Where in the world…. Funabashi

Germany was a wonderful experience.  Now we have gone all the way across Europe a total of 5,773 miles.  (Phew!)  Ohayou gozaimasu (pronounced oh- hi- oh- goh – zai – mas).  You just said hello in Japanese – give yourself a big pat on the back!

map of funabashi japan

Our first stop is the Funabashishi Funabashi Anderson Koen Kodomo Museum.  It is an art museum that is in a children’s park.  It offers classes.  One of the exhibits it has is called Animal Power – that sounds interesting.

We can make a pit stop at the Nakayama Horse Tracks – maybe pick a winner?

Sacred sites more your cup of tea?  A trip to Funabashi Daijingu then – it is a shinto shrine with approximately 2,000 years of history in its many buildings.

I smell roses – we must be near the Yatsu Rose Garden – breathtaking.  They have hundreds of roses – well worth a visit.

Okay, I hear the beer fans that are with us cheering.  We have arrived at the sapporo Beer Chiba factory.  Most rate the experience as very good.

There are several places to shop too – malls, street markets, and everything in between.  My favorite memory is the 2nd floor of Ito Yokado – a garden terrace (first floor is the japanese equivalent of 7-eleven) complete with soft serve ice cream for 100 yen, pinball machines, and teriaki on a stick.  I was 13 at the time so the price of the ice cream has probably gone up a little.

Funabashi has something for everyone.  Ooo, must stop at the Planetarium Museum.  Planetarium shows are always out of this world!  (smiles to self).

Enjoy the visit dear ones.  See you next time for a place beginning with G.

Where in the world… Essen

Sadly we leave Durban for now, but we get back on the Trans-Sahara Highway to arrive in Essen, Germany.  A beautiful place that was founded in the 9th century.  It took us 188 hours to get here (8,480.1 miles).  I think some exquisite German chocolate is in order now!  Essen is on the Ruhr River (how’s that for a tongue twister?) and the Rhine.

Ruhr River

It has something for everyone for sure – a train museum, sea creatures, botanic gardens, Blankenstein Castle, and an interactive water museum – sounds interesting.

Want to see a sculpture of Mary that is gold leafed and crafted in 980?  Essen has it – find Minster and you are there.

The forest valley exhibit in the botanical gardens has bonsai – neat!  And if you like birds, you’ve come to the right place.  The gardens have aviaries that house owls, flamingos… Oh, and there is also a miniature train on the grounds.  All aboard!

A synagogue from 1910 is now a Jewish cultural center – the front of the building is curved and looks really interesting.

How about a visit to a philharmonic (meaning loves harmony) orchestra.  With a 2000 seat capacity I think we will all fit.  Beethoven’s Ode to Joy would be spectacular here I think.

A pretty side visit is Kettwig with its paved streets.  It used to separate from Essen but was incorporated in 1975 – a very good spot for a cream tea I think.  The buildings here are from the 17th century.

paved roads buildings and dog

A spectacular light display is featured during the Christmas season in Essen.  The first display was in 1928.

Take only memories – leave only footprints.  See you next time!

Where in the world …. Durban

It took us 292 hours on the Trans-Sahara highway/ N1 to get here from Chita – but so worth the trip.  Welcome to Durban, South Africa.


For those keeping tabs on the miles it is 13,687.1  (Gosh, long way. Good thing this is just a virtual trip, huh?)

Was Durban its original name?  Nope.  In 1497 Vasco de Gama named the area Rio de Natal and it became Durban in 1835 after a governor of the Cape.

The harbor in Durban is in the top 10 for being the world’s largest – sitting at number 9.  I watched the Queen Mary cruise ship depart from the harbor online while a very special friend watched from his flat in Durban – it was incredible to see.

The millenium tower is without a doubt “structurally sound“.  It has a fascinating design.

tower in Durban


Like fishes?  How about a visit to the Ukasha Marine World in Durban – 5th largest aquarium with 32 tanks.

You’ve heard of Ghandi?  He got his political start in this city.

A steam train more to your liking?  Here’s a neat fact – Durban had the first railway line in South Africa (in 1860).  It only ran a short distance though.

Surfers love Durban as a destination point too.

Just north of Durban we can see bottle-nosed dolphins.  Neat!

While in Durban you must try Bunny Chow (simply delicious) – hollowed out bread filled with goodness.  Have with some Joko tea and you have the makings of a wonderful lunch.  I found a recipe for Bunny Chow at BBC food.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
2.5cm/1in piece of cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp South African curry powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
1kg/2lb 2oz boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1.5cm/½in dices
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
10-12 curry leaves
2 large potatoes, cut in cubes the same size as the meat
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
2 loaves of crusty white bread, unsliced, each cut across in half in the middle and most of the crumbs removed
coriander cress or sprigs, to garnish

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the whole spices and bay leaf until the spices sizzle.

Add the onion and cook for 5–7 minutes until translucent.

Stir in the curry powder and sauté for one minute, then add the tomatoes and stir to mix.

Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until you get a sauce-like consistency.

Add the meat, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and 300ml/11fl oz water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40-50 minutes or until the meat is tender.

Add the potatoes, salt to taste and 200ml/7fl oz water. Continue simmering until the meat and potatoes are perfectly cooked (about 15 minutes).

Stir in the chopped coriander and lime juice.

To serve, spoon into the hollows in the bread and garnish with coriander cress.

That’s it for this time.  Must make plans for our visit to E.

Where in the world…C

We  leave beautiful Balclutha and go 7,559 miles across the Indian Ocean and we arrive at Chita in Russia.  Phew – that’s a long flight!

map of Chita

Two rives merge here – the Chita and the Ingoda Rivers.

According to the 2010 census the population was 324,444.  It was founded in 1653 by Turkish and Mongolian tribes then became a city in 1851.

If we take a trip at some point on the Trans-Siberian railway we could stop off at Chita – a long way from Moscow (3,900 miles approximately).

Dear readers – if you want to plan a real visit here may I suggest a summer trip (either that or have a very, very warm coat).

What to do?  Lots and lots – actually, over 50 different things to see and do.  Museums (one of which is devoted to local lore), a drama theater, a cathedral with gold domes; definitely worth a look.    We can take a virtual tour of the museum I mentioned  here.

Welcome back – they also have a national park, a city zoo, and a Buddhist temple.  A puppet theater or ostrich farm more your style?  Chita has you covered there too!

All that sightseeing – I’m hungry.  The cuisine we can find here is everything from French to Middle eastern – something for every taste bud and every pocketbook.  If restaurant A (your first choice) is busy or closed they have a Plan B restaurant (I kid you not) which has American and European food.

Enjoy your stay and see you next time for D.

Where in the world – B

We’ve gone 1794 miles across the Tasman Sea and have arrived in Balclutha, New Zealand.  According to the 2006 census they had a population of 4062.

bridge of clutha river

Look at that amazing bridge and the water below.  Calling all fisherman – trout and salmon fishing are highlights of this place.  I can guess what we are having for dinner!

Balclutha is very close to Catlins Forest Park and about an hour from Dunedin.  The mirror like river holds a secret – gold was disccovered there.  Lucky people!

One of the truly delightful experiences one can have in Balclutha is a visit to the bird aviary in Naish Park – lots of avian residents.

Need some picnic food?  New World Balclutha can help you out there – it is a New Zealand owned grocery.

Think you might have kin here?  Check out the Genealogy resources at the library.

There are also lots of seals to look at – just look, don’t touch though ’cause they bite.  We don’t want any ouch’s on this trip.

See you next time for C!  Enjoy Balclutha.

Where in the world are we? A is first

Welcome adventurers one and all!  So glad you could join me in my travels around the world.

First stop is Adelaide in South Australia – by the great Australian bight (not bite as you might have thought).  A wonderful 20 acre zoo is there (an example of the animals they have is below this sentence) along with a sports arena, botanic gardens, and a natural history museum.

adelaide zoo

Awww; who doesn’t love pandas?

More of an art fan?  The art gallery of South Australia was founded in 1881.  Stay on your best behavior though – you don’t want to wind up in jail – Adelaide can accommodate you.

A fan of trains or rocking horses?  Adelaide has places for you as well.

Hungry?  Africola might just be the thing.  The owner came from Johannesburg originally so the flavor is authentic.

All that sightseeing and now we are ready for a snooze – yes?  Try the desert cave hotel.  Yes – you can sleep underground – wow!  Or perhaps you prefer a castle? or a Fire station?  Adelaide has you covered.

Oh; and it wasn’t settled by convicts and iced coffee out sold coke in statistical reports.  Maybe the university students in Adelaide know how good coffee is?  Join me next time.  Where in the world will we be?

We have zipped through to Z – now the end of April

You have such a zest for life – it is infectious 🙂


Zero negativity – wouldn’t that be a nice goal?

You are a zaddik dear reader – a righteous person.

Zany and full of good humor – stay that way.

Zowie – I admire and appreciate all my readers.


Tomorrow we start with a series I call Where in the World? – Stay tuned, and thanks.

Yahoo – we made it to Y

Yearn to learn – always.

yearn for knowledge

Yes – you can do it!

Yippee!  Look how far you’ve come – able to transmute obstacles quickly and easily.

Young at heart – thanks to all the positive thoughts you have.

Yum – may all your meals be tasty.

You are loved – may the angels always surround you with comfort.

You have a youthful glow – keep it up.

Z is the next one we will visit.

Wow – Would you believe we have arrived at W? What an amazing feat!

Take a wholehearted approach to life.

You are worthy of all blessings you receive.

May you feel the warmth of love and light.

Life is wonderful and so are you.

Wise you are (as Yoda says).

wise choice

The beauty of nature is breathtaking and wondrous.

Welcome each new day as the gift that it is.

You have a willingness to help and that is awesome.

You have willpower to overcome obstacles.

Next is X – now that will be a challenge!