Page 7 of Mediterranean Dreams Travel Blog Posts

Middle East » Lebanon » Beirut September 8th 2012

We are at the end of our sojourn in Lebanon. I left the last blog at Bacharre. As it turned out we didn’t go to play billiards the last night at Bacharre, rather we had a nice evening under the grape vines chatting with the hotel owner and shared a bottle of wine. The next day we were on to Byblos, but first we went for another hike (!) in Tannourine reserve, which is the second largest cedar tree reserve in Lebanon. After that we arrived at Byblos. Byblos is a lovely medieval town on the Mediterranean. Not long after we arrived, we hit the beach and rewarded ourselves with a couple of bottles of Almaza, Lebanon’s beer. Then we went for a walk through the medieval souk. Byblos is such a pretty town I wish ... read more

Middle East » Lebanon September 5th 2012

The next day it was on to Baalbek. Now the Australian government (and I assume many other governments) currently have a do not travel to the Bekka valley, where Baalbek is. The first stop was Anjar, a small town predominantly Armenian, some 35km from Syria. The Anjar ruins are the main draw to Anjar. From the Umayyad period, Anjar is now a city in ruins and its architecture very similar to those romans ruins we have seen throughout the Middle East and Turkey. After a stop Shop (yes I couldn’t help myself) we arrived to Baalbek. First stop was the largest rock in Baalbek. This ‘large rock’ is a rectangular piece of rock that a local business man has saved for the town and now thongs of tourists come to visit this rock, and consequently his ... read more

Middle East » Lebanon » Beirut September 4th 2012

I am restarting my blog for our 2012 trip – Lebanon and Europe for 2 months with my boyfriend and travelling partner Bill. We have now been in Lebanon for 4 days and are well into our intrepid trip. After an epic flight from Brisbane we arrived in Beirut eager to explore this one country in the Levant region of the Middle East we have yet to visit (with the exception of Israel & the Palestinian territories). Our hotel in Beirut turned out to be the perfect location for nightlife in Beirut. Gemmayze, and in particular, rue Gouraud, is filled with bars, nightclubs and eateries. The next day we set out on foot to theneighbourhood and Hamra. What surprised me with Beirut is the amount of money centered on centre ville and the Hamra area with ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet November 2nd 2010

Ah ‘Stamboul….. We arrived in Istanbul late Wednesday night and continued to our destination Sirkeci in the heart of old Istanbul. This is my 4th time to Turkey, but my first short trip and my only trip where I stayed only in Istanbul (other trips have been 2 weeks, twice with intrepid, last trip we did solo around Turkey). Each time I come I fall more and more in love with it. My parents arrived early Thursday afternoon, unfortunately it rained for 2 days and they (seem to think) they got ripped off with the taxi……ooops! We went for a walk in the heavy rain to Sultanahmet to show them the blue mosque, cistern and Aya Sofya but all we really could do was eat and stay in the hotel. The next day (Friday) unfortunately the ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa October 27th 2010

After 5 lovely days in Lisbon we are in the air, en route to Istanbul via London. My parents, who are flying to meet us from Amsterdam (where they spent 4 lovely days with Thai family partying it up and eating yummy hot Thai food…… why didn’t we think of going there again????) are still there as their flight was overbooked, but they got a VERY decent euro compensation! Anyways back to our story! We arrived in Lisbon on Friday afternoon from Sintra. Our hotel was very central, a short stroll from the metro and bam in the middle of one of the main pedestrian malls in Lisbon. We took a stroll down to Placo de Comercial in the late afternoon to take some happy snaps. And got numerous offers of hash along the way! I ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Sintra October 22nd 2010

We are now on an Urbano train service to Lisbon. Sintra was a lovely little town, situated 29km from Lisbon. Our accommodation was a salmon pink manor overlooking the historical centre. The owner of the manor was a nice (and a touch eclectic) man named Luis whom we suspected by the Portuguese brochures was a follower of the new age Baha’i religion, which is very refreshing and interesting and so he is probably a hippie at heart. So the manor overlooked a large (unkempt) yard with pool, Jacuzzi, pond etc. Oh and squawking birds too! Wednesday evening we ventured around town and of course the centre is packed with souvenir shops, mostly selling cork products such as (expensive) handbags, purses, postcards etc. I couldn’t believe how useful cork is (not just used as a stopper in ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Northern » Porto October 20th 2010

The next day we flew to Porto. Now, I have flown within the Schengen zone before (Amsterdam to the Canary Islands) but the no passport check back then that didn’t make sense to me now does. Flying within the Schengen zone is like taking a domestic flight which we found out when we went to the immigration window and need not have had our passports checked, nor should we enter the ‘international zone’. Our flight was a small 57 seater - 1.5 hours to the lovely Porto. After a long walk to our hotel, we rested for a while and ventured out to the river whilst stopping many times along the way for photos of the beautiful old buildings. After along long time walking we reached to beautiful Douro river and had dinner there with my ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia October 20th 2010

We are now well and truly into our Portugal adventure and we are now currently on an intercity train en route to Sintra via Lisbon. However, I again have been very slack and haven’t updated since Madrid. So this is what has happened over the last week. We arrived in Barcelona last Wednesday and stayed in a lovely apartment in the heart of Barcelona just near the most famous street in Spain ‘Las Ramblas’. That evening we took a long walk this famous strip, which consists of shops and eateries, until we reached the sea. Took some video and photos and we went off to have dinner at our usual Spanish late hour. Now, I have picked up bad habits mainly after the Intrepid trip and have been sleeping in which of course puts back our ... read more

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 13th 2010

We are now en route to Barcelona. Sitting here on the fast AVE train, smiling from my Spanish wine. Madrid was great, the city itself isn’t that impressive as European cities go, but the city as well as the hostel we stayed at (Flat 5 Madrid) was excellent. That is I have to say the best hostel we have stayed at (coming close behind the hostel we stayed at in Selcuk, Turkey last year). Clean and friendly, the staff spoke great English and we spoke very little Spanish! Ok so back to Madrid. The city itself wasn’t architecturally brilliant nonetheless we had a fabulous time exploring the city Centre. On Monday we went to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) to find it closed. And it was to be closed the nest day so we went to ... read more

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville October 10th 2010

We are now on the fast train to Madrid! We spent 2 wonderful days in Sevilla, I really loved it. Sevilla is a much bigger town than Granada, and we stayed in the heart of the old town. We arrived to our hotel at 9.30pm after a long journey and was greeted with a locked door. Pushed the buzzer and we were buzzed in and greeted to a locked iron gate. So nowhere to go, apparently no one there, finally Bill kept pressing the intercom of the main door and we were advised the reception was in a nearby hotel) We knew from then on that I may be difficult to get in and out of our hostel (our hostel only had reception it seemed during the day and only and weekdays). Interesting start and the ... read more

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