Star Date:  May 2018
Seven Wonders of the World & Lake Toba


Hello Dear Family & Friends!


Hello! Halo!

(Universal greeting - works everywhere)




“Nature has created countless number of wonders, we've got a long way to go as man has created only seven wonders.”  

(Amit Kalantri  - Indian Author)




In 400 BC historian Herodotus and several scholars, while in Alexandria, made the first list of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Their known world was limited at the time, for venturing too far meant falling off the edge of the flat earth.  Their list included:


  • Colossus of Rhodes
  • Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Medieval Age lists also included


  • Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
  • Colosseum
  • Great Wall of China
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
  • Stonehenge

   Cairo Citadel
   Ely Cathedral
   Taj Mahal


Exhilarating!  It's hard to describe the thrill of climbing into the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid or trekking up to Everest Base Camp and gazing on Mt. Everest looming above, or spotting the Treasury Al Khazneh after hiking into Petra through the Siq canyon.  I grew up reading about such epic adventures in National Geographic.  Soon I am transformed into a Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones or Mt. Everest climber, Beck, from Into Thin Air.  Pinch me.  I am here!  This elation recharges even the most weary traveler.

I once talked with a tourist who self righteously didn't go see the Pyramids at Giza "because everyone was going there".  No matter how many people are visiting when you are there, these are must sees.  They made the Wonders of the World lists for a reason.  Everyone gazes in amazement because these special sites on our planet are not only magnificent but evoke excitement, show the ingenuity, resourcefulness and perseverance of mankind.  They arouse questions as to the civilization, this world or 'other world' that constructed them.  Try as we have, modern mankind is not able to replicate the Great Pyramids and thus many questions remain in the mysterious, ancient wonders of this planet. 

The New Seven Wonders of the World poll was done by a private group in 2007. The campaign was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with almost 200 nominations from around the world. The list of candidates was narrowed down to 21 by the start of 2006.  The pyramids were assured of keeping their status in addition to the New Seven Wonders after indignant Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete for a spot.

The final round of the competition narrowed the field to 20 candidates, and 100 million people from every country in the world voted by internet or phone.

"It's so exciting," said Tia B. Viering, spokeswoman for the "New 7 Wonders of the World" campaign. "There are not many things that could bring the world together like global culture ... this is really something that every single person in the world can be interested in." This is all about bringing people together, to appreciate each other ... to celebrate diversity," Viering said.

Excitement turned to amazement as human nature prevailed once again. Nationalism reigned.  Reports trickled in about the Brazilian Cell company that launched a campaign to "Vote for Christ.  Vote for free" Vote for Christ the Redeemer Statue". The Jordanian royal family appealed to citizens to vote for Petra.  Had people voted multiple times?  In India radio and T.V. shows pushed people to vote for the Taj.    Herodotus never had it so tough!

When the dust had settled three lists were presented.

Top Natural Wonders:

  • Aurora Borealis.
  • Harbor of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Grand Canyon.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
  • Mount Everest.
  • Paricutin.
  • Victoria Falls.


The other 13 finalists, listed alphabetically, were:





Acropolis of Athens

Athens, Greece

Acropolis of Athens 01361.JPG

447 BCE


Granada, Spain



Angkor Wat

Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat (6198305217).jpg


Eiffel Tower

Paris, France

Paris la torre eifel.jpg


Hagia Sophia

İstanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia museum-İstanbul - panoramio.jpg



Kyoto, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto-r.jpg



Easter Island, Chile




Füssen, Germany

Neuschwanstein castle.jpg


Red Square

Moscow, Russia

Saint Basil's Cathedral (Moscow, 2007).jpg


Statue of Liberty

New York City, United States

Estatua de La Libertad.jpg



Amesbury, United Kingdom

Stonehenge Total.jpg

2400 BCE

Sydney Opera House

Sydney, Australia

Sun on the Opera House (6619486199).jpg



Timbuktu, Mali




And (drum roll.....................) the winners were:


Great Pyramid of Giza
(honorary status)

Giza Necropolis, Egypt

Pyramide Kheops

2560 BCE

Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China (Mutianyﺁ section)

700 BCE



The end of the Siq, with its dramatic view of Al Khazneh ("The Treasury")

312 BCE

The Colosseum

Rome, Italy

The Colosseum at dusk: exterior view of the best-preserved section

80 CE

Chichen Itza

Yucatán, Mexico

El Castillo being climbed by tourists

600 CE

Machu Picchu

Cuzco Region, Peru

Machu Picchu in Peru

1450 CE

Taj Mahal

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India


1643 CE

Christ the Redeemer

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

1931 CE

(Compliments of Wikipedia)




Pyramids at Giza, Egypt


Great Wall of China


Petra Jordan


Coliseum, Rome Italy


Chichen Itza, Mexico 


Machu Pichu, Peru


Taj Mahal, India


Christ the Redeemer,
 Rio, Brazil


Hopefully in a couple of hundred years there will be a new poll, probably highlighting many of these ancient wonders, with a few new ones thrown in.  Organizations like UNESCO work to preserve these world treasures; while wars blast a 3000 year old site with the blink of an eye. (This happened with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon 'by mistake' in the Gulf War!!)  May all these magnificent sites be preserved.

And so we return to Lake Toba every year to one of our favorite Natural Wonders.  To Samosir Island, in the middle of the caldera of one of the largest super volcanic eruptions in the existence of our planet, on the large island of Sumatra, in the Indonesian chain.  This near extinction event reminds us that time marches on, man muddles along, and out of chaos comes a peaceful dawn.  Definitely one of the natural wonders of the world.

Tuk Tuk is home to the interesting and friendly Batak people.  A long history of island life in Indonesia; the last 100 years has seen a changing lifestyle from supposed fierce warring cannibals to calm enterprising Christians; surrounded by the largest population of Muslims in the world.  This is where we come to recharge our batteries.

On our way back to Malaysia we stopped for a couple nights in busy, about to spontaneously combust Medan, capitol of Sumatra.  We visited the Mesjid Raya Al Mashun, the impressive Maimun Palace - the Istana of the Sultanate of Deli and ate at the night market near our hotel.  Fun but what a contrast to the quiet remoteness of our World Wonder Lake Toba.

Do a little research, watch a few documentaries, and make your bucket list now!  These ancient mysterious wonders and sites are calling to you.



And so it goes.........................................Next over the Malacca Straights to multi cultural diversity of Penang, Malaysia. Until next month Keep Smiling and remember to start working on your bucket list. We never know when we will kick that bucket so make your dreams a reality - NOW!  Thanks for dropping us a note once in a while, we love to hear from you!  Take care!



Love, Light & Laughter, 


xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph





Travel notes:

One US dollar =

14,550.20 Indonesian Rupiah


Lake Toba:
Tuk Tuk Timbal:

Wonderful place. Very quiet, well run quality resort right on the lake.  They don't allow the loud music that other resorts tolerate on the weekend on Tuk Tuk Peninsula. Great, reasonable food.  The staff are friendly and helpful and Nanda will solve any problem and help make your stay great.  Great reasonable food.  Boat right to the resort from Parapat or the resort will drop you off at the Tomok car ferry. starts at 225,000rp.  Other lower prices for basic cottages and Batak houses.

Address: Jalan Lingkar Tuk-Tuk, Pulau Samosir, Kabupaten Samosir, Sumatera Utara 22395

Phone: 0812-6401-1194

Buddha's Cafe
Tolping  Phone# 0821 6073 0877
Just 3km past Ambarita
Great local potato rendeng,  chicken sesame (soy), juices,  Best vegan ice cream, coconut based mango, strawberry, dark chocolate.  Daisy is a pleasure and makes you feel welcome.  Ayu is the owner and creator of this little hidden gem.

Bop Son -Bechuck Driver New Bagus Rig
Responsible, honest prices, good, slow driver  75,000 to 100,000 round trip to Budha Cafe - wait 1.5 hours

Bechuck - fancy covered for 3 pax
Lagan  100,000 rd trip - wait 2 hours

Panjaitan - Driver - old suburban
Medan airport to Parapat 100pp 300 total


Cargo bechuck - 50,000 rd trip from Timbal:
Rudy 08 2167 410851


Gunung Leuser Nat Park - Northern Sumatra
Ketambe Tengahan - elephants

Bukit Luang - Garden Inn or Jungle Inn
Bus to Berestaggi - Then to Parapat

Bande Ache - Great remote islands on the north coast

West Coast - Niaz Island, surfing


Fly into Medan via Air Asia.  Go outside to the left and ask for NICE transport shared taxi (van).  About 80,000 to 100,000rp per person.  Arrive by noon as the trip takes 4-5 hours and the last boat crosses the lake to the resorts at 6:30.


Silangit Airport (DTB)

Airlines flying to Silangit Airport

Wings Air

Air Asia through KL to Silangit as of Nov 2018

Currently 400 to 500,000rp for transport, 1.5 hours, to Parapat, where you catch the boat over.  Transport prices will get more reasonable as the market develops.











Stunning Lake Toba.


A beautiful Batak girl.


Friendly Batak Grandmother.


Working the rice fields.


The traditional pitched roofs of Batak
houses along the shore of the lake.


Ferry boats take you from Parapat to
your hotel on Tuk Tuk.


The many moods of Lake Toba. 
Beautiful any season, any weather.


A happy group from Medan enjoying
a short vacation on Samosir Island.


Ferries are a fun place to meet people!


Mirror like surface.


Full moon over the lake.


Sunset from our balcony.


The Ambarita Thursday Market.


Cute little market shopper.


Fighting cocks.


Dried fish.


Laundry day.


Flowers everywhere on this slightly
cooler semi-tropical island. 




On the way to Medan, there are
many cheeky monkeys.


Last view of the lake from the
mainland side shows a growing
number of fish farms.


The twisty road from the quiet of
Lake Toba to the hectic city of Medan.


Bicycle rickshaw.


he impressive Maimun Palace.


The Palace displays the opulant life
of the Sultanate of Deli.


This lovely little family were visitors
at the Palace.


We had fun with this group of girls.


Dressing up in authentic costumes
was a fun part of visiting the Istana.


Mesjid Raya Al Mashun.


Simple but striking interior of the mosque.


Clear sign of potty etiquette in the




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