Days 8-10 — Istanbul, Turkey


The Basilica Cistern used to hold water for the city. A long time ago Istanbul experienced a drought and only the rich still had running water. They discovered the cistern when they traced the source of the water.

Süleymaniye Mosque sits at the top of the hill in the tourist district. It’s a hike, but worth it for the beautiful mosaics inside and out.

Outside Süleymaniye Mosque

The Spice Bazaar was built in the 1660s and houses shops that sell spices, Turkish delight (lokum), dried fruit, and nuts.

The famous stairs leading to Galata Tower.

Galata Tower was built initially in 1348 with 2 meter (that’s 6 feet!) thick walls at the base. It was been rebuilt several times due to fire damage and attacks.

The view from Galata Tower.


Chora Church, similarly to Hagia Sophia, was first a church, then a mosque, and now a museum. The interior mosaics date from 1312 and most tiles are less than 1/8 inch.

The genealogy of Mary.

The genealogy of Jesus.


Asian side of Istanbul with Anna and Chelsea

Riding the ferry to Asia on our last day in Istanbul.

We rode the ferry to Anadolu Kavağı and hiked to Yoros Castle. It was a steep, hot hike, but the breeze and view were totally worth it.

After returning from Asian Istanbul, we rode the minibus (dolmuş) up to Koç University where I studied abroad during our sophomore year. Selen got us through the gate (full security) and we got a tour of her lab and the campus. It was sooooo nice to see her again!!!


Days 6 and 7 — Istanbul, Turkey


Audrey’s friend Selen met us in Taksim to help us get to our hostel and go out for dinner. Selen just graduated from Koç University with a degree in Chemical Engineering too!


Taksim is the new district in Istanbul and includes Istiklal street which is pedestrian only and houses many of the major shops that are available in Istanbul. This is also where the nightclubs and bars are. We were out until 3am getting Audrey’s friend Aida to her hotel and the street was still packed.


The serpentine column at the Hippodrome. The Hippodrome is the Roman chariot racetrack. The column dates to 300 AD.


This is Hagia Sophia which was originally a church, then a mosque, and now a museum.


Audrey, Anna and me in front of the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet.


Aida, Anna, me, and Audrey in front of the Blue Mosque.


Inside Hagia Sofia.


The pulpit is where the imam (Muslim Priest) calls the prayers from inside Hagia Sophia.


Christian mosaics in Hagia Sophia.


The view from Topkapı palace. This is the Bosphorus and the bridge connects Europe (left) and Asia (right).


The center of the world according to the Byzantine empire!

Day 5 — Bergen, Norway


We took the overnight train to Bergen and arrived at 7 AM this morning.


Audrey and I riding on the train before our 7 hr overnight journey.


These are temporary office buildings used in construction sites. Just like Oregon, it’s construction season in both Oslo and Bergen.


The stairs on our hike to Fløyen.


Bergen is known for its fictitious tales of trolls.


The view from Fløyen. We did the 3 mile round trip hike first thing in the morning. We gained about 1000 ft of elevation and had a great view of the city.




The gardens in Festplassen.


The really awesome recycling system in the train station.


The Church of Norway (a Lutheran church).


The organ in the church.

Observations from Norway:
1) People don’t wear jeans. We’ve seen mostly solid colored pants.

2) Elevator doors open outwards instead of sliding into the wall.


3) Norwegian coins have a lot of value and many have holes in the center. You can easily pay for a meal with 3-4 coins.


4) All beverages are quite expensive. A house coffee at Starbucks costs ~$5.

5) The public transportation system works well and many people use it.

6) Roads are very narrow and there are hardly any stop signs. There are many traffic circles and lights though.

7) No one is obese. Even the other European tourists from the cruise ships are relatively fit.

8) Cars are small (no SUVs) and are painted neutral colors. We haven’t seen any red, yellow, or other bright colors yet.

9) People stare when we speak because of our American accents.

10) Many people are walking around with babies in full bassinets on wheels instead of the typical car seat and stroller combo you see in the US.

Day 4 — Oslo, Norway


This painting by Picasso was at the National Museum.


The view from Aker Brygge, the fortress at the edge of the city.


The Oslo Opera House where large performance events happen. You can walk all over the roof to see great views.

Dahlia plants growing at the Botanical Garden. They also had a veggie garden with most of the same things as we grow in Oregon. The plants that grow here seem to be greener than Oregon, but similar varieties because the weather is cool and damp for most of the spring and summer and fall.

Day 1-3 — Travelling and Oslo, Norway




Chelsea and me before staying up for more than 30 hours.



Crater Lake as we flew to San Francisco!


Our first (and probably last) time flying business class! Full beds with pillows and comforters!

20140702-083623-30983641.jpgThe SFO airport was celebrating Gay Pride week with the city.


City Hall in Oslo. That’s Chelsea and me in the balcony window.



A pretty street in Oslo.



Looking down from CIty Hall.20140702-083628-30988573.jpg


Standing with the guard at the Royal Palace where the King and Queen live. (Frozen anyone?)



Down at the Brygge (pier) in Oslo. Everything is man-made, even the tiny pebble beach. The city has a very modern feel.

Europe Travels

Chelsea and I will be traveling to Europe next week for three weeks and will be posting photos to our blog. Keep up to date with our trip by reading our daily posts!

Berry Crisp [Vegan]

Chelsea and I enjoy berry desserts that can be eaten with ice cream and miss them during winter when fresh berries aren’t in season. This past summer I picked a few different kinds of berries and individually quick froze (IQF) them to use for winter baking and smoothies. This vegan recipe turns out excellently and is quite delicious with normal ice cream or coconut ice cream.


Recipe (adapted from Skinnyluscious):

Time: 15 mins prep, 45-50 cooking time

Oven temp: 350 F



  • 4 1/2 cups frozen fruit and berries (peaches and blueberries go especially well together)
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or bottled equivalent)
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 2 tsp cornstarch


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (we like slivered almonds)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter (we use Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a 8×8 or 9×9 ungreased baking dish.
  2. Mix filling ingredients in a medium bowl and place in baking dish.
  3. Mix topping ingredients and blend with fingers. The topping should be crumbly and have the texture of wet sand.
  4. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture and distribute evenly. 
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned.
  6. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!