Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yet another update....Egypt!

 So, after Amsterdam we flew to Cairo, Egypt, via Bucharest, Romania. We didn't see Romania, just the 5 hour layover in the airport. We did, however, enjoy this leg of our journey as we were in first class the entire way. Quite an experience!

We landed in Cairo and the hostel I had arranged our stay with had a driver meet us at the airport, with our names on a sign....a welcome sight at 2 in the morning in a country that is a bit confusing when you first land.

We got settled at the hostel and met with the owner/operator, who sold us on some arranged trips to see the sights. He arranged to have a private driver and a guide meet us in the morning to take us to Giza, to see the pyramids. What a treat it was to approach the pyramids on camel, from a vast and empty plateau. We were fortunate enough to travel on camel, across the edge of the Sahara, to be greeted by the giant structures as we neared from behind. The masses, from tour buses and the like, drove up to the front. We shared our view with maybe  20 other people and when we reached the front there were hundreds! I am glad our first meeting was more intimate.

Then, the following day, he would get us to the train station to board a sleeper train to Luxor. While in Luxor, we would visit Karnak, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple. Wonderful sites!

We would overnight it there and then return to Cairo. This was an overwhelming part of our trip...culture shock and the sights just took my breath away!

Driving down the highway and I glance past J. to watch the farmers in the fields of sugar cane and such, seeing donkeys carting loads - and I see this! This is someone's backyard!

Massive, magical, huge, inspiring - words do not do these wonders justice.


Yes, that is an elephant on the camel! One of our two regular travel companions...Exshaw de Elephant and Hips, the Hippo.

The entrance to the Great Pyramid - basically, bend in half and scramble down a long ladder-lined tunnel, rest at bottom then scramble up tunnel into the belly of the pyramid! It's stuffy, hot, humid, and the tomb is empty - but you are standing in a pyramid!

20 metres high and 50 metres long, the Great Sphynx is a sight to behold!

So many of these statues from Karnak to Luxor ... huge and still beautiful.
Luxor Temple ....with Sphynx Avenue in front....still being unearth, hundreds of the sphynx statues line the street from Karnak to Luxor Temple. This was the view from our hotel rooftop, with the Nile in the distance.

Our rooftop pool, a welcome treat in 46 Celsius heat!
Cairo was a treat for the eyes - and all of the senses. Overloaded to say the least. I will return, as I have more things to cross of my list in and around Cairo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another update....Summer 2010 trip

So, with the dayhome closing and another new chapter beginning, J and I set out, yet again, on a summer adventure! Summer 2010 was to be a big one! We decided on Wednesday that we were actually going to do the trip and we left Friday morning - a 49 day trip planned in a day and a half!

So, after 7 airplanes, 2 sleeper trains, 5 ferries, numerous taxis and cars, countless metros and buses, 1 camel, 13 hotel rooms, 6 countries and 49 days away from home - here are some highlights.

After our almost 9 hour flight, we landed. Customs was easy enough in Amsterdam, receiving my first stamp in my new passport! We were directed to a platform in the Central Terminal, to catch our train to the city. After a short time, chatting with another couple on a near-empty train, we discovered that we were headed in the wrong direction - Eindhoven not being our destination. Grabbing our backpacks, we disembarked at the next stop and caught a train  in the right direction - Amsterdam!

Beautiful canal system...loving the narrow, tall homes.

Loved all the houseboats.

Very interesting shapes and sizes!

An actual bicycle parkade!

Thousands of bikes!

Quaint homes, all in row.

A brick houseboat.

Love this...looks ideal!

Morning mist and sunlight hitting the floating flower shop.

Good morning, Amsterdam!
Life is not a it fully and completely, with your whole heart and being. No mulligans or redo's or do-overs. I am learning not to dream - but, to LIVE! Making a change, not waiting for one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Long, overdue update!

So much to update, as it has been far too long since I even visited. I encouraged a friend to blog, and thought it best for me to do the same.

So this will be one of a few updates....

Summer 2009 travels -
J and I packed our backpacks and hopped on a plane to Cancun. This part of the journey is becoming quite familiar. Land in Cancun, bus to Playa del Carmen, ferry to Cozumel and walk to Eliane's. A couple of days in Coz, enjoying our favorite places and then ferry back to Playa del Carmen to board a bus that will take us to Belize. 4.5 hour bus ride, interesting border crossing and we arrive in Corozal! This begins our Belizean adventure!

This is in Corozal, one of our first sights in Belize. Beautiful calm water. Men fishing on the docks, with nets and poles, very early in the morning. From here, we caught a water taxi to Ambergris Caye.

Ambergris Caye is so beautiful and relaxing!

Now, we get to Caye Caulker and it stole my heart! The island has a motto, Go Slow, and people do! This is the life! So friendly and just amazing views. We did a sail trip and swam with rays and nurse sharks...saw a sea turtle diving for sea grass, a giant grouper, ate ceviche that was freshly made for us, and enjoyed a day of snorkeling and swimming. We found a great sports pub on the island, owned by a Canadian expat, and ended up there most evenings, playing trivia and drinking tropical drinks with funny names - Panty Removers! We also donated some money ("Buy a Piece of the Pub") to the local school, to provide sports equipment to the kids. In turn, the pub paints your name on whatever item you "purchased" and you get a certificate of ownership...stating you own property in Belize! Haha..... J and I have our names painted on the table we sat at each time. We spent 8 days here, eventually sailing a 3 day sail trip south, to Placencia.

Our hotel - Rainbow Hotel

Great lobster - this meal cost about $6!

Typical view as we walked along the street - no cars on island, just golf carts and bikes.


One of the many rays we swam with!

Beautiful and gentle sea turtle!

I caught dinner for the travelers that night - barracuda! Took about 15 minutes to reel the guy in! The crew of the Ragga Queen were quite impressed!

The island where we camped the first night. Yes, that is the entire island!

We flew from Placencia back to Cancun, as there were reports of trouble crossing the border due to H1N1 flu.

One of the best experiences I have ever had - swimming with Whale Sharks! There were reportedly about 200 in the area, and they are huge! That mouth is about a metre across and they can be 35 ft. long!

The prettiest beaches I have ever been to. Isla Mujeres - sand soft like flour and white as snow. Water as warm as a tub and you can walk out waist deep forever.

More to be updated!