This post is a bit different. I have been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries and always notice the abundance of fast food American restaurant chains. Saudi has a fair share of them, as well, but what is different here is that the names are often translated into Arabic whereas in most countries they go by the English name.  What I found fascinating was how easy it was to recognize them despite an entirely unfamiliar alphabet. The power of branding blows my mind. Especially as I am not much of a television watcher. I would not have thought that I would recognize so many of them from just their logos. In some cases just the coloring of the signs was enough!

So, my friend and I spent a few hours the other day driving around to take photos of a bunch of them to share with home. At the end of the blog there is a poll, I want to know how well you did and what ones prove to be the most difficult. I have put a few stumpers in there and they aren’t all restaurants so, a few hints: seven of them are not restaurants and six of those are not even food/drink related. I will give a few more hints at the bottom of the Arabic photos but before the English versions if you need a little more help. Also, note that two photos have double logos so will have two answers for a total of 22 to guess.

I will put a large space between the photos and the next hints and then another before the translated signs so you don’t “accidentally” see the answers too soon!

1) Logos 001      2) Logos 003

3)Logos 006     4)Logos 008

5)Logos 0106 & 7)Logos 014

8)Logos 017        9)Logos 020

10)Logos 02311 & 12)Logos 025

13)Logos 027    14)Logos 028

15)Logos 032    16)Logos 030 

17)Logos 035   18)Logos 039

19)redacted 15  20)redacted 29

21)Redacted 33  22)Logos 021











Next hints: six of them have to do with cars in some way, one is a soft drink and one is a hotel.









BEWARE: ANSWERS BELOW! I wasn’t able to take translation photos of four of them but one is so easy that you would have had to live under a rock your entire life to not know it and I think the other three are pretty simple, as well. In case you get stuck, I am reposting the Arabic version of those photos with answer written under it. All except the one…I can’t imagine that anyone (well, at least in any country that has internet to be able to view this post) will not get that one.

Logos 002           Logos 004

Logos 007           Logos 009

Logos 012           Logos 016

Logos 018            Logos 019

Logos 022            Logos 024

Logos 026            Logos 029

Logos 031            Logos 033

Logos 036            Logos 041

Logos 032            Logos 014

Domino’s Pizza                                                                         Lexus and Toyota

Logos 028

And, of course, Colonel Sanders for KFC








New blog location

Same Sage’s Sojourns, whole new location! I am hopeful that WordPress will handle photos and videos better than Blogger did. I know people had trouble seeing a lot of the content. Comments are welcome.

I am able to see embedded videos on my PC but not my mobile. If anyone feels like giving it a try on their end, I would love to know the results.  I use an iPhone, not an iPad. Maybe it is different? Or it could be the wonky internet here! Also, I need to know if you can’t view them as embeds, does it work as a link to take you to them? Or do I need to include a link a different way. Technology can be such a headache.

Anyway, thank you for following along. I enjoy knowing that people are sharing my adventures with me. It feels like a connection to people across the distance.

Constanta and Bucharest, Romania

     Our last day of sailing was on the Danube-Black Sea Canal. It is a 40 mile canal and work was begun on it in 1949 and not completed until 1987. During the 1950’s the canal was the site of many labor camps in communist Romania and, at any given times, had tens of thousands of political prisoners working on the excavation (estimates are that one million imprisoned Romanians worked on the canal). The primary reason for building the canal was to allow for circumvention of the Danube Delta, which is difficult for ships to navigate.
     We sailed throught the lock system in the canal and then docked at the port of Constanta, on the Black Sea. Constanta, named after the Emperor Constantine, is the oldest continually inhabited city in Romania and rumor has it that Jason and the Argonauts landed here after finding the Golden Fleece. Constanta has recently gained in popularity as a seaside holiday destination as people are currently not traveling to the Ukraine.
     Our first stop in port was the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, also functioning as a monastery. It is a pretty building architecturally and also has some interesting frescoes. Otherwise, not a terrifically fascinating story here. It was a parish church, then a cathedral, back to just a church at one point and then again became a cathedral in 1975 and has remained this way as the seat of the bishop for the Tomis Archdiocese.
Thought this window was gorgeous
The architectural details were cool and every “interior” surface was covered with frescoes, even this outdoor portico has artwork under the arches
Closer view of the frescoes
The frescoes on the exterior walls in the entryway. Look at the bottom, the next photo is a close up. This doesn’t look remotely like artwork that I would connect with a church
This is the close view of the artwork on the lower half of the walls in the portico area. I like it but it doesn’t reconcile as church art for me and seems very out of character from the rest of this church which has the standard religious artwork.
Detail on the door
The interior art is more typical of religious artwork. The brilliant white halos around the heads of the saints crack me up. They appear to glow in the photo as they are so much lighter than the rest of the painting.
The light from the windows messed this one up but you get an idea of how ornate the interior of this cathedral is. And…another screaming white halo
This was the front courtyard of the church. It is in some disrepair but I thought it was lovely. I can only imagine what it looked like in full glory.
Our guide, Ivan, doing his thing. We looked like the dorkiest group of tourists on the planet with these receiver units hanging off of us. I stuffed mine into my purse so only the wire and earpiece was visible, but, as I walked around with a group who all had them around their necks, I’m pretty sure I looked just as bad!

If you aren’t interested in doors and windows, skip the next few. I found myself, again, drawn to these archictectural features and this city has some beautiful and unique ones. A bit the worse for wear but it just makes them more interesting to me.

I can’t sort out if this area has a function or if its simply in disrepair
     The following photos are of the Casino Constanta. Inaugurated in 1910, it was a vacation destination for wealthy travelers. During the Second World War, it operated as a hospital and then was a restaurant during the post war communist regime. It became too expensive to maintain and was closed in 1990. It is a stunning, Art Nouveau building right on the Black Sea. It is unfortunate that it sits empty and decaying. I was dying to see the interior. If it is anything like the exterior, I am sure it is incredible! My photos don’t do it justice. I was too close and there were a ton of people out walking so I didn’t take shots of the entire building because I didn’t like all the people in them.
This window is breathtaking! 
Even the railings were ornate and gorgeous
These windows look out directly onto the Black Sea. Such a shame that we couldn’t go inside
     The next photos are essentially the view fromthe casino of the Black Sea. It was a beautiful sunny day but foggy on the horizon. It makes the tankers out there look eery. Some interesting facts about the Black Sea: over 90% of the deeper Black Sea volume is anoxic (no oxygen) water. This is due to the fact that the deep waters don’t mix with the upper layers that receive oxygen from the atmosphere. Because of this, algae and other things (gets too technical for me at this point) don’t live down there which means that shipwrecks and other organic materials are incredibly well preserved. Additionally, the water level varies greatly so at times the Black Sea is connected to the oceans of the world but at other times it is a basin that operates independently of the world ocean system.
Check out the tankers in the mist
This is the aquarium, I just liked the relief carving


Don’t remember what this sculpture is for, lost mariners or something I think, but I liked it. Lady is a random


There are multiple buildings in Constanta that were started and never finished. Some due to financial difficulties, other to legal and permitting problems

Ok, fair warning, these next photos aren’t very exciting. But, it was a cool thing to visit. They are taken in the Roman Mosiac Edifice in Constanta. It was discovered in 1959 and determined to have been built in the 4th century and continued growing into the 6th. At one point it was the largest building of its kind in the entire Roman Empire. It was a place to trade and store goods on the waterfront. The mosiac hall was were merchants and officials would meet. It has not been well maintained but parts of the floor are still in remarkably good shape.

It was Orthodox Easter so decorated eggs were on the table


I like this graffitti


This is a silly photo but this dessert was a work of art. It is a meringue beehive with a marzipan bee on top


More graffitti that interested me


The beach in Constanta. Apparently people take seaside holidays here…

This is the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest. It is a mind boggling building! Straight out of wikipedia: The Palace is the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function[3] and the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon in the United States.[3] It is also the most expensive administrative building and heaviest building.[3]

It was built under Ceausesçu and wiped out a large part of the center of the city.  You can’t begin to imagine the size of it. It is connected to another huge building by underground tunnels that trucks can drive through.  It has a portico in front that people can stand on to address the public. Apparently Michael Jackson came and said “hello Budapest” from there. How embarrassing!

This is the Memorial of Rebirth. It was built to commemorate the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution in 1989 which overthrew communism. It is located in the square in which Ceauseçu was publicly overthrown. 

These photos are of the lake in Herăstrău Park. It is a large park with a path all the way around the lake. There were beautiful flowers and plantings and many people were walking and biking on the path the day that I visited. It was surrounded by restaurants with outdoor patios. 

Funny story, my parents and I had already parted ways so I went out in Bucharest by myself. I visited this park and wanted to have a glass of wine and talk to strangers. I walked into an attractive restaurant but saw no one at the bar or on the patio. As I was leaving the hostess asked if she could help me. I explained that I was looking to chat with people over a glass of wine and that so I would go look for a more populated venue. A man was just walking out the door and overheard me. He said he was looking for the same thing and would I join him for a drink? We began to chat and he said he left Romania many ago and hadn’t been back. He finally came back for a visit with his mother. He asked where I lived and I said KSA and then asked where he lived and he said he spent the last year in South Florida. I said where in SoFlo and he said he was surprised that I didn’t guess Miami and that I must know the area. I replied that I did and asked again where in SoFlo. When he told me Stewart, I laughed out loud.  What are the chances that I meet a Romanian man, back in Romania for the first time in years, who resides in the town over from where I call home in the states? The world is very small. These moments are the ones that make traveling so special to me. I love to make connections with people, of all walks of life and cultures. I want to read every page of the fascinating book that is our world. 

These boats are restaurants
This is the patio where I had a glass of wine

Vidin, Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi, Bulgaria

In Vidin we saw a mosque (not what I expected to do upon leaving the kingdom!) and the Baba Vida fortress. I learned that during WWII, Bulgaria’s 48,000 Jews were not deported to concentration camps. The Bulgarian government refused to comply with the German demands to send them and it saved the lives of approximatly 50,000 people. Later the government of Israel officially thanked Bulgaria for its defiance of Nazi Germany. The book, “Beyond Hitler’s Grasp: The Heroic Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews” details the story and was written by an Israeli historian who was born in Bulgaria.
These were taken the morning we arrived in Vidin. I watched the sunrise from my balcony with a cup of coffee. One of those moments when life is perfect.

They next few photos are looking up and down river from my balcony. You can see the snowy peaks of the Balkans which. apparently, is a rare view. We were told that the tops of them are usually hidden in the cloud cover.

No historical value to this one, I just liked the building!

Osman Pazvantoğlu was an Ottoman soldier and a governor of Vidin. The mosque was built under his rule and the minaret is (we were told) the only one in the world topped by something other than the typical crescent moon. It appears to be an inverted heart and one story says it represents unrequited love. Another says it is simply a symbol that stresses their independence as it is different from all others. If it was done to stress independence through uniqueness, it stopped there! Inside looked incredibly similar to the millions of them over here and across the world.  

This is the minaret with its inverted heart topper.

I think these statues are Ottoman soldiers but I could be wrong…too much information for this little brain to carry on this trip.

This was a Jewish temple, which looks nothing like most of them that I have seen. It is clearly falling apart but I thought it was gorgeous and enjoyed taking photos of it.

The following group of photos are of the medieval Baba Vida fortress. It consists of two walls and four towers and is the only entirely preserved medieval castle in the country. It served as the city of Vidin’s main defense in the middle ages and an important fortress of northwestern Bulgaria. Local legend is that Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Dracul, the muse for Bram Stokers’ “Dracula”) took control of Bulgaria from Vidin to Nikopol and killed and impaled over 23,000 people. This doesn’t take into consideration the many additional people killed in this campaign when their villages along the northern border of the Ottoman empire were burned.

Windows again…The simplicity of this one hold great appeal
Many of the cells in the fortress are being used as display rooms. This one is a little chapel
Mom and I took this little tunnel, it goes from the top of the fortress where the cannons are (see above photo) down to the ground level at the foot of the walls. 
Communist block style at its finest

Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire and is one of the oldest settlements in Bulgaria. Currently, it is one of the few cities in the country with a growing population. It is home to two universities and the largest expat community in Bulgaria.  Unfortunately, many of the photos were taken from the bus so they aren’t as lovely as they could have been.

Our last stop before leaving Bulgaria was the village of Arbanassi. It consists of 80 houses, five churches and two monastaries. The village is designed in the fortress like architectural style common in the 17th-18th centuries when the village flourished.  It was a cute little village but I managed to forget to take any photos. The highlight of this trip was the Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel.  It was a simple looking little church until you went inside. It was covered in colorful frescoes depicting 3,500 figures and has been cleaned and restored. Additionally, we had the pleasure of listening to some of the members sing. Christian Orthodox churches don’t have organs, they have a cappella singers who sing in such a way that they sound like an entire choir. It was an incredible experience to be able to listen to them.

The Iron Gates

Not a whole lot to write about this part of the trip, but a lot to see. We sailed along a gorgeous stretch of the Danube through Serbia and Romania. The Iron Gates is a gorge on the Danube where it separates the foothills of the Balkan Mountains to the Northwest and the Carpathian Mountains in the south. Additionally, the name Iron Gates refers to two hydroelectric dams and the power stations associated with them.
My apologies for the photo quality at the beginning of the photo stream, it was FREEZING cold for this desert baby and I took many of them through the windows. Towards the bottom you will see the clarity improve as I was able to be outside. But, I enjoyed all of the small villages tucked into the foothills and wanted to share them despite the foggy quality.

The Golubac Fortress was often the last line of defense between Hungary and the Ottoman empire. It is currently in disrepair and can’t be visited but in 2014 Serbia requested and recieved funds from the EU to reconstruct it as a tourist attraction.

Apparently there are quite a few stilt houses on the Danube to allow for the significant change in water level that happens along that river.

In these next photos you can see the Mraconia Monastery. Mraconia means hidden place or dark water. This is a church that was built at the site of the Mraconia Monastery that was sacrificed when the dams were built. When the water level is low enough in the Danube, you can see the ruins of the original building. We had high water so were unable to see them.

This sculpture was fun as we sailed upon it from behind so it came up as a bit of a surprise. It is a 40 meter high carving in rock of the face of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, who fought against the Roman emperors Domitian and Trajan to preserve the independence of his country, which corresponded to modern Romania. The sculpture was made between 1994 and 2004. It is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe

This is our ship sailing through one of the Iron Gates locks


One of the hydro-electric dams


Another lock just starting to open