Reunited

Eli. We were going home to Eli. I don’t want to offend our other cats or the family members and friends we hadn’t seen in six months, but reuniting with our 8-year-old tabby was first and foremost on Him and I’s minds during that long return flight from Istanbul to Miami. I know this admission…

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Istanbul (not Constantinople — or Lygos, Byzantium, Augusta Antonina…)

Istanbul is one of those world cities members of the English-speaking population typically can’t visit without breaking into song. And I don’t mean just any song, but one possessing such a solid foothold in pop culture that it’s inextricably intertwined with that city. Examples that come to mind include Ella Fitzgerald’s “I love Paris,” Frank…

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In the land of the gods

En route to Meteora from Thessaloniki, I managed to navigate Him and I an hour in the opposite direction – east toward Turkey instead of west toward Kalambaka. But our excursion to Istanbul, the last stop on our World Trip, wouldn’t come for a week yet, so we made a U-turn around Lake Koroneia and…

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A protest party in Greece

Back home, I’d usually start my hour-long, Florida Turnpike commute by tuning into National Public Radio. Chances were, Sylvia Poggioli or Jacob Goldstein was reporting on the European debt crisis, and what a freeloader Greece is to the Eurozone. “The country is up to its unibrows in debt and the unemployment rate is nearing the…

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A Traveler’s Prayer from Tel Aviv

My first impression of Tel Aviv was that it looked an awful lot like Miami: long stretches of sandy white beach, high-rise condominiums and sunny weather conducive to flip-flop wearing. Yes, a lot like Miami, but with considerably less people congregating near the water. I had often heard the city described as a hedonist’s paradise,…

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Make Hummus Not Walls

On the morning we set out to cross the Israeli-Palestinian border for a day-trip to Bethlehem, we heard what sounded like a baby crying in the open foyer of an apartment building on Jaffa Street. Investigating, we discovered a tiny kitten huddled in a corner on the cold, marble floor. Her, champion of hungry and…

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“The hummus will set you free!”

“The hummus will set you free!” This was yelled at me by a very aggressive hummus vendor who then flashed a wide grin and pointed at several pots of hummus (pronounced hoo-mus) set on a counter in front of him. Her and I were deep within the Mahane Yehuda Market. We had already purchased some halva (a…

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Step-by-excruitiating-step: An Israel land-border crossing

Amazingly, entering Israel from Jordan marked the first time we made a land-border crossing on the trip. (Airfare proved relatively cheap and, as we didn’t have an unlimited amount of time at our disposal, flying often made the most sense.) Of course, we picked a doozy. Like many travelers, we were aware that many Arab/Muslim…

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Burning nipples, papier-mâché Moses and the baptism site of Christ

What do burning nipples and a visit to the baptism site of Jesus have in common? For me, the two experiences were separated by only a few miles. From our hotel in Madaba, Jordan, we drove our rental car west to explore and have a swim in the Dead Sea, completing our journey from the…

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Tea for two at Petra

By now, if you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you know my somewhat guileless affinity for animals – both wild and domesticated – has often gotten me in trouble during this trip (See posts on the koala, the monkey and the mule attacks). Pursuing the four-legged residents of Petra was not particularly dangerous, but it…

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