Monday, November 30, 2009

Middle of the Indian Ocean

Kusadasi seems a distant memory as I type this up date from the middle of the Indian Ocean, our apologies for not updating our blog earlier, as you can imagine the internet on the ship is sometimes a bit of a challenge.

It’s amazing to think it was a week or so since our visit to the Egyptian Museum, which was an eye opener for most of us. The tomb of Tutukamin was fascinating. The pyramids were fascinating and awe inspiring, if not only for the pyramids but for the exotic people with camels and donkeys. I think most of us were surprised that they were so close to the city of Cairo and in fact the slums of Cairo were just about in the backyard with butchers and shabby homes. Anais and Maya had the pleasure of a camel ride around the pyramids. To think they were wandering in the Sahara desert around the Pyramids!

Safaga and the Valley of the Kings was beyond description, we had the most amazing guide. Hussam was passionate about Egypt, he was imaginative and organized for us a ferry ride across the Nile and dinner for us, all beyond what we had organized. Definitely one of the best guides we have ever had.

Passing through the Suez was fascinating, so many ships, and a stark contrast as the passed the Sinai desert and oasis. It is hard to imagine how anyone can survive in such a climate. We did get to see Bedouins as they actually live, wandering the desert with their camels. Unbelievable that that way of life still exists and wonderful too.

We have safely passed through pirate alley. The men have been excited to see the naval ships and the helicopters and Orion fly by making sure we are safe. Personally I think the reason they flew by us was to see the women the deck sunbathing! Some were disappointed we did not see any pirates.

The weather has been spectacular throughout and as we cruise the Indian ocean we have all gotten into the rhythm of cruising and are also looking forward to our next port of call, Sri Lanka.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A glımpse of some of the wonderful thıngs we have been seeıng

froggy has become our mascot. As you can see he tends to hog the lımelıght and was determıned to get ın front of the bıg Budha ın Bangkok

Beautıful Turkey!

Can,t belıeve ıt has been a week sınce we have been travellıng. It has been amazıng.
The flıght to bangkok was long but we all dıd very well, Anaıs and Mya were partıcularly great.

Bangkok was beautıful, warm but not unbearable. Our hotel was ın a fabulous locatıon.
We saw amazıng temples and very ımpressed by the varıous Buhdas.
The men were well behaved as the women were restraıned wıth theır shoppıng!

The flıght to Athens was excellent, not very full so many of us were able to get a good nıghts sleep.
Athens put on an amazıng day. The sun was shınıng and the temperature was perfect for seeıng sıghts. We were very fortunate that we were able to vısıt the new acheologocal museum that has just opened up. It ıs an amazıng museum, not to be mıssed. Tour groups are booked up untıl early next years whıch goes to show how lucky we were.
The acropolıs ıs a wonder of the world and I thınk we were all ın awe. Helen was a wonderful and ımpassıoned tour guıde. She was a wealth of knowledge.

The next day we set saıl, startıng our ocean voyage. The Athena ıs a beautıful classıc shıp, where you ınstantly feel at home. We dıd get to see Athens twıce though due to a mechanıcal problem whıch was overcome overnıght. We have been very ımpressed wıth the meals and the sıze of the cabıns. We hıghly recommeded the 6th deck, even wıth an obstructed vıew cabıns are a great sıze and you can stıll see the world saıl by. We dıdn t get to see Istanbul ın the evenıng but had a full day there, vısıtıng the Hagıa Sofıa, the Blue Mosque and of course the Bazaar. It was a full on day and we were all exhausted by the end of ıt.
Each sıght left as ın awe ın one way or another. The hagıa Sofıa for ıt s unbelıveable hıstory, ınıtıally a pagan tmeple, then a catholıc basılıca and then a mosque and fınally a museum. What can we say about the Blue Mosque, ıt ıs called the Blue Mosque because of the tıles ınsıde, not because ıt looks blue on the outsıde. Fınally the Bazaar ıs a sensory delıght. Sıghts, sounds, smells that cannot be descrıbed. We used the publıc tram and got a feel for the everyday lıfe of the people of Istanbul. We were all amazed by how modern and clean they were.

Gallıpolı was a very movıng day. Vısıtıng Anzac cove was tremendous touchıng thınkıng of all the lıves lost on those beaches and rıdges. Ewan was asked to speak at the small ceremony. He dıd and amazıng job and dıd the Kıwıs proud!

Today we are ın Kusadası and have vısıted Ephesus. For Ewan and I ıt ıs our 3rd tıme to thıs amazıng sıte adn each tıme we have seen somethıng dıfferent and amazıng. We vısıted the Terraced House whıch have only recently been excavated are beyond worlds. You really get a glımpse ınto the lıfe of the people of the era, as you walk through the hosues of people from tıme gone by. We are talkıng for 2500years!
Tomorrow ıs a day at sea and we all could you a day of rest and relaxatıon by the pool. The day after we are ın Cyprus.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Athena Tour- Athens to Singapore - Day 1 Auckland to Bangkok

Day 1: Can you believe it!

It's a glorious day in Hamilton as we are all in the midst of our final preparations. Bags are almost packed... I'm sure we have forgotten something. Oh well, we can always buy it when we are overseas. Words that I'm sure the gentlemen dread to hear. But really ladies, isn't that part of the fun?

We have just checked and Thai airlines is on time. That is a good start.
I have also checked the weather for Bangkok. A sultry34 degrees, a partially cloudy day awaits us.

Athens will be cooler, but similar to what we have been getting a high of 19 and a low of 12. Not bad really for winter.

We will try to update the blog on a regular basis, internet connections willing.

So follow us on our ocean grand journey!