Results tagged “Boats” from Eurasia 2012


Had a bit of a sleepin this morning. Sort of. Really it was just a slow start. I'd originally been planning to go find this bridge - http://www.neatorama.com/2011/12/03/the-twist-bridge/ - but it was all going to be too much effort.

So instead I talked to the sweetie and read news feeds and eventually headed off to go to The Hague.

2.50 for a tram from The Hague HS to the MC Escher museum! This museum/gallery is housed in an old royal palace! Which is very beautiful all by itself, including a whole heap of newer chandeliers in various shapes. The ground floor had some of MC Escher's early work, the middle floor his later work, and the upper floor some fun with optical illusions.

Then I decided to see if I could make to Rotterdam to catch the 14:15 Kinderdijk cruise. It was about 12:40. hmm.

Firstly I walked by the little lake in the middle of the Hague. Then hopped on a tram, but made a mistake with the numbers, and assumed it went to the station. But it didn't. So got off after one stop and had to wait for a tram that *did* go to the station. The long way :/ Gah. So got to the station and didn't have to wait too long for a train. Got into Rotterdam and then had to go find the Metro. But they're doing all these station works and signs for the Metro dried up :( Gah. Finally found it and then was trying to figure out tickets. But the machines were all in Dutch. So went to the info desk and they said probably just catch a tram, they're upstairs. So up I went, but they were doing work on the tram lines so there were no trams. Just a sign in Dutch saying something about where they were going from. But I couldn't read it and didn't know really where I was or where they were talking about. Gah. So went back down and said halp, and he told me how much it would be for a two hour disposable chip card (3.50). So went to the machines and figured out they had a touch screen which could be chosen in English. Yay! So got my ticket and raced down to the train. Two minute wait so not so bad. Got to Leuvehaven and then had to race down to the river. It was 14:03 at this point. Saw a sign for the cruise so was racing down and saw the boat so headed for that. But then I had to go back to buy a ticket! Gah! But it all worked out in the end and made it with a couple of minutes to spare! Phew!

So the cruise was very peaceful and relaxing. Met a couple from Australia (Debbie and Gary) who were living in England. So sat with them and chatted the whole way.

When we got to Kinderdijk we went up to the shop and they had bikes for hire! 2.50/hour! So we all hired a bike! Best. Idea. Ever. So we biked up the canals and looked at the windmills and all the gooses. Very very cool.

Got back to the boat quite hot from lots of cycling.

Continued chatting all the way back to Rotterdam. A lovely afternoon.

Got off and walked up to see the "cube" houses. They were pretty cool.

Then I thought I walk through the markets. But everything was being dismantled. In fact apart from cafes nothing was open, it being after 6pm. So kept walking, following the crowds and eventually the signs to the Centraal station.

And back to Amsterdam.

Got back and did my washing - it takes *forever* to wash and dry. Got some falafel and salad from the place downstairs and ate it in my room. This hotel/laundry are certainly conveniently placed! A very late night again :(


Distance covered on the GPS: 211.3 km
Steps walked: 15594
Photos on the Canon: 194
Photos on the Sony: 122
Videos: 3
EUR Spent: ?

Well something from yesterday didn't agree with me and I woke up in the middle of the night feeling completely nauseated. After a while I decided I needed to go be sick if I wanted any more sleep. So did that. Why is it the only night I really need a toilet it in my room I don't have one?

Got up and decided to use the fact that Europeans don't believe in mornings to go early to the Anne Frank House. Got there at 8:35 for a 9:00 opening and there was already a bit of a line (Australians and Americans either side of me). Got in at 9:10. It was very cool to be able to see the place Anne and her family and the others actually lived in. No photos allowed anywhere though. Not a huge amount of content so you can move through it relatively quickly (I spent a bit over an hour there). Funnily enough I've never actually read the book, so bought a copy on the way out. Also tried to get into the courtyard in the middle of the block, but couldn't find an entrance, so couldn't see the annex from behind.

Came back to the hotel to drop off the stuff I'd gotten, then headed out again to try and get a Holland Pass. Eventually found the place that sells them downstairs from the main tourist office outside the Centraal station. But I think any Tours and Tickets place will sell them.

First item on the agenda: a canal cruise! It was an hour long cruise that went out into the large area of water on the other side of the station, then back through a series of canals. So that was very pleasant (except when there was no breeze - it was actually quite hot in the sun today!).

Dropped back into the hotel again, and got some fries with mayo from Manneken Pis downstairs. After the glowing reviews about Amsterdam fries, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. These were big and chunky and just average really. Give me McDonalds fries any day. Mayo was nice enough but the best mayonnaise ever is still Kewpie mayonnaise. I asked for a small but Europe doesn't seem to believe in small anymore either, so I couldn't even finish them.

Next up, got on the Tours and Tickets bus tour. But it was pretty average. Not helped by the fact that my headphones didn't work so the whole first half of the trip didn't have any commentary. Part way through they stop at a diamond factory (Gassan) for an infomercial. Still, it was cool seeing some *very* nice diamonds.

Then had to try and figure out the tram system here. The terminal at the Centraal station is pretty pathetic. The only maps they have up are regional ones, none for just the city. So unless you know which tram you needed to catch you were screwed. Fortunately I did know which tram I needed, having researched that beforehand. You can buy tickets on the trams. They recommend these chip cards (you can get a daily for 7.00). But I just wanted one or two trips (2.70 each) so just got a single. It's valid for one hour, but it's paper so didn't look like it had anything electronic in it. But it also didn't have any printing on it to say what time you got it, and the driver didn't say anything about authenticating it. As I got off I waved it front of the reader and it did actually do something. So no idea if I checked on or off. But it didn't matter cause I wasn't going to need it again.

My destination in fact was the Heineken Experience. It wasn't crowded when I arrived, but as I was walking through the history section there was this big group that made it all a bit unpleasant. Fortunately they moved off a bit faster than me. After the museum bit, you go into the rooms where the big old copper tanks are. Then past the horses that are still employed there. Then you walk through all these rooms of silliness really. Things like a "be the brew" "ride", make your own bottle label, rooms of just various videos playing, a wall of bottles with lights behind it etc. You get two free drinks (250mL) on the tour, so had those, but wasn't much fun drinking alone. Just used their free wifi and read news feeds. And finally through the shop. But didn't look around because I wanted to go catch the shuttle canal boat, which takes you to the "Heineken Brand Shop". But really I just wanted the canal ride. They even served beer on the boat which was a bit of fun.

Got to the shop but it was all *way* overpriced for what is essentially advertising for the brand. And the "free gift" was a branded photo of yourself. The idea was you take the token from the brewery and get a coin to use in the photo machine. Some others said they were going to just keep the coin, so that's what I did too.

Got outside and asked someone which way to Dam. So started walking. After the three beers I'd had I decided this was the way to appreciate Amsterdam heh.

Finally got back to the hotel then went out for dinner. Found a place that had what looked to be reasonably priced food. But the "teaser" menu was different to the menu you they give you at the tables :( So when I thought I was ordering something small, like I'd seen on the teaser menu, I actually got something much bigger. So I couldn't finish it and was charged 5 euros more for it. I was pretty pissed off. Enough to get on TripAdvisor and rate it poorly. And not blog last night. Grunt.


Distance covered on the GPS: 36.8 km
Steps walked: 15674
Photos on the Canon: 240
Photos on the Sony: 73
Videos: 4
EUR Spent: ?

So today started beautiful and sunny. I thought I might do a Thames River cruise first up, but it had already clouded over by the time I was going out, and it was raining by 9am :(

So my first stop was Aldgate so I could get a photo of Whitechapel Road for the Monopoly collection.

From there I was going to tube it over to Angel, but after looking for a "you are here" on a bus stop I realised there was a direct bus. I'd never been on a London red double decker bus before, so decided to do that. It took ages because it went through city peak hour traffic, but was still fun.

It was freezing cold and raining by this point. Blah.

Actually left Angel and went and found 12 Grimmauld Place (Claremont Square). Highlight of the morning heh.

Then back to Angel to get a photo of the station, and signs that said Angel Islington.

Considered walking to Kings Cross to get more photos of the platforms, but decided against it and went to Marylebone station instead. So my collection of Monopoly streets is complete. Except for the electric and water utilities.

Walked back to Baker Street to take photos of the Sherlock Holmes museum.

Then into Regents Park. The maps were a bit crap and didn't show you that the garden in the middle is one big dead end. So more walking there than necessary.

And onto the zoo. The whole experience was pretty meh. Certainly not helped by it raining the entire time I was there. So most of the animals were hiding from the rain. And they were doing all sorts of constructions all over the place so there were dead ends everywhere which meant lots of unnecessary walking :( So got my Harry Potter pics of the reptile house (although they're doing rennovations and I think they've blocked off the exact tank that was used. I'd have to see the movie again to check. Went into the butterfly room at one point but had to leave again pretty quickly because it was so hot and humid that my glasses and camera fogged up instantly :( Dread to think of how much condensation got in and stayed in. Pity too because it looked like there were heaps of cool butterflies. The penguins were very cool, but didn't stay for feeding time as really needed to get away. On the way to the part of the zoo on the other side of the road I noticed there was a canal boat ride to Camden. I tried to go for it later but it had either gone early or didn't come at all. So ended up having to walk.

Next stop - Westminster Abbey. I was worried about long queues, but only had to wait a couple of minutes. There's an audio guide (read by Jeremy Irons - yum!) which is reasonably decent, but certainly doesn't cover everything. Missed out on seeing the chapter house because they were setting up for a jubilee exhibition. You can take photos in the cloister area, but not in the abbey itself :( but did sneak one through the front door as I was leaving.

Then next door to the Jewel Tower. This was part of the old old Westminster Palace built around 1365 to house Edward III’s treasures and one of only two buildings from the medieval Palace of Westminster to survive the fire of 1834. The first floor has an exhibition about the history of the British Parliament, and the top floor has a bit more history on the building itself. I'd never heard of this building, and only went there because it was "free" with the London Pass and right next to the abbey. Apparently a lot of Londoners don't know about it either.

So now it's 5pm and the sun is starting to poke through the clouds :/ I thought I didn't want to go back to the hotel just yet if the sun was coming out. So went and found somewhere to get some food to wait a little longer.

Then went down to the river to see about a river cruise. Decided I'd do it, but just missed one. So wandered up to Cleopatra's Needle.

Then back for the last ferry of the day to Tower Bridge. Quite a nice little ride even if the sun wasn't really out. But it did shine on Tower Bridge right at the end which was pretty special.

And hotel, photos, blog, bed!


Distance covered on the GPS: 39 km
Steps walked: 29077
Photos on the Canon: 261
Photos on the Sony: 62
Videos: 3
GBP Spent: 15.40

Today seemed like a relatively quiet day, yet I'm totally exhausted. What I thought was too much meat at lunch yesterday was probably slightly more serious as I had to clear the bowels a few times overnight :( Fortunately things settled down by the time it was time to go out. Turns out the parents had something similar, mum more so. But everyone else was ok. Took some imodium just in case.

Out the door by 7am this morning.

First item on the agenda was a horse and carriage ride around to the temple at Edfu.

It's fricken huge!!

A beautiful temple, that we wandered around for a while.

Then back on the horse and carriages back to our ship.

Set sail and continued north.

I had an attempt at sleep, not sure if successfully. Also tried to do some photo selection for the blog.

Came up on deck a bit before 12pm so we could watch the ship going through the locks at Esna dam. I don't think I've ever been through a lock so that was pretty fun. There were some brazen vendors on row boats throwing things up for stories to the deck of our ship trying to get people to buy things. Some of them were attaching themselves to the ship and going through the locks with us - craziness! I wonder if any of them ever get squished..

Lunch then another siesta attempt.

Coming into Luxor it was amazing how many cruise boats there are. Of course the majority of them are probably sitting idle at the moment. Along with the other Movenpick ship we were travelling together with, we parked next to five ships! So to get off and on our ship we had to walk through the foyers of a total of seven ships!

In Luxor we got a bus to the temple of Luxor. oK so *this* is where they got the inspiration for the city in The Ten Commandments. There's a row of something like eighty sphinxes outside the temple! And this was only a small part of what was once a much longer street. Another beautiful temple, this one having had to be restored significantly. Light was a bit bad (it was very late in the day) so not the best for photos, but did get some nice ones at some angles.

Back to the boat, then dinner, then photos and blog. Annoyingly they won't let you settle your bill til 9pm, which is a bit dumb because I plan to be in bed by then (or at least on the way to it!)

Edit. Just as I was about to start brushing my teeth reception called and asked me to come settle the bill. Pity it wasn't a couple of minutes later, I would have said no, I'll do it in the morning. Don't mess with tired people dammit!!


Distance covered on the GPS: 127 km
Steps walked: 9604
Photos on the Canon: 268
Photos on the Sony: 27
Videos: 16
EGP Spent: 56

Another fairly quiet day today.

Another 5:30 wakeup to be off the boat at 7am.

First up was a minibus ride to the unfinished obelisk (ha, I accidently typed obelix there, must be those years of reading Asterix ;) ). That was pretty cool, and amazing that they never used the granite for anything else. Leaving the place you're channelled through an arcade of vendors that all step in your path and say "come look, no hassle".. umm, dude, you're hassling me now! They just don't get this. So I pretty much bolted through and didn't look at anything. Buttheads.

Then back in the minibus to a motorboat to go to the temples of Philae. These structures were actually partially submerged by the first Aswan dam, and were going to be completely submerged by its extension. So they moved it all to an island, but they had to rearrange a few things to get it all to fit on the island.

The flies were particularly bad when we got off the boat to wait for the minibus. Quite bothersome really.

So back to the big boat with a little time before lunch. I ate way too much meat at lunch, that is still fermenting in my stomach hours later :(

Watched as they cast off from Aswan.

Sat up on the top deck for a while, but some Germans kept smoking upwind from us, so gave up on that and retired to my cabin for the afternoon. Didn't really do anything apart from play games on my phone and rest (couldn't even sleep :( ).

Sunset was viewed from my cabin tonight. I thought about going up on deck and having a drink, but in the end just did my washing. Yay. Still, that should be the last lot of handwashing I have to do in a long time, probably a couple of weeks. Yay for knowing where the laundromat is in Earl's Court! (let's hope it's still operational heh)

For dinner I just had some soup and some salad and a bit of dessert.

While eating we arrived in Edfu.

In Aswan my window faced the dock which was a little boring. During the cruise I just got the hot afternoon sun so couldn't open the blind. When we arrived in Edfu we pulled up with the other side of the ship facing the dock, so I thought I'd have a nice morning view of the Nile. Yeah right. Another ship has pulled up parallel to us and my view is of the next ship :( The next window is literally a metre away from mine :(

I couldn't stay awake for the Egyptian "party" downstairs. It was meant to be dressup. Yeah right. Hrmmm.

Going to bed.

After I clear the bowels. Multiple times. Hope this is done by tomorrow morning :(


Distance covered on the GPS: 138.1 km
Steps walked: 9004
Photos on the Canon: 180
Photos on the Sony: 29
Videos: 4
EGP Spent: 6

5:30 wake up today, although I preempted that and woke up at 5:00.

Last of the Prince Abbas breakfasts today, then we headed out to the Temple of Kalabsha, and the other temples that had also been rescued from rising lake waters and put there.

Came back and then left the Prince Abbas for good.

Got a minivan over the Aswan High Dam and stopped on top for some photos.

Then down to through Aswan to the Nile where we had a felucca boat ride down the Nile. That was pretty amazing and very peaceful.

This brought us to our new ship, the Giselle, a couple of kilometres down the river.

Checked in and had lunch. This ship does buffet style meals instead of off a menu, but the buffets looked amazing. Also a lot more people on this boat (forty - seems a lot to us after the last boat of twenty one, but till nowhere near the boat's full capacity).

After lunch I lay down for a little while and attempted to sleep.

Then we headed out again to see a "Nubian Village". Actually the boat trip up the Nile I enjoyed more, getting to see some sights and lots of different birds. The village itself is a mudbrick village on an island in the Nile made up of people that were displaced by the filling of the dam. We were with some other groups, so it was like taking all these rich white people to see how the poor people lived, which made me feel a bit weird. Lots of little kids coming up with their hands out too asking for "baksheesh". At this point I was kicking myself that I'd forgotten the little bundle of pens that I brought for just this purpose. We stopped in one of the houses and went upstairs for some tea, which was nice.

Hopped on the boat again to go further down the same island to the Movenpick hotel for high tea at the top. The little restaurant area has three sixty degree views of Aswan and the river so had some nibblies and some yummy lemon drink and watched the sunset.

Back on another boat to get back to our big boat. They said we could sit on the roof if we wanted so I jumped at the chance (since the sun had set). There wasn't actually any seats so I stood there, but it was really pretty cruising down the Nile in the twilight.

Dinner was spectacular, but then we've come to expect that ;) But I actually ate very little (been eating far too much!).

Then to blog and bed.


Distance covered on the GPS: 51.2 km
Steps walked: 9584
Photos on the Canon: 317
Photos on the Sony: 36
Videos: 8
EGP Spent: 245

Pretty light day today.

The beef bacon was back today :)

Left the hotel at 7:30 and went to the airport.

Like Jordan there is an xray to get into the airport before checkin. Checkin was a bit stressful because I didn't get a window seat on one of my flights so had to try and get it changed and it was all just messy and stressful :(

So go through that and found that Cairo airport has free wifi!

Then down to the "gate" (through security, which bans liquids over 100mL, even on domestic flights). We got driven all around the airport to our plane which was parked in the middle of nowhere.

The first flight was from Cairo to Aswan. I was sitting on the right side of the plane so could see a bit of the lake when we turned around and came in from the south, but not the dam :(

Went to the terminal in Aswan and it was basically time to board the next flight to Abu Simbel. Since everyone was there (it was just an Embraer 170, and not full) they said we could depart early! So we actually departed twenty five minutes early which was pretty awesome.

Bad luck with seating prevailed. We took off to the north but turned around to the left very quickly, before the dam, so I didn't see anything much from my right hand side seat. Dad again got better photos from the left side of the plane. However noone was in a window seat on the left side so I moved over there after the seatbelt sign turned off. This is because when you fly into Abu Simbel, if you fly in from the south east, you get a great view of the temples as you come into land. So did that and got my view - hurrah!!

Got the Egypt Air courtesy bus down the road to the entrance to Abu Simbel, and we walked the rest of the way down the hill to our boat.

It's a pretty cool boat. It's like a little hotel on water. There's something like seventy rooms, as well as various lounges, bars and even a small pool.

All for twenty one tourists.

!

Yup, twenty one people on the ship plus guides. There's more crew than guests! Seems like a bit of a waste to be running the ship plus having all these bored staff. But on the other hand it's kinda cool to have the ship mostly deserted, and know half the people here.

So anyway, as soon as we arrived we went straight to lunch. It was a full four course fine dining meal!! Craziness. Of course I'd had a big breakfast. So this is not going to end well. Diet starts in a week when I get to London .. hrmmm

After lunch we watched a documentary on the moving of the Abu Simbel temples to higher ground which was necessary when they built the Aswan High Dam.

Then we had afternoon tea, but it felt like we'd only just had lunch, so didn't feel like much.

And then a little time to spare before going around to the temples for the sound and light show. Have I ever mentioned my bad luck with seating. So as to try and avoid heads in the way I said can we sit in the front row. The guide said if we wanted to. But there was a chain in the way there so decided to move and the guide said "I tried to tell you but you wouldn't believe me". *sigh*. So grumpy about the whole thing. Did find a spot with no heads in front, but then got a big block of some thing blocking part of it. But I wasn't going to move again. *sigh*. So didn't enjoy it as much as I might have. Plus being sick and tired certainly didn't help.

Got back to the boat for another four course meal. But I just had an entree and main, and skipped the soup and dessert. Came back here to type this up, but haven't even downloaded my photos from today - need to get to bed - getting up at stoopid o'clock tomorrow to see the temples in the sunrise.


Distance covered on the GPS: 1050 km
Steps walked: 11378
Photos on the Canon: 190
Photos on the Sony: 91
Videos: 0
EGP Spent: 36

Slept in til the alarm went off at 6am so that was pretty good.

Another pretty good breakfast although no beef bacon today :(

Drove through Tahrir Square (nothing much happening at the moment there).

Our first stop was Salah Al Din Citadel, a big old fortress that apparently was never attacked, so is in remarkably good condition.

Didn't really see anything much of the fortress except the outer walls, but instead went to the Mosque of Mohammed Ali.

There were a whole group of very scantily clad girls in front of us, so they were given robes to cover up. They were also the ones throwing their shoes down soles-down on the carpets inside the mosque. hrmm.

There's a pretty good view from outside. Should have been able to see the pyramids but it was too hazy today.

Next stop was a shopping area with narrow alleys and bazaars. But apart from some stuff near the entrance square, nothing much was open, and I wasn't really interested in anything anyway.

Met up at the meeting place in this nice cafe, which was a little reminscent of something out of a movie. All it needed was ceiling fans!

Back through the CBD and back through Tahrir Square.

To the Egyptian Museum.

Security here is pretty strict here as well - xrays at the courtyard entrance. You can take photos in the courtyard but not inside. So if you want to take your cameras in to photograph the building, you then have to leave your camera at the checkpoint at the outer entrance, where you get a token for retrieval.

So into the building, another xray bag check.

We had the guide for a while and he took us round and showed us a few things. Then he gave us an hour to explore, but we asked for an hour and a half. Of course you could see maybe 5% of the museum in that time. hrmm. So we went in to see Tutenkamen. Spectacular! And all the stuff in his tomb - amazing! Then went and saw the royal mummies (100LE extra). Then some aimless wandering. There was this creepy guy in the animal mummy room who kept staring at me wherever I went, so really couldn't concentrate on the room until he eventually left :(:( So did our wandering then left, then came back to the hotel.

Had to fight the internet connection (it's ~$18 for 24 hours :( ) but the connection in my room was stuffed so had to get onto tech support for them to fix it. Blah.

At 6:30 we got picked up to go to a Nile dinner cruise.

Getting food was quite chaotic, but was nice enough (they carved up a *massive* turkey! - or maybe it wasn't massive to American standards, but looked pretty big to me!).

There was a belly dancer, and a whirling dirvish, and some singer. But after dinner we all headed up on deck to watch the lights. The boat mostly went round in circles in a little section of the Nile, so didn't get it to see all that much.

After two hours we got back and headed back to the hotel.

Radio silence for a few days after this - not even mobile phones or credit cards work anywhere south of Aswan.


Distance covered on the GPS: 50.2 km
Steps walked: 11720
Photos on the Canon:
Photos on the Sony:
Videos:
EGP Spent: