Hi from Beijing.
Finally a hotel with computers you can use and the added bonus of free internet! But the queue to use it is quite long and you can’t stay on for long. So this will be short.
Our computer stopped going when we got to Egypt which is why there have been no posts.
Egypt was fantastic – so much to see and learn. Our guides were excellent and I have some great photos to post but can’t do them from the hotel computer. It was very hot especially in Aswan but there were no queues anywhere and we got good views at all the sights. I will write all about it when I have more time. We went inside a pyramid which was rather cool and the boat trip on the Nile was great. We swa a lot of temples and tombs and the decoration abd deatil on the carvings was amazing. Our first hotel there was just besidethe Giza pyramids and we could see them from our bedroom! Egypt was very dirty with piles of rubbish everywhere and the local salespeople really wanted to sell you something – low tourist season.
Next stop was Jordan and the Dead Sea. I loved the Dead Sea and our hotel was pretty cool. Pools looking out over the sea. It was amazing how you could just not sink in the sea. It was very hard even to keep you feet from popping out of the water and you couldn’t lick your lips because it was just so salty. There was big urns of mud down by the sea to give yourself a free mud treatment (it was too expensive in the hotel). Great place.
From there we drove down to Petra which is all carved out of the sandstone mountains. Very hard top describe but you will see from the photos. We walked up over 800 steps to get to the monestry but it was worth it.
We flew in here on Monday and was greeted with rain. The first rain we have seen since we left so can’t complain.
Today (Tuesday) we went to The Great Wall of China and it was raining again! But it was great walking along sections of the wall. It was very misty and at time you couldn’t see very far and then it cleared just after we left the highest point. But it didn’t last long and the mist came in again. It is very steep in places – you will see when I post the pictures.
From there we went past the Olympic Venues when there were here and then on to the Summer Palace – when it decided to rain again. A huge place with lakes, temples, and gardens.
Tonight we walked to the night food market. We could have eaten scorpions – 4 or 5 on a skewer – they were alive and the BBQ trhem when you order them. Or I could have had grubs, centipeds, starfish and other delicious looking food. I opted for Mc Donalds on the way home.
Time to go now. See yo all soon
I may get another chance tomorrow on this.
A series of 5 fishing villages set into the hills not far from Florence.. The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. There was no road to them until recently and you can walk to each one. A good day’s hike. We only had a chance to walk between two of them. We were supposed to take a boat around to 4 of them but the sea was so rough we had to taker the train with everybody else.
Can you spot me?
The villages were beautiful and relaxing (except for the train)
On the way back to the ship we could just see the outline of The Leaning Tower of Pisa. We visited the leaning Tower when we were here 4 years ago.
We visited the famous Trevi fountain walked to the Pantheon - an amazing structure with its round dome and round hole in the roof. The famous artist Raphael has his tomb here. We also walked to the Spanish Steps but didn’t walk up them. We had been to Rome before so didn’t visit The Vatican City or Colosseum this time. We went on a tour called Angels and Demons set around the story written by Dan Brown. We learned a lot of Roman history during this – our guide was very knowledgeable and made it all very interesting. We also found out that Dan Brown’s book had very little fact in it. This was a great day.
St. Peter’s Bascialla
The Spanish Steps
Naples – Rome
We hired a car and went to the Amalfi Coast. It was beautiful.
Crystal clear waters, houses hugging the hills, – just stunning
We went down to Positano. It used to be a fishing village but now a tourist destination. I could live there I think.
Fron there we caught a car ferry from Sorento to The Island of Capri. Capri is where some of the rich and famous live and there were some very expensive shops there. From the ferry you get a cable car up to the main part of Capri and then a very dodgy bus ride around some very tight corners up to Ana Capri. From here we got a 13 minute chair lift ride to the top of the Island.
Day 6 Istanbul – Another early start.
Got a bus from the ship into the city by the Grand Bazaar? We went straight to the Blue Mosque. An amazing structure and really hugh!.
Next stop was St Sophia which is a kind of museum – originally a church but converted into a mosque at some stage and now a now a mixture of both. From there we negotiated a boat trip down the Bosphorus straight. All the trips were 2 hours long but we didn’t have enough time so got a boat to ourselves for 1 hour. Our Cruise Ship from the trip down the Bosphorus.
Then we walked back to the Grand Bazaar. This is a huge area of markets all under cover. Real easy to get lost in. Sellers very pushy and we held on to our bags and wallets well. It was interesting but nothing I wanted to buy. They were really trying to sell hand woven carpets. But very expensive!
Day 7 July 11 half day in Mykonos - Greek Island
Lovely ! Found a nice beach and sat for a while. I went swimming and got prickles in my thumb from a sea urchin. It stung for a while and the prickles have to come out or dissolve on their own. So I have 5 black dots on my thumb. A nice relaxing Island, good shopping with no hard sell. A place to go back and relax in.
The 5 famous windmills of Mykonos Island.
Walking to the beach.
Day 8 Relaxing day at Sea.
We went on a tour through one of the ships galley’s. It was very big and very clean.
The flight was 11.5 hours to Frankfurt on an old plane. Then another 2 hours to Venice. We got there at midnight Venice time which was about 4 in the morning Honk Kong time!
Thursday morning we walked around to Rialto bridge and on to St Marks square. It was very crowded and very hot. After a sit down at our hotel we decided to walk to the ship.
IT WAS HUGH!!!!
Day 1 -After boarding ship we unpacked and went about exploring it. Very easy to get lost! It is like a fancy hotel. Little Bernie Bear went straight out to the pool and claimed a deck chair.
Day 2-3 We spent at sea on our way to Athens. We spent most of this time around the pools. There is 3-4 pools, spas, an outdoor movie screen where you can watch movies under the stars, about 6 different restaurants plus a 24 hour buffet cafe. On day 3 it was Mike’s birthday so we all got dressed up and all 17 of us had dinner together.
Day 4 – Athens. We got on a hop on hop off bus. First stop – The Acropolis. This was a busy place two thousand years ago. It was amazing to walk through even though it was very hot.
Next stop was the Temple of Zeus. Here one of our friends got their bag stolen. There were 7 of us there and not one of us saw the bag go. She had just put it down to get her camera out and someone asked her for directions. Next thing she said where is my bag. So they left to sort out cancelling credit cards etc and we went on to the old Olympic Stadium. It was 45 degrees in there and 40 degrees in the shade. The stadium was built over the original Olympic stadium
We finished the tour on the bus and then headed straight back to the pool on the boat.
Day 5 Kusadasi – Turkey -We went on a ship tour to Ephesus. This was a thriving city over two thousand years ago. The houses had running hot water, toilets and a heating and cooling system. The library was one of the oldest in the world and they are still getting scripts from under the ground. Ephesus was destroyed with earthquakes and the harbour became filled in with rubble so the city was abandoned. The sea is now 7 kilometers away.We only had half a day here and then it was back on the ship for a swim and rest. There is a lot of walking involved when ever we are off the ship.
The main street
Ocean Park on Tuesday July 3 was great. This was a treat for Aaron’s birthday. He got in free and a friend for half price because it was his birthday. Shame we don’t do that in NZ. The giant pandas were so cool and they are big. Ocean park is a mixture of Orana Park, a marine park, and fun rides like a theme park. We went on the “Thrill Seeker” roller coaster with a double loop and terrible sideways twists. It was fun.
We had dinner on a floating restaurant which was our last night. very nice.
Wednesday July 4 was time to say goodbye to HongKong. We checked our bags through to Venice at a check in in the city. This meant we had some more time in the city. We went to one of the new high rise buildings that had a look out over the city. We had to go through all sorts of security stuff first as it was the Chinese or International Monitory Fund part of the building. we could only go up to the 55 floor but the building went up to 80 or more. There was some big meeting in the room with a lot of well dressed Chinese people listening to someone intently talking about the Chinese foreign exchange market over the years. (I think).
Then off to the plane.
We left Auckland at midnight on June 29 and 11 hours later arrived in HongKong. It was 7oclock in the morning HongKong time and it was wet and windy. A typhone has passed through during the night and the weather expectation was not good for the next few days.
It was very hot and about 97% humidity. We got a fast express train into the city.
HongKing has over 280 islands! The airport is on one of them and that island is connected by bridges and/or underground to the main Hong kong island with the main city on it. The city has over 8000 high rise buildings - the most in the world. New York comes next and it only has 4000 high rise building. A lot of the city is built on reclaimed land.
We stayed at a hotel close to the centre. We could walk down to the centre through a zoo/ garden. Our view was great from our room. Little Bernie Bear just loved it.
Walking down to the city through the gardens we saw 2 little orangatangs. they were cute. Their mother was also there but she had abandoned the twins at birth and they were being reared by the staff
We checked out the city centre. The shops were all designer and very expensive. We caught the ferry to Karloon – the city on the mainland also part of Hong Kong. Only 5 mins on the ferry. Looking back at the skyline of HongKong was amazing. About 4 o’clock the skies cleared and we decided to go to “the peak” back on Hong kong island. It is a lookout over the city and Kaloon and quite amazing. The winds had blown all the smog away and the view was great the best Aaron has seen since living there.
On Sunday we had dim slim for breakfast. This is a traditional type of meal especially on Sundays which is a family day. You sit down at the table and people come around with different food on trolley’s and you pick what you want. You can see what it is first. Really good. Sunday is also “mates day” All the women who are domestic workers get Sunday off and the all go into the centres with their friends and spend the day eating and talking. Very crowded and very noisy.
We then got on the big bus tour and went around HongKong and Karloon. That night was the 15th anniversary of giving HongKong back to China. There were massive fireworks on the waters edge. They went for half an hour