17 years ago…

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On this day 17 years ago, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris.

We were both in high school at the time and hearing the news is still as clear as day in our heads.

Here we are 17 years on walking the streets of Paris oblivious to the significance of today until we came across “The Flame of Liberty”, which is located just above the tunnel where the accident happened.
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The Flame of Liberty is a full-sized replica of the one held by the Statue of Liberty in New York City. And is now an unofficial memorial for Princess Diana.

In memory of Princess Diana 

1961 – 1997

weekly photo challenge: dialogue

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The instruction for the Weekly Photo Challenge was:

It’s your turn now: for this week’s challenge, bring together two of your photos into dialogue. What do they say to each other?

These photos were taken from either side of the defensive walls of Castelgrande at Bellinzona, Switzerland…

“So are you in? Or are you out?”

 

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You are welcome to leave us your thoughts here.

 

each journey starts with a single step

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Each journey starts with a single step – Confucious 

We have broken up this European adventure into stages and we are approaching our final stage. A week from today we will have completed (hopefully) Day 1 of our biggest journeys: 800 km of walking!

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It is beginning to sink in and we are a wee bit nervous as we have been “travelling” and not really “training” for it. But at the same time, we are pretty excited as we have reached our fundraising target already so anything else we receive now is an added bonus so if you are interested in supporting our charity, please donate here: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/wise-monkeys-abroad

Who are we raising money for?

We are raising money for FAST (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics Australia). FAST is dedicated to finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome and related disorders through funding research, education, and advocacy.

FAST logo Aus

What are we raising awareness about?

We are raising awareness for a condition called Angelman Sydnrome which David’s older brother has. So this  is very close to our hearts! Please read more about Angelman Syndrome here: http://www.cureangelman.org.au/whatisangelman/ and more importantly,

Please help spread the word about Angelman Syndrome. 

And so now we count down… day by day …then step by step…. until we complete 800 km!

Wish us luck and thank you to everyone who has shown us their support!

 

the day we went to jungfraujoch

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Jungfraujoch has eluded us once again but we did get one step closer this time!! Maybe next time – we will actually see a view.

Back in 2006, our day excursion to Jungfraujoch was cancelled so we never even got to go up to the top of Europe. At least this time round, we did!

It was three trains up: (1) Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen (2) Lauterbrunnen to Kleine Schneidigg (3) Kleine Schneidigg to Jungfraujoch

We made it up there but what did we see?? Nothing when we got to the top, except snow and white clouds. Well, actually we lie a little… It was blowing a “blizzard” (at least that is what it felt) when David ducked outside to take this photo!

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Up to 3454 metres (11 333 feet) where the air was thin, Le was feeling a little woozy from the high altitude so maybe it was a good thing we didn’t see much! So we took this photo of what could’ve been:

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IMG_4415Then it was time to come down…. three more trains down the other side of the mountain  (1) Jungfraujoch to Kleine Schneidigg (2) Kleine Schneidigg to Grindelwald (3) Grindewald to Interlaken Ost.

It couldn’t have been a foggier day to be up there. It was raining and the train trip up and down was somewhat scenic at least.  Especially on the way down when we got glimpses of blue sky and this adorable mother & baby pair :)

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Although the weather wasn’t ideal, we still enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! Last time it was in November, this time in August… think we will aim for June for next time – as the saying goes, “Third time lucky.”  Fingers crossed!

Has there been a travel experience that seems to keep eluding you? 

Leave us a comment here

 

Swiss Alps Jungfrau – Aletsch was listed as a

UNESCO Heritage site in 2001.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited,

visit our unofficial bucket list

 

is switzerland beautiful?

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Yes it certainly is.

We have only been here one week so far but have fallen head over heels for Switzerland. It seems that they may have missed summer this year, and will explain why we’ve had hit-and-miss weather. There’s been sunshine, cloud cover, rain, and we’ve even woken up one day with snow covering the mountaintops when we were in St Moritz.

But it doesn’t matter about the weather because it is a wonderful country regardless! It seems that every which way we turn there is something different to be in awe about. If it isn’t the scenery, it’s the history or the shopping or the restaurants. There is something here for everyone!

It amazes us how this small-in-size country, covering approximately 41 000 square metres, can have 4 official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh) and everybody speaks at least one of these and English as well. It really is a melting pot of Central/Western Europe, being bordered by 5 countries; Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.

Anyway, enough words from us for now as we don’t think any words are necessary to describe the natural beauty of Switzerland. We hope our photos (from our first week) speak for themselves and provide a glimpse into scenic Switzerland with its dramatic mountainous backdrops, lush green grass and expansive calm lakes!

Near Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Near Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Around Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Around Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Around Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
Around Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona
On Lake Walensee
On Lake Walensee
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the road from St Mortiz to Mustair
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
On the Bernina-Express to Tirano
Crossing a bridge on the way Bellinzona
Crossing a bridge on the way Bellinzona

If you haven’t been to Switzerland, add it to your list!

Tell us your thoughts here

weekly photo challenge: fray

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Fray has several meanings and we’ve chosen to go for the battle-fight definition for this week’s photo challenge!

This was taken in 2009 while passing through Yellowstone National Park!

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Have a great weekend, everyone!

Leave us any comments here

auschwitz-birkenau: one of the emotionally toughest places we have ever visited

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Leisure travel can be associated with feel-good moments, adventure and lots of photographs for memories! But it’s not always that. There are times when travel is not a joyous experience but a valuable one all the same.

Being in Poland and witnessing with our own eyes the sites of the major concentration/extermination camps added a whole new dimension to what we already knew.

At the beginning of the guided tour of Auschwitz, we took a few photographs but upon entering the buildings, it simply didn’t feel right. Photos are allowed in most areas but we couldn’t bring ourselves to photograph for reasons we can’t quite explain, maybe out of respect(?), we just don’t know! So this post contains only 2.

Translates to "Work will set you free"
Translates to “Work will set you free”
One of our few photos of the camps - the train tracks leading into Birkeneau
One of our few photos of the camps – the train tracks leading into Birkenau

“Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart” – Anne Frank

After visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, we have to say that it was VERY hard to believe that some of those who ran those camps had a heart at all.

What words can we use to describe seeing and walking through the camps? Confronting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching…. The thought of such atrocities still brings tears to our eyes.

Seeing the tons of hair that had been shaved from heads, the pile of thousands of shoes and mountain of suitcases of those sent to the concentration camps was very overwhelming. The 1.3 million people murdered at these camps became “individuals” right before our eyes. All these images we have seen before in reference books or in other museums but seeing the actual items seemed to hit home a lot harder!

To hear about the medical tests inflicted on individuals, witness the living conditions and walk through the gas chambers and crematorium, it certainly stirred up a lot of emotions. We felt so sad but also felt sick in the stomach at those who were able to commit such crime upon others.

Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a “tourist attraction”, it educates! It teaches us that we should never let such horrendous acts happen again to anybody on this Earth.

Auschwitz-Birkenau holds so much significance that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime to pay respect to those who died in concentration camps.

“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time” – Elie Wiesel (a holocaust survivor)