Lucerne, city of Mount Pilatus

Towering over the small town of Lucerne, is a large mountain rumored to have dragons living on the very top. This mountain, Mount Pilatus is a large tourist spot for Lucerne, Switzerland. Filled with entertainment, Mount Pilatus is accessorized with a small restaurant, an exclusive hotel, several trails to hike up and even a large balcony to watch the many people parachuting off of the top of the mountain.

The tour of Mount Pilatus was a nice way to spend our time in Lucerne. The trips up and down the mountain take quite a bit of time, however once you get up there, it’s worth it. The first part of the trip up is spent in a small four to six person gondola to a small station about halfway up the mountain. At that station, you then switch to a second and larger gondola which takes you the rest of the way up to Mount Pilatus. The weather on the day we went on the tour made it all the more interesting and entertaining. The entire top of the mountain was surrounded in so many clouds that you couldn’t see it until you were really close. We rode the gondolas up the mountain and as we were going up, we could see the clouds coming in through the open windows. We are just riding up and the entire gondola is surrounded by white. We weren’t able to see the mountain until we were really close. It was pretty cool.

Once we arrived on top of the mountain, the tour guide explained about all the different things there were to do up there including several trails, a gift shop, a small restaurant, and a large balcony that you could go and walk around on. My grandma, grandpa, mom, and baby sister headed inside to check out the gift shop and the restaurant while my dad, my brother and I decided to go hike on one of the trails called the Dragon Cave trail ( it was called this because the first part of the trail is spent walking through a long network of tunnels, and also because there is a legend that says there was once dragons living on Mount Pilatus). The hike took us about maybe twenty to thirty minutes. Because it was cloudy ( and because the top of Mount Pilatus is about 7000 feet in the air) it was really cold. My teeth were chattering about the instant we stepped outside ( I also didn’t bring a sweatshirt even though I really should have. I was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt.). We hiked all the way up to the top and stood up there for a couple minutes.

Joemurrayphoto Lucerne Switzerland 2017 12This is the network of tunnels my dad, brother and I hiked through

We waved at Mom and Sammy and my grandparents and then headed down to join them in watching the people parachute down the mountain. While we were watching the people, a man and woman went over to a wall and started playing these really long horns with designs painted on the ends.

Joemurrayphoto Lucerne Switzerland 2017 15Here is the guy playing the horn

After a few hours, the tour group headed back down the mountain by way of a train that took us to a dock. At the dock, we boarded the paddleboat that was going to take us back to Lucerne. The trip back took us at least an hour, and after that I think we were all so tired we just headed back to the hotel for a short rest before dinnertime.

2017 08 05 15 42 13Here is my family and I in the train going down the mountain

If you like mountains, hiking and being cold, then Lucerne is the place to go. It not only has all three of those things, it also had more! Like interesting buildings and history, delicious food, and ice cream. Yes, Lucerne is a definitely a good place to visit.

Delhi’s park of animals

Delhi’s National Zoological Park is a fun place to go for families. Delhi’s zoo has a white tiger, reptiles, and even a crocodile! I visited this huge zoo with my family, and it was really fun. We looked at the white tiger pacing in its enclosure, a crocodile lounging in the sun, and some monkeys laughing and swinging in their cage. My sister loved it. And if you look around the zoo, you might also be lucky enough to get a glimpse of some peacocks. These beautiful birds wander freely around the zoo, and are very pretty to look at.
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These are some of the hippos we saw

A couple things to remember if you visit the zoo are: First, visit in the winter. Delhi doesn’t get very cold in the winter, and it will be more fun if you are not sweating constantly. During the summer, it can get above 100 degrees, and because the zoo is so big, you’ll probably end up leaving before you can see all of it. Second, you can’t bring food in. The guards will allow water, but if you take food, they will most likely confiscate it. However, there are food and drink stalls set up all around the zoo so you can buy food and drinks. Third, if you have lighter skin, you will be stared at. Many Indians have never seen people with light skin before, so they will stare. Also, people might ask for a selfie. After a while, you will get used to it, but in the meantime, just ignore it.
A cool fact about the zoo is that you can get really close to the animals. My brother was freaked out by a leopard in its cage because he thought it was creepy that the leopard was pacing right inside the cage, up against the chainlink fence. At most of the animals’ cages, there is just a fence separating the animals and the people. At some of the more dangerous animals’ cages, there is a really deep ditch, almost like a moat except without the water, surrounding the animals’ houses. For example, the tiger’s cage had a ditch, and so did the monkeys.
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This is the rhino in it’s cage

In addition to all these cool facts, here are few more reasons why you should visit Delhi Zoo: it is very clean, and very affordable. There is no trash or litter scattered about,and many of the poorer people living in Delhi are able to come see the animals. And the zoo has animals you might not see anywhere else. For example, not many zoos have peacocks wandering around the zoo. Not many zoos have as many as ten different types of deer and gazelles either. Delhi zoo is a really fun place for families to visit, and it is definitely worth visiting. I hope you like it!

Four awesome things for families to do in Dubai

Dubai, known for being the hometown of the tallest building in the world and the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is a great place for a fun vacation. There are white, sandy beaches, awesome water parks, and impressive malls as well. I recently visited this city with my family, and it might have been one of my favorite places to which we have been.

An aerial look at Wild Wadi

One of the things I had the most fun doing was going to the water parks in Dubai. The first one we visited was Wild Wadi. It is located in central Dubai and close by to the beach, The Mall of Emirates and to several hotels. It has fast and thrilling rides as well as slow and lazy ones. There are even a couple pools where you can boogie board and possibly surf.

My favorite rides were Tantrum Alley and Burj Surj, but if you prefer more relaxed rides, you will like the Lazy River. It is important to know though that even the Lazy River has a few sections of fast and sometimes twisty slides.

This is a performance that was being shown in the Mall of Emirates

Another fun thing we did was go to the Mall of Emirates. We went several times for dinner or just to walk around and look in stores. The stores at Mall of Emirates include a Lego store, a Toy Store, lots of clothing stores, a huge grocery store and even Ski Dubai.

These people are standing in front of the window looking out over Ski Dubai

Another mall we went to was The Dubai Mall. It is the largest mall in the world by overall space and is full of fun things to do. There is an aquarium, skating rink and of course an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa. If you happen to visit in the evening you will not want to miss The Dubai Fountain, which even hosts a light show from 6-11pm nightly.

This is one of the tanks you can look at from outside the aquarium


These people are watching the fountain show from the balcony at Dubai Mall


This is the top of the Burj Khalifa from the balcony at Dubai Mall

 Finally, there are many tours you can take of the city.  This is a great option for families because it takes you to a lot of different places around Dubai and you also learn a lot about the history of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

This souk is one of the places we stopped at on our tour

These are only a few of the things you can do in Dubai. If you are looking for great ideas for a family vacation, be sure to check out these helpful websites:

Innsbruck, the beautiful river-side city

At a glance, Innsbruck might look like a normal, modern city. However once you look deeper, you find that Innsbruck has its older areas just like any other city. In the area of the city my family and I stayed in, there were a bunch of cobble stoned streets with shops filled with souvenirs like stuffed animals, watches, Swiss Army knives, pens, shirts, hats and pretty much any other type of souvenir you can think of.


One type of toy that my little brother and sister thought was so funny were these little stuffed animals that will repeat back whatever you say to them. My brother would say something to it and the toy would repeat what he said back to him. My sister thought it was so funny.


In addition to all of the souvenir shops, there were also restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream shops, and even clothing stores. We would walk down to find a restaurant for dinner, and for dessert we would go find a ice cream store for an ice cream cone. After that, we would wander around just looking at all of the stores.


One day, when we were going to get dinner, I was carrying a camera, and a man walked up to us and told us to be careful because there were gypsies on the road up ahead and they might try to steal the camera. We thanked him, and continued walking. We weren’t sure what the gypsies would look like, but we soon found out. Have you ever seen people who dress and paint themselves like statues, so when you walk past them they scare you?


Well, there was a woman we walked past who was sort of doing the same thing. She just wasn’t trying to scare anyone. She was wearing a silver dress, silver gloves, she had painted her face silver too. She would just stand there on a pedestal, but when someone dropped money into the box at her feet, she would suddenly start twirling her parasol, and bowing to people as they passed. My dad took some pictures of her, but she noticed, she kind of scrunched up her face so it was harder for him to take a picture.


I think that maybe Innsbruck was my favorite because it wasn’t quaint and old looking, it was fun. It was fun looking through the shops at all the items they had to sell. Innsbruck is more fun than it is old. Its buildings are newer and more urban. If you are the type of person who likes older cities and tours and site seeing, then Innsbruck is not exactly the place you would want to go. However, if you love shopping, and eating ice cream, and watching gypsies do their acts, then Innsbruck is definitely the place for you.


Rothenburg: A must see city!


A sunrise and the city square

Rothenburg is a quaint little German town famous for being one of the only cities not bombed by the Allies. People say the reason was because the town was a valuable resource. Personally, I think the reason is they thought it was just too pretty to blow up.


Every hour on the hour, the clock tolls and tourists gather to watch

I visited there three days ago, and it is the most quaint and prettiest little town I think I have ever seen. It has a large clock tower on the town square that bongs every hour, and the city hall is a brown building with columns and flowers lining the upstairs balcony. The houses are brightly colored with scalloped roofs and nearly every house has window boxes with flowers in them outside the windows. The streets are cobblestone and there is a car with open sides that takes people around the town.


You can find almost any kind of gift or souvenir in Rothenburg

Rothenburg has all different kinds of shops. There are shops for pastries, souvenirs, ice cream (those are the best shops in my opinion), Christmas ornaments and even ones with armor, swords, and all sorts of other medieval weapons.


Here is the woman burning my name on my piece of wood

One shop I found particularly interesting was a toy store where you get your name burned onto wooden toys or souvenirs. I chose a circle-shaped piece of wood with painted flowers on one side to have my name on.


Walking the wall is a fun way to see the city from a different perspective

An ancient wall encircles the older section of Rothenburg, separating from the new part of town. The walk along the wall gives great views from above the city, there are even little holes in the wall opposite the railing on the wooden walkway where archers most likely attacked approaching enemies.


These cars are a great way to get around Rothenburg

If you’re planning a trip to old Germany, then you should definitely include Rothenburg as one of your stops. This beautiful, historical and old city is definitely worth visiting.


The weird, the funny and the interesting: Aurangabad


Aurangabad is a beautiful city surrounded by green plateaus in the state of Maharashtra, India. We had many things happen to us while we were in Aurangabad. Some of these things were funny, some were weird, and some were very interesting.


This is the yellow naan that is only in Aurangabad

One of the moments was when we went to a famous restaurant in a certain area of the city. I have had lots of Indian food, but I think the biryani we ate there was maybe the the spiciest biryani I have ever had. The restaurant did have delicious yellow naan though, which we were told is only found in Aurangabad.


Bibi Ki Maqabar is also known as the “Mini Taj Mahal”

A second memory was when we went to Bibi Ki Maqabar. This was one of the kind of weird and kind of funny memories. We were swarmed by people asking for selfies nearly the whole time we were there. We had just enough time to take only a couple pictures before we were asked again! It kind of ruined the our time there, but it was also kind of funny. It started out with just one person asking my dad, then more people started asking until we finally just had to say no every time.


This is not the auto we took, but the same kind.

A third time that was really funny was when we decided to go check out the mall. It had begun to lightly rain, but we went out and caught an auto rickshaw anyway. My dad kept insisting the mall was right across the street, but it turned out to be like five streets away. It had started to rain harder, so the driver put down the side covers. However, because I was sitting on the side, and the wind was blowing the rain cover around, my jeans ended up getting soaked anyway.

By the time we arrived at the mall, it was raining so hard that all we could think about was getting out of the rain and into the mall. We had completely forgotten to go through the mall’s metal detectors outside! One of the security officials came into the mall and told us that we had to go through the metal detectors. We went back outside and went through them. After that, we made up a joke for that occasion: Dad did say that the mall was across the street, but he didn’t say which street it was across.

Here is a little information about the historical sites we visited:


Bibi Ki Maqabar:
Constructed between 1651 and 1661, the Bibi Ki Maqabar is a beautiful mausoleum possible built by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother, Rabia-ul-Daurani, also known as Dilras Banu Begum. The mausoleum lies in Aurangabad Maharastra, India. Bibi Ki Maqabar was supposed to rival the Taj Mahal.But even though it does not rival the Taj, the two buildings definitely look similar. Because of the obvious similarity to the Taj Mahal, the Bibi Ki Maqabar earned the name “Mini Taj” by tourists visiting Aurangabad.


Ellora Caves:
The Ellora caves are ancient Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu cave-temples. They were named for the small village of Ellora which lies 30 km ( 18.6 mi ) from the city of Aurangabad, Maharastra. There are 35 caves in total, with many of them being dug out of the vertical side of the Charanandri hills. There are twelve Buddhist caves, seventeen Hindu caves, and five Jain caves.