Kristine B.

Kristine On Her Own

Kristine B.

2019 is coming to an end and I just couldn't say goodbye to this last year without going out of the country at least once! (Canada doesn't count...)

I've always wanted to go to Europe during the winter holiday season. And...I've heard the best Christmas Markets are in Vienna! So...Vienna here I come!

Christmas markets, wine tasting, cooking classes, art walks and a Mozart concert at the Palace are events that will be stay tuned for details (and photos) of my winter adventure!

Europe » Austria » Vienna December 23rd 2019

The morning started off with my pursuit of coffee...I was headed to District 1 to meet up with an old friend so I headed that way. My hotel is only 1 mile away from the central district so I was hitting the pavement...these boots were made for walking ya know! Discovered Cafe Pruke...walked in and had a seat. I was given a menu and was only able to read two worries...I can do this! Was able to order a latte and croissant. As I was sitting there enjoying the ambiance and feeling pretty good about my mad, international skills I finally noticed the sign that read no credit cards, cash only! Uh oh...I had not taken the time yet to get to an ATM...what to do? My mind started a panicked scramble...dine and dash? (Okay, ... read more

Europe » Austria » Vienna December 22nd 2019

Whew...what a flight! Actually, the flight from Portland to Amsterdam was quiet good...long, but good. Maybe got a couple hours of sleep. However, the noise cancelling headphones are a must for travel. Since I went through immigration in Amsterdam, I didn't have to go through it when I landed in Vienna. I will say that I was a bit concerned and nervous to just walk out after retrieving my luggage. I even asked a porter if it was alright. So I got funny looks to start off my adventure but whatever! My driver was waiting at the end of a long que but so glad I splurged and had a car waiting...why you ask? Well, it was pouring buckets of rain and I didn't have to worry about figuring out the public transportation! Off we went ... read more

My last day of I had signed up for a tour of Masada and the Dead Sea. One of the house guests also signed up so Florent and I set off to experience this tour. Florent is a young Frenchman, working in Moscow that is here for holiday too. Out the door we went to the Hotel down the hill to get picked up by the tour bus...the whole thing was a bit confusing at first but a hour later and a transfer of busses we were off to head out of Jerusalem to Massada. Our first stop was marked by the sign indicating we were at see level and heading further down. Into the desert we often do you get to see camels when looking out your window? Camels! We then came to ... read more

Today my host (friend) set up a meeting for me with her friend to get a special, off the beaten path, view of Jerusalem. I met Sara downtown Jerusalem and spent the next several hours experiencing this city she loves through her eyes and her stories. I could not believe the pocket neighborhoods hiding in this big city. Absolutly beautiful! Sara was so sweet during the next couple of hours and was very concerned that I wasn't asking any questions. I couldn't because I was just soaking everything in. Again, here I was experiencing something special that another tourist would never get. I have been consistently humbled to have received the many gifts that Isreal has given to me! After several hours of walking and listening to Sara, she invited me back to her home for ... read more

This morning I was accompanying Lori back into the Old City so she could walk Via Dolorosa. She had never done so. It was also an opportunity to enter into the Old City through a different gate. We walked through an Arab cemetery to get to the Lions Gate. From there I was able to impart what I had learned on my tour and has the pleasure of visiting the stations again. However, before we began, we spent some time in the Church of St. Anne. Not only was this church amazingly beautiful in an understated and simple way but the acoustics are amazing. People come from all over to take their turn singing in this beautiful church. Lori and I sat through several groups of people from several different countries/languages listening to their devotional offerings. ... read more

Coming to Isreal's official memorial to the victim's of the Holocaust was a requirement for my trip and one I do not regret. But first order of business, I needed to get my Rav Kav card! What is it? The transportation card that allows you to use the bus/light rail system. So, off I went to find the central station. I got onto bus 75 and the driver was so helpful. He told me when to get off and where to go. Into Central Station I went up to the 3rd floor and I followed the Rav Kav signs. Got my number and waited in line. Before I knew it, my number was called. Even though the clerk did not speak English, we were able to communicate enough that I was given my card! How cool ... read more
Yad Veshem
View at the end of the tour
Lunch spot

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 30th 2018

This was one of my must do activities while I was here. I specifically packed my Nana's rosary to bring to Isreal to carry it with me during this particular pilgrimage. I awoke this day and spent a good hour having coffee with Lori and finding out about her life while telling her a bit about mine. Then, it was time to head out and back to the old city. While there are tours that you can buy, I wanted to go it alone. However, finding the starting point was a bit harder than I had expected. I did stumble onto the first station but I apparently looked very lost. A gentleman asked if I wanted a guide and I totally took him up on it. I hired him and he took me to each station ... read more
Station 1
Station 2 - Jesus takes up the cross
Station 2 - Flagellation Chapel

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 29th 2018

I was so excited to get to the old city I was out the door by 8am! And considering this was the first night I slept the whole night through and didnt get up until 7:15, you can see I was anxious to get out the door! Stopped at the Train Station for coffee and off I went to explore... The Old City is a little over a mile away...perfect. As I was walking I couldn't help but admiring the view and when I was able to spy the walls of the old city...breath taking! Along my walk I met an older gentleman that was walking my way and we fell into conversation. I informed him that my goal was to tour the Tower of David today and then explore. He was so very gracious about ... read more
Old city!
Walkways in Old City

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 29th 2018

So last day in Tel Aviv...what to do? After a wonderful breakfast I headed back to the beach. I spent the next couple of hours walking in the water, looking out to the Mediteranian and enjoying the peace that comes with the water. Then it became decision time...because I am not Jewish, nor am I familiar with their customs, when I was planning this trip, I planned my travel days on Saturday. Big mistake! Why? Because of Shabbat! Pretty much everything shuts down Friday night and doesn't start up again until Sunday. So that means no public transportation. Private taxi it is then. With that comes more freedom of choice. So, do i go early or later? I decided to head back to Jaffa and go later...benefit of traveling alone, I get to make all the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv April 27th 2018

What can I say other than senses overload! The colors, sounds, atmosphere and much of everything! Almost chaos with the amount of energy around this market. It was hard to take everything in, let alone take pictures. It didn't help the it was Friday afternoon and the market was dealing with Shabbat happening soon. I made it through once and had to refresh and hang out for a half hour before going in again! I suppose this is what a middle eastern market is all about. Vendors yelling, people shopping and eating. There was all sorts of fruits, vegetables, spices, breads and pastries and candy. Household items, paper products, clothes and souvenirs. I am not sure how people were actually able to buy anything with the mass of humanity roaming...but they did! After this experience, ... read more

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