Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sight seeing in Sarajevo

Wednesday was a "free" day for us, so we took a tram to the old city and toured some museums.
The first one is a house rom the Ottoman period which was similar to the Muslim architecture in Cairo, though adapted to the colder climate with lower ceilings, indoor showers beside the stoves and a cellar for cold storage.

We couldn't figure out why these young people were taking pictures of each other pretending to film something. Eventually two actresses showed up and we were asked to be quiet while they filmed a scene a few times.

Sarajevo has many artesian wells that just sprout water continuously. A marked difference from the Egyptian desert.

For Conrad, a picture of his father looking like a tourist studying a guide book in the middle of the street.

We aren't used to hills either. This is a city within a valley, so there are hills on all sides to climb.

We visited the Jewish museum which is housed in a very lovely building.

We also visited the Orthodox Church which is a different kind of Orthodox from what we know.

Here is a cross just leaning against an outside wall.

Our last museum of the day was the "Sarajevo Historical Museum" which is dedicated to the most recent war and siege on the city. A very sobering exhibit. It's a bit shocking to see all the evidence of the fighting on all the buildings we see, so in a way the whole city is a memorial to the conflict.

Tea time

We were told that Bosnians can spend their whole day hanging out drinking coffee. Arthur opted for tea, but you get the idea. Phyllis asked for her whipped cream for her hot chocolate to be on the side.
Shauna and Cornelius are taking really good care of us. They are program coordinators for East Europe.

It's like the T is optional

This is where we are staying while in Sarajevo. The hotel that is.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

Our Area Director lives in Sarajevo and we are here for the week for orientation. We are also getting a tour of the area. The city lies in a valley and we took a taxi to the top of the hill for a view. You can see why it was easy to siege the city in 1992.

Here is a view without us in the way.

We toured a bit of the old city which has the requisite square full of pigeons.

There is an old mosque there as well.

We toured the old city hall turned library, which was burned down during the war. This is where the cellist of Sarajevo played in the ruins. The building was reconstructed and they are now deciding what to do with it. 

While we were looking from the balcony a violinist and film crew preformed for us below.

Back on the streets we saw the mosque in action.

We were constantly reminded of the war because all of the buildings have bullet holes and the streets have marks of red showing where someone had been killed by a grenade. Above and below is a shell of a building being taken over by trees. 


We went to Anafora to complete end of term reports for our three SALTers, as two of them live there. We also took along Jamie and Juan, who couldn't make it to the Netherlands. It always amazes us to see what irrigation can do in the desert.

Here are some hollyhocks doing very well.

We stayed two nights and had time for relaxing and knitting.

We also enjoyed some wonderful meals together.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Heritage Spread

We got this lovely hand-crocheted bedspread from Arthur's grandmother when we got married. Up until now, we haven't managed to use it very much because we were living far away, our room was too small to enjoy it or our lifestyle involved rambunctious family frolics on the bed. 

Until now. 

Now we've got it on the bed and we plan to use it every day until the colder weather comes back in November. 

It's a good lesson in patience and determination plus it shows a dedication to beauty.

 It inspires me!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Back in Cairo

We are glad to be back home. And who wouldn't be when you live in a beautiful flat like this?

Today we had lunch on the balcony. It feels nice enough to have supper there later. 

Here's the hallway that greets us when we return home hot and dusty after walking from work.  It is so peaceful, cool and relaxing.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

WiFi in de trein

"Those Dutch!"

We've been saying this a lot in the past week when we see or experience something amazing about the Netherlands. 

This time what amazes us is the easy to access free internet on the moving train. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Menno Land

Saturday was the day of discovering where the Mennonites came from. Above is the Catholic Church where Menno Simons was a priest before leaving and joining the anabaptists.

The church is now Dutch Reformed. In general, few people attend churches in the Netherlands these days. The fifty of us soon filled the space.

We also visited the first hidden church in Pingjum. The front is a dwelling place so that people can see that someone lives there, and in the back is a small sanctuary.

Our tour guide had us stop by a windmill for a picture. The mill is a pumping station to drain the rain water from the land into canals that lead up to the sea. It was a very windy, rainy day to be out and about.

Our tour guide had the bus stop at a friend's farm and all fifty of us landed up unannounced traipsing through the barn and then the attached house. This is a view of the kitchen (part of it anyway). We were amazed that these people were willing to let us run through the house (fifty people at one time). 
A moment to remember.

In Witmarsun there is a Mennonite memorial. It is the replica of a demolished building and is supposed to represent the varieties of Mennonites around the world.

This is the site of one of Menno Simon's homes. It celebrates the origin of the world wide Mennonite church.

So you know we were really there 

It sort of looks like we are caged Mennonites, but you can see the door handle near Phyllis's head.

On the way back to the retreat centre after a long day out, most people took a nap.

We stopped on the dike to look at the Dutch Spanish two headed statue. The dike is quite impressive.

Our last stop was at another hidden church in Berlikum.

Our tour guide collects books and he showed us some Martyrs Mirrors from  the 1600s. 

A major highlight for most of us at the retreat is the presence of a five week old boy. He is pretty oblivious about being passed around.

More flat trees.

Team Egypt

Two of our members were not able to come to the EME retreat (thus the empty chairs), but most of us could. We are enjoying the greenery and the rain and getting to know the other MCCers in Europe and the Middle East.

Garbage pickup

Instead of having to pick up little garbage bins every day, the Dutch have these hidden huge bins under the ground that get emptied less often. As I understand, we have a few of these in Winnipeg, but not many. It seems like a good idea.