A Travellerspoint blog

Jordan 2019

Jordan

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JORDAN:

Petra
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Beautiful pink colored stones

Petra, located in South west of Jordan is an archaeological site dated back around 300 BC. Took us about 3 hours to reach Petra from Amman by bus traveling through deserts and mountains.
Once we arrived at the entrance, we have to walk about 1.2 miles - surrounded by narrow canyon called Al Siq, containing tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, which earned its nickname the "Rose City." Until we reached the facades known as The Treasury or Al-Khazneh of Petra, 45 meters high or about 12 stories high according to our guide.

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The first glimpse of Petra's Treasury (Al-Khazneh)

Jerash, Jordan
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Jerash pictures starts here. This is the 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch. Entrance to Jerash

Located in northern Jordan , about 45 minutes drive from Amman. Known for the ruins of the walled Greco-Roman settlement of Gerasa and some rare human remains dated back about 7500 BC.
Notable were the Temple of Artemis and the 2 huge Forums. Jerash today is home to one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities, which earned it the nickname of "Pompeii of the East" . Personally, I think Jerash is better, bigger, and more interesting version compared with Pompeii.

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View from the temple of Zeus overlooking the Corinthian columns in Jerash

My visit to Petra would be the last site that completed my wish to see the new 7 Wonders of the World(2007).
That would include:

  • Taj Mahal - India. ...
  • Colosseum - Italy. ...
  • Chichen Itza - Mexico. ...
  • Machu Picchu - Peru. ...
  • Christ the Redeemer - Brazil. ...
  • Petra - Jordan. ...
  • Great Wall of China - China. ...

A Milestone, a dream in my younger years. I would not have accomplished this without the blessings from God, and the understanding and support of Aileen who’s always been there trusting and believing that I will always make the right decisions.

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Another beautiful wall inside Jerash

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Walked at least a mile and a half with beautiful views of the canyons to reach the treasury of Petra

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Narrow canyon called Al Siq on the way to the Treasury of Petra

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The structure is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV in the 1st century AD.

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Mosque by the Citaldel of Amman

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Corinthian columns in Jerash

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The first glimpse of Petra's Treasury (Al-Khazneh)

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Tombs along the way to the treasury of Petra

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Jerash

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Beautiful pink colored stones

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Citadel of Amman

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Aileen riding a Camel in front of Al-Khazneh of Petra

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Jerash

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The treasury of Petra

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Roman forum in the northern part of Jerash

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Moses supposed to hit this stone that produced water. Spring water is located on the left under the pavement

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Jerash

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Jerash

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Jerash

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Aileen dwarfed by the size of the columns at the Citadel in old town of Amman

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Full view of The treasury of Petra

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Streets are even and easy to walk

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It’s an easy walk. Not to elevated

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Temple of Zeus in the background, Jerash

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Jerash

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Temple of Zeus in the background, Jerash

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Entrance to Jerash

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Camel ride in the treasury of Petra

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More pictures on the way to the treasury of Petra

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Turning Arab :))

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Lots of tourists from all around the world

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Nice views of the canyon

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Petra

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Jerash

Posted by ilovenewjersey 21:19 Archived in Jordan Comments (1)

Pilgrimage to Holy land 2019

Israel

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ISRAEL:

This trip is all about our religious retreat to the Holy Land with Amazing Catholic journey.
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Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv

We arrived earlier than the group. Stayed in Tel Aviv 3 nights prior to the start of the tour. We explored Tel Aviv by ourselves, visiting the old town of Jaffa, the old market, some shopping, and just chill out by the Mediterranean coast.
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Had a chance to witness this fisherman’s boat with lots of fish caught in the Sea of Galilee.

The first day of the tour was more of orientation and traveling to the northern part of Israel.
The second day of the tour was the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did miracles like throwing the net on the other side of the boat and catching lots of fish with the apostles, Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee, calming down the storm, and etc. We took a boat and sail in the Sea of Galilee, meditating and reliving the miracles/life of Jesus Christ.

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Celebrated mass at the outdoor of “Church of Peter” with foreground view of the Sea of Galilee

The Catholic brethren in our group had a chance to renew their baptismal vows in Jordan River where Jesus Christ was baptized by St John the Baptist.
Visited Capernaum, where Peter lived and where Jesus began his public ministry.

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Jordan River where Jesus was baptized St John the Baptist.

Visited Tabgha where Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and 2 fish.
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Tabgha, site where Jesus fed 5000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.


On our last day in Israel. Reminiscing back from when we first arrived here, absorbing lots of information, so many interesting things seen and learned that I have to reflect as a pilgrim here in the Holy land. Catholic, Lutheran, Russian and Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and other non-denominational Christians all meeting in this place.
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Jerusalem

Familiar phrases, Christian hymns, the visit to the birthplace of Jesus Christ that brought back memories growing up as Christian with my mother’s constant lectures and reminders of verses in the Bible, summer schools, Sunday school and services, after church gatherings with pot-luck lunches and sometimes celebrations and parties in our house with other brethren.
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Church of Nativity on the left with Mosque on the other side of the street...interesting

The 14 stations of the cross in Via Dolorosa, moments, and Christ life mentioned in the Bible. I feel blessed to see and experience these important events as a Christian in this Holy land. We were able to visit Calvary where Jesus Christ was crucified, the tomb were He was buried and rose up after 3 days. Our Catholic pilgrims held their mass in His tomb - which was quite an achievement by our team leader and guide considering His tomb is the busiest and the Holiest site in Christendom that lies at the heart of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It took them over a year to reserve the Mass with the Holy Church of Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
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One of the 14 stations of the Cross in the Holy church of the Sepulcher in Jerusalem

srael, in retrospect, I think is the most expensive Country I’ve visited. Food and cost of living is very expensive specially in Tel Aviv.

Next stop is Jordan

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Sweet dessert in Carmel market in Tel Aviv

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Overlooking the city of Haifa

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Tel Aviv coast at night

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Baptism of Jesus Christ by St John the Baptist in Jordan River

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Old train station in Jaffa, Tel Aviv

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Theatre of Caesarea Maritima, an ancient center of Roman governors including Pontius Pilate.

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Western wailing wall where Jewish people pray to the wall, Jerusalem

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Bethlehem

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Beautiful Ceiling of the church of Calvary

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Church of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, Jerusalem

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Sunset in Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv

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Mount Beatitudes where our Catholic pilgrims celebrated Mass

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Carmel market in Tel Aviv

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Tree with thorns, same tree they made the crown of thorns for Jesus

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Stone of anointing, Jesus body was anointed here with oil and spice before burial. We were here at around 4:00 am and not packed with pilgrims and tourists.

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Church of Annunciation in Nazareth where Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of God.

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Sunset by the Sea of Galilee....it’s actually a huge Lake

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Shepherds fields in Bethlehem

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Bronze statue of Jesus made from the hologram of the Shroud of Turin. Jesus was 5’ 10” tall.

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Baptismal renewal vows with father Carmelo Diola from Cebu

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Sea of Galilee

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Boat in Sea of Galilee

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Group picture

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Our group who had their baptismal vows renewed

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Masada, the cave in the middle of the group is where they found the Dead Sea scrolls hidden inside jars.

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Group picture in Church of Transfiguration in mount Tabor, Nazareth where Jesus revealed His Divine Glory to the apostles.

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Church of Cana in Nazareth

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Sea of Galilee

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Church of Peter by the Sea of Galilee

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Touching the water of the Sea of Galilee

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Aileen’s renewal of baptism vow with father Carmelo

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With Fr. carmelo Diola from Cebu in Jordan River

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Caesarea national park

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Church of mount of the Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee

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Capernaum, ruins of old house where Peter lived. Jesus teaching in the synagogue, cured a leper, healed a Centurion’s servant, and cast a demon.

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With Santa Clause in old town of Jesrulem

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Jordan River with other people having their baptismal vows renewed

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Mural n Old town if Jaffa, Tel Aviv

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Old clock tower in Jaffa, Tel Aviv

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Church of Annunciation in Nazareth where Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of God.

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Pilgrims young and old, sick and disabled, kissing, praying, having rosaries blessed in this spot where Jesus was born ( Church of Nativity).

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Mass with Father Carmelo Diola inside the cave of St Joseph and St Jerome in Bethlehem

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Ladies posing with veils in front of the Holy Tomb.

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Inside the Church of nativity where Jesus was born.

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Inside boat in Sea of Galilee

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Church of Nativity. To the right and going down is the place where Jesus was born. A very crowded, Long line to get in.

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Very salty water in the Dead Sea. Just float...You can’t sink

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Sea of Galilee

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Holy Tomb where Jesus body was buried

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After Jesus was born, He was moved to this Manger in the church of Nativity.

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Nice wall decoration

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This is the Tomb where Jesus was buried. We were so lucky to celebrate Mass here.

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Sunset in Sea of Galilee. We boarded our boat in this pier

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Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv

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Church of Transfiguration In mount Tabor, Nazareth where Jesus revealed His Divine Glory to the apostles.

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The Dead Sea

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Floating in the Dead Sea

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Aileen placing all the rosaries blessed in the Holy Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Sepulcher, Jerusalem

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Nice, peaceful alley at 3:30 am in the old city of Jerusalem going to the 14 stations of the cross, Via Dolorosa

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View of the entrance of our fancy hotel, Notre Dame hotel, Jerusalem

Posted by ilovenewjersey 20:05 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Tibet 2019

China

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Tibet

Known as the roof of the world averaging at 5000 meters above sea level.
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Beautiful Potala Palace in Lhasa

Lhasa, is the capital of Tibet autonomous region of China with an altitude of 3,700m, and the red-and-white Potala Palace once served as the winter home of the Dalai Lama(currently on exile in India).
I flew in from Shangrila, China to Lhasa, Tibet, travel time about 2 hours. It's very important to have your entrance to Tibet arranged by a tour company, or you won't be allowed to get in. The original copy of the itinerary and tour company should be with you including the correct spelling of your name upon arrival at Lhasa. I went with Tibet Vista Travel. I had everything arranged while I was in the USA.

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Potala Palace

Stayed in Lhasa for 2 days on my own, then joined my group traveling the mountain ranges, lakes, temples, monasteries of Tibet.
Have I known that the tour bus takes tourists to Mt. Everest base camp(3 days total) from Lhasa, I would have changed my itinerary to go there. I thought it was going to be a lot of trekking again, so I’d decided not to join them.

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White Yak by Namtso lake

Learned a lot about Tibetan Buddhist tradition of caring for corpses. The family and monk will decide if it’s going to be aerial burial, meaning, the corpse is butchered to pieces by a butcher monk, and then brought up to one of their holy mountain and feed the corpse to vultures, and other birds. Or, the corpse is butchered to pieces and brought to one of their holy rivers to feed the fish. Tibetans Buddhist btw do not eat fish.

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Monks debating in the courtyard of Sera monastery — in Lhasa, Tibet.

PHOTOS:
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Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet — in Lhasa, Tibet.

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side of Potala Palace in Lhasa

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Korola glacier

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Namtso lake(5190 meters), two tourists got sick due to the altitude, one had to be brought down to Lhasa hospital. His oxygen saturation when I checked was at 31. Mine was in the 70’s.

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View point of Potala Palace in Lhasa

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Potala Palace

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Jokhang Temple at night

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Potala Palace

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Inside Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Tibetans, in general, consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.

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Mountain ranges

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Park in Lhasa behind the Potala Palace

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Norbulungka palace, summer palace use by the Dalai Lama, a Unesco world heritage site.

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Gyangtse fortress on the way to Shigatse (360km) from Lhasa

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Namtso lake, one of the three holy lakes of Tibet

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Namtso Lake

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Huge working dogs being used by owner to make money by having tourists take their picture with them.

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Potala Palace — in Lhasa, Tibet.

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Lake in Lhasa

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Pilgrims prostrating(putting themselves on the ground) outside Jokhang Temple.

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Couple with traditional clothes getting married outside Jokhang Temple in Lhasa

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Our group(9),and tour guide sitting. Mostly Chinese, Japanese, and one Spaniard. We have different itineraries...towards the end(7th day), it was just me and Manuel(Spain), and we have to join another group. — in Lhasa, Tibet.

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Our group after a few days, down to 5, with our tour guide in the middle.

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Potala Palace

Posted by ilovenewjersey 12:01 Archived in China Comments (1)

Pokhara, Nepal

Travelling with Nolan and Haiza

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Pokhara

Located in central Nepal in the Himalayan region, Pokhara is second largest city in terms of population. A very popular region for trekking to the Annapurna region where 3 of the highest mountains in the world are located.
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Phewa Lake — in Pokhara.

We did a 4 days, 3 nights trek to Goraphani/Poon hill. A very popular trek highlighted with the sunrise in Poon hill. This trek was categorized as “easy” and based on my previous failures on treks in South America, I swore trekking was NOT for me. But after reading reviews and commentaries online about the level of difficulty of this trek - short, 5 - 6 hours trek per day and assurance from my travel agency here in Pokhara, I convinced myself maybe I should give trekking another try which was a mistake because it’s NOT easy! I wanted to quit after the first day but our guide was so encouraging, comforting, and reassuring that I can make it.
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A very difficult trek on our first day going up to Poon hill.

We slept at Guest houses with no heating and mostly freezing cold water.
We reached Goraphani (3,210 meters above sea level) on our second night. Trekking on wet snow, rain, heat, and etc all combined. Weather at night was below zero Fahrenheit. I slept with multiple layers of clothing inside a sleeping bag, and a comforter blanket placed on top of the sleeping bag to preserve heat. My foot, legs, knees, thighs, butts, back were sore, could not even eat and sleep well.

Anyways, I survived this gruesome torture, I should say, and promised I will never punish myself again.
The stubborn in me finally realized that there’s no such thing as “easy trek” or they won’t even call it a trek...they’re all Difficult and painful. Don’t believe what agencies and online websites says. I think they’ve been written mostly by the vocal minorities of trekking /mountain climbing aficionados. Trekking is not for everyone. You compromise your health, comfort, convenience, routine, and safety.
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Stiff and uneven steps during our trek

Next stop is Chitwan, Nepal
Said goodbye to Haiza. Me and Nolan took the tourist bus to Chitwan.

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Rental boats in Phewa Lake, Pokhara

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Small island In Phewa Lake with Barahi Temple. Reminded me of Lake Bled in Slovenia which also had a church in it.

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Phewa lake

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Took a boat to go around Phewa lake

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World Peace Stupa in Pokhara

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Phewa lake, Phokara

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Gurkha museum

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With a Gurkha soldier in Gurkha museum in Pokhara

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Gurkha museum. “ Better to die than be a coward" is the motto of the world-famous Nepalese Gurkha soldiers. Well Known to be the bravest among the brave soldiers/mercenaries.

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Multiple Lingam

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Old man rolling the prayer wheel in Buddhist Temple. One roll is equivalent to reciting the whole mantra.

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Buddhist monastery in Pokhara

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Long suspension bridge with my driver in Pokhara

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World Peace Stupa in Pokhara

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Celebrating Haiza’s birthday ???? n Pokhara

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Horses along the trekking trail going to Goraphani

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Stream and natural vegetation along the way

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A very difficult trek on our first day going up to Poon hill.

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Davis waterfall in Pokhara

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Finally arriving at Goraphani/Poon hill(3,210 meters high)

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View of the Himalayan mountain from the terrace of our Guesthouse in Goraphani

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Our group. Nolan(Philippine), Haiza(Malaysia), Shiva, in yellow shirt(guide), 2 Nepalese
porters

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Goraphani

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The three trekkers in Goraphan

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With Shiva(guide) in Goraphani (3,210 meters)

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Phewa lake in Pokhara

Posted by ilovenewjersey 15:33 Archived in Nepal Tagged pokhara Comments (1)

Chitwan, Nepal

Travelling with Nolan

sunny
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Chitwan, Nepal

Known for its National Park, animal breeding, forest reservation, and jungle safari in Nepal. We took a 3 days, 2 nights safari we book with Rainbow safari adventure. Not bad for $110, everything is included including hotel, 3 meals a day(recommenced), tourist bus ride from Pokhara to Chitwan(6 hours), tourist bus ride Chitwan to Kathmandu(5 hours), Jeep safari, canoe rides, cultural show, guides, and etc.
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Chitwan National Park in Chitwan

Met solo traveller Veronique from Montreal who travelled with us going back to Kathmandu.

Next stop North India with intrepid tour.

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Smoke from burning area if chitwan park

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Migratory bird from Siberia

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Crocodile along the river bank

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Friendly Baby elephant

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Black bear

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Black bear in Chitwan park

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Migratory birds along the river bank

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Elusive Rhino, main attraction in Chitwan Park

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Rhinoceros

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Rhino

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Bird sitting on rhinos back

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Canoe in Chitwan Narayani river

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Canoe ride in Narayani river

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Canoe with rhino in the background

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Took a Jeep safari with other tourists in Chitwan Park

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Canoe in Chitwan Narayani river

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Chitwan park reservation

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Sunset in chitwan, Narayani river

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Flowers in the hotel

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Chautatiri garden hotel where we stayed

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With Nolan and Veronique from Montreal

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Elephant sanctuary in chitwan together with another solo traveler from Montreal. Veronique

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Canoe ride in Narayani river

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Riding the Jeep safari to the jungle of Chitwan Park

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With hotel staff in Rainbow safari hotel

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Cultural show in Chitwan

Posted by ilovenewjersey 13:12 Archived in Nepal Tagged chitwan Comments (2)

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