Blogs from Middle East - page 11

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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antalya June 24th 2015

Our ex President chappie came good & gave us a few tips for journey through Turkey & Greece as it happens, so that was good. Mind you we ignored his suggestion for today having read a couple of reviews & stuck with plan A - & so glad that we did. The journey here was fine, passing all the gross hotels & some pretty ones between Alanya & Antalya. We stopped & bought some muz (bananas) which are kiddy size but jolly nice all the same. Yesil Vadi or Green Valley camp site is set in the mountains to the NW of Antalya. It's basically a gravel car park (unlike the last few days which was an earth car park!) but it has a new shower – oooh! - & a restaurant that serves pan fried ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv June 24th 2015

The next two days in Tel Aviv were an absolute blast and full of sun, sand, dancing, and debauchery. Established in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa/Yafo, the city is very young and vibrant and has the 3rd largest economy in the Middle East, killer nightlife and a round-the-clock culture. Not sure how our group of lushes survived! After our first late night we let ourselves sleep in a bit before heading out for a sushi lunch and a break from Mediterranean cuisine. In fact, Tel Aviv apparently has the highest number of sushi restaurants per capita after New York and Tokyo, so we had to give it a go. We found a fun little place with an outdoor patio and really reasonable "businessman" specials with 3 courses - much needed. ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv June 23rd 2015

Our final morning in Jerusalem would consist of a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial and museum. The 45 acre complex consists of various sculptures and memorials, a synagogue, publishing center, research center, and several other things. It was established in 1953 and sits atop the Mount of Remembrance. Running on probably 12 cumulative hours of sleep since arriving in Israel, the morning was a bit of a struggle, but I do love Holocaust-related things so I persevered. The actual museum's layout was a winding trail of multimedia displays tracing the history of the Holocaust, though I will say they seemed to bounce around a bit from the Warsaw uprising to the death camps to the rise of anti-semitism, etc. Adding to the confusion were literally hordes of what looked to be Israeli military ... read more
Tel Aviv Marina
Rooftop pool and bar
Israeli rosé for days...

Middle East » Lebanon June 22nd 2015

Hello again everyone! I am doing very well! Things here have been going great and very smooth. Food packing for refugees last weekend was incredible. I had a ton of fun and it was awesome to see the different kinds of items that typically get packed into a bag. Many canned items (peas, meats, veggies, fruit), different types of noodles, cooking oil, cheese, tea, flour, grains, beans, sugar, lentils of different types, and tissue/toilet paper. We packed over 200 bags in record-breaking time – Praise God! The rest of the week was very busy with meeting many different people and spending time with children at the Syrian refugee club that Youth for Christ Lebanon puts on. I particularly bonded with 2 children – Peter and Jacob – whose families had escaped the Syrian oppression just 3 ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Alanya June 22nd 2015

So, our last night here – Cathy loved it so much we stayed. The restaurant was so good that we ate there each night too, what a treat although the prices here are pretty good as per. A beer, a bottle of wine, two types of bread, mixed salad, large pickles, adana (beef) kebab & shish (lamb) kebab with sides for less than £30 & the wine almost half of that. We have walked & cycled to the local shops, lazed, swam & generally had a very nice time. We met the ex president of the Turkish Camping federation & he promised to give us the details of his recommended sites. We saw 5 Russian models being photographed on the beach – more pouty lips than on your fishmonger's slab, so funny & very 70s. Oh ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 22nd 2015

Our first full day in Jerusalem started with another amazing breakfast spread, this time with 4 kinds of smoked or pickled fish - I always like to ensure great breath for the rest of the day! By 9 we were all on the bus and on our way to the ancient walled city. Surrounded by walls built in 1538 by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the city did not expand beyond the walls until the 1800s. We made our way in through one of several famous gates, Jaffa Gate, and into the labyrinth-like city. We first walked through the Arab marketplace - stall after stall of trinkets, clothing, religious paraphernalia, food, etc. - similar to the suqs in Morocco. It was fairly early I guess so a number of the stalls we still being opened ... read more
Outside the Arab market
Stone of the Unction
With our kippahs in front of the wall

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul June 21st 2015

On Wednesday 10th June the Island Princess entered the Marmara Sea and into the Istanbul Strait where we berthed at Salipazari in Turkey. As we weren't too sure what we would find when we got to Turkey, we decided to stick with a tour from the ship so we headed over the bridge essentially from the Asian Continent to the European Continent to discover some of the highlights of Istanbul. Unfortunately I had developed a head cold and so was being a misery guts as we headed to the Blue Mosque or the Sultanahmet Camii a 17th Century mosque which is renowned for its domes and minarets. It's interior is dotted with 20,000 blue Iznik tiles in 33 shades mostly of blue - hence the name. Of course, we had been warned about having out shoulders ... read more
Inside Blue Mosque
Dome Detail
World Record?

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Kusadasi June 21st 2015

Thursday saw the Island Princess docking at the Port of Kusadasi. We had decided that we wouldn't do a tour in Kusadasi as there wasn't too much that we wanted to do, so because we didn't dock until after lunch, we decided to just hit the markets. Well, three of us did anyway. Ginna decided that he would relax on the deck by the pool with a book and watch a bit of ice sculpting. Karen, Dave and I headed out to the 'ship recommended shops' and took a look around. We discovered that the leather in these shops were equally as good as in Italy and the prices were even better. After a fantastic lunch of a shared kebab - unlike anything we had ever seen in New Zealand, we lost another man! Dave headed ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada June 21st 2015

Last night's concert went relatively well, though it wasn't particularly well-attended. Then again we were performing in a kibbutz in the middle of a desert so I'm not sure how many people would realistically have been able to show up. Once that was done with we basically stormed the hotel bar since they told us they'd keep it open until 1:30ish just for us. I'm pretty sure they were wiped clear of any and all alcohol - nicely done boys! The following morning was definitely a bit of a struggle, but at least we had the smorgasbord breakfast to look forward to again. At 8:15 we were off to Masada! Around 30 B.C. King Herod built a palace complex and fortress on a fairly remote desert mountain - l have no idea why anyone would want ... read more
Cable car up/down
Overlooking the desert from Masada
Jerusalem

Middle East » Israel » Center District » Rehovot June 21st 2015

It's getting real! After months of planning, research, oragnizing, packing we are finally going! Toronto - Niagra - Syracuse - Adirondacks - Quebec - Montreal - Ottawa - 1000 islands - Calgary - Rockies - Seattle - Anchorage - Seward - Whittier - Valdez - Kennicott - Denali - Vancouver - Toronto - Israel Whew! Gonna be one helluva trip!... read more




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