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Visiting Burj Khalifa

Visiting Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world … for now

About a year ago, I was in Dubai for a workshop, and decided to go see the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (830 meters). Getting there involved taking Dubai’s spotlessly clean and well-run metro to the Dubai Mall: the largest mall in the world. Trekking across the mall to the entrance, I…

This image, part of a larger mosaic in the Dionysus House, is called "the Mona Lisa of Zippori" according to the park's leaflet.

Zippori National Park and its spectacular mosaics

“Sixteen miles all around Zippori is a land flowing with milk and honey.” This sentence from the Jerusalem Talmud (Bichurim 71d) opens the text given to visitors to Zippori National Park, north of Nazareth. On the spring day when I visited, I could believe it: carpets of wildflowers covered the rolling hills in all directions….

In the center of the Kathmandu, everyone vies for space.

Surviving the roads in Nepal: a guest post

The following is a guest post by my husband, Albert Smith, about his experiences on the roads in Nepal last fall. [Beneden is de oorspronkelijke Nederlandse versie] My son and I are on our way back from a football [soccer] match between FC Groningen and AZ. We’re in a good mood: Groningen has won a…

The Wallace memorial as seen from its base, complete with a statue of William Wallace.

The Wallace Memorial and a travel blogger’s heart

My son has decided he wants to go to university in Scotland. After investigating the possibilities on line, he applied to five universities that offered the sort of program he was looking for. It didn’t really occur to him that perhaps he should consider other factors in his choice. Would he prefer an urban or a…

a Mesopotamian matriarch from ca. 2000-1750 BCE in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Bible Lands Museum: The history behind the Bible

The premise, or perhaps I should say the Unique Selling Point, of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem is to illustrate each and every civilization mentioned in the Bible. Unlike some Bible museums, this one is not dogmatic: it shows the actual history of each civilization. Here, the Bible isn’t just a religious document: the stories…

A man leads a donkey in Nazareth Village: Biblical Nazareth

Biblical Nazareth: my observations

In biblical Nazareth, a man, dressed like an extra from The Ten Commandments, wanders slowly by between the gnarled olive trees, leading a donkey by a rope. He lingers for a while near our assembled group. The camera-toting tourists, dressed in shorts and tank tops, crowd around. The effect of being in biblical Nazareth is…

A section of the border wall, with the Banksy Hotel just out of the frame on the left. Visiting Bethlehem.

Visiting Bethlehem for a Day

While visiting Bethlehem is mostly about seeing the birthplace of Jesus, it’s been in the news recently for a much more modern reason: the opening of the Walled Off Hotel. On a recent day trip to Bethlehem with a group of fellow bloggers, this hotel, designed by the mysterious graffiti artist, Banksy, was our first…

columns in the synagogue at Capernaum

Your Trip to Israel: 5 Christian sites near the Galilee

 Are you considering a trip to Israel? Certainly you should visit Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and perhaps Masada and Bethlehem. While I’m not a Christian, all religions are interesting to me in terms of their cultural and historical importance. In Israel, I’ve visited Muslim sites, of which the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is…

a bag of candy ready to hand to a flight attendant

Be kind to your flight attendant: an experiment

Despite all the uproar over United Airlines’ treatment of a man who resisted being bumped from a flight, I think it’s safe to say almost every flight attendant acts in a professional way, and they show remarkable patience. In praise of the flight attendant Passengers misbehave: the internet abounds with examples. (See this article, or…