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Old 10-21-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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East European and Holy Land/Mediterranean Cruise

Amazing one month trip with but not without worries! Would we get to see Cairo?


Gdansk, Poland
(local wine and beer was great!)
-visit with my dad and his Polish wife.
-Marlbork Castle was the highlight here. I wonder how many know the other uses for cabbage (think moat and 15th century). LOL
-Fall Harvest Festival (wow, interesting traditional local Catholic celebration)

Train to Warsaw Poland
-hung out

Train to Prague, Czech Republic (Local wine/beer was great... you can walk the streets with your beer!)
- rule is... don't use a map; just allow yourself to get lost in the old city streets from Wenceslas Square to the Palace.
-watched a small protest group march by us one night (not sure why)!

Train to Budapest, Hungary. (Local wine/beer was great... you can walk the streets with your beer!)
-castle and palace (how refreshing, no unexpected protests!)

Flight to Athens, Greece (Local wine/beer was great... you can walk the streets with your beer! If you don't like 'black licorice'... the Greek liquor Ouzo sucks! LOL) OK here comes the protests!
-almost didn't happen as air traffic controllers were to 'strike' for 24 hours (the day we were supposed to fly? What?! Are you kidding me right now...). They decided last minute to do a "slow down" instead *whew*
-protest that night in front of the parliament where minutes earlier we arrived on the local bus *yikes* that pepper spray really does make you tear up (don't ask if you don't have time to read the answer LOL) OK, just trying to find my BIL who was supposed to arrive via bus to that same location! Lordie Lord....
-bit by mosquito first night! (several bites actually)
-Acropolis (foot swelled to three times it's size - flippen mosquito! Grrrr)
-Delphi... got to meet a Greek pharmacist - sign language helped. Directions on the anti-itch cream and antihistamine bottle were hard to read (God love sign language)
-transportation strike... how do we get to the pier? (employee's at Hostels are wonderful and love making extra $US dollars!).
-will our ship sail..? We made it through the strike, but now... the protest hit the entrance to the pier. Is our ship really going to sail?! Protesters left and remaining passengers embarked. Our ship would sail on time!

Princess Cruise
Day 1, 2, 3, and first day at sea.... (Greek Islands and Turkey) Yahoooo! no protests or strikes! I was still really anxious anticipating that ongoing issues in Cairo would result in that port of call being canceled.

Day 5 and 6 Israel... Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and into Palestine
- not a repeat of late August and no port cancellations (thankfully). (Local wine/beer was great... we didn't try to walk the streets with beer though!)

Day 7-8 WE MADE IT TO CAIRO/GIZA EGYPT! Ya gotta know that we received the letter to our cabin stating that "due to the current situation in Cairo (think Jan/Feb demonstrations), our port of call there could be canceled at a moments notice" (I have forever wanted to see the pyramids/Sphinx-Giza/Nile and thus the main reason we booked this darned cruise well before the Jan/Feb uprising *uhgh*).
- Our bus left in the armed convoy as planned and we made it to the pyramids. The camel ride below and tour of inside of a pyramid was neat.
- We took pics of the Tahrir Square and the burnt out building right there at the museum where we saw some amazing mummies and yes, most of the antiquities stolen in the uprising were recovered (ohhhhhh boy were we lucky... keep reading...). We felt like celebrities as everyone including the military smiled and waved to us!
-Alexandria was also an amazing port of call. We saw a small student protest at the foot of some university building. No violence though.
-FYI if you ask me to comment on beer or wine from this country... all I can say for this mostly muslim country is that the non-alcholic Egyptian beer tastes like the smell of hops! LOL

Day 9-10 at Sea...
-our brains needed the break!
-got to see the flowing lava from Etna Volcano along the Western Italian coast

Day 11 Sorrento Italy
-Pompeii was the most amazing archaelogical site we saw to date!
-Positano was quaint and we want to go back to for more than a couple of hours.

Day 12 disembarkation Rome Rome, Italy... been there before, but wanted to show BIL the highlights
-Vatican City... pertiful as usual
-Colisseum... saw an errant protest, but really liked seeing the 'underground' (where the gladiators, lions, and persicuted shared intimate moments before their demises).

Violent protests.
-Lucky our trip didn't start four days later! By the time we hit Rome, we learned that 17 people were shot dead in the same Tahrir Square we walked through just four days earlier in Cairo! What a scary moment for us to have seen that in the news
-And once home and four days after walking near the Rome Colisseum a protest turned violent.

Truly an amazing trip of a lifetime for us. I'm so grateful we got to hit all the ports/cities we visited without being harmed or stops being cancelled! Glad to be back safe. And yes, I missed all of you from JOF
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Old 10-21-2011, 04:55 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report and pics.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:29 PM   #3
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So...what do you two do for fun? What a trip! I would really like to follow your paths and see everything you did. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:27 PM   #4
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I loved the picture of you on the camels! Great Shot!!
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Old 10-22-2011, 08:00 AM   #5
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Kissing a Sphinx. Now that's a memory not long forgotten. Great trip report.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:28 AM   #6
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Sounds like a wonderful trip, great report, memories for a lifetime
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:56 AM   #7
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Nice Pics! You and Don look like you are enjoying the camel ride! Before Rustic Eagle gets here and starts talking about Camel Tow Capacity and load balancing....how was the ride? How far did you go?

We sure missed you here! Glad you made it back safely.
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tafische View Post
Nice Pics! You and Don look like you are enjoying the camel ride! Before Rustic Eagle gets here and starts talking about Camel Tow Capacity and load balancing....how was the ride? How far did you go?

We sure missed you here! Glad you made it back safely.
Yeah I also would recommend a good "sway control" system with those camels!
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:50 AM   #9
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LOL... Those camel guides are great at "reading" people! After my second 'woo-hoo' (of which I made both before we stopped for pics), the guide tossed me the rope (I was tethered with three other camel riders) and told me to 'drive' my camel. He told me to kick it's rear with my heals. Yee-Haw! My camel galloped(or whatever it's called) all the way back to where we started.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:57 AM   #10
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I can just imagine the expression of fear on the other three camel riders when you took off galloping away with them in "tow"

Bob
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