Blogs from Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 20th 2021

Enjoyed my first tour with Salih. Fener was historically the most important Greek quarter of the city, just a short walk up from the Golden Horn. It flourished after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans when the Sultan encouraged the Orthodox people to settle there, and it became a prosperous and prosperous district. From the 18th century until the end of the Ottoman Empire, it was to decline and almost fall into ruin in the mid-1950s as a result of the programme that drove the Greek people out, forcing them to leave Istanbul. We saw the imposing Greek Orthodox High School in red bricks. Nowadays, it is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Istanbul, It is experiencing a new lease of life since the 2000s with the Unesco plan that has allowed the restoration ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul June 11th 2021

First off, yes, the dates on the title of this blog post are correct. We spent 4 wonderful days in Istanbul as a stop over on our way back to the US when leaving Tsamaya in the water in Fethiye, Turkey. Our plan was to spend the winter in the US and return to Tsamaya in the spring of 2020. As everyone knows plans changed with the spread of Covid. As a result, we have been in the US since the end of October 2019 and as of June 2021 are still here. I did have the best of intentions and it was always in the back of my mind that I really should sit down and pull together a blog post on our time in Istanbul and then provide updates throughout our time back in ... read more
Stunning Arches in the Bazaar
Yes, The Bazaar Has Everything You'd Want
The Spice Bazaar Is All That You Can Imagine & More

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul May 27th 2021

We are back on a plane tomorrow morning, so I thought it's maybe time to log my last blog. Here I am for 3 days and 2 nights in Istanbul. You cannot go direct between South Africa and Turkey, but you need to stop in a "safer" country for minimum 10 days or risking a 14 days quarantine upon arrival in a government facility at your own cost. Well....Egypt did the deal for over ten days and I was not even asked about my prior traveling movement upon the last 10 days. I can confirm too that Turkish Airlines (even as a Gold member), is better to avoid right now! Been flying with Qatar lately...great lounge, great decent duty-free in Doha...and Emirates has not resumed to fly to South Africa since 16th January...and it could ... read more
Around Taksim...
At least the restaurant at the hotel is open, with a view on the Bosphorus...
Cat are sleeping everywhere in Istanbul...

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz March 14th 2021 13th March - Old Vakil Bazaar, Old and Historical Market in Shiraz. Karim Khan Citadel was constructed in 1697 when the Zand Dynasty was ruling the country. When Karim Khan Zand selected Shiraz as the capital city, lots of significant changes were made. He invited the most professional architects and artists to Shiraz and asked them to build this really amazing structure. Karim Khan Citadel has had various functions in different historical eras. It was the living place of Karim Khan Zand in the Zand Dynasty, the living place of local rulers in the Qajar Dynasty, and prison in the Pahlavi Dynasty. For now it is transformed into a museum. In 1972, Karim Khan Citadel was registered in the National Heritage of Iran. The dominant material used in this structure is stone and stucco. One ... read more

Middle East » Iran » South » Persepolis March 11th 2021 11th March - Persepolis, The Ancient Persian Empire PERSEPOLIS WAS ONCE THE RICHEST city on earth - the glittering capital of the Achaemenid Empire. At the heart of the city lay the royal palace - a wonder of gold and silver, ivory, and precious stones. From there, Xerxes planned his war against Greece - and the treasure of a vast empire piled up in the store-rooms. In 330 BCE, Persepolis was captured by Alexander the Great. Before he left the city, he ordered the palace burned to the ground - whether through drunken malice or sober calculation, it is impossible to be sure. The ruins lay buried until the 17th century when they were identified as the once-great royal city of Persepolis, but professional excavation did not begin until 1931. It was declared a UNESCO ... read more

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz March 10th 2021 10th March - Paradise on Earth, Persian Garden and Mansion - Shiraz The garden and mansion of Narenjestan, named after the many citrus trees planted in the garden, was built in 1870. During its prospering days, in the Qajar era, Narenjestan was the meeting place of nobles and dignitaries. In the Pahlavi era the Qavam family lost its high status and the governmental positions it had gained during the rule of Qajars. At this time, Narenjestan was donated to the University of Shiraz. It is now a museum. As we entered the domed ceiling was just a glimpse of what was to come. In the courtyard the painted panels on the walls depict the servants serving food, and above them, some episodes from The Book of Kings. The typical Persian garden design I had remembered ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai March 3rd 2021 March 3rd - Abra Crossing and Walk Through Alseef Heritage City - Dubai Abras were the oldest form of the public transport system in Dubai. They enabled the movement of men and materials between the two shores of the creek. The real history of the creek began just a few hundred years ago. Before the 1950s, the population of Dubai was around 50,000. But even then, it had become a trading hub where merchants from different parts of the world come and stayed near the souk for a few weeks and leave after doing their business. Moving things across the creek was important for the traders, and the city had not advanced enough to build a bridge. In fact, there wouldn’t be a roadway between Deira and Bur Dubai until the Maktoum Bridge opened in ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai February 14th 2021

In January and February 2021, Dubai became in a way our new home before being able to come back home. Not that I really wanted to flight out of South Africa...but let say after 90 days, no real other option for me. At the time of booking we were not speaking much of the South African variant...than came New Year! Well....we were in Dubai on the 6th of January...and less than 10 days later, people from SA would not be allowed anymore in the country...and since the 16th January....Emirates cancelled all their flights. It's only been lately that they have one flight per day to Joburg. But they take passengers only on the Dubai to Joburg leg....empty on the way back to Dubai! We left for 2 weeks...and came back home at the end of a ... read more
Around Jumeirah...
It's cooking time...
Riding the Creek...

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District February 2nd 2021 2nd February - Dream houses of Tel Aviv Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed as a metropolitan city under the British Mandate in Palestine. The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practised their profession before immigrating. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement in a new cultural context. We walked along citrus tree lined streets with several interesting houses, through a pretty alley passed an old water tower. One house had an etched design on the facial, depicting the tree that sat opposite in the piazza. The Pagoda House built in 1925 is an impressive three-store... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Ras Al Khaimah November 16th 2020

The weather has finally started to turn nice, so that means lots of outdoor activities. Lately, that means hiking. Usually, I'm not a huge fan - it's just not my thing - but it has been nice to see all these different areas of the UAE from this perspective. It is so quiet and peaceful, with a little bit of history thrown in. Not to mention, it is pretty much automatically social distanced, especially since we tend to take the less popular hikes. And yes, we have mountains here in the UAE. A pretty large Hajar Mountain range actually, highest point being around 6,000 ft. So, here are three of my most recent hikes and a camping trip. Wadi Shawka I was asked if I wanted to go for a hike on a Friday, Joevet set ... read more
Wadi Shawka
Jebel Jais area
Jebel Jais area

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