Monday, April 14, 2008


On April 6th we ran the 12k race, Vivicittà. The course started in Piazza Transalpina, a place which commemorates the last place where the "Iron Curtain" fell. The race was half in Italy and half in Slovenia, and it was Nora's second race ever and Peter's first race in over two years. We made many papers before and after the race since we came all the way from California to run!! Not exactly true, but details get lost in translation. We were called up during the ceremony and received a medal for our journey! Great day all around.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Austro-Hungarian Prison

Here in Ljubljana we are spending our nights in a hostel which was once a prison. The building has been re-done by local artists and the entire complex is now a community space as well as a living piece of art. 20 of the rooms here are still cells, bars and everything. They have been designed by artists and some are still cell like while others verge into creepy. It is quite a sight. Check out their website to see all the cells.
over and out
n and p

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Valley of the Kings

While in Luxor it is hard not to journey to one of Egypt's most visited sites: the valley of the kings. The boys, Peter, Terje, Doug, Matt and myself. Took a ferry across the Nile to the West Bank and rented bikes for the day. The roads are paved but quite small, the many tour buses proved to be a tad death defying. The ride to the Valley is all up hill, Peter earned his red and white king of the mountain jersey in a last minute sprint against me and reached the parking lot first. When you get your ticket to the valley you are able to visit three of the tombs there. If you want to see Tut then you have to pay extra, needless to say we did not. We ventured down into Ramses IV, one tombs with the best preserved paintings and carvings. It is also called the Harper's tomb in reference to a scene painted on the wall. We then climbed up into the cliffs to find the tomb of Thuthmosis III. Once up on the cliff we headed down into the stairs and into the rock.Terje and Nora decending into Tuthomis III
We traveled to one room and then another lower one. The heat down here was overwhelming and it was hard to take in a full breath. The paintings on the wall however were the most unique we had scene. They were not carved like other hieroglyphics but drawn in a crude manner. I found this style more attractive then the perfection of other hieroglyphics I had seen.

Hieroglyphics inside Ththmosis III

Our last pick was Ramses III. A shorter tomb then the other two but had some Coptic graffiti in it from the 1800's. It is strange how the defacement of this ancient tomb has become a historical marker in its self.

We spent over 4 hours exploring the tombs and were happy that the way home was down hill!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Trekking outside of Al Qusar, in the Dakhla Oasis. Nora, Peter and Doug.

We stopped in a garden and picked some fresh dates off the palms to sustain our journey.

The edge of the Oasis garden. Full of Date Palms. They are best when they fall off into your hand. The sun was melting and our progress constant. Our only company was a farmer tending to his clover fields at the edge of the garden, a lizard who scurried up the dunes and a lone dog marching towards his mysterious destination. Peter and Doug.
The views were breathtaking and we all slept well that night. Our dinner was much earned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Life on the Oasis

After the hecticness of Luxor and Cairo we needed some calm. We headed out to the Western Desert with Doug and his i-pod. After a train, a bus, a police caravan, a bad hotel (with actual fleas in my bed), a mini bus and another police caravan, a town named Mut and a shared taxi we landed in Al Qasr. The town itself is a sleepy oasis village in the Daklah Oasis. The gardens all around are fed by a hot spring, and produce dates, oranges, lemons, bananas and other beautiful things. Most of the farmers travel to and fro in carts pulled by donkeys and the local people still seem surpried to see outsiders. Life is calm and traditional. The old town is something out of this world. While standing on the roof of our hotel and looking over the old town Doug commented that it looked like some place out of Star Wars. It is a desert village built completely out of mud bricks. There are a few people who still reside in the old section so the Egyptian goverment can't yet make it into a living museam and you are still able to wander though it all with out a fee. We wandered the steets and were surpriesed by the coolness inside the covered walkways. It keeps the heat out in the summer. The mud bricks that hold it all intact seem are crumbling before your eyes. Peter had to pee and almost took out a supporting wall of one house. But the town is constatly rebuilding and you can see where the new mud bricks are being made and dryed to repalce thouse that wayard tourists piss on. Many of the old houses have intricatly carved acacia wood lintels abouve the door. The lintels state the name of the inhabitants, the name of the builder and a verse from the Koran. The oldest we saw datetd back to 924 AD.

The historic minaret next to the modern day

Monday, January 21, 2008

There is water falling from the sky

While in Cairo we decide to take the train down to Aswan and then hire a felucca and sail up the Nile for a few days. This trip is better with some friends so we head down with Terje our Norwegian couchsurfing host who decided to skip the first month of school to come see the world with us. (We must be the best house guests ever!!!) We recruit two super cool American lads, Matt from Texas and Doug from Tennessee along with Luke an Australian living in England.

We gather on the first day of the trip, (There is also a whole story about how we got screwed over here and threw a fit, but I wont go into that) at the docks, board our little boat and meet our two man crew; Captain Cool and his first mate Fatty.


We sail up the river. All is calm and well although it is a bit cold, we snuggle down on the mattress lined deck and blankets which will in a few hours become our bed under the stars. It is in the back of all our minds that the stars might not be too great tonight since it seems a bit cloudy. We enjoy the company of the other felluca guests, our books and our journals.

Terje lost in his book, Matt looking on and Robin contemplating his newest book characters

The boat docks, a fire on the beach is enjoyed by all and sleep time rolls around. Fatty, who does most of the work on the boat, cleans up dinner. To do so he washes our dishes in the river water. We all chose not to think about the problems this may cause our intestines in the future. To protect us and the sleeping deck from the wind and the cold he puts up a windscreen and a roof, both made of bedsheets. The bed sheet that was our roof had two small strange mice like cartoon characters and the saying "Hello Brother's. We wish you both much happiness together" Some thought provoking words and images to fall asleep to, since the starts were not visible though the thick clouds.

Our boat

The first drops of rain were felt around 2:30 am. Even in our half awake states we knew that the Hello Brother's would not keep us dry. We tried to wake up Captain Cool in his small room below deck. He would not have it, "It has not rained here in 10 years" Was his only response, if some how by stating that fact would stop the water from falling from the sky. It did not and the rain came harder. Matt, in an attempt to save his down sleeping bag, was the first to make a move and join our valiant captain below decks. Peter, myself, Treje, Luke, and Marco (from Italy) soon followed carrying all the blankets we could save. The room would sleep two people in semi comfort, 7 was pushing it. There were still 7 people on deck who could not fit and they took shelter in a nearby boat which thankfully had a tin roof. It rained all morning. The remaining blankets, the mattresses and pillows covering the deck and most of our bags under became soaked. Since they had not seen rain for 10 years Captain Cool and Fatty were not prepared for it. Captain Cool stayed below and was soon snoring, not a drop hit is face. It was Fatty who tried to save everything and make sure that all had shelter. When the rain stopped we sailed up river a bit and docked for some drying off. All the blankets and mattress were hung in trees along the river and the wind and sun made quick work of it. We calculated the odds of being out in that rain storm were 1 in 3652. Lucky us! The remainder of the trip was calm sailing, and consisted of intellectual conversations, history lessons from Robin, rum drinking and dreaming.

Friday, January 4, 2008


"The pyramids are overrated, trash filled and overrun by modernity"
- Peter Maksimow, January 4, 2008

The Pyramids of Giza are the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. You hear about them from a young age, read books and see PBS documentaries about them. Some of us even get to teach about them, the pyramids being one subject that students actually get excited about. Some how in real life, they are just not that great...I hate to say it.

So from down town Talaat Harb Square, the center of Cairo, you take bus 357 to Giza. Tickets run you 2 LE, or 36 cents. The trip takes about 20 min.

So easy! So close! This should have made us worried not excited.
Our vision of the pyramids is that they are dropped down in the vastness of the desert, when in reality due to the need for more housing the city has been silently creeping up. And now BAM! you can get a great view of wonder #7 from the Pizza Hut window.

Yes, they were large. When you walked into the complex and stood with the city to your back, it did seem as though you were lost in the desert. But this vision was soon cut short by some kid, who should be in school in my opinion but that is another story, tries to force you to buy a crappy pyramid statue. Or the antiquity guard who freely tells you he is open to letting you cross the velvet gates and touch the ancient stones, for a price. Or even worse your eyes are not focused on the greatness in front of you, but are distracted by the pyramids of trash forming all around you. Maybe that is how they got built!!!!

The spinx keeping an eye on Cairo

But I digress. Even though they disappointed us on some level, I guess we went to see them simply because they are still there. We went, we saw...took some pictures, said hi to the Spinx and took bus 357 back to the city.