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International Travel

International Travel

Certified Diver in Paradise

December 29, 2009

Here’s another email from my Egypt trip in 2000 . . .

Welcome to my third and final letter about Egypt. Let’s see if I can remember two weeks ago. Last I left off we had just arrived in Luxor. We saw tons of stuff in Luxor in the two days we had there. The first day, we went to the Valley of the Kings and saw some of the colorful tombs like King Tut’s tomb and then to the Valley of the Queens to see Nefertari’s tomb. This tomb is so well preserved and colorful that they only let 100 people in a day and you have to pay 100 Egyptian pounds (about $30). They send 10 people in at a time for a maximum time of 15 minutes. We also saw Hatshepsut’s temple, one of two woman pharohs of Egypt. She presented herself as a man in the carvings and paint on the walls. And then we visited the worker’s village and tombs – they would blindfold the workers and bring them to work on the pharohs’ tombs, this way they didn’t know the location so they couldn’t loot the tombs. Our guide paid off the guy at the door and I took flash photography of the colorful tomb down below. I feel a little guilty! The next day we went to Karnak Temple which is just too big to talk about (temples within temples because each succeeding pharoah would build on) and Luxor Temple, not quite as big but in better condition that Karnak. It has the Avenue of the Sphinxes. Luxor temple is where the tourists were shot and killed in 1996. Security throughout Egypt is extremely tight because of this. They depend on tourism for their economy. When we took a van from Edfu to Luxor we were part of a caravan led by the tourist police. In the countryside they require you have a police escort. Continue Reading…

International Travel

Pharoah’s Belly in Egypt

December 29, 2009

In the fall of 2000, Carol and I had a three week adventure in Egypt. It was a life-changing trip. I had been to Europe before but never to the exotic Middle East. The architecture, colors, smells and sounds transported me to another time – like being on an old movie set. It reeked of ancient stones and civilizations. Some of the ruins we visited were 3000 years old. When I entered these stone temples, I would walk up to the wall and observe the carvings, sometimes with bits of color, and imagine the person decorating the massive structures. I pictured them in white long flowing gowns, speaking a language I couldn’t understand. When the guide wasn’t looking, I would sneak a touch of the walls just to try to feel the history. Before the trip, I had no knowledge of Egypt and after, the mythology fascinated me. My photos are tucked away in albums but now want to scan and post them . . . so that’s one of my goals in 2010 – daunting but doable. I posted a couple of them on my flickr site. I can’t wait to go back and also explore other regions in the area. I came across a couple of emails that I sent while on the trip and decided to post them . . . Continue Reading…

International Travel

Sunny Days

November 3, 2007

Finally, here in Hvar Town where they brag about the sunny days – it’s been very nice with blue skies. It rained and was gray mid-week. We arrived here almost a week ago  – haven’t been able to leave. It is slow and I’m starting to get ansy because most everything is shut down or only open part of the day. We’ve been exploring the coast, though, with tons of hiking.

When our ferry docked, a blonde lady was holding a sign for a room for rent, so we went with her to see the place. It’s very cute and up on the hill so we have great views. She said it’s only 5 minutes walking to the main center. Well, it’s actually more like 10 minutes and straight up or down. It’s a workout! We have a kitchen, so have been eating breakfast and lunch in the room. The patio overlooks the Adriatic – we just sit and stare at the view. It’s so weird, I feel like I’m in a trance. There are very few tourists here right now – I guess it’s nuts in the summer, so I’d rather not have that.

Hvar Town was built by the Venetians, so it looks very similar to St. Marks Square (I think that’s what it’s called) in Venice. All the buildings in the town center are made of a white stone and the narrow alleyways lead up and down to homes and restaurants. It’s adorable here. I guess that’s why we got stuck. Dinners are expensive – about 30 to 40 bucks, but when you consider that we’re each paying less than 20 bucks a night, it’s not much for the day.

The people here are not as friendly as on the main land – they’re very blunt but will help if you ask. We were just in a small art gallery and the lady working there said that the older people don’t like it when it’s  so busy in the summer. The few tourists that are here are friendly – most seem to smile and greet us in whatever language they speak. We’ve heard Italian, German, English and French for the most part.

The town is very small but most of the houses are right on top of each other – all going up a hillside. The coast is amazing and we got a workout today going over rocks, through pine trees and beach pebbles. The water is a gorgeous turquoise blue – it looks fake! I’ll write more about the town later and our day trip to another small town . . . but I’m off to dinner!

International Travel

Dogs . . . and cats.

October 31, 2007

Croatian’s love their dogs. This is a new concept to me because I always thought that Europeans were more about families, but then again I haven’t been here in a long time.  They have pet stores with dog dishes, bones and clothes. I guess I always think that people who spend so much time and money on dogs are city people with no kids. I’m dumb. Lots of people, especially in Zagreb took their dogs out for walks. I even saw some folks walking, with their dogs right beside them with no leash. Very well-trained dogs.

Here in Hvar, the dogs wander around alone. They all have collars on them and know where home is. None are scraggly or under-fed. A waiter laughed, jokingly at me when I asked about the dogs running around. He bragged, they don’t have microchips! The dogs pretty much ignore tourists and go about their way, sniffing and pooping. They have very good manners. I’ve seen some puppies on leashes so I’m assuming that the owners are training them.

The cats are so so cute, too. They are very friendly and mew at me when I look at them. They are obviously not mistreated and look for affection. I saw one up at the fortress and as Stacy was looking out over the beautiful town and amazingly old structure, I said, look at the kitty! Then ran over to pet it and hang out. So much for history . . .