Brendan Vermillion

bvchef

Brendan Vermillion

Well, through good timing and lots of luck, I am about to hit the skies again. It has been far too long since my last journey. As much as I love going to visit my family each year, the act of heading to the airport and climbing on a plane back home lacks the edge, excitement and the element of the unknown that a trip abroad brings. Exotic sights, people and food await me in Egypt and Jordon. Wait just a little longer my friends, I am on my way.

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Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea February 28th 2016

After the busy day touring Petra yesterday, I woke up looking forward to a quiet day on the road. I am not sure whether it was the hours of walking and hiking over rocks, the standing for hours cooking or if I was good old fashioned cranky, but I simply couldn’t face the breakfast buffet today. To say that it was sad would be kind to breakfast buffets everywhere. This one was plain old blech, in my professional opinion. I made do with some lackluster coffee colored water until Haytham picked us up and we headed towards Wadi Rum to check out the desert of Jordan. This trip is winding down too quickly, so I was determined to make the most of it- good breakfast or not. I am often asked why I have not yet ... read more
Just a Blip
Wadi Rum
Restaurant in Amman

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra February 27th 2016

Our flight from Luxor to Cairo was delayed 2 hours, giving us time to work on blogs and people watch. The connection time in Cairo was a long one, so I was relaxed knowing that gazelle-like running was probably not going to be required. Everything went according to plan and we had nice flights into Amman. We were met at the airport by a representative from our tour company, Jordan Select Tours, who took care of our visas, bypassed the long lines, and somehow got us out of baggage claim without having to go through the screening. Not ones to complain, we happily followed him to Starbucks to meet and greet, pay for our tour and get the low down on what we were going to do. I was very impressed with the Queen Alia Airport. ... read more
Light and Shadow
The Petra Kitchen
Carved out of the rock

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor February 24th 2016

Now, please don’t get worried it is just a title; nothing has been ruined on this trip (yet). Luxor is full of ruins, temples, monuments, tombs and more ruined stuff than one can imagine. It is an amazing place and we did more than I think any of us expected to do. After a wonderful night’s sleep in a bed with sheets, in a building with plumbing no less, we had a leisurely breakfast and coffee while enjoying the view over the Nile. Ragab met us in the lobby and we piled into the van in our same seating arrangement before setting off for our morning in ruins. Our first stop was the Valley of the Kings where many of the famous tombs are located. Each visitor is permitted to go into 3 separate tombs that ... read more
Sunrise over Luxor
Tomb Painting
Balloons over the Valley

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Abu Simbel February 22nd 2016

After such a glorious time in the beautiful, desolate desert, walking into the train station in Giza was a harsh wake up call. We had several hours to spend until our overnight train to Aswan. Mohamed parked us at a table in a café and stayed with us while we read, worked on our blogs until batteries gave out and people watched. After some time he headed home to bring his wife and daughter back for us to meet. We had enjoyed such a nice connection with him that it seemed perfectly natural to meet his family. Had we known what a great guide he is and what a good rapport we would have, we would have utilized him for more of our trip. The train to Aswan pulled into the station at 8:30PM and with ... read more
This was in the small temple
Action Shot
Train Cabin

Africa » Egypt » Western Desert » Baharia February 19th 2016

In the planning stage of this trip, I needed to put together a list of what I would like to see while I was traveling. The idea was to dream big and whittle things down to fit my schedule. The Black and White Deserts of Egypt were one of the must haves. Guidebooks did not really help in the planning process for this outing, so I turned to my friend the internet. The next day my request for information was answered and we were ready to head to the desert. Our guide Mohamed picked us up right on time at 6 AM in front of the hotel. We were all a bit wary of what was going to happen today, because when we mentioned to the hotel concierge that we were going to the White Desert ... read more
Mohamed and Yasser
Sunset on the Desert
Light Lunch

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo February 17th 2016

After a good night’s sleep, I met the Binkleys downstairs for breakfast. The buffet was elaborate with multicultural influences, more fruit and pastries than imaginable as well as a honeycomb station. I took some of the smoked salmon to the omelet cook and had him do scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and red onion. He surprised me when he lined a ring mold with the salmon, filled it with the egg and folded the salmon around the eggs for an elegant presentation. After breakfast Dave, Merry Jo and I lingered over coffee for a long time enjoying each others company. At 8 we met our guide and driver for the day of touring. Our guide was a very pleasant, knowledgeable woman named Hanon. It was funny that she wasn’t sure of the dynamic of our group. ... read more
Duo
Ready to Head in
Emerging with a Smile

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo February 16th 2016

As I sit here at 4:30 in the morning, jet lagged, exhausted, sore and discombobulated all I can think is “Dang, this trip is awesome so far.” It is Thursday morning, so I have been in Cairo for 2 full days. I am finally making time to sit, write and look back on the past several days. Since this is a written blog and I can’t do the cheesy television flashback music, swirling picture thing, so you will have to imagine that for yourself as we travel back to Sunday/Monday and the beginning of this adventure. The trip was uneventful until I reached London’s Heathrow airport. Due to bad weather and some confusion over where the plane was going to be de-iced at Washington Dulles, the flight was delayed over an hour and half. My connection ... read more
Row of Sarcophagus
Turkish Sausage
Snow in D.C.

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 18th 2014

Now, here is an insight of how my travel mind works. I bought the plane tickets for this vacation on November 2. On November 8, I wrote to the Chilean Cuisine Cooking Class for information on how to book a class with them. From its website and reviews on Trip Advisor placing it as the number one activity, this seemed like the best, most reputable Chilean cooking class out there. At this point I had no hotels lined up, didn’t know exactly what countries or cities I was going to visit, but I had my priorities. For food, wine and cooking I would go to where the class was. I knew it was going to be a great day, and it did not disappoint. The arranged meeting place was easy to find, down by a war ... read more
Wine Tasting
Ines and our Menu
Fenix 1

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso March 17th 2014

Now that I was in the know about the changing of the guard, I had my plan of attack. First on my list was to finish packing my stuff, store it and check out of the hotel. Next was a déjà vu of my first day. I went to the café across the street and had a smoked salmon bagel and café Americano. Things were falling into place and I couldn’t be happier. After a quick Metro ride, I was in front of the Moneda Palace ready for the changing of the guard. In Lima this ceremony was done behind big iron fences, giving all of my pictures the illusion of being shot from inside a jail cell. Here we were kept at least 30 to 40 yards behind big fountains with a glass wall surrounding ... read more
Mix of Murals and City
View from My Room
Guards at the Palace

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago March 16th 2014

I did not find Santiago to be a very tourist friendly city. Certainly it was clean with nice wide streets and sidewalks, but I don’t recall ever seeing a sign pointing towards something a tourist might find interesting. Even on the internet I was not able to find good information on the changing of the guard at the Palacio de Gobierno "La Moneda". What help is it when they say that it occurs every other day? Is today the day? Was yesterday the day? Will it be tomorrow? It seemed like it was some sort of secret, so I took it upon myself to get up early, miss breakfast and coffee to head down and check it out. Was it going to happen? I didn’t know, but there were lots of police, the streets were barricaded, ... read more
Palace Guard
Palacio de Gobierno "La Moneda"
"Riot Police"




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