Thursday, August 27, 2009

All Over Europe

I've been in Europe for about a week and a half now and so far its been great. I started off in Vienna and meet up with Clarissa and Martina, who I had met while traveling in Laos. Not only did they pick me up from the airport, but they also showed me around, took me out, cooked me food and let me stay at Martina's apartment, which was awesome. I really liked Vienna. It has sort of an old feel to it, with winding streets and cool buildings, but also great transportation and fun places to go out. I spent a few days seeing the sights, cathedrals and places mostly, and then I hopped on a train to Budapest. Budapest was great also. I was there during their independence festival and they had this crazy plane race over the river so I spent one day watching that and wandering around the castle area on the Buda side. The next day I headed over to Pest and saw a huge Church and also the biggest Synagogue in Europe. I also few a few people in the hostel and we went out dancing one night which was pretty fun.

My next stop was Prague which was also pretty nice. I managed to get a free tour of the city through the hostel I stayed at which was great. It toured old town and new town but it turns out new town is still quite old, haha. Then I saw the castle there, which I guess is one of the biggest castle areas in Europe, though its not just one building, its lots of building all together. I met a few people in the hostel there, but everyone was already traveling in groups so its sometimes hard to just join on. I was going to stay a bit longer, but the place I was staying in a school that turns into a hostel in the summer and it was turning back right a way. So I headed down south to Cesky Krumlov which is like a mini Prague and very cute, which is where I am now. I also met up with 3 other people who are all traveling on their own, which is great. We rented a boat yesterday and did floated down the river drinking beer for like 7 hours yesterday, haha, which was fun. And last night we went out to a great veggie restaurant, which was a nice change from the sandwiches and pasta I've been eating lately, haha. Today we explored the little town and all decided to keep traveling together for a bit. The plan is to make our way down to Croatia, tomorrow we are going to Bratislava. I don't have tons of time, but its fun to travel with people. After that I head to back to Vienna on the 5th from my flight to Spain!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Egypt and Jordan

The last time I updated Cheryl was about to head home and Eric and I were still in Hurghada. Cheryl made it home and Eric and I took the 4am ferry to Sinai, which meant we had to get up at 2:30am, not much fun. The good thing though was that because it was so early I slept through the whole ride and also on the bus to Dahab, which is where we stayed for the next few days. Dahab is a backpackers town, lots of chill restaurants and bars, beaches, bookshops, a nice place to relax. It isn't very Egyptian, but I liked it. We did some more snorkeling and took a tour up Mt Sinai that was petty crazy. The tour was to see the sunrise at the top of the mountain so we started hiking at 1am, haha. It was a long night, but the sunrise was pretty awesome. Its the mountain that Moses got the 10 commandants on in the Bible, so there were lots of people there and singing as the sun came up, which was fun. We also stopped at one of the oldest monastery's on the way down and saw a decedent of the 'burning bush' but it was a bit too crowed and I was way tired by then from hiking all night. We have actually seen a lot of important Christian religious sights lately, which makes sense given where we are, but some how it didn't occur to me when planning for this part of the trip. Also when we were in Dahab Eric and I won a pub quiz! It was very exciting and the prize was 100 Egyptian pounds which is a fair amount considering that out hotel room only cost 60 a night. It all had to be spent on drinks tho and we actually had quite a hard time drinking it all, haha, but ended up taking lots of bottels of water back with us.
After Dahab we headed to Jordan on an epic ferry journey which lasted 13 hours. Mostly the ferry was just incredibly late and there was a lot of waiting around, but we were really tired by the time we finally got to the hotel in Aqaba. We went straight from there to Wadi Musa the next day, which is the town Petra is outside of and we spent two days hiking around Petra. Petra is really quite amazing, its a whole ancient city carved out of the sandstone. And the area around it is beautiful as well so its fun to hike around even thought the ruins are a bit spread out. Its not quite as hot as in Egypt so we were able to hike most of both days, though we were always happy to rest and buy tea from the Bedouin families who sell souvenirs and drinks along the paths. After Petra we wanted to stop at the dead sea but it seems easier to go to Amman and then find a tour going to the Dead sea from there. We found a hotel in Amman and booked a tour the next day. We couldn't find one that just went to the sea, so the one we did made some stops along the way. We stopped at a church with some very old mosaics, Mt Nebo and the place where Jesus was baptized, tho Eric and I decided not to pay to see that one. Really I just wanted to swim in the Dead Sea which we did and it was pretty crazy. The salt content is so high that you float so much, its a lot of fun. Its also the lowest place on earth which I think is pretty cool. I didn't actually swim too much because the salt is quite painful to any cuts and pensive areas of skin, though as a female I seemed to have more of a problem with this then the guys.
The next day we took a bus to some Roman ruins out side of the Amman called Jeresh, which were really nice. There were two theaters and tons of columns and old parts of buildings and there were very few people there which surprised me since its like one of the top 3 things to see in Jordan. That night we also went out for a bit of a fancy dinner, partly for Eric's birthday which is on sunday and partly because the guide book said that they had scrambled tofu. It was quite good, but the scrambled tofu I ordered didn't actually have any tofu in it, haha, just veggies and cheese, oh well. It was interesting to see that part of town though, its very modern compared to downtown which is where we have been staying. Yesterday we saw the Citadel and another Roman theater and also and archeology museum which had some of the dead sea scrolls which was interesting. Then Eric left in the afternoon to go back home and I'm hanging around until tomorrow for my flight to Vienna!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So I realized I never put any pics up from England of France, but I'm going to move onto Egypt so I don't get even more behind.

Eric and Cheryl and the Pyramids with the Sphinx.

Pyramid and camels.
Islamic Cairo, from above, notice all the Mosques.
Coptic Church in Cairo.

Cheryl and I at Abu Simbel.

Felucca on the Nile.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Red Sea is really quite blue

Hey time for a real update! When I updated before we were still in Aswan, which turned out to be one of our favorite places. It was much more chill and relaxed then Cairo and Luxor. Also we had a pool which might have helped, haha. We stayed for a few days, spending one of those on a trip to Abu Simbel which is a four hour bus ride, but has some very cool ruins. Since it was further south it was even hotter, which I didn't know was possible. We have gotten used drinking insane amounts of water, finding AC whenever possible, walking in even the tiniest amount of shade, and swimming at all opportunities, haha, all which help with the heat. I decided that if it wasn't so hot I would love Egypt, as it is i like it tons but the heat makes it a bit hard to completely love it.
After Aswan we took a cruise to Luxor which was awesome. We were debating between a Falucca, which is a tiny open boat or a fancy cruise and the cruise won out. If there was a middle we would have picked that, but three days on an uncovered boat with no bathroom didn't sound amazing. The boat we did take was great, we were 3 or the 6 english speaking people, which was actually nice. It stopped along the way at two temples, one of them at night which was pretty cool. Food was included and it had a pool, what more could we need really. We stayed for 4 days in Luxor which turned out to be one day too many, but other then that it was great. There is soooo much to see there, we did a lot but got a bit temples out by the end. We spent one day on a tour with a great tour guide of the West Bank, which has lots of famous stuff like the Valley of the Kings which is where King Tuts tomb was found. We also did the Luxor museum, which is much smaller then the one is Cairo, but also much more manageable because it has less, which I liked. Then we basically saw temples and tombs for the rest of our time there, with a bit of time for eating, napping and smoking sheisha like a local (only once tho because we all decided we were coughing to much to get any more, haha.) The food over all has been great and everywhere, even small local places have falafal which worked out really well.
After Luxor we took a cheap and quite hot bus over to Hurghada which is on the coast of the Red Sea. Its really spectacular when you have been on a bus though the desert and seen nothing but brown dirt to suddenly come upon the sea. Its the most blue sea I've even seen i think in spite of its name. We spent yesterday on a snorkeling trip, which was for sure the best i've ever done, though i'm no expert, but it was way cool. All kind of weird fish and nice coral and by the end I was used to breathing with the snorkel thing which i always hate. Eric got a bit burned so we might not do any more for a little while, but it was a great day. Hurghada itself is a bit of a package tour kind of place, but the beach is wonderful.
Cheryl leaves tomorrow which is sad, but it was great that she was able to come, its always fun to travel with more people. Eric and I then take the ferry across the Red sea and then eventually over to Jordan. I think we will stay on the Egypt side for a few days longer, but we haven't really decided, but the beaches over on that side are supposed to be great also. Maybe I'll even have time to put up some pics :)