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Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Malta ENJOY


AZKomet

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The Mrs. (Keely) and I took 1100 pics of our Christmas 2008 vacation. After sorting them out these are the final product for your viewing pleasure. Each link is a separate country. The slideshow feature is in the viewing options with the SS being controlled with the cursor to the bottom of the screen for speed etc. The SS can be stopped by hovering on the icon on the right near center of the page.

I had posted a Spain and Italy link a few weeks ago w/o the Mrs. b/c she is camera shy! The new links have her precious face plastered all over…….. ;)

 

I will forgo the description of Spain and Italy as it is buried in the posts with this thread.

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean - Spain 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p225336747

 

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean - Italy 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p29640004

 

 

 

Greece was a captivating place with all of the areas visited a sure delight. The Acropolis, Parthenon, Zues’ temple and the rest of the Greek historical sites were amazing. The detail and sheer size of the buildings were/are an architectural accomplishment in and of itself. Many of them were in disrepair with renovations underway.

In some of the forts one can see the remainder of what was rock cannonballs. Interesting.

The Greeks were much like the Italians. Loud and obnoxious but in a polite kind of way!! They use their hands a lot and are loud as if they are fighting. But a closer look and that’s just how they talk.

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean-Greece 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p281488094

 

 

Egypt. Now that is a place I felt compelled to visit. It was dirty and very much like..uh a desert!!!! Sandy soil with very little that grows there.

Alexandria was an interesting city. A seaport with much history. Of course it was named and founded after Alexander the Great. Many ruins can be seen in the city as the archaeologists are still searching for the fabled library that he was said to have built. So far, no luck!

We hired an armed LEO to go with us. He had a sidearm and an Uzi for the unexpected. The road to Cairo was like the highway of death in a way. Scary in some places with all types of savory people running about. Checkpoints and speed bumps to slow you down in places that the road is not so good.

Cairo. What a large city. 15 million people. Vegas, the city that never sleeps? Ha! You have not been to Cairo then. 24/7 the streets are packed…people, cars, camels you name it. Where are they going I asked?? CRAZY!!!

1 million people vector in and out of Cairo per year for business or pleasure. The city is old, dirty with the only places worth staying are the hotels that were converted from palaces. All nice, all expensive and all beautifully decorated.

The city adjoins the great pyramids and is separated only by a road. The pyramids are fantastic at a distance. The night light show is amazing and informative. During the day an up close visit reveals that the site is not kept up. No trash cans, no major improvements and a “private” pay toilet @ 3 euro ($2.60 US). The security officers are crooked and threaten you at times if $$ is not sent their way. Hmmmm…

The pyramids themselves are not well protected as vandals have graffiti parties at times it looks like. People have scored their names in them and there is no deterrent from climbing on them. I can see why they have been listed as endangered and may disappear in the next 25 years. (The other 100 or so already have)

The wife, Keely said it best. If the ancients knew what was happening now they would put a curse on all of the current Egyptians. An apathetic and discourteous sect of people who do little to protect a sacred place has replaced a once orderly and proud society. Yet they charge 35.00 US for entry. The Antiquities Museum of Cairo was fantastic. Thousands of artifacts on display to include King Tut. There are no pics allowed inside. SORRY!!!

At night we sailed the Nile River on a dinner cruise. Large and surreal the Nile was a slow moving monster. 6000 miles long it flows south to north and is the length of the Mississippi and Missouri combined. It feeds the fertile Nile valley where the ancients settled. Sadly enough the banks of the fabled Nile River is littered with trash and the fabled abandoned City of Memphis too is littered with trash and rubble from times past.

The Egyptians did not stop Napoleon from raping their heritage and it went on for centuries prior to him. It has been reported (and disputed) that thousands of mummies were mined and sent to the US in the 1800’s for use as train fuels due to the oils in the linens. So comes the (by a train engineer) saying: “Damn the Thebes, throw me a King” as the Kings were lavished in oils and burned much hotter.

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean - Egypt 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p198596158

 

 

Turkey was amazing and nothing like what I had pictured. I felt it would be backwards and out of touch. Not so, it was modern and with roads that rival any in the US. The Turks had their act together on just about everything. Polite and thoughtful to us the country captured our desires to return.

The areas we were in were very much like SoCal or Prescott AZ. Beautiful terrain and mild climate was the highlight of just being there. Ephesus was an amazing place. Rivaling any other ruins in the world with the structural designs and artistry the city has only been excavated @ 15%. The 300,000 that once lived there obviously knew how to design and build a marvel.

Sadly enough earthquakes throughout the centuries have devastated the marble and limestone buildings to rubble in most places.

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean - Turkey 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p225669142

 

 

 

Malta lies to the north of Tunisia just off the African coast. It is ancient and holds the oldest structures built by man. Older than Stonehenge and yes, even older than the pyramids.

 

It is a fortified city with ancient roots. The Knights of the Templar were housed here and carried out their crusades from this base station. The beheading of St. John the Baptist prompted a church to be built in his honor by Italian artisans. Note the ceilings of the one church and how it depicts the beheading sequences. The interior of the church is breathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice in terms of elegance and sheer determination of design and architecture. It is a feat of engineering, artistry and devout honor to St. John and the Knights that followed the Christian pilgrimage. Note the floor of the church. It is laden with marble headstones where each of the knights are buried.

 

BTW Door knockers are elaborate in Malta

 

Invitation to view "Mediterranean-Malta 08-09" photographs

http://AZKomet.zenfolio.com/p129294935

 

 

I hope you find this interesting as we did. ENJOY!!!!!

 

Dave

 

 

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Francois_Dumas

Great report Dave, especially on Egypt where I haven't been myself yet. It sure confirms reports of friends that have, such a shame.

 

Wonderful photos too, thanks for taking the time to share all this ! :)

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I have lived in the Middle East for 7 years of my life (2 in Turkey, 5 in Saudi Arabia), and never visited Egypt for the reasons in your travel report. If you ever feel an urge to go back to the area, try Jordan. Many ancient Greco-Roman sites, and Petra, which is truly one of the wonders of the world. The drive there from Amman along the King's Highway passes through many old crusader towns.

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While in greece a young Syrian waiter suggested Syria and Jordan for the same reasons you mention. I have always wanted to see Petra and other historical sites there. Don't think I will take the Mrs. though. It was difficult to get her to see the pyramids as she is not comfy with all things that may lead to violence.

 

So, if I can find a travel bud to go there with me I am off. I have traveled to many places alone, however the risks in that are greater due to the safety in numbers theory.

 

Glad you and Francois liked it.

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I have traveled to many places alone, however the risks in that are greater due to the safety in numbers theory.

Ah, to be young, stupid, and invincible again. When I was 18, I travelled from Istanbul to Beirut/Amman by bus and shared taxi, including walking across the border from Turkey to Syria with a small time smuggler of rabbit fur gloves and pistachios. I paid for the entire trip by buying Turkish lira at black market rates in Beirut. Nothing but smiles the whole way, but that was in 1965 -- I don't think I would dare take such a trip these days. The only tense moment was when a Jordanian friend was taking me around Amman; we turned in to the royal palace grounds by accident, and found ourselves looking down the barrels of several submachine guns. "So sorry." Back out verrry slowly.

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I have traveled to many places alone, however the risks in that are greater due to the safety in numbers theory.

Ah, to be young, stupid, and invincible again. When I was 18, I travelled from Istanbul to Beirut/Amman by bus and shared taxi, including walking across the border from Turkey to Syria with a small time smuggler of rabbit fur gloves and pistachios. I paid for the entire trip by buying Turkish lira at black market rates in Beirut. Nothing but smiles the whole way, but that was in 1965 -- I don't think I would dare take such a trip these days. The only tense moment was when a Jordanian friend was taking me around Amman; we turned in to the royal palace grounds by accident, and found ourselves looking down the barrels of several submachine guns. "So sorry." Back out verrry slowly.

 

Too funny...in 2003 I had a close encounter with some Cambodian border guards. I was taking pics of their $hithole border shack when I was approached by one with a vintage rifle. Not sure if it worked but it had a very good look at that 7.62 x39 bore opening!!!! I was told no pics and he took my camera and film. Now I had been using a cheap camera as I did not want a good one to get stolen. So no big deal......I promptly took out my video camera and held it under my arm on...so there is more than one way to skin a cat!

 

I have had to be pretty "assertive" with some others in my journey to not so friendly places. No details, but let's say I can get my point across w/o much discussion. ;)

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