May 2006 we headed off for a trip to Israel and Turkey.
is our travelogue.
photo albums of Israel & Turkey are right here.
Bug Bites Segals...again!
line - May 2006... from somewhere in the biggest metropolis
in the South East corner of the huge pointy state
on that great Island that holds apart the Indian and
willing to try something new, I have decided to "Blog"
this travelogue, and create a travelblog, as I like
to call it. I'll try to keep it short and sweet and
will endeavour not to stretch the truth too much.
(Though I reserve the right of poetic license to embellish
where necessary to make an otherwise bland tale interesting)
29 May, long-suffering-hubby and I depart from Brisbane;
first stop Singapore for two days then onto Istanbul
(only for a few hours) before continuing onto Tel
Aviv especially to attend the wedding of our niece,
Idit Segal on June 6th. We will spend two weeks tripping
around Israel visiting old friends and the places
of our misbegotten youth before heading back to Istanbul.
have planned a two weeks tour around Turkey and then
we spend a week in Istanbul staying at the Romance
Hotel (....one can but dream.) Around mid July we
head back to Singapore and finally return to Brisbane
and all this in a whisker under 6 weeks.
of you will have received a link to this, our travelblog.
Those of you who need to get a life can faithfully
track our path around the globe; the rest of you can
feign an interest and pretend to have read all my
ramblings. (Just beware; there will be a quiz when
I get back.)
I am a "virgin" blogger, I welcome any hints
any of you might have in the land of Blog.
(farewell in Turkish)
With love from the Wandering Segals
Segals sipping Singapore Sling
a great place...it would be perfect if only it were
10 degrees cooler with 30% less humidity.
We found our accommodation, at the Furama City Centre
Hotel in the heart if Chinatown, both clean and comfortable.
Our dear friends Ron and Tove went out of their way
to make our stay here interesting. Taking us to see
things not ususally on the tourist map. Today we witnessed
a Buddhist cremation at Bright Hill and found their
concept of mourning (or more to the point, not mourning)
both enlightening and unusual.
as always, is a great place to eat. Dining out is
almost an institute here. And at $3 to $4 a meal it
is hard to understand why anyone would bother cooking
Last night we dined in Chinatown at hawker stalls,
I chose the fish ball soup with noodles. I did ask
if they served any other portion of the fish; but
To tell you the truth I would not like to meet one
of these fish while scuba diving; the balls were as
big as ping pong balls.
To eleviate the heat stress we found the singapore
slings a very sofisticated escape mechanism. Though
it doesn't take many for them to turn into Shingapore
are now at the airport - Free internet - how convienient.
We now wing our way westward towards Istanbul with
a touch down in Dubai...let's hope we don't have to
get off the aeroplane. We are praying that we get
movies on demand again on this flight. On our flight
here we managed to see three movies each. I finally
got to see movies I missed in Brisbane; Memoirs of
a Geisha (close to the book), Mrs Henderson Presents...very
humorous and a desturbing little thriller; Match Point...or
some other tennis term. Hubby enjoyed King Kong...maybe
I'll see it on this leg, though the Cronicles of Nania
looked entertaining; it's the child in me.
This free internet only gives me 15 minutes and I
am about to be booted
till next time;
love from the wandering segals
Well, here we are in sunny Israel. The weather is
hot and dry....but we can't expect anything else in
Israel in summer.
I first came to Israel it took me by surprise to find
that instead of searching my bags when I left a shop
they searched when I entered; but after a while I
got used to it. This time I find they also search
you when entering a cafe, a restaurant, museum, gallery,
post office ...you name it. I won't be surprised if
next time I enter a public toilet someone will ask
to search my handbag. I just hope I don't make any
loud noises and alarm anyone into crashing down the
door, Uzi in hand.
my back has not improved much. (I suffered a slipped
disk 3 months ago) I received about 70% relief immediately
from Physio but since then the last 30% won't budge.
I've tried this doctor, that doctor, witch doctor,
bone scan, cat scan, oesteopath, magnesium, voltaren,
valium...you name it - I've tried it. The only thing
that brings any relief is to lay on my back with my
legs in the air.....though some may say this is what
caused the problem in the first place.
from that we are having a ball over here. All our
relatives are taking such great care of us and showing
us a really good time. We don't have time to scratch
ourselves....it's wonderful. Since we arrived we have
been staying on Kibbutz Negba (near Ashkelon). Our
niece's wedding is on Tuesday and from then on we
will be staying on Kibbutz Maabarot (Near Natanya).
Saturday we enjoyed a family lunch at the home of
Yaacov and Eti on Kibbutz Maabarot and met up with
all the other brothers, half brothers and half sister,
even Sy is here from New York. It was an all-you -can-eat
affair, but we all ate much more than that. There
was so much great food we need not eat again for a
visited our niece, Shir, (shown here with her mum
and dad and uncle Haim). She is doing her army service
at a top secret army base somewhere in Israel. I could
tell you where but then I would have to kill you.
They once ordered pizzas to the base but then had
to kill the pizza delivery boy.
This is just a small section of the memorial wall
at Latrun for the fallen members of the Armoured Corp
of the Israeli Defence Force.
we hit Jerusalem and have a very full schedule, including
Yad Veshem (Holocaust memorial), the wailing Wall
(including the archeaological digs under it) and much,
(see you later in Hebrew)
The ever-Wandering Segals
swoop on Jerusalem
Monday we took a day trip up to Mount Moriah. First
stop was Ein Karem, and old Israeli Arab Village on
the outskirts of Jerusalem, full of old churches including
the very quaintly named church of St. John ba Harim
("St. John in the Mountains" in Hebrew),
also known as the Church of the Nativity of St. John
the Baptist. The church is run by Spanish Franciscan
friars, and many of the interior fixtures are gifts
from the Spanish people, such as the blue-glazed tiles.
Off to the left of the sanctuary is a small staircase
that leads down into a cave that is believed to have
been part of the home of Elizabeth and Zachary - or
so we are told, we actually couldn't see a thing due
to a power cut the third we have experienced in Israel
in as many days.
we continued on just a hop, skip and a jump to the
new Yad Vashem Museum. http://www1.yadvashem.org/new_museum/overview.html
The old memorial pales to insignificance by comparison.
Particularly moving was the "Hall of Names"
and the "Children's Memorial" which is set
into the side of a hill. Walking inside the memorial
from the brilliant afternoon sun, I was all but completely
blinded, as the interior is only barely lit: just
enough to allow you, once your eyes have adjusted,
to see the pathway to follow through the exhibit.
Once inside, all is glass and mirrors and darkness.
In the background, you hear the mournful strains of
a cello, over which two voices recite the names, ages,
and home countries of some of the million and a half
children who perished in the Shoah. But that's not
the incredible thing about this monument. At the center
of the memorial there are five lit candles, of varying
sizes and placed at different heights. All around
the exterior walls of the exhibit, the glass and mirrors
are arranged in such a way that the lights of those
five candles are reflected back and forth so that
everywhere you look, you seem to see an endless galaxy
of flickering points of light. It is without any doubt
one of the most moving experiences I have ever had,
and it is simply perfect for the purpose of the memorial.
there we navigated our way through the crowded streets
of Jerusalem to the Zion Gates to the Old City (with
a little help from Meir's GPS). At the Wailing Wall
we mingled with young soldiers slung with Uzis and
the ultra-orthodox, garbed in black with swaying forelocks.
The most amazing sight was one such chap on a motor
scooter, not dissimilar to my own, with his payot
(curled forelocks) dangling beneath his helmet, flapping
in the wind. After parking it, he swapped his helmet
for a Shtrimel (a large fur hat worn by the Hassids).
At 6:20pm we had an appointment with history - a tour
of the tunnels beneath Jerusalem. http://english.thekotel.org/content.asp?id=116
. We walked beneath the old city for the entire length
of the original western wall. An awesome experience
treading the paving stones laid down over two thousand
years ago. The portion visible today is but a very
small percentage of the actual wall. Majority has
been buried by centuries of other cultures and civilisations.
Most of the tours exit via the "Via Dela Rosa"
in the Arab section of the old city, but as the sun
was already setting this posed a security threat so
(for our own safety) we had to walk all the way back
through the tunnels and exit the way we'd come in.
finish such a wonderful day, what else could we do
but to eat? So we drove into Abu Gosh - another Israeli
Arab village and ate ourselves silly yet again. I
think I'm going to have to upgrade my return ticket
for a first class one just to get a seat big enough
to accommodate my ever expanding girth.
some of the photos - next edition will include
my nieces wedding.
Love from the Wandering Segals.
Segals witness wonderful wedding
Well, well, well! What a wonderful wedding.
niece, Idit Segal, wed Erez Evan-Paz on 6/6/06. And
what a beautiful couple they make.
pool area was tastefully decorated and illuminated
by a myriad of fairy lights.
were served including, amongst many, many other things,
to my delight - sushi (my all-time favourite food).
ceremony was well choreographed and the glass was
successfully shattered .
consisted of a mouth-watering array of delicious dishes
and more food was consumed than I thought humanly
possible. A well stocked, bottomless drinks bar supplied
many a hangover for the next day and provided much
amusement on the night. But the best thing was the
mobile espresso bar complete with frappe, just the
thing for a hot Israeli summer night. The weak willed
amongst us were then tempted with an amazing array
of waist widening decadent deserts.
merriment was made with the younger ones partying
on into the wee hours of the morning.
(us oldies gave in at midnight before we turned into
Beauty in Botanica Bahai
Sunday saw the Segals slip into Haifa. Our first stop
was the Druse village of Daliet el Carmel. Once a
quiant village with dirt roads and a thriving souk,
it is now no more than another sprawling suburb of
Haifa. But let me tell you, the falafel there is to
die for...and cheap...so cheap, that although we were
not really hungry (hungry; we can't even remember
the meaning of the word) we just had to have one.
I tried to resist the temptation...but no, I just
had to have one.
the real highlights (excluding lunch...which came
later) were the beautiful gardens of the Bahai Temple.
Simply breath taking....not to mention muscle aching....700
steps down from the top to the Golden Dome. Another
700 to the German Quarter below. If you want to walk
back up you must first convert to the Bahai faith....as
you can imagine they were not trampled in the rush
of would-be converts. Though the Bahai faith sounds
very appealing, 1,400 steps up hill took the edge
off it for me. Admittedly we only walked down as far
as the Golden Dome, sent the drivers up in a taxi
to fetch the two cars we arrived in. No we haven't
eaten so much that we need a car each, there were
other sundry family members on our trip too.
to lunch....there is this great seafood restaurant
at the top of Mount Carmel called Jacko's. The salads,
bread and drinks are inclusive and then there is some
of the best seafood in Israel. Just for a change we
ate to bursting point. I'm looking in the maternity
shops for clothes these days. Lucky for us they only
weigh our luggage and not us when we check in at the
airport, for I fear we are now way, way over weight.
On Monday we visited the ruins of the ancient port
town of Caesarea...here is a brief history lesson;
Herod the Great ruled the Land of Israel from 37 to
4 B.C. During that time he constructed a large port
city called Caesarea to honor Roman Caesar Augustus.
The project was built on the remains of an earlier
Phoenician city called Strato's tower. Once it was
completed Caesarea took on even more importance than
Jerusalem and became the heart of Roman rule in the
land. Herod built a port in the bay, and erected all
the cultural institutions found in every great Greco-Roman
city a theater, a hippodrome larger than the Colosseum
in Rome, and a luxurious bathhouse. In order to supply
water to the city's ever-growing population, he prepared
an aqueduct system stretching from the springs of
Mt. Carmel to Caesarea. Part of this system is still
The city was eventually destroyed by the Moslem invasions
of 638. About 400 years later, the Crusaders conquered
the Holy Land.
images of Caesarea here.
from fair Israel
Yesterday I was a guest at 'Achuzat Yeladim' a boarding
school for special needs children. A project sponsored
by the Australian branch of an international womens'
group I belong to. I met first hand with some of the
children who are residents there. The staff to student
ratio is almost 1:1. I was very impressed by the work
they are doing and the results they are achieving.
is our last in Israel and tonight we gather as a family
in Jaffa to say farewell....and how best to do that?
By eating of course....it's a national past time here.
is not just something you role down the aisles in
the cinema, it is one of the oldest cities in the
world, over 4,000 years old, and reputed to be the
port from which Jonah set sail for his fateful meeting
with a whale. Jaffa has many different roots in history:
the Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, the Turks and
the English all left their traces.
photos of Jaffa
have had a really slendid time with our family and
friends in Israel. It still feels like home...I might
even be tempted to open the "job vacancy"
page of the newspaper here. Who knows?
we fly out to Istanbul and from what everyone tells
us here, eating is an even bigger past time in Turkey...oy,
impressions of Israel after not having been here in
12 years are as follows; the pace of life has remained
just as hectic. Security is still a top priority.
The 'Souk ha Carmel' we visited this time is the same
crowed market place it was years ago, when in 1984,
the day after we were there a terrorist bomb took
the lives of dozens and left many more permanently
maimed. When entering a shopping mall in Natanya this
morning I wasn't the only person looking over my shoulder
as I passed through the security check point where
three separate suicide murderers have claimed many
innocent lives in as many years. Cars baring the number
plates of Gaza and the West Bank are no longer visible
in the streets of Israel. The forests of hastily built
post-war concrete housing units have all but been
replaced by modern condiminiums. The road system has
been radically improved with new highways crisscrossing
the country and the drivers, though still maniacs,
have become a tad more tame. Everyone has the latest
hi-tech gadgets available. People party like there
is no tomorrow. All in all life goes on, Israelis
really know how to live for today. Will we be back?
Most certainly! My regrets; that I didn't get to see
everyone on my list. To Sheila, Shlomo & Abba
Richman, maybe next time!
My frequent blog updates deminish here. In Turkey
I doubt whether I will have as frequent access to
a computer. I will write when I can.
is a map of the tour we took.
arrived safely in Turkey after our flight from Tel
Aviv which took less time than a flight from Brisbane
to Melbourne. Istanbul is an amazing place and still
quite exotic, especially the Grand Bazaar; truly a
maze (ing) place. A virtual labyrinth of narrow criss-crossing
alley ways all under the cover of arch stone &
tile roofing. Kilometres of little nooks and crannies
housing carpet seller, leather coat merchants and
other assorted souvenir hawkers all hell bent on grabbing,
not only your attention, but your hard earned cash
have a lovely mix of souls in our tour group, predominantly
Aussies (singles and couples), a few older couples
(the first from South Africa and the second Kiwis)
then a motley bunch of other individuals from UK,
Thailand, Canada and Korea.
first day of our tour was a foot tour of Istanbul
including the underground cisterns, the Hippodrome
(& no, there were no flying hippos there), the
Blue Mosque, which is grey and Topkapi Palace where
the worlds largest diamond is housed. We were tempted
to cancel all plans for dinner that night and return
after dark to relieve them of it...but no! At the
mosque we saw several families with little boys (between
the ages of 4 and 10) dressed like princes; white
suits, white satin sashes and robes and white satin
hats all emblased with gold and silver emblems. They
looked very pleased with themselves, till that evening
that is. We were told by our guide with the aid of
hand signals (index finger and middle finger snipping
through the air) that all boy in Turkey are circumcised
before they turn 13 and today is the day for these
poor unsuspecting kiddies. To me it seems a tad barbaric
to do it at this age. Our guide then told us that
a few days later the fathers take photos of their
sons snipped bits and proudly show it to their mates.
Sadly our guide said he had lost the photo his own
father had taken of him. I did, unselfishly, volunteer
to re-take the photo but realised that I did not have
my wide angle lens with me.
On a more sombre note we spent Monday on the beaches
and in the trenches of Gallipoli. Even those amongst
us not from Australia or New Zealand could not help
but be moved by the tragic loss of so many very young
lives to appease the egos of a few old men sitting
safely back home pulling the political strings 91
years ago. In the museum we read the letters the boys
had written to their mothers waiting for them back
home. We wandered among the headstones, not only of
our boys, but of theirs as well. All in all a very
afternoon we slipped across the Dardenelles and into
was spent amongst the ruins of Troy and Pergamum.
Historically very interesting. We learnt to beware
of Greeks bearing gifts. Today, Wednesday finds us
in the sea side resort of Ku?adasi.
We were scheduled to visit the ancient city of Ephesus
today, but alas I found myself lying flat on my tummy
with my rear end exposed to a large Turk. Unfortunately
he was wielding a large syringe aimed at my tush.
I had suffered a severe migraine and was violently
ill and in agonising pain from 2am which only ended
with a prick in my butt at 9am. I was warned about
these Turkish boys; but did I listen? Alas, no!
that note I bid you all good night (10:20pm here)
Tomorrow our adventures continue.
for the lack of images, this pc does not recognise
my portable hard drive. Also please excuse any weird
letters and bad grammar, this is a Turkish alphabet
Regards, the Wandering Segals
from somewhere in the Aegean.
hi all, no blog access here, so this is a quickie.
Spent gruelling days on a yacht cruising the Aegean
Diving into azure blue waters and 'shnookling' as
our captain so quaintly puts it.
Tough job, but someone has to do it!
We were not in Antalya till after the bomb went off,
in case any of you were worried.... as if!!!
Heading to Cappadocia tomorrow will try blogging there.
Yesterday was our last day of our 'Flying carpet tour'
It was pure magic. Some of the greatest vistas were
left to last; Cappadocia was stunning.
A fantastically unique place. (photos to follow later.)
The last day was spent on a bum numbing 15 hour return
bus trip to Istanbul via Ankara.
Unlike our China bus trip this one stopped at far
more civilised toilet facilities.
Most were the regular type, but some were squats,
some had paper supplied, some even flushed. Most cost
money. Talk about inflation... to spend a penny costs
50 cents these days!
Some had motion detectors to switch on the lights....you
would not want to spend too long contemplating your
navel or you found your self doing it in the dark.
So there I sat arms flailing in the air (waving, not
drowning). Easier said than done when only a squat
we have a whole week in Istanbul with out the pressure
of gulping down a breakfast in order to perform morning
ablutions before boarding a bus for a hectic 12 hour
our trip was a great adventure. The group we travelled
with was very cohesive and our tour guide, Cenkis
(pronounced Geng?s) was an archaeology graduate and
had a seemingly endless amount of knowledge. Hotels
were on the whole good (some better than others)
We learnt not to whinge, when we complained about
one hotel only having the all purpose shampoo/bath
foam/carpet cleaner/paint stripper type dispenser
in the shower recess, the next hotel had none and
when we asked for a bar of soap they said they could
sell us one.
When at one place we had only two sheets (no blanket)
the next place had only one sheet & and a some
what prickly blanket. When one hotel had an inadequate
air-conditioned, the next had none.....it pays to
be satisfied with what life throws you.
to log off,
Warm regards from the wandering Segals
Istanbul, not Constantinople
for us it's been a week of constant on the move. We
have not wasted a minute and made the most of our
time in Istanbul.
We met a lovely couple of engineers from Istanbul
who were travelling with their twin 21 year old daughters
on the same yacht (Gulet) with us in the Aegean Sea
and caught up with them again while we have been in
Istanbul. We spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening
in their company on Tuesday night. Together with their
Israeli business partner, Ofer, (who as chance would
have it, lives near hubby's brother on Kibbutz Maarbarot
and was visiting friends there only three days ago...Talk
about a small world!) they wined and dined us to excess
at a seafood restaurant on the shores of the Bosphorous
equivalent to Oxley on the River in Brisbane. A truly
superb evening. One we will remember for years to
our stay here we have travelled the length and breadth
of the Bosphorous and back again by public ferry and
caught trams and bussed from one end of Istanbul to
the other. The public transport system here is fast
and efficient, if a little over used.
million people live in Istanbul but why did they all
have to be on the same tram as us at the same time.
On a hot July day I wish the word "deodorant"
appeared in more of their vocabularies too.
tram actually passes along the street our hotel is
on. The street is two trams and two people wide at
its narrowest point and if you wish to pass someone
on the footpath, one of you has to step off onto the
tram lines. It's like playing chicken. The trams travel
silently and I'm surprised they haven't lost more
people to this hazard.
we decided to travel the entire length of the tramway
a distance in time and socio-economic change equivalent
to travelling from Ascot to Inala in Brisbane or Vaucluse
to Blacktown in Sydney...if you are ever in Istanbul
and are looking to fill in a day...sit and watch the
grass grow instead...it would be much more interesting.
bus trip to the northern Bosphorous suburbs was much
A loud and grubby group of Gypsies boarded the bus
we were on heading for Kabatash and tried to pay for
their fare with a 100 Lire note of dubious pedigree.
After a lot of kicking and screaming the driver refused
to accept it and kicked the lot off at the next stop.
Thus ensued a very vocal interaction between him and
the conductor who sounded more sympathetic to the
plight of the Gypsies while the driver drove at break-neck
speed through narrow winding streets dodging all manner
of obstacles. Although a sign clearly stated "no
mobile phones" this obviously did not refer to
the driver. As he spoke on his phone, argued with
the conductor and swerved precariously we, seated
directly behind him, held on, white knuckled, for
I was lucky to survive to see the Auguste Rodin exhibition
which is showing at a museum on the north .... sheer
have shopped the Grand Bazaar to depletion so now
we can come home.
Tomorrow is our last day here and we plan to spend
it by taking a ferry to the Princes Islands. Saturday
we fly out to Singapore for two days and maybe a spot
more shopping....unless my credit card suffers meltdown
be home mid next week....turn on the espresso machine....I
need a good cup of coffee.
Regards from the wandering segals
came home hoping for some respite from the hot Turkish
summer only to find we've missed winter....it was
over 25 degrees Celsius on our first day home. We
were back in tee-shirts and shorts again.
love our travels but here are just a few of the reasons
we are always happy to come home.
" Free Water! You just turn on a tap (faucet)
and drink clean fresh water. No bottled water necessary.
" Toilets that you can actually sit on that are
clean and not smelly.
" GOOD coffee, which means a flat white or latte
made with fresh milk and not long life (UHT) milk.
" A washing machine at hand 24 hours a day. No
more stomping on the washing in the tub while you
shower then having it strung across the room flapping
in your face for days on end like some leftovers of
a Buddhist festival.
" A good wide, soft bed to sleep on, no hotels
have beds that are less than rock hard.
" Hot showers in a shower recess wide enough
to bend over in without getting intimatly involved
with the taps (faucets).
" Air-conditioning that works and cools a room
to over 15 deg C and under 30 deg C.
" Good lighting, I can actually read by. What
is it with hotels impressions that everyone wants
dim, romantic lighting all the time, come on guys,
not all of us are on our honeymoon.
" Being able to wander freely through a shopping
centre without being accosted by touts for some desperate
carpet or leather merchant, cafe or restaurant owner,
shoeshine boy/man who would even try to offer a shoe
shine even you are only wearing a pair of thongs.
I hear you ask, why do we like travelling so much?
Well, I guess for all the same reasons. It is so different
to home, and to see cultures that are diverse to ours,
to meet people who love their countries as much as
we love ours, to see places that are written about
in ancient history books, that are actually older
than 200 years....but most of all to realise how lucky
we are right here in Australia. I heard a radio talk
back station recently mention the results of a world
happiness survey. It stated that Australian is 139th
out of 175 countries, and that people in Vanuatu,
Columbia and Guatemala are happier than Australians.
To these Australians who claim not to be the happiest
people in the world I say, "travel the world
or at least read about it and see how lucky we are
here". Most the people in the world do not have
clean drinking water in their homes, public hospitals;
let alone free ones, old age/widows/disability pensions,
free education or a high standard of living. We have
not had a war fought on our soil that anyone born
in the last two or three generations witnessed. Are
we given too much that we cannot recognise happiness
when we see it? Maybe mandatory service in a volunteer
corp in Somalia may help Australians recognise happiness
when they see it.
I'm happy, especially happy that I live in a country
where I can earn a decent living so as to be able
to travel and take holidays especially overseas holidays,
but the harsh reality of it all is that now we have
to go back to that work and earn enough dosh to do
it all again next year in some other strange and exotic
land. I'm so happy, I'm so happy.......
till then, it's good-bye from the wandering segals.
p.s. photos are here; Turkey