Bosphorus Tour

We played tourists again last Saturday and took a boat tour on the Bosphorus up to a castle by the Black Sea.  It was a bit cloudy first, but then turned out to be a gorgeous day.  We enjoyed a fish lunch, hiked (not much of a hike) up to the castle and was amazed by the scenery and the beauty of God’s creation.  While sitting on the old castle ruin and taking in the scenery we noticed something moving in the water, and realized it was dolphins jumping out of the water!  It was quite a big group of them, and they were very playful!  It was a good day.

Here’s how a mid-westerner and how a Chinese like to eat their fish:

The Bosphorus behind us

The Black Sea

Yoros Castle

Dolphins!

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Romania (Part 2)

We spent the day before our friend’s wedding touring the old fortress in the middle of the city of Alba Iulia.  The fortress is old.  For more precise history of the city and the fortress you should google it.  Anyways, here are some pictures from our tourist day.

A Catholic cathedral built in the 13th century.

Right next to the Catholic cathedral is a fairly new Orthodox cathedral.  It is huge.

Mark was trying to storm the fortress.

The size of the moat around the fortress was impressive.

Torture chamber.  Yikes!

Romania (Part 1)

Last weekend Mark and I went to Romania for our friend Sorin’s wedding.  We know Sorin from our time in DC.  Sorin’s hometown, also where the wedding took place, is Alba Iulia in Transylvania.  It’s a beautiful part of the country, with mountains, lots of forests and old castles and fortresses.  We stayed with Sorin’s brother, Dani, and his family.  They gave us a wonderful experience of Romanian hospitality.

Last weekend happened to be an unseasonably hot weekend in Romania.  We don’t know what the temperature was exactly, but I’m sure it was in the high 90’s or more!  To top it off, it was an outdoor wedding!  I can safely say it was the hottest wedding we’ve attended.  But it was beautiful, and we are so happy for our friend and his new bride, Naomi.

The wedding itself was mostly the same as an American wedding.  The reception, however, was a bit different.  It lasted about 7 hours.  We were eating pretty much the entire time!  They also had games and singing planned throughout the afternoon/evening.

It was a gorgeous day for an outdoor wedding.

Here comes the bride!

No, Coca-cola was not a sponsor of the wedding.  It was so hot they borrowed the umbrellas from the restaurant to give the guests some relief.

Mark got to participate in one of the games at the reception.  Aren’t those old couples so cute?

Congratulations, Sorin and Naomi!

(More pictures to come from the rest of our time in Romania.)

Saturday outing

Yesterday Mark and I ferried to the European side of our city and visited Dolmabahce Palace, the most grand of the Ottoman palaces.  The weather was perfect with sunny sky and pleasant temperature.  Once again, no photography was allowed inside the palace, so I was not able to take a picture of the 4.5 ton chandelier, which was the grand finale of the palace tour.  But you can see a picture of it here (go to virtual tour and click “The Muayede Hall”).  Grandeur would be a good word to describe the palace.  The national hero, Atatürk, died in the palace, which gives the palace added significance and sentimental value.

One of the bridges that connect Europe and Asia

In the palace garden

Special footwear required to enter the palace

The palace runs 600 meters along the shore of the Bosphorus

View of the palace on our ferry ride home