A Travellerspoint blog

Wadi Rum

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

The Spanish girls joined us for our trip to Wadi Rum, arrived in Wadi Rum about 10am and rattled around the desert in a rickety old 4WD. Erica and Steph only joined us for our first day and night in Wadi Rum, so both Cat and Erica where little monkeys and climbed anything and everything they could. We saw many things in Wadi Rum, so I will just mention a few of them. We saw the Seven sisters from the visitors centre and then started at the red Dune, we managed to climb to the top and the sand was so soft though it took us forever to climb it.
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Up to Lawrence's spring (being Lawrence of Arabia) which is a little disappointing as you cant see anything as it is a well up in the mountains that is piped down to watering trough's for the animals to drink from. Then on to see the Nebatean inscriptions on one of the mountain walls.
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Next Lawrence’s house, this was ruins of a small brick house that was more like a pile of rubble, that rest against a big rock but it had a fantastic view and the girls found it for climbing.
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Next was Um Fruth Arch or Bridge and Khazali Canyon and then off to the campsite where we had Bedouin tea and relaxed while dinner was prepared and cooked. Well dinner would have to have been the best Jordanian food I had had, after dinner we sat around the fire and our guides had a few friends drop in and they played some Bedouin music for us with a loot and some drums and had a little bit of a sing-a-long, which was really nice. As it had been a big day in the desert we decided to have an early night and as it was a lovely night out we opted to have the night out under the stars so we could catch sunrise without having to get out of bed. Unfortunately there were too many clouds to see the stars let alone the sunrise, but it was lovely none the less.
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After breakfast we headed out on some more adventures around Wadi Rum, this time with one of the other guides, Abdullah. Abdullah was a lovely guy but unfortunately grew affections for me very quickly, which some times made both Cat and I a little uncomfortable but overall he was very lovely and made the journey a little more interesting.
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We ended up seeing what they called the Chicken rock, and the Small Bridge, then on to have lunch at Burrah Canyon.
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Burrah Canyon Was fantastic, lunch of course was traditional Bedouin food. Canned tuna on their flat bread, which is like our pita bread, cucumber, tomato, followed by Bedouin tea. Unfortunately a sand storm blew up while we were having lunch, which made for and interesting trip back to the campsite especially stopping every 500 meters for a while to collect firewood. Oh well I suppose it completes the desert experience.
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Posted by krissy 09:48 Archived in Jordan Comments (0)

Petra

sunny 17 °C
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

We bumped into some lovely Americans on the bus to Neweiba to catch the ferry to Aqaba and then some Spanish ladies in the fantastically clean departure lounge at Neweiba, now that was a joke. It is absolutely disgusting. Anyway we were all traveling in the same direction so we got a couple of taxis and off we went. As it was getting dark quiet quickly and Cat and I wanted to see the Aqaba Fortress/castle our taxi driver took us to take some photos before heading to Petra. After arriving at Wadi Musa, which is the town area that is right near Petra that we needed to stay at, we organized our room, got some dinner and called it a night.

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Up early for our first day in Petra. We organized a guide through the hotel, they dropped us off at the main gate and off we went. I loved our time looking through Petra. Walking down the Sig, which looks like there was an earthquake and the earth has opened up and made the pathway that meanders down to the Treasury, which is the facade that was used in the "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" movie.

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After that we wandered further through to see the various types of tombs and excavations.
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We stopped for lunch before catching a donkey/mule up the mountain to the monastery, which was as awesome as the Treasury. They both have totally different feels about them. The Treasury was very elaborately carved and the monastery is very simple. We were told that the Treasury was most likely designed to be used for christenings or baptisms of some sort and that the monastery was used as a last preparation before burial.
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Ok, now that we have seen that and all the marvelous views we now had to walk the 800 steps back down the mountain and of course I ended up leaving my camera at the top, luckily I figured that out before I got to the bottom. I just had to walk up about 150 steps and back down them to meet up with the others that were patiently waiting for me. When we finally got to the bottom I decided to get a donkey ride to the Treasury. We headed back to the hotel for a traditional Jordanian dinner cooked by the hotel manager’s mother, which was lovely and really convenient for an early night after a big day.
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Next day, back down to Petra, this time without a guide and with the Spanish girls we met on the ferry Erica and Steph. We wandered down a route that was advised by our guide the previous day. We walked down this track which was basically a dry river bed, had to walk down rock walls and all but totally had fun getting back to nature and loved the welcomed peace from the continuous cries for donkey rides from the Bedouin men and boys.
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Once getting back to the main section of Petra again we had a quick lunch and walked up to High Sacrifice, another 500 steps or so. We got to the top and saw some fantastic views over Petra and the obelisks, then decided to take the alternative way down the mountain and saw some more fantastic tombs and monuments and got shown by some Bedouin ladies a short cut back to the main area of Petra, which saved us some time and energy. Back to the hotel to work out our trip to Wadi Rum before heading out to see Petra by night.

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Petra by night was lovely, a beautiful memory as it was too hard to take a photo, but a little disappointing as they had all the candles lining the Sig (pathway) down to the Treasury and in front of it but unfortunately none on the steps or inside which would have been really cool, you really didn't get to see much of the Treasury at night. They had some lovely Bedouin music being played but as we were not able to see the treasury we headed back early and caught up with our guide Ali from the first day for a drink before he dropped us back to our hotel to pack for Wadi Rum.

Posted by krissy 08:47 Archived in Jordan Comments (1)

Sanai

semi-overcast 18 °C
View Middle East - March 07 on krissy's travel map.

Well hello,

We have been exploring again. This time in the Middle East. We started this trip flying into Sharm El Sheik in Egypt/Sanai. We got greeted by a taxi driver that the hotel arranged for us. We had to wait for a little while as there were more guests expected on a different flight. The wait gave us a little time to realise that we were actually on holidays again. It was very sureal looking out at the palm trees and sillouette of the mountains through the dusty sky. It took us an hours to get to Dahab from Sharm, where we got an amazing reception from Emad and the boys at the Penguin Divers Resort. Once we settled in we went and sipped tea with Emad in one of the many bedioun style restaurants on the beach to get our farmilarization. Had some dinner and did our paperwork for our dive course. Off for an early night as it had been a long day of travel and we start our learning tomorrow.
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The next morning saw us starting our dive course and the next four days after that to complete it. What an adventure, with trying to work out all the equipment and how to use it, as well as putting all our learning into practice. But boy was it worth it..... I feel a real sense of satisfaction knowing that I have completed it and almost with honors..lol. Once we got out into the open water for our training we got to see some really cool stuff and I am looking forward to doing more diving soon, maybe in greece. In the evenings after having our dinner and lounging around on the coushins we were either studying or meeting the locals and checking out the shops, also trying to avoid the numerous advances as the Egyptian men just love the white women that are well rounded..

After finishing the dive course we were able to look around Dahab a bit more. We chilled out around Dahab the first day as we needed a certain amount of time to pass before we could go to Altitude including climbing Mt Sanai. That night we went on the sunrise tour of Mt Sanai and St Caterines monastery, which is were Moses went to get the 10 commandments from God. We started climbing about 1 am in the morning and it took us about 3 hours before having to climb 750 steps to the first summit and then another 100 -150 to the summit to see the sunrise. Tell you what if the walk doesn't kill you the cold will, it was - 5 degrees with the wind blowing and we really weren't prepared for it, I don't think I have ever been that cold, the wind just blew straight through you. We had our sleeping bags but still needed to rent a blanket at the top. Ok, enough of my windging the view was fantastic, the sunrise was breath taking. I would do it again but next time I will be prepared for it. There were quiet a few religious groups that had climbed the mountain and they were all doing the prayers and singing there Hymms. So it really was a sight to see...lol
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We supposidly took the easy way (camel track) on the way up the mountain and I chose to come down the 3000 steps to the monestary which are said to be the steps of repentance. When we got down we wandered through the monestary and their chapel as well as seeing the burning bush. We caught a little sleep on the bus on the 2 hour bus trip back to the hotel, had a nana nap then we had been invited out to one of the local restaurants for a traditional egyptian meal, which was to die for and of course not on the menu. The only let down was that we ended being there for about 4 hours and all I wanted to do was sleep.
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Posted by krissy 07:54 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

New York

semi-overcast 13 °C

All righty then, Next stop was New York. I didn't get in until late on thursday night so I decided to head to bed and try and have an early start. Next morning I woke to a lovely view, we had a suite at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Ave, Manhatten and the view from the lounge was fantastic. You could see all the way down Park Ave towards Harlem, really quiet special if I do say so myself. After admiring the view I decided to step out for a while and have a wander around. Boy it was a bit chilly that day.
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I went up to 5th Ave and saw the St Patrick's Cathedral, didn't go in at that point as it didn't seem to be open, so I kept wandering down towards Central Park where I walk past Truimpe Tower, very lavish looking building. Kept going and ended up walking around the south eastern end of Central park for a couple of hours. It is truely amazing to see that they have left such a large park area in the middle of the jungle of 60 story plus building, it is really nice to see the contrast though. After I spent some time there I decided to head for Times Square and found the Rockefeller center on they way (Missed the ice skating rink the first time round) and on to Times Square. I had only ever seen footage of it once or twice so it took me a little bit to recognise it.
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Well it was now time for lunch so we headed to the Grand Central Station and had a fantastic meal at te Michael Jordan Steakhouse, which looks out over the main area of the station. After the long lunch we ended up hiring a limo for about 6 hours and the driver drove us around Manhatten. I got a little bit spoiled, well a lot actually. We went to the Rockefeller Center and up to the observatory to see the nightscape. We didn't get to the Empire state building as the lines were too long but I did manage to see it from the Rockefeller center as well as the ice skating rink this time. Then on to take a photo of the David Lederman late night show sign outside the studios. Past Radio city and into Times Square with all its neon lights flashing, now that really looks fab. We stopped to have a drink in the lobby lounge of M in Times Square (some hotel). We had dinner reservations at 11.30pm and of course I was starting to feel a little peckish so we headed to another restaurant/bar off columbas cirlce for another drink and snacks. Well I then had to go home and get dressed for dinner but by that time I was so tired and a little tipsy that I ended up curling up in bed and missing dinner, oh well there is always next time.
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The next morning I had a lazy start and watched a movie waiting for Scott to wake up. I then headed out for breakfast, bought some postcards and looked inside St Patrick's Cathedral while Scott finished off some business stuff. We then headed off to catch te Staton Island Ferry, which was really cool. I got to see Manhatten from the water which is really beautiful. It is really amazing that they have so many high rise buildings on such a small island. We went past Ellis Island and the statue of liberty. I would love to see both of them closer next time I come back. I got a couple of photos but just my luck my camera batteries ran out as we were going past the statue of liberty and by the time I got them changed we were pulling away from her. On to Staten Island we go, it looks nice from the water but the area we drove through in the car seemed a little rough, so we kept going on to the airport and over the longest bridge in New york on the way.
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Thats the end of this chapter...

Posted by krissy 07:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Oslo

snow -12 °C
View New York, USA - March 07 & Oslo, Norway - Feb 07 on krissy's travel map.

Welcome to Norway!!

We were greeted by a snow clad tarmac and beautiful big snow flakes falling on our noses or in cats case right into her mouth, clever little chicky she is. Mind you with this beautiful weather comes attached the fact that it is bloody cold. The snow here is everywhere and it is so soft and white, not like the stuff we had in London on Thursday. It always amazes me every time I see it with its crunchiness and squeaking under your feet how quickly it makes me feel like I am a child again. All I wanted to do is pick it up and play with it. We meet a lovely Aussie Chicky who is over in Norway studying while on our 2 hour bus ride from the airport (Torp) to Oslo City. She recommended that we go snow sledding while we were there. Both Cat and I thought that sounded like it just had to be done. We finally got to our hostel at 1 am
Friday morning, so called it a night.

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We ended up sleeping in for a while, then once we got up and moving we checked out the tourist info centre for things to do. Walked along Karl Johann Street, which is Oslo's main mall area and stumbled across the Kings residence or Palace, which is at the end of the street on a hill surrounded by parkland. The Palace has a great view over the city but unfortunately we were not able to get inside to look around so we wandered down to the harbour hoping to get a boat out on the Fjords, unfortunately for us they don't run in the winter so we settled for looking around the fortress and Castle.

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The Fortress with the Castle held inside is perched on a hill in the harbour not very far from the city centre at all. We managed to walk up on top of the fortress walls, wow the view from there is really quiet amazing. Oslo really is a pretty city. As we walked through the fortress we found a section that made us feel like we had stumbled into our own little Narnia, It was just magical and there is no way I could capture it all for you. But Cat and I had grins from ear to ear in utter bliss and amazement with it all. We managed to catch the changing of the guards and then decided to go sledding; of course in true style we got lost again and ended up walking around in a big circle for an hour before getting back to our hostel to pick up some wet weather clothes. Boy am I glad I got that, not that it really did me any good as by the time I was finished my first run down the slope I had so much ice down my pants I was wet anyway. I ended up coming off the sled at least 15 times on my first run and I really didn't want to go again. But the girls managed to twist my arm and after that there was no stopping me. We kept going until the last possible run which was about 8pm. Really quiet cool after the sun goes down they turn on the lights and you keep going. When you finish your run down the slope you catch the local train up the hill again and off you go again, scary thing was the later it got the less soft snow there was on the track, which means you end up travelling so fast on the ice but still after the first run I managed to stay on the sled. Mind you with all the stacks on the first run I had already done the damage. I have a million bruises. ouch. one is the size of my hand and is black and blue, but really it was all worth it we had so much fun. After sledding we headed back to the hostel to defrost and then out to have a traditional Norwegian dinner. Tried reindeer, quiet nice actually, it was served in a style that I cant remember the name but anyway it was finely slices raw but pickled meat that just melted in your mouth. Then made our way back to our beds as we were both knackered from all our adventures sledding.

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Up reasonably early the next day to head out to the Viking museum, which was cool, it has a few old Viking ships that had been found in burial grounds with lots of artefacts from that era that were buried in the ships. Then on to the open air museum, this was set up to house buildings of heritage from around the country. So we wandered around there for a couple of hours looking at all the cottages from the as early as the 1700’s. As Cat said it is like Norwegian version of our Sovereign Hill. They had town houses and country log huts, farm buildings, schools and churches all from different decades of Norwegian history.

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After there we headed to a sculpture park. Basically Oslo designated a part of a huge parkland to a well known sculpture to be creative and he has sculpted over 100 statues of naked people. It was certainly very interesting to see and both cat and I wondered if he was a little perverted, but it seems he wasn’t.

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We didn’t do anything else exciting while we were here so I will call it a day. Overall Oslo was a lovely place and totally enjoyed my stay there.

Posted by krissy 12:42 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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