Gloria's Travel Blog

here's to a year of travelling…

Archive for January 2009

Sick again

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  SICK AGAIN!!  I can hardly believe it!  I was sick almost a month ago for about a week and that wasn’t fun.  This was even worse.  I had a severe headache, muscle pains, dry cough, runny nose, fever, tiredness and I coudn’t eat for 2 days.  It was horrible! 
The interesting thing was that this all came from a sandstorm from Libya!  Yes remember that crazy sandstorm, well it made me sick.  All the newspaper had to say was: 

Israel has Libya to “thank” for Saturday’s hazy weather. Southeasterly winds transported large amounts of sand from the Libyan desert to the skies over Israel this weekend, reducing visibility and causing health concerns for some with respiratory problems. A huge sandstorm in Libya pushed the sand into the upper atmosphere, where it was blown across the Mediterranean by the wind.

It sounds so wonderful except for what was in that air?  Now both of my sisters have the flu and both at different times too.  Now if there was a little bit of rain it would have helped get rid of these repiratory problems.

What else is new?  The ceasefire is likely over, surprise surprise!  What did it last for a week?  It’s just so sad how the innocent people in Gaza and the nearby Israeli’s have to suffer because of all the hamas!!  So what started this again a roadside bomb explosion & a rocket-propelled  grenade  killed one soldier and wounded three others.  Oh and guess who they said made the attack…  “a farmer”  yeah right!!  So what did the Hamas say to defend themselves?  “it has not agreed to a “calm” and that its previous ceasefire announcement is dependent on Israel’s re-opening Gaza crossings to all commercial traffic.”  BOY OH BOY Are they crazy?  Who do they think they are?  So what happens next? Israel sent their tanks right back into central Gaza.

Oh and I almost forgot about the Iranian boat who was earlier caught by a US boat trying to smuggle arms (as they borded) but as it was international waters they couldn’t do anything.  So they kept sailing down to the Suez Canal right by Egypt and Gaza to bring them in.  Thankfully Egypt inspected the cargo or the  supposed “humanitarian aid” and found the arms and rejected the ship.  Good thing otherwise it was carrying missiles to reach Tel Aviv.
As well the Somalian Pirates that have been roaming the seas and forcing donations ?  They have been taking money from foreigners and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are sending some back to the Hamas.    They are known to have put arms in plastic containers allowing them to float and get picked up by another boat who conveniently get them and then tries to smuggle them through.  So if you wonder why there’s so many boats roaming the seas now you know.

So everythings back to normal to speak of in Israel.


Written by gloriastarr

January 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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How are things going? The weather’s been quite nice besides having no rain that is. I’d almost think I’d never say that, but in Israel they need all the rain they can get. We had this weird overcast brownish colour in the sky and you know what it was, a sandstorm. I thought it was a bit strange, but apparently it happens every once in a while.
Then I’ve been spending time helping my sister clean the place everything someone comes to look at the place. Oh course  it’s hard to know whether to sell or not. When terms change it makes it more difficult, but we know that  its all under control.
The 101 list as it stands is slowly getting smaller. When I look at it some things seem not too bad and then others almost impossible. Such as how can I learn 500 words in 3 languages? Also there was something I was thinking about can you check off 2 things even when they are similar? Such as Nancy pointed out I read a novel, Nostromo a classic and then also put it under read a book each month for 6 months? I was thinking about this before too but thought there’s no way I shouldn’t get credit for reading a book especially when it was sooo long. I’ve also started another book this month, the Great Gatsby and figure that will help. How about reading a book each month for 6 months; does this mean I can read 6 books, or do I really need to wait each month to start or get credit for another? I wrote all these new words to learn from the classics I’ve been reading but does it count if I learn 101 new words? lol I guess I really should have thought was I was reading and been more specific next time. Comments please, I’m at a bit of a dilemma on what TO DO.
Just to note, watching movies, really easy to do for me, I should have increased the amount as I watch a lot. Hope everythings is going well. Ciao

Written by gloriastarr

January 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Posted in 101 in 1001

Gloria’s 101 in 1001

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101 in 1001    

Why 1001 Days?
As this gives more of a  realistic timeline as it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Start Date: January 10, 2009
End: October 9, 2011


Completed: Blue
In Process: Red

Things to Learn:
1. Learn 500 new words in Hebrew
2. Learn 500 new words in Italian
3. Learn 500 new words in French

4. Learn basic phrases in 5 languages
5. Learn a new word each day for 6 months
6. Learn something new
7. Learn how to improve your memory
8. Learn to play piano again
9. Learn the lyrics to 5 songs
10. Take a dance class

Watch & Read:
11. Watch 100 new movies (52/100)
12. See 10 foreign films (3/10)

13. Watch 50 documentaries (24/50)
14. Read 10 classic novels (6/10)
15. Read a new book every month for 6 months (6/6)

16. Eat five things that I’ve never tried before (0/5)
17. Learn how to make two different cultural meals (0/2)
18. Learn how to cook 12 new recipes (1/12)

19. Bake bread 5 times (1/5)
20. Make cookbook/recipe cards of my favorite recipes
21. Cook a full meal for my family at least 10 times (4/10)
22. Eat only fruits/vegetables for 1 month
23. Go a month without any fast food
24. Take a cooking class

Health & Fitness:
25. Get in shape
26. Get better posture
27. Learn how to decrease water retention in my legs

28. Go walking/jogging every morning for a month
29. Get up every morning before 8 am for a month
30. Consistently work out 3x a week for a month
31. Stretching exercise for legs and hips every morning for a month
32. Be able to do 75 push-ups in a row
33. Do 50 sit-ups each day for a month

34. Learn about herbal remedies
35. Drink 6 glasses of water everyday for 2 months
36. Take Quinary 5 times a week for 6 months
37. Brush teeth 3 times a day for a month
38. Floss teeth 2 times a day for a month
39. Grow my nails for 1 month

Things I’d like to do:
40. Keep a journal for a month
41. Sleep under the stars
42. Watch the sun set & rise
43. Go outside and lie on the grass
44. Grow something
45. Pass on a nugget of knowledge to someone
46. See what’s happening in your community
47. Be a better listener
48. Become a mentor
49. Help an elderly neighbor with their housework
50. Have a favorite joke
51. Try surfing
52. Ride a Vespa

53. Dance in the rain
54. Take pictures in a photo booth at the mall
55. Make 5 new friends
6. Surprise a friend with an unexpected visit
57. Make a craft with my nephew each month (5/12)
58.  Learn how to make jewelry
59.  Try pottery

60. Pray each morning and night for 3 months
61. Read the Bible each day for 3 months

62. Memorize a scripture every two weeks for 6 months
63. Find an accountability partner
64. Write short bible verses on 10 rocks with a sharpie and throw them back on the beach
65. Start up a woman’s bible study
66. Learn about 5 different religions (0/5)

Gifts & Letters:
67. Give 10 “just because” gifts (2/10)
68.Write handwritten letters to 10 people (1/10)
69. Send bookmark & letter to Zia Germana
70. Send 12 postcards (8/12)
71. Send 12 text messages (12/12)

Things to own:
72. Get a new hairbrush
73. Buy new sunglasses (check out best shape)
74. Buy new jeans
75. Be more socially responsible in the things I buy

76. Buy something special for myself

Things I should do:
77. Do three things that ’scare’ me, or push me out of my comfort level (3/3)
78. Create a list of 50 things that I like about myself
79.  Create a list of 50 things that make me happy

80.  Tell someone you love them
81. Back down from every possible fight, especially with parents
82. Reconnect with an old friend
83. Spend one evening a week without watching TV or using the PC
84. go offline for a week
85. go off facebook for one month

86. Go to Greece
87. Visit the Acropolis and
Parthenon in Athens
88. Visit 5 countries (2/5)

89. Organize and delete unwanted photos
90. Back up my files and photos on the computer every 2 months
91. Construct an address book
92. Write an entry for each of the 101 tasks completed. (20/101)

Volunteer & Good deeds:
93. For every incomplete task after 1001 days, donate $5 to a Charity
94. Volunteer each month

95. Do 10 random acts of kindness (1/10)

96. Plant a tree

Work & Finances:
97. Look up job fit opportunities
98. Decide on a career and work towards it
99. Check out how to work in Europe
100.  Help sister see what’s needed to start-up design business

101. Help mom see what’s needed to start-up wine/food business


Written by gloriastarr

January 11, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Posted in 101 in 1001

Happy New Years

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Happy New Year! It’s finally here 2009! It’s almost hard to believe. My sister and I rang in the New Year with some Limoncello in Tel Aviv. We took more of a relaxed approach after finding the places crowded with lots of smoke. Changes are good. I wonder what 2009 will bring. I’m sure many things will change and  as this New Year begins.

This 2009 I find myself in Israel in War. I guess it was bound to happen after traveling here over half a dozen times. The war started 2 days before we came back from Madrid. We didn’t have a hard time entering Israel again either. Besides the one security guy asking us for an immediate passport check after just getting off the plane (weird). We normally wait for another 10 min walk to get checked. Other then that it was pretty easy.

I am staying in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, the middle of Israel. Everything goes on as normal here due to it’s geography. It’s likely the safest place to be in the middle of it all. There’s always possible attacks from Gaza and Egypt in the South. In the North there is Lebanon and Syria and in the East there’s Jordan. Israel has been surrounded for years battling with Arab nations.

So now we find this war with Gaza having lasted 13 days. In the South the towns of Sederot, Ashdod & Ashkelon are finding themselves constantly bombarded with rockets. There is anywhere from 5-15 min. for people to run for cover in a bomb shelter. Schools, and work have stopped in the south and many have come to Tel-Aviv for protection. God has protected the civilians and IDF soldiers in Israel. I continue to pray for their safety and those believers and civilians in Gaza who are not supporting Hamas. War is a horrible thing. It’s a shame that it continuously has to happen.
In this time where not too much can be done, prayer is often affective and so I ask for your prayers.

Written by gloriastarr

January 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Holiday's


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    Saturday was our last day in Madrid.  We had seen so much in Madrid but we didn’t get to see the top 2 museums still.  The Prado & Thyssen Museum.

    That morning we visited the Prado. This museum contains the world’s greatest assembly of Spanish paintings; with works of Velazquez & Goya. It also houses impressive foreign collections of Italian, Flemish, and French & German art.  A great treat to visit, you could easily spend more then the 3 hours we did.  Really a fantastic museum with great art not to be missed.

     We later made it to the Thyssen-Bornemisza which is also impressive.  It gives more of an overview of art from the Renaissance to Baroque to Rocco to Realism and then to Modern Masters.  As my # 2 pick from the amazing Prado there are amazing top artists at this museum.  Titian, Goya, Van Gogh, Picasso, Ruben, and El Greco to name a few.  Another good thing about this museum was that it helped me appreciate the Reina Sofia museum we visited earlier.   I was able to see a trend in Picasso & Salvador Dali into progressively distorted art.  So I realize now more then ever my favorite art and museums are from the Renaissance and Impressionist era, no modern art.

     I’m glad I had a chance to visit all the museums and see all the wonderful things in Madrid.  We took many pics and enjoyed some lattes at starbucks.  After 6 days in Madrid we walked our feet off and enjoyed the lights and festivities that Madrid had to offer!




Written by gloriastarr

January 2, 2009 at 12:49 am

Posted in Travel

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    Segovia is only a 35min train ride north of Madrid, and it has an aqueduct, cathedral and a fortress.  It’s intriguingly in the shape of a ship. 

    We made it to the well preserved Roman Aqueduct from the 1st Century AD.  I have never seen anything so grand & well preserved. The aqueduct is 2,500ft long, 100ft tall and has 118 arches and was made of granite.  

    We continued to the gothic cathedral dating from 1525. I enjoyed this one more then Toledo’s with its pinnacles, flying buttresses, tower and dome an impressive site.  It’s amazing how something from the renaissance could still be so attractive.

     After walking some more we found the fortress of Alcazar.  This Is a castle!  It is the one used from the fairy tales, specifically sleeping beauty.  It was gorgeous the weather even changed that we had mini snowflakes.  We walked up a long, high tower and saw the most amazing view.  This castle really must be visited.

      Later after such a great day we decided to grab some lunch. Everyone in Spain was always so nice to us except for the person we were supposed to meet.  No one really speaks English in Spain, but we could sometimes use our Italian to help us.  We ordered the menu of the day which often contains 3 items.  Anyways the guy tried to rip us off and give us one item even though there were 2 on this particular menu.  Since we couldn’t communicate much with him (partly b/c he was playing dumb) we couldn’t get much across.   Our first portion was horrible some raw hamburgers and chips.  After trying to get the words we finally got our second meal which was mushrooms with pork and cheese and they also weren’t good. To top this off after only eating the mushrooms my sis and I started feeling sick.  We left immediately and had benedryl and were so upset at this guy who totally tried to rip us off like tourists!!  I will definitely never going back there again. Too bad our good day had to end so horrible with our lunch which was probably the worst meal I ever had in my entire life and I had to pay 10 Euro for it.




Written by gloriastarr

January 2, 2009 at 12:23 am

Posted in Travel

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Christmas in Madrid

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     Christmas in Madrid, isn’t there a great sound to that.  On Christmas Eve my sister and I stopped to visit the church called San Francisco El Grande.  It was huge, and lovely and best of all free to visit.  I wish we could have taken pictures because this church was just gorgeous. So much effort & design must have gone into making this so spectacular.
We managed to go and see Las Ventas, or the famous stadium where Real Madrid plays and the bull fights are held in the summer time.  The outside structure is really beautiful up-close.  Sometimes it’s hard to find the Moorish influence in things, but this stadium really brings out that beauty.
We even managed to get some shopping in on Christmas Eve. There weren’t too many sales, but I found a few good picks including my shirts, boots, and tights J

      On Christmas we slept in and walked to the plaza Cibeles, the huge fountain often found on TV when the Real Madrid victories happen and everyone jumps in.  I can see why; it’s huge and looks appealing especially on a hot day.

      We made it to Retiro Park which is a huge hang-out on weekends and holidays. It is a gorgeous park!  It actually used to be the private playground of the Royal family but then was opened to the public later in the 17th Century.  There is a huge monument with water in the middle, and 2 palaces just off to the other side.  One of them is made of Crystal and it’s fantastic.  That was probably my favorite thing in the park; I wish I could have one for private dinner parties… that would be the life.

     We found the best trendy tapas bar for our lunch!  We had lamb skewers, spicy potatoes, foie gras, and tempura asparagus.  Yum, yum the best meal we had in Madrid! All Tapas bars should taste this good.

     We relaxed some more just like everyone should on Christmas and walked to another park and to take in the sites.  I just love Europe and the architecture; I wish America could look more exquisite. 
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!!




Written by gloriastarr

January 1, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Posted in Holiday's, Travel