Changing Money At that time inflation was rampant in Bolivia. The government couldn’t print enough large bills so the money changers just bundled them together with rubber bands. One night I ran out of money so I had to change with the waiter at the restaurant since the banks were closed. While driving to La Paz we saw trade caravans crossing the desert on Llamas, following the same route they had used for centuries.
Our Austrian friends told us they were leaving La Paz because they people made them feel unwelcome. That’s a shame because they had come such a long way.
Did you take water from the Titcaca see. Along with Mexico Bolivia is very popular with Germans and Austrians.
Tiwanaku is the famous archeological site outside of la Paz. Its totems are well know and have great psychological significance. We gave a post card to our German friend she said this is just for me I’m not sharing it with any one.
On the flight back to Lima from LaPaz LPB we stopped in Arequipa AQP the white city and flew over the Atacama desert.
The Atacama desert is the driest desert in the world. Some parts have seen less than 10mm of rain in 200 years. This is what makes the fishing so great. Anchovies and Tuna. The Birds eat the fish and the poop collects. A very important source or nitrate very important during WWI. The cold Humboldt current comes up anticlockwise from antarctica. It is much warmer at comparable latitudes on the Atlantic side of the continent.
- Peru Day 3: Macchu Picchu (balloonsandbacon.wordpress.com)
Even though our plane arrived a day late, Pancho was waiting for us at the airport. When we asked him how he knew how to find us, he said that’s easy I just called the airport and asked if any planes were arriving from BA today. They said not today but we do have one tomorrow, mañana. I think our plane arrived about 6 pm. It was Thursday. The flight on Lufthansa took about 8 hours including a stop in Santiago to pick up fuel and more passengers. That’s the SA way. No way to call ahead and let him know in those days. That just the way things were done.
So different in those days without Yelp or google. A good deal of time was spent on research, reading relying on locals and friends.
Finding things and getting lost.
Now I should say a few things about the Finns and the connection with
SA. Eduardo del Rosario and my father-in-law, Mr. Finn had been in basic training in the Mojave desert in California during WWII.
They renewed their friendship at Fort Knox during the Korean War. When Rosario returned to Peru he became a general. They had a daughter named Stella. They sent her to college in Cincinnati. She used to visit the Finns on weekends. Pancho was studying in Kansas, he used to drive to Cincinnati for dates sometimes. That’s about 700 miles, before interstates. It’s a wonder what a man will do for love. Katie was about nine years old. Katie told me he had a record player hooked up in his car so he could listen to music. No CD’s or eight tracks, then. The first time I met Katie she told me her brother was staying with friends in Peru. I thought well isn’t that interesting. I never thought of Peru as a place people actually visited. There were Political problems in Peru in the 60’s. The Generals’ had staged a coup and overthrown the President. There was trouble with the US over fishing rights, especially tuna. I remember my dad telling me about it.
Pancho owned ladrillos Rex in Lima, a foundry that made bricks. They have four children. The little boy really liked his He-man space mountain. He had all kinds of other He-man toys to play with. Pancho built his own house with bricks from his factory. One of the girls gave up her room to me and Katie. Pancho paid as much for his car as he did for his house. Labor is cheap imports are expensive. When we arrived at their house from the airport, they had a special surprise for us. It was Budweiser from St. Louis. We did get to try some of the local beer as well.
Lima is one of the oldest cities in the Western hemisphere. It was founded by Pizarro. Its port is Callao. They had a terrible cholera epidemic there in 1991. Peru was one of the last countries to win independence from Spain. At one time the entire South America was ruled from here, known as the viceroyalty of Peru, Limeños are very proud of that fact. Lima is also home to one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of San Marcos. I had an Austrian friend in Cincinnati who used to teach Pharmacology there during the summers, their winter.
A word about the calendar we arrived in September so it was just about the end of winter there, but since Lima is close to the equator 60 F is about as cold as it gets, but with the humidity it’s still a chilling cold. The climate is moderated by the cold Antarctic Humboldt current. More on that later.
Unlike the dialect spoken in BA the Spanish of Peru is modeled on Castilian Spanish. Peru is also under the influence of two native languages Quechua and Aymara, also due to many Asian workers, Chinese and Japanese. It is a fascinating country a melting pot in its own special way. In many ways Lima is just like any other city on the Pacific coast in California, in many ways not. Miraflores and San Isidro are nice. One day we went to a Chinese restaurant with Stella’s friend, Linda. The special dish was pigeon. Pancho didn’t tell us about it until after we ate it. It wasn’t bad. It tasted like pigeon, though.
Well, Pancho took good care of us. One night, we went to a Bodega. Things didn’t really get hopping until after 11 pm. Unlike Argentina, they have a curious way of getting on the highways here. They don’t necessarily use an exit if there was a hole in the fence somewhere, they just get on there. Why waste all that gas driving all the way to the exit? The other cars will slow down won’t they? Some people here drive like maniacs. I’ve seen that in Spain and Mexico, too.
One Saturday Pancho took us for a drive. We drove up into the mountains with the children. It was beautiful. I still don’t know how the seven of us fit in that car. It was a big Mercedes like the one I have now. On the way back we stopped at some friends. They are always doing things like that. Dropping in on people. They are very social. They throw lots of parties. One night went to a christening.
Senduro luminoso or shining path was a band of Maoist guerillas who were terrorizing the country. Blowing up power plants, bridges and other infrastructure. The had murdered a New York Times reporter in Ayacucho. Fortunately they were not active in Lima. One time Beatriz heard the fireworks at the Reds game in Cincinnati. She was scared. She thought it was the shining path. We said don’t be scared. We don’t have things like that here. She was good friends with Katie’s mother.
Lima is one of those cities you either love or hate. It does have a problem with air pollution. Katie and I loved it. We loved the history and the people. We ate at many nice restaurants and sometimes at home. The food is excellent especially the fish and shellfish. Pancho never let us pay for a meal. We really appreciated that. One night we ate a special place that had a decor with little huts like the African jungle another night on a pier that jutted right out into the Pacific Ocean. It was just beautiful. There is a special Inca museum called the Gold Museum.
One day we went downtown on our own. We saw some of the sights including Plaza de armas, Plaza St Martin, Parliament, the cathedral of Lima and the Palacio de Torre Tagle. Some of the older homes still have wooden balconies. We met a Deputy of the Parliament of Peru. He enjoyed showing us a round. He gave us his card. Like many Spanish towns the Plaza de Armas is laid out on a square grid. New Orleans and Cuzco have the same plan, if you look closely. The cathedral was closed the day we came, but we told them we couldn’t come back they let us in anyway.
Pancho took us on a tour. He showed us a special square built for the anniversary of Peru all of the buildings around the square are identical. He is very proud of his city and rightly so.
We saw a coulple of old 1957 black Cadillacs. The ones that my grandmother loved so much.
Katie and I decided to go to South
America. We had just bought our house on Berry Avenue in Cincinnati. It was 1986.
visa. Back then you could just cross back and forth across the border as many time as you wanted. The view from Argentina is up close. The view from Brazil gives a better perspective of the immensity of the falls.
- Iguazu Falls: Brazil Side, Argentina Side, and Bird Park (naomicohenphoto.wordpress.com)
- Paraguay. What the… (sidesteppingtherealworld.wordpress.com)