Jo Luke


Jo Luke

Three and a half years ago my daughter Holly and I travelled to Egypt for a month... Now it's Hannah's turn. We're off on an adventure of our own to Vietnam!

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An April 6th 2012

Our adventure in Hoi An started early when our bus broke down about an hour south of Hue. We waited out our rescue at a roadside cafe/local hangout where coffee and a game of cờ tướng (Vietnam) or xiangqi (China) were quickly introduced. Apparently this is popular game of strategy, something like Chinese chess. As strategy games are not really my thing I left it to 5 year old Sophie and our tour leader Tuan to go over the finer points while I headed in to the back room to try my hand at another unfamiliar game, Vietnamese pool, no pockets and only three balls...? Once on the road again, we travelled along the coast and enjoyed occasional glimpses of a beautiful Vietnamese riviera. Not far from Danang we made a quick stop at the American ... read more
Jo's Vietnamese riviera
Tourists, trees and lanterns...
Mai, Hannah and Mama

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué April 5th 2012

We've had a request from Grandy (my Grandma) for me to write something. So Mum and I have decided that I will write this blog, here it is. It's day 2 in Hue (pronounced Hway) and it's an early start to the morning. Today sounded like it was going to be a very exciting day for I think all of the group. We set off on a motorbike tour of Hue, making multiple stops in some temples and a nunnery/orphanage. When we first got to our bikes and met our drivers, a lot of us were very nervous but also excited. We drove off riding around all of Hue going over bridges, down alleys, along the country side and going through busy roads of traffic. Our first stop was at the Tu Duc Tomb. Tu Duc ... read more
Our motorbike tour
In the grounds of Tu Duc's Tomb
At the orphanage

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Quang Ninh » Halong Bay April 2nd 2012

According to my intrepid guide book... Local legend says that long ago when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help defend the land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Halong Bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form barriers against the invaders. The people kept their land safe and formed what later became the country of Vietnam... Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay has around two thousand islands that rise from the jade green water of the Gulf of Tonkin. Several of the islands are hollow with enormous caves. We docked and visited a huge cavern called Suprise Cave, so called because when the French discovered it ... read more
Adjectives and my photography skills are inadequate to describe this backdrop
"Mon dieu! Why, it is a cave!"
Intrepid travellers strike out in their kayaks

Asia » Vietnam » Northwest » Lao Cai » Sapa March 31st 2012

We organised our four night/ three day tour to Sapa from home and are delighted to learn that we are traveling with just one other couple, Anna and Drew from the UK. We'll be a very intimate group for the next few days. On the train however, Hannah and I bunked down with a Vietnamese couple for the duration of our overnighter from Hanoi to Lao Cai. I've included a map of the region, so you can see that Lao Cai is on the border of China and Sapa is another 30 or 40 km up a windy, very misty and mountainous road. Sapa has an altitude of about 1600 m and I was very surprised on the drive up to have my water bottle top pop like a champagne cork when I went to open ... read more
Rice terraces near Cat Cat Village
Cat Cat waterfall
Sapa marketplace

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi March 27th 2012

We alighted in Ho Chi Minh City to a humid 33 degrees for our transfer to Hanoi. It took 10 minutes for Han and I to clear customs, claim our baggage and dump it again for the next flight. We were the first on the air conditioned bus that was to take us to the domestic terminal. 30 minutes and a few new friends later, our bus took us about 300 metres down the road, ha! I couldn't stop laughing. There must have been concern for our delicate sensibilities :) Oh well, there will be plenty of other opportunities for walking. One arrival in Hanoi and a mind blowing taxi ride later Hannah and I arrived safely at the hotel, although we were both very excited we were also very tired and hit the pillows for ... read more
Hoan Kiem Lake
Next to Ngoc Son Temple
Still near the Ngoc Son Temple

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » West Ryde March 24th 2012

Madly writing out our itinerary (Hannah) and trying to work on the blog (Jo) and hoping that it will all come together in good time for our flight on Monday.... read more

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » West Ryde March 24th 2012

Our inaugural post, it has been a few years since I did this... bear with me while I navigate my way :)... read more

Africa » Egypt » Red Sea » Sharm el-Sheikh October 21st 2008

On the 20th of October and our second last day we put our selves to bed early. Our big overnight trip to St Catherine's and Moses Mountain was planned for that night. We were to be picked up at 10.30pm for a 3 hour coach trip to St Catherine's, when we were to climb the mountain (another 3 hours) and watch the sunrise from the peak, and then climb back down to enjoy breakfast before exploring St. Catherine's Monastery. As you may be able to gather from the expectant tone of my first paragraph this was the plan but not the reality. I got a call about 7pm to tell me the trip had been cancelled. I don't think I can express to you here just how that made me feel. The Sinai Mountains, Moses's Mountain ... read more
A church at the peak of Moses Mountain
A proud moment atop the mountain
A little camp for overnight stays...

Africa » Egypt » Red Sea » Sharm el-Sheikh October 20th 2008

Our program for our last week has been just the right combination of activity and relaxation. We are located at Naama Bay which has - yep you guessed it - a beautiful bay and a lovely walk all the way around it, where restaurants and shopping abound. There is almost no reason to leave the immediate vacinity; except that a car/bus can be organised to take you from your hotel to anywhere you want to go. Here's what we've been up to... We spent the first full day just kicking back and enjoying the pool - Holly was very keen to do absolutely nothing and appeared slightly resentful that I had booked so many excursions the day before. As it has worked out though, everything has been fabulous and never too taxing. We took a boat ... read more
Naama Bay
Tiran Island
On the approach to Tiran Island...

Africa » Egypt » Red Sea » Sharm el-Sheikh October 15th 2008

Our hotel in the Garden District of Cairo is the Shepheard - very centrally located and on the Nile. On our first venture out we discover just how close we are to the Egyptian Museum and the bus depot (about 15 minutes walking) where we will meet some of our tour friends for one last afternoon together at the Museum. Crossing roads in Cairo is something akin to Russian roulette and not for the faint hearted. Holly and I soon learn the "rhythm" of movement required but still happily accept the help of the tourist police when crossing some of the main roads (these would be 6 or 7 lanes if we were anywhere but Egypt!). On Friday (10th Oct) feeling emboldened by our trip out the day before, we head out on foot again for ... read more
View near the Shepheard Hotel...
Tourist Police...
Khan al-Khalili

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