In honor of that, and my year of traveling coming to an end, I wanted to do some kind of a summary of my great year. While I was on the plane home (and was incredibly bored), I started making some picture collages of the things I've seen. It's really fun for me to see my pictures next to each other like this, because it's hard to take in everything I've gotten to see!
My first collages are of churches/other places of worship. I thought I could fit all of my coolest pictures into one collage, but it ended up being 4 haha. I had to divide the pictures into Middle East/Europe and inside/outside. In Israel, there's basically a church that commemorates every single event in the New Testament, so we visited a lot of them. In Turkey, we also saw some amazing mosques, and I have pictures from one of the synagogues I visited in Jerusalem.
Random mosque, Istanbul/ Bah'ai shrine, Haifa/St. Mary Magdalene, Mount of Olives/ Church of Pater Noster (where Lord's Prayer was given), Jerusalem/ St. Peter in Gallicantu (where the cock crowed), Jerusalem/ Dome of the Rock, Random mosque, Istanbul/ Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem/ Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth/ Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem/ Church of the Transfiguration, Mt. Tabor/ Hurva Synagogue, Jerusalem/ Dormition Abbey (where Mary died), Jerusalem/ Blue Mosque, Istanbul/ Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jesus' tomb), Jerusalem
Blue Mosque, Istanbul/ Hurva Synagogue, Jerusalem/ St. Savior, Jerusalem/ Church of All Nations, Garden of Gethsemane/ Ethiopian Church, Jerusalem/ Random mosque, Istanbul/ St. Peter in Gallicantu, Jerusalem/ Hagia Sophia, Istanbul/ Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem/ Augusta Victoria, Jerusalem/ Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem/ Shepherd's Field Church, Bethlehem
And now for what you've all been waiting for...the European churches! I saw some beautiful churches in the Holy Land, but nowhere was really a work of art in the same way that the great European cathedrals are.
Duomo, Florence/ Grossmunster, Zurich/ Notre Dame, Paris/ St. Epvre, Nancy/ Sacré Coeur, Paris/ St. Rémi, Reims/ Madeleine, Paris/ St. Peter's, Rome/ Random church, Rome/ Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, Obernai/ St. John, Lyon/ Notre Dame, Strasbourg/ St. Nicholas, Prague/ Duomo, Siena/ Pantheon, Rome/ Trinità dei Monti, Rome/ Notre Dame, Reims/ Duomo, Pisa/ Stephandom, Vienna/ San Giovanni, Rome
You know, I was going to put captions on these pictures but I'm too lazy. Maybe I'll add these in later, but a lot of these I can't do just from looking at them. They don't line up with the outside pictures, so don't bother trying to do that!
On a side note, I would like to award Italy with the prize of (by far) having the best churches to visit. Must be why the pope likes living there so much :)
I think the main reason I love visiting cathedrals is that they remind me of castles. So on that note, here's a collage of my favorite pictures from the castles and palaces that I visited this year.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul/ Residenz Palace, Munich/ Palais de Rohan, Strasbourg/ Versailles/ Chateau de Vizille, Vizille/ Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome/ Neushwanstein, Bavaria/ Schönbrunn, Vienna/ Hofburg, Vienna/ Chateau de Lunéville, Lunéville/ Versailles/ Schönbrunn/ Royal Palace, Brussels/ Residenz/ Nimrod's Castle, Israel/ Hohenshwangau, Bavaria
Well, Italy has the best churches...and I think Germany has the best castles. France is a strong runner-up in both of those categories though. I don't know why I started picking winners for each category but it looks like that's happening now.
Now I'm going to change gears and show some things that aren't man-made. It's nature time! The top ten pictures are in the Middle East, and the bottom ten are Europe.
Wilderness between Jerusalem and Jericho/ Valley of Elah (David and Goliath battle location)/ Tel Arad, Negev Desert/ Masada, Dead Sea/ Machaerus, Jordan/ Mt. Nebo, Jordan/ Golan Heights, Israel/ Yad Vashem, Jerusalem/ Battle of the Bulge site, Luxembourg/ Lake Zurich/ Vizille, France/ Random Swiss mountains/ German Alps/ Vosges Mountains, Alsace/ French Alps/ Forest in Bavaria
I thought nature pictures would be a good way to show how much I've traveled this year, because you can really see how different everything looks. From seeing wild camels in 100+ degree weather in the Jordanian desert to freezing my butt off in the snowy German Alps...can't get much more opposite than that. Oh, and if I'm giving an award to country with the best nature, it's definitely Switzerland. But the Alps in Austria, France, and Germany are gorgeous too. Basically I like the Alps.
Along the theme of nature, over the last year I got to swim in or at least see lots of famous bodies of water. I didn't do any swimming in Europe because it wasn't warm and I didn't go to any beaches there...but I did a lot of swimming last summer!
Aegean Sea/ Dead Sea/ Seine River/ Jordan River/ Mediterranean/ Rhine River/ Red Sea/ Ill River, Strasbourg/ Sea of Galilee/ Bosporus Straits
When you're traveling constantly, it can start to get boring taking normal pictures all the time. I usually stick with my hand on the hip pose, but after only about a month of sightseeing I started taking some dance pictures to mix things up. So now I have this fun keepsake of me dancing all over the world!
Petra, Jordan/ Versailles/ Sea of Galilee/ Residenz, Munich/ Vizille/ Nimrod's Castle, Israel/ Palatine Hill, Rome/ Gamla, Golan Heights/ Gamla, Golan Heights/ Lyon/ Amman, Jordan/ Strasbourg/ Opera House, Paris/ Beth Shean, Israel/ Roman Forum/ Mareshah Cave, Israel
The last two collages are just some of my favorite pictures in general. It was kind of hard to choose, but this is what I've come up with.
Montmartre/ View from my window/ Strasbourg/ Geneva/ Rome/ Pergamon, Turkey/ French Alps/ Vatican/ Haifa/ Strasbourg/ Colosseum/ Strasbourg/ Grenoble/ Western Wall/ Paris
Turkey/ Haifa/ Dome of the Rock/ Sea of Galilee/ Amman/ Old City, Jerusalem/ Tiberias/ Soldier friends/ Blue Mosque, Istanbul/ Petra, Jordan/ Rome/ Brussels/ St. Peter's Square/ Vizille/ Paris/ Neuschwanstein/ Colosseum/ Paris/ Pisa/ Strasbourg
Well, I think my pictures kind of express how amazing this year was..but just in case I haven't expressed that enough already, THIS YEAR WAS AMAZING. I really got to live my dreams by traveling all over and seeing so many places that I've always dreamed of seeing. I'm definitely filled with contentment right now. And it's also really good to home!
If I'm giving out awards, I have to say that France is my favorite country to visit, closely followed by Israel. Getting to live in those countries really gave me a LOVE for those countries. 3 days from now will mark a year since I landed in Tel Aviv, and I can't wait to head back there in October!
I think I have a few more things to post on my blog from France (a stalker post about French fashion, anyone?)...but other than that you'll have to stay tuned until next fall. Unless I get bored this summer and think of more things to write, which could happen :)