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Erdene Zuu Monastery   (published in Mongolia)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

The Erdene Zuu Monastery (Mongolian: Эрдэнэ Зуу) is probably the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It is in uvurkhangai Province, near the town of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The Erdene Zuu monastery was built in 1585 by Abtai Sain Khan upon the (second) introduction of Tibetan Buddhism into Mongolia. Stones from the ruins of Karakorum were used in construction . It is surrounded by a wall featuring 102 stupas. The number 108, being a sacred number in Buddhismand the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary, was probably envisioned, but never achieve. The monastery temples' wall were painted, and the Chinese-style roof was covered with green tiles. The monastery was damaged by warfare in the 1680s, but was rebuilt in the 18th century and by 1872 had a full 62 temples inside.In 1939 the Communist leader Khorloogiin Choibalsan had the monastery ruined, as part of a purge that obliterated hundreds of monasteries in Mongolia and killed over ten thousand monks.Three small temples and the external wall with the stupas remained; the temples became museums in 1947. They say that this part of the monastery was spared destruction on account of Joseph Stalin's pressure. One researcher claims that Stalin's pressure was connected to the short visit of US vice president Henry A. Wallace's delegation to Mongolia in 1944.Erdene Zuu was allowed to exist as a museum only; the only functioning monastery in Mongolia was Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. However, after the fall of Communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was turned over to the lamas and Erdene Zuu again became a place of worship. Today Erdene Zuu remains an ...
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Erdene Zuu Monastery
Erdene Zuu Monastery

Mein Erfahrungsbericht aus der Mongolei   (published in Mongolia)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Was macht man, wenn man sein Abitur in der Tasche hat? Diese Frage habe ich mich mehrmals vor meinem Abschluss gestellt. Es gibt die Abenteuerlustigen, die ein Jahr entweder reisen oder einfach ein Jahr Auszeit nehmen und es gibt diejenigen, die sofort im Oktober studieren gehen. Ich wusste absolut nicht was ich machen sollte und habe deswegen im Internet recherchiert und Projects Abroad gefunden, die auch Praktika fuer Nicht-Studenten im Bereich Human Rights in mehreren Laendern anbieten und auch in einem Zeitraum, der es mir moeglich machte mein Studium dasselbe Jahr beginnen zu koennen. Damit war fuer mich alles klar. Ich komme raus fuer einen Monat, lerne eine absolut neue Kultur kennen und nebenbei noch als Freiwillige versuchen in einem Entwicklungsland zu helfen, soweit man kann. Fuer mich war diese Kultur und dieses Entwicklungsland defintiv die Mongolei. Und ich bin so gluecklich, dass ich diesen Schritt gewagt habe. Die Erfahrungen und neuen Situationen, denen ich gegenueberstand haben mir bewiesen, dass man nur durch Offenheit und Reisen sich weiterbilden kann.

Projects Abroad hat mir so viel geboten. Saemtliche Informationen und Hilfestellungen vor und waehrend der Reise, die Auswahl meiner Gastfamilie, Angebote und Programme waehrend der Wochenenden und besonders Freundlichkeit der Arbeiter vor Ort.

Der Anfang meiner Reise war zwar holprig, da Aeroflot meinen Koffer irgendwo hingeschickt hatte, wo ich nicht war, aber ich habe ihn schliesslich nach zwei Tagen wieder bekommen. Abgesehen von diesem Fakt waren aber meine ersten Tage der absolute Hammer. Nachdem ich vom Projects Abroad Staff am Flughafen abgeholt wurde, brachten sie mich direkt zu meiner Gastfamilie, von denen zu diesem Moment zwar nur zwei Mitglieder, die Oma und einer der Soehne, da ...

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Mein Erfahrungsbericht aus der Mongolei
Mein Erfahrungsbericht aus der Mongolei

Host Article of our volunteer Georges Drouet   (published in Mongolia)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Living with my host family in Mongolia

The first time I am introduced to my family I already felt the traditional Mongolian welcoming reputation, I was offered some milk tee and sweets. Since then I became a real addict to this beverage and every time I came back home from my work I always got my hot milk tee waiting for me.

In that first day I meet all the members of my host family. First my host mother “Tseegii” who was nine moth pregnant at that time, she always liked me to talk about my Mexican origins and culture then my host father “Boldoo” very friendly to me since the beginning and always curious about learning new English words, then the two children a girl of fourteen years old “Amara” and boy of ten years old “Orgil” lovely children with which I always loved to play games, and finally I met the grandmother “Horoloo” but we all call her “Adia” which means mother in Mongolian, she was always giving me sweets which was really nice.

During my stay my family had always care about my comfort or if I needed anything. Every morning they always prepared me nice breakfast and they often prepared typical Mongolian dishes which really feed my need to discovered new Mongolian things. So I taste food like the noodles or dumplings in milk soup and as the Mongolian way lots of lamb meatJ. One day I bought a traditional Mongolian cloth “Del” and it was really funny when the all family was teaching me about how to put it.

One day my host mother came back from the bhoudist temple, she asked about her baby and the Lama told her that it was going to be a very healthy one. The same evening she started having contraction and she suddenly told that her waters had broken. So the all family together ...

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Host Article of our volunteer Georges Drouet
Host Article of our volunteer Georges Drouet

Pankrono   (published in Ghana)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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Pankrono is a village about 25 minutes on a tro tro from Kejetia. It is also easy to visit in conjunction with a visit to Ahwiaa. It shares the same road and you can walk it from Ahwiaa.

              Pankrono is famous for its pottery, most notably because it the potters make the pots without the use of the potter’s wheel.

              After visiting Ahwiaa, I walked for about 25 minutes to visit Pankrono. It was only when I saw the hundred of pots on the sides of the road that I realised that I was already there.

              I have to admit that I’m not really interested in pottery, but here I was interested to know how they actually make it. So I did what I usually do in these situations, look for a Ghanaian child who can speak good English to help me out! Sometimes if you ask an adult, they can ask for money later and get quite pushy about it so at times it’s nicer to ask a child. So I found this boy who led me to this lady who was making pots just outside her house.

              She showed me how to make the pots and made one within 10 minutes! It was true that they did not use the potter’s wheel, but quite simply crafted it with their hands.

              The pot is then left to dry in the sun, and after it has dried out, then it is fired in an ‘oven’. This particular lady’s oven really was just a bonfire that she made herself and certainly nothing that I can call conventional!


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Ahwiaa   (published in Ghana)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Another village close to Kumasi is Ahwiaa, famous for its wood carvings. It is a quick 30 minute tro tro ride from Kejetia. It’s the place to go if you want to buy quality and cheap wood carvings.

              Once again, I had no idea where I was going so I asked the ‘mate’ of the tro tro to drop me off right by the signpost of Ahwiaa. As I walked past there were tens of carpenters working on tables, stools and other bits of furniture. As I went past I came onto what the tourists usually come for, the wooden carvings stores. Both sides of the road were packed with these stores selling masks, unity globes, animal carvings and other massive carvings that apparently signified something!

              I had been warned beforehand that I would be mobbed by the sellers as the locals know the tourists go there to buy. I actually found the place rather pleasant, and the people weren’t too pushy and allowed me to look around freely. Maybe it’s partly because I’ve been here for so long that I’m getting used to being mobbed all the time! I did feel that the sellers made an effort not to be too pushy and took their time to explain the process of wood carving.

              They told me the cheapest kind of wood they used to carve was the red sillar. It then ranged from while sillar, mahogany, thick wood to ebony. It became quite easy to see the difference as I went through the shops. The quality of the wood was obvious and the easiest way was to feel the weight of the carving. The heavier ones are expensive and the hard surface makes it ...

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