Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Abu Simbel temple - above Nefertair temple
Sunday, 26 April 2009
EGYPT - Cairo, Giza, Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Luxor and Dahab
27 April 2009
That morning after checkout we got put into groups and headed on the bus to the Egyptian Museum where we looked around for a couple of hours and even went and saw real mummies. They were grose! They looked like real people, just old and wrinkly. They still had their fingernails and hair.
After the museum we headed for Giza and the ... PYRAMIDS! They were amazing!
The Giza pyramids are on the outskirts of Cairo and one minute you are driving around the dirty, unruly streets of Cairo and the next minute you go through this gate and see the Pyramids. I always thought that they would be out in the desert a bit.
<------- View of Cairo from the pyramids - see how close to the city they are
<----- Me by one of the Pyramid blocks. They are huge.
Friday, 24 April 2009
Had 4 ½ hours sleep and then up again at 5 for at taxi to the airport to catch my early morning flight to Istanbul. I was a bit stressed about my flights because I had trouble booking them, but there were no problems, yah!
Once checked into the hotel I decided to wonder into town and check out a few of the sights as this was my only free time in Istanbul. I got Jaime’s number and we wandered around together.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the national mosque of Turkey. The mosque is one of several mosques known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built between 1609 and 1616.
Trying the Shisha ----------------Too much shisha
The next day we got up early and jumped on the bus to Anzac Cove
ANZAC Cove is a small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. It became famous as the site of World War I landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on April 25 1915. The cove is a mere 600m long, bounded by the headlands of Ari Burnu to the north and Little Ari Burnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south. Following the landing at Anzac Cove, the beach became the main base for the Australian and New Zealand troops for the eight months of the Battle of Gallipoli.
At about 3ish everyone lined up and waited to get searched, metal detected and wrist banded up and then it was off to the cove to find a good spot for spending the rest of the day and night.
As the night goes on, people cosy up in their sleeping bags, fight for sleeping space and settle in. All throughout the night they have a big screen going playing stories and memories from war veterans, historians, etc. More people come throughout the night.
After the service we have about 3 hours to get up to Chunuk Bair about a 5 km uphill walk away, there is where the New Zealand service was being held.
The capture of Chunuk Bair was the only success for the Allies of the campaign. However, the success was fleeting as the position proved untenable. The Turks recaptured the peak after a few days and were never to relinquish it again.
I was so sick on the way back that unscheduled stops had to be made and spent the rest of the night trying to sleep it off in my hotel room.
26 April 2009
The next day we got up and headed to the airport for our flight to Cairo.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Before I start my Egypt blog, I thought I would vent everything that went wrong and what I was unhappy with now, so that when I write my actual blog, I can be nice and not angry and annoyed!! Also because everyone asks me how it went and there were just so many things that went wrong.
1. My flights – what a mission! Basically Turkish Airlines site was down for flights for various destinations (I needed to go from London to Turkey to Cairo to London) so I gave it a few days and it was still down so I tried to call the call centre and they couldn’t really understand me, so I started stressing, I looked again and the flights had gone up £300, so I faxed various numbers and then finally got a reply – they were able to book them for me, but they couldn’t give me the internet price – how crap was that. I decided to go with them anyway £50 extra is better than £300 – it turned out alright, eventually.
2. Three days before I left for Turkey I got a sinus infection – I never get sinus infections.
4. On Anzac day I had really bad stomach craps and was throwing up – I think I got food poisoning or something – had to walk about 4kms and then some uphill to the New Zealand service – I felt like death and pretty much spent the service in the foetal – this lasted about 6 days probably spent close to £50 on various drugs trying to get better.
Drug Stash --------->
6. Whilst finding a place to “squat” while the felucca was parked up, I fell down a hole and got cut up by cutty grass
Some of my cutty grass injury --------->
7. I took my camera for a swim in the pool and it leaked, therefore making it unusable for the remainder of my tour, which is unfortunate because I would of liked to take it snorkeling. It seems to have dried out now and seems to be working fine, typical!
8. I got attacked my mosquito’s and had massive itchy bites
9. I got a really itchy rash on my arms
10. I got sunburnt on my shoulders on an overcast day (my fault I know!)
11. I lost my job
12. I am sick again – have got a bad cough – probably too much smoke
Aside from the above I didn’t like Egypt because
1. I like wearing short, cooling, clothes! Even when you wore appropriate ones you got hassled anyway
2. I don’t like haggling
3. I felt suffocated every time I went to the markets – 20 guys would come at you telling you they have what you need, ugg they are creepy and awful
4. I always felt like I was getting ripped off
5. It was really dirty
6. You couldn’t’ drink the water or eat salads
7. Everyone always gets sick
8. They played bloody prayers about 4 or 5 times a day/night over loud speakers everywhere in the city
9. You can smoke anywhere
10. You have to tip – NOBODY does anything out of consideration, politeness or courtesy
Why I wouldn't recommend Go Bus tour company
1. Why I was disappointed with Turkey/Anzac tour:
a. We didn’t get t-shirts or jerseys like most other companies
b. We didn’t really get a tour of the area or explanation about Anzac Cove like other companies gave their tours
2. Why I was disappointed with Egypt tour:
a. I was never told about bolt-ons whilst booking my tour
b. Hot air ballooning was a bolt-on and turned out to be £40 more if you paid for it in Egypt (although they allege it should be same price)
c. We were never fully informed about extra costs we had to pay – they asked us for 791le (Egyptian pounds) on the first day which is about £100 to cover entrance fees, tipping kitty, etc.
d. Go Bus advised a lot of people to get US dollars and then told them in Egypt they didn’t need them
e. I don’t feel that the companies/restaurants they used or recommended always gave you value for money –
i. eg. They had a jewellery man come and visit us, we assumed it would be good quality and good price as their recommended it but a lot of the jewellery, which should be silver, discoloured, I don’t reckon my bangle is silver as it sometimes makes my arm go green and gives me a rash. I paid 280le for it so about £30
ii. Another example is the diving company they use. One girl wanted to do advanced diving the recommend company said about US$300 she looked elsewhere and was quoted US$200 – quite a big difference.
f. They gave everyone extra large or large t-shirts which don’t fit many girls
g. Go Bus just shoved so many things into the first couple of days that I wasn’t really that interested in any more temples, tombs, etc. We saw about three temples/tombs a day
h. We had to pay extra for the Abu Simbel tour – where we had to get up at 3am to make it out there – we had to drive a couple of hours in the police convoy to arrive there. Once there we were only given ½ an hour to look around the temples and do anything else we needed to do (ie. everyone was feeling unwell and had to use the toilets so spent half the time in the toilet line). It seemed we paid a lot of money to go and look at this thing but couldn’t really get a good look around, where if planned right, we could of had an extra hour
i. The Go Bus tour didn’t have that many single people on it. So it was kind of hard to mingle in with couples and groups of friends especially when my roommate had friends on the tour, I felt a bit lonely most of the time, which I haven’t really felt on my other tours.
Although I knew Egypt was an African, muslim, third world country I guess I didn’t expect it to be such a culture shock and with being really sick when I got there and everything else on top of it, just made my trip pretty average and I was really homesick and just wanted to be back in London most of the time.
Ok, so now I have vented, I did have some good times and you can read about them in my next blog entry.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
At Balnuaran of Clava itself there is a group of three Bronze Age cairns which lie close together in a line running north east to south west. The tombs at either end are of the passage grave sub-type. The central cairn is of the ring cairn sub-type, and uniquely has stone paths or causeways forming "rays" radiating out from the platform round the kerbs to three of the standing stones.
Today we boarded the bus and headed to Loch Ness to track down Nessie.
<----- Me, Kim, Casey and Sam
That night we stayed in a hostel on the Island and went to "Saucy Mary's" for a few drinks.
On the way back to Edinburugh we made one last stop to visit Hamish, the Hairy Coo. Isn't he georgeous!
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
A couple of weeks ago I applied for a ticket to the Australian Bushfire Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey. It was a good opportunity to remember the lives lost and devastation the bushfire's caused and to see Westminster Abbey.