Monday, 20 June 2011

Prague - An awesome city and Couchsurfing rocks :D

Friday afternoon (17.06.) Marlen and Eugenia, two fellow students of mine, and I went to Prague. Another trip enjoying the pleasure of couchsurfing. When we arrived in Prague Jake, one of our CS hosts, throw the keys down we needed to get into the flat. Then he excused himself and went for a sleep while we got to know Jon, a couchsurfer from Leeds, UK who was staying at this place as we did. After we got to know we went for a first walk through Prague. Damn is that a great city :D Our host was located near the TV tower and from there we walked to the river, passing the major shopping mile and after some light dinner we went back to our host before it got too late. As we returned home the other host, Clabbe, was there with an American girl, Alexia, who were both extremely friendly and welcoming. After some story telling it became clear that we were going to party at the Swedish embassy... I was like "are you serious?".. and hell he was :P Two tram rides later we arrived at the Swedish embassy next to the Prague castle, walked to the first floor and were welcomed by a couchsurfing party within a merely 120sqm flat, which was owned by the vice ambassador - a couchsurfer, before we were guided to a 50sqm balcony over viewing all of Prague - what a view! It took some time until we were able to bring our lower jaws back into position. What a first evening to this brilliant city :D
Next morning we took a tram to the castle as we were hit by rain. Overall the weather was cloudy but luckily not too rainy. After seeing the castle we went to the Charle's bridge towards the old town square. What an astonishing town. Awesome architecture wherever you look. I totally fall in love with that city^^ After some very late lunch (finally got my dumplings) we went back to our hosts where Jon was making a delicious dinner :) Fully strengthen we visited 2 clubs while Alexia and I had much fun about major stereotypes about Americans, females and males :P At 4am we saw the first parts of sunrise over the Charle's bridge and full sun when we arrived back home. After a nearly sleepless night we enjoyed Brunch at Café Louvre... one of the most stylish Cafés I have seen lately. A good finish before we drove back home. Definitely will come back to this city :D

view over Prague from the castle

St. Vitus Cathedral within the castle

TV tower - babies crawling up and down^^

My charming travel companions :D

Charle's bridge and Prague castle

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tel Aviv and Jaffa - the most charming place in Israel

Sunday (12.06.) in the morning we drove to Tel Aviv, checked into our hotel and brought the car back to the airport. Back in the city we explored a way through Tel Aviv: the Dizengoff street towards south across the Dizengoff square (a fountain from the '70s).  We continued the King George street until the Karmel market. The first real market I saw in Israel and damn it was a great one. Fresh fruits and juices made from it, cheap clothes and souvenirs... I even liked the stinky fish when I finally saw a real market again :D Surely my first big highlight in Tel Aviv. But more to come^^ We continued to the coast along the promenade towards Jaffa - the old town. The beaches looked great and everyone we met seemed happy, they appeared to have real inner peace. Something I would have expected in Jerusalem. And muslims were having bbq with jews at the beach while laughing. What suddenly happened to the stubborn Israel? Omg we suddenly came back into modern living :D While my parents rested at the beach I continued along the promenade towards Jaffa and saw some nice street art on the way. From Jaffa I head a great view over the coast of Tel Aviv. In the upper park many children were around and made fun of bride and groom models :P The promenade spans from Jaffa towards the northern port of Tel Aviv... we walked with the sunset until the last beach... the beaches here appeared even better than in Netanya. Next time I definitely have to spent more time in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is about seeing, Tel Aviv about being... while in Jerusalem all the ones who heavily practice religion only seem to care about their wealth in heaven while they forget that you should live with a religion and not practice for it. Probably thats why they fight so much for the holy places: everyone fears they lose some bonus points for not praying there. Come on you idiots! Now these places are only stones, what has happened there is gone, it is now living with each and everyone of us. God is not to be found in stones, but within humans who live by his intentions: peacefully. As G.E.Lessing said: "A single grateful thought towards heaven is the most perfect prayer". All you narrow-minded people who pray to God 5 times a day and wish the death towards his children at the same time... yea many might forget that Christians, Jews and Muslims do have the very same god, they only struggle about some Prophets and how to properly pray towards god. Religion is a way to bring humans together - all of them. A guidance to unity and peaceful life. A guidance which needs to be adapted to every time - so stop taking messages from 2000 years ago literally, but rather look for intentions. Most of these self announced most religious people lost lots of my respect - not that they need to care^^
While frustrated about Jerusalem I so much more am pleased about how great life can be in Tel Aviv, only 30 kilometers away. A great finish for a really interesting and eye opening holiday :)

entry to Karmel market

street art at the promenade

Tel Aviv coast


Monday, 13 June 2011

Akko - Netanya - Caesarea

From Haifa we visited the crusader's port town Akko. A traffic jam trip along the coast made the few kilometers a trip of more than two hours :(
The old town still has a lot of old flair, especially the old tunnels under it, like the Templer's tunnels. From there we continued to the festival gardens and small but refreshingly green place before we continued to the prison museum. I didnt know before that the Jews under British hegemony were not much different to the Palestinian under Jewish hegemony - they used to have terror groups. Most famous the groups around Lehi and Etzel, bombing plenty British resources. Ok there is a big difference - Lehi and Etzel are declared as heroes while Palestinians are terrorists... but hey, the right of the winner to write history does not change the truth that lays behind it ;)
We then left Akko and went through the traffic jam to Netanya our beach holiday^^ Netanya is supposed to have the best beach in Israel. The first day we received a huge sun burn while only laying in the shadow, after several days in Israel that describes the intense sun here. So the next day we explored Caesarea, ruins of Herod's former great city. A counterpart to the great Alexandria it once was one of the most important port towns of the Mediterranean sea. But wars with the Arabs brought it down. Crusaders later rebuilt it before it was destroyed again. Forgotten for a long time the Rothschild family rebuilt a living area for wealthy people.
At the evening when we returned to Netanya huge waves awaited us. Some of the biggest I ever swam in^^ That was a lot of fun and a great finish to the short bathing holiday part.

Akko, the port is around the corner

clock tower


the coastline of Caesarea

Netanya's beach

Friday, 10 June 2011

Nazareth and Haifa

Wednesday (08.06.) we continued from Safed passing the Sea of Galilee towards Mt Tavor next to Nazereth and enjoyed the view from a Franciscan monastery. Thick traffic then led us into Nazereth where we visited the Basilica of Annunciation, where Maria was told about being pregnant with Jesus. A new church built by donations from plenty nations over the remains of former churches at this place. Unluckily we didn't have time to discover more of Nazareth due to the time loss of the traffic. So we continued to the port town Haifa.
In Haifa we stayed in the German Colony which is by far the nicest stretch of the city, overlooked by Bahai Gardens. A charming place, unluckily the rest of Haifa was not as pleasant. It was a Jewish holiday, so when we walked through the city centre it appeared like a ghost town. Then suddenly we spotted a burning car next to a bank. Within 5 minutes a small fire within the car set the whole car on fire. A huge smoke column and then the wires exploded one after the other. Another 5 minutes later the fire brigade arrived.
The next morning we went up to the Bahai Gardens, which are absolutely beautiful and allow a superb view over Haifa. And the Bahai religion seems to be one of the wisest after seeing Jerusalem^^
At the afternoon we visited Akko.

Franciscan monastery at Mount Tavor

In the Church of Annunciation

Bahai Gardens and the Shrine of Bab

burning car in Haifa

View from the Shrine of Bab over Haifa

Up the hill, a great view over Haifa

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Golan Heights - Banyas, Nimrod and Mount Bental

From Safed we explored the Golan Heights starting at Banyas national park. The Golan Heights show that Israel also houses some fine strips of land with lush green :D The Banyas national park houses a spring where an old city was placed and quite a nice waterfall. A huge difference to the desert around the Dead Sea. Next to Banyas is the Nimrod fortress. It overlooks the Golan Heights, once built to protect a trading route from Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. An astonishing view, indeed :D
We continued down the Syria border to mount Bental, an old volcano that houses a former Syrian bunker. From mount Bental Quintera could be seen, a former Syrian town that is a ghost town now-a-days within the UN controlled Israel-Syria puffer zone.
Banyas waterfall

Nimrod fortress

superb view over the Golan Heights

Scrap metal art at mount Bental

former Syrian bunker at Mt Bental

Beit She'an and Safed

On monday (05.06.) morning we went to another swim at the Dead Sea before we continued north to Beit She'an an archaeological site where they excavated an old Roman/Byzantine city. Really impressive how many details remained of the city. It was not too hard to imagine the former life on the streets.
We then drove past the Sea of Galilae and went to the hill city Safed. The highest city of Israel and a really relaxed place. Tuesday we visited the city and especially the Synagoge and Artist quarter were charming. Many artists presented their art in small galleries and presented it with calm music and thus created a great peaceful atmosphere. A Yemeni then made us an awesome pizza-like food... with olives and 4 different kinds of self made cheese... topped with superb spices... most delicious pizza I ever ate :D
From Safed we then visited the Golan Heights

Excavation site of Beit She'an

View from a roof top in the Synagoge quarter of Safed

making Yemeni pizza :D

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Jerusalem and Bethlehem - the holy land?

At afternoon (04.06.) we arrived in Jerusalem. Our hotel was located within the arab quarter next to Herods gate. Right away we chose to stroll through the narrow streets of Jerusalem's old city. Meeting several police men and soldiers on our way, the first encounter Israel - Palestinian conflict came upon us... a group of Palestinian kids probably thought we were Israelis and after we passed them one of them spit at me from behind - coward :P. An elder Palastinian saw it, apologized and chided the kids. Then the other kids punished the spitter... somehow I didn't really know how to properly react in that situation. But it shows how the kids are influenced by the hatred of the parents, but are unable to hold it in.
Next we went along the Via Dolorosa to the church of the Holy Sepulchre (Grabeskirche). A calm and holy atmosphere inside. The next day we woke up early and made our way straight to the temple mount, visiting the Western Wall (Klagemauer), Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the rock. Infamous places, holy pilgrimage sites... but filled with tension. That leaves quite a strange feeling. We then made our way to the mount of olives, which offered a great view over Jerusalem and is place of the ascension. Down the hill the Garden of Gethsename - the place where Judas betrayed Jesus. And next to it the tomb of Maria.
A taxi driver then took us to Bethlehem. The entry towards the Palestinian territory (West Bank) by taxi was pretty easy, they didnt even want to see our passports. A visit to the Church of the Nativity (Geburtskirche), the place where Jesus was born. Next we enjoyed a fine lunch before driving along the West Bank wall. Quite a terrifying wall. On the way back to Jerusalem we saw the continue of wall building, the new one is 12m - not only 9. And new Israeli settlements to surround Jerusalem.
Back in Jerusalem we visited the Mount Zion, where Maria died and King David as well as Oskar Schindler are burried. We finished our day walking through the city centre. The next day we drove towards northern Israel.

Dome of the rock at Temple Mount

View over Jerusalem from Mount of Olives

Place of Jesus' crib within the church of nativity

Bethlehem checkpoint, the West Bank wall

Church of the Dormition at Mount Zion

Revolusi Hijau Indonesia

Penduduk dunia terus bertambah, terutama di negara-negara berkembang. Keadaan tersebut harus diiringi/didukung oleh peningkatan pangan. Sesuai dengan apa yang dinyatakan Thomas Robert Malthus, perlu disadari bahwa kemampuan sumber daya alam sebagai penghasil pangan adalah terbatas. Untuk itu perlu diupayakan pengembangan sumber daya alam yang pada akhirnya ditujukan bagi pengembangan produksi pangan.


Merupakan usaha pengembangan teknologi pertanian untuk meningkatkan produksi pangan. Mengubah dari pertanian tradisional menjadi pertanian yang menggunakan teknologi lebih maju.

Diawali oleh Ford dan Rockefeller Foundation, yang mengembangkan gandum di Meksiko (1950) dan padi diFilipina (1960). Revolusi hijau menekankan pada SEREALIA: padi, jagung, gandum, dan lain-lain.


Dilakukan dengan EKSTENSIFIKASI DAN INTENSIFIKASI pertanian. Ekstensifikasi dengan perluasan areal. Terbatasnya areal, menyebabkan pengembangan lebih banyak pada intensifikasi. Intensifikasi dilakukan melalui Panca Usaha Tani, yaitu:
1. Teknik pengolahan lahan pertanian
2. Pengaturan irigasi
3. Pemupukan
4. Pemberantasan hama
5. Penggunaan bibit unggul


Produksi padi dan gandum meningkat sehingga pemenuhan pangan (karbohidrat) meningkat. Sebagai contoh: Indonesia dari pengimpor beras mampu swasembada.

Penurunan produksi protein, dikarenakan pengembangan serealia (sebagai sumber karbohidrat) tidak diimbangi pengembangan pangan sumber protein dan lahan peternakan diubah menjadi sawah.
Penurunan keanekaragaman hayati.
Penggunaan pupuk terus menerus menyebabkan ketergantungan tanaman pada pupuk.
Penggunaan peptisida menyebabkan munculnya hama strain baru yang resisten.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Dead Sea

Friday (03.06.) morning my parents and I arrived at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, Israel. 20°C at 4 o'clock in the morning was a nice welcome :) Uncomplicated we rented a car and went right away towards the infamous Dead Sea. A first stop near the "Mineral Beach" before we moved on to the oasis of Ein Gedi. After a sleep at the beach we head our first encounter with the Dead Sea. The swimming was extremely strange. The water somehow feels like oil and you hardly get your body below the water surface... that makes swimming kinda tough :P The famous "frog-style" of swimming leads to your legs swinging in the air^^ After some time we found a solid balance. Within the water huge blocks of salt were growing. The coast was covered with salt and any metals near the water were rusty. While enjoying the sun and the sea 4 jet fighters flew flew along the border to Jordan every hour.
After relaxing at the Dead Sea we walked into the Ein Gedi National Park, two small desert streams resulting in some oasis like green within the desert. Quite a tough walk under midday sun and 38°C :D
Later we drove further south, passing the luxury oasis Ein Boqeq and finally reached the small Moschaw Neot Hakikar, a village at the south of the Dead Sea close to the Jordan border. A short rest and a great Falafel for dinner at the village's swimming pool before we drove up the Sodom mountain and enjoyed the view over the Dead Sea on one and the desert on the other direction.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at Ein Boqeq and then visited the huge fortress Massada. A great place with a lovely view over the Dead Sea. Later we continued to Jerusalem...

Floating on the Dead Sea

Ein Gedi - Oasis in a desert

View ofer the Dead Sea from Mount Sodom

Massada fortress overlooking the Dead Sea