Blogs from Middle East

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Middle East » Cyprus » Famagusta May 19th 2022

Hi, blogs are like buses - again, 2 together, but there is a reason, 10 photos went AWOL! So will try to attach here. Plus, I called the blog Complex Cyprus but I haven’t explained why, that comes next time!... read more
Mosaic site
Those in the house of Dionysus are under cover
Dionysus, why they called it House of Dionysus

Middle East » Cyprus » Paphos » Polis May 12th 2022

April/May 2022 Finally the world seems to be opening up again and I have been able to confirm travel plans to Egypt & Madagascar, however the planned stopover of two weeks in Ethiopia en route to Madagascar has been cancelled as the travel compamy decided it was still too great a risk to take people there because of the civil unrest and fighting in Tigray. Ethiopians in that area are really suffering and having a struggle to find food & stay safe. Sadly they have experienced suffering in many different forms over the years. In the early 80s East Sussex County Council acted as hosts to some Ethiopian visitors who worked in Local Government there, as part of an Aid Programme. One man was placed in accommodation in Eastbourne and as I commuted from there each ... read more
Squacco heron in stream below house
Tiny harbour at Pomos
You know I can’t resist lizards!

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem May 10th 2022

The best part of my job while working on a cruise ship is, that once in a while I get to escort guest tours. Since I started cruising again last December I have been able to add a few new countries to my travel list. Yesterday I had the chance to visit the city of Jerusalem, a place that was not really on my list, but I was really excited to see the city. From Ashdod were our ship docked it was a 2 hour drive to the city of Jerusalem. The tour itself would take about 10 hours. We covered so much much during this day and a lot of walking was involved. We had 33 guest on board of the bus and while our tour guide was leading the tour I was staying in ... read more
View of the city of Jerusalem
Western Wall
Jewish cemetery

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District March 12th 2022

The pandemic has interrupted many, many things, and in my life, one has been a planned trip to Israel, the Holy Land. Finally, it is happening. This trip is with our church in Brentwood, TN, Brentwood United Methodist, led by the senior pastor, Davis Chappell and includes 50 other members and friends. Although the timing was delayed years, making this pilgrimage during the 40 days leading up to Easter could not have been better timing. Sophie and I left Pensacola Tuesday morning and after connections in Atlanta and JFK, we arrived in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening, and were then bused two hours north to our hotel in Tiberias, on the banks Sea of Galilee. Getting to bed finally at 11:00 pm, in spite of travel preparation and melatonin, jet lag set in and we were awake ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai March 12th 2022

I know, when it comes to blogging, I'm only around two months late for the moment. But slowly we are getting there. After 5 weeks in Europe, and 5 other weeks in Russia, we board the direct plane from St Petersburg to Dubai. I've been fortunate enough to visit the Expo 1992 in Seville as well as multiple stops in 2010 for the Expo in Shanghai. These were so fun to visit that I couldn't not bring Tanya to Dubai. So this one is easy, it's just a 5 nights stop on our way back home in early March. Tanya has lived in Dubai and I've stopped to count how many time we visited, so the aim was solely about the Expo and having dinner with few friends. Ideal time to visit an Expo should be ... read more
My birthplace pavilion....
View from our crib....I have to admit, below average place, but we are used to be spoiled...
Ukraine one moved into a shrine to peace...

Middle East » Cyprus March 11th 2022

I’ll admit that Cyprus had never been that high on my list of places to visit. I associated the island with package holidays and imagined lots of pink Brits wandering around “tavernas” looking for a full English at 8am with a pint of Carling. Turns out, parts of the island are like that, but a lot of it isn’t. I didn’t go for long, under a week, mostly to complete the nitrox diving course somewhere that would still have good weather in late October, not too far from home (currently the Netherlands), easy to visit covid-restrictions-wise, and would be somewhere new after so long of very restricted travelling. Cyprus ticked all the boxes. It had also become recently more appealing after I read Victoria Hislop’s novel, The Sunrise, set in Famagusta during the Cypriot coup and ... read more
The Tombs of the Kings, Paphos
The Green Line in South Nicosia
Church of Saint Lazarus, Larnaca

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Riyadh March 11th 2022

Wanting to visit Saudi Arabia is not a new thing for me. This Middle Eastern country has been on my list for years, but it was not so simple as an American female tourist. The notion of just hopping on a plane and landing in the desert wasn’t always that easy. I remember in December 1999 we were in Aqaba, Jordan awaiting the long anticipated arrival of 2000 and we hired a guy to drive us to the Jordanian border with Saudi just so we could peer into the magical, but out of reach country. I am pretty sure the driver thought we were nuts, but he didn’t understand the concept of being a border junkie either. The list of reasons why I wanted to experience Saudi Arabia is lengthy one that I am sure relates ... read more

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Riyadh March 11th 2022

The worldwide pandemic has turned our world upside down in so many ways. Some are severe like death, illness, lingering symptoms and families being separated from each other. Some have been more of mere hassles, like product shortages or wearing a mask. For those of us who love to travel, the pain has come in the form of being confined, being locked out of countries and being forced to put our adventures on hold for a little or rather a long while. Saudi Arabia was not immune to these complications and restrictions. A trip for me that was supposed to happen in 2020, was pushed to 2021 and then ultimately did not happen until 2022. Frustrating? Absolutely. But once the thrill of actually traveling strikes us again, it seems to be all we can think about ... read more
Free Tests Give at US Customs Upon Arrival to USA

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Buraydah March 6th 2022

Our last few days in Saudi Arabia continues to delight and amaze. There seems to be no end to the variety of things to see and do. But then again, we're just giddy tourists drinking in what this country has to offer. It's not that we are easily amused, we just never tire of taking in our surroundings and learning more about this desert nation. The western tourists will definitely enjoy their time here as they learn the rich culture and history of Saudi. On a rather cloudy (yes, cloudy) morning, our bus driver departed from the sealed road and drove on an unmarked road which brought us to the edge of an extinct volcano. We've learned that since tourism is in its infancy here that guides and drivers take on even more responsibility as they ... read more
Beauty camels have large lips
Beautiful Lady
This gentleman studied in Oklahoma City


I decided to spend my last full day in UAE visiting Abu Dhabi. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Dubai. The roads were great and the traffic was pretty light. Abu Dhabi is the political capital and makes up 87% of the land area of UAE. Their population is 2.2 million. No surprise that oil is over 50% of their GDP followed by construction. Our first stop was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.The mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40,100 worshippers at one time. The carpet in the hall is considered to be the world's largest carpet. It took 1200 carpet knotters 2 years to complete it and it weights 35 tons. All of the white marble and the inlaid jewels for the flowers definitely reminded me of the Taj Mahal. Though it ... read more
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque




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