Archives For October 2013

Illegal Barrier, Jerusalem

Graffiti on the barrier between Israel and Palestine – unfortunately love doesn’t win here…

Overall score (Dan) = A
Overall score (Jocelyn) = A

Total days = 10 nights, 11 days
Total cost = $1,667
Cost per day = $152 / day
Flight costs = $702 one-way from Istanbul
Cities visited: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Eilot, Northern road trip, and adding in Petra, Jordan

Summary

If there was a ranking of countries by the most interesting things to see per square kilometer, Israel must sit at the top of the list. It’s the birthplace of monotheistic religions and although it’d be nice to call it a cultural melting pot, there are many forces at work discouraging an assimilation among its inhabitants. This contributes to it being one of the most complex countries we’ve visited yet.

In the grand scheme of things, I was pretty ignorant of what was happening in Israel aside from the quick soundbites I’d regularly hear on the news – things like illegal settlements, suicide bombers and border disputes. However, there’s no way I’d fully understand it if we didn’t visit, but now that I know more, I’m not sure their issues will ever be settled. The Palestinians and the rest of the middle east will never accept the Bible’s granting of the land to the Jewish religion, and the Israelis will continue to turn a blind eye to the prisons they’re building around the Palestinians in the name of protection.

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Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

Overall score (Dan) = C
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B

Total days = 7 nights, 8 days
Total cost = $1,344
Cost per day = $168 / day
Flight costs = $525 one-way from Zagreb
Cities visited: Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul

Summary

Turkey was always so far away on our round the world trip that we never gave much attention to it, but we heard from enough people it was worth the visit. After we found a way to fit it in our schedule between meeting friends in the countries before and after, we were set to take on Turkey.

Istanbul is the cultural capital and led the fight that took Turkey to the 2020 Olympics final destinations – narrowly losing to Japan in what some experts say was caused by the way Turkey handled protests in Taksim Square back in 2012. I think the Olympics lost out on what would’ve been an incredible destination.

Istanbul, Turkey

Walking along the crowded streets of Istanbul

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Investing is a foreign subject for most of us – whether we like to admit it or not. Even though I majored in Finance, it still took me a long time to learn what the whole “investing” thing was all about. Fear not, just like the timeline of an entrepreneur, you can now see where you stand in the progression of investing!! For many of us, it goes something like this:

1. “Dow”, “NASDAQ”, and “stock market” might as well be Latin for as much as you understand them
2. Hear someone on TV talk about the importance of investing
3. Realize you should probably start paying attention
4. Your “friend” the financial advisor offers to meet with you
5. Decline their offer for the fifth time but know you are running out of excuses
6. Google the term “Investing” and 230,000,000 websites pull up offering to help you get started – you learn what “Dow” means
7. Close the webpage because Modern Family is on
8. Parents ask you if you’ve started investing yet, you lie and say yes and explain to them what the “Dow” is
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Paklenica National Park in Croatia

Standing at the top of Paklenica National Park in Croatia

Overall score (Dan) = A
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B

Total days = 21 nights, 22 days
Total cost = $2,722
Cost per day = $124 / day
Flight costs = Bus from Vienna to Zagreb, $150 in flights to Dubrovnik
Cities visited: Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, Split, Zadar, Novigrad, Zagreb

Summary

As we continued our journey into Europe after Austria, we wanted to explore a cheaper place than the western European countries (Germany, France, etc), so based on the advice of travelers we previously talked to, Croatia was the ticket. When it was first mentioned, all I knew was it was somewhere in eastern Europe and that they might’ve been involved in the Bosnian War in the 1990s. It turns out I was right and that wasn’t the only war that affected Croatia as it’s been a popular place to fight over for millenniums – from the Greeks, to the Romans, the Ottoman Empire, and more recently the Austrians in World War I. After we spent three weeks exploring Croatia, we learned why it’s so hotly contested.

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