Results tagged “Mountains” from Eurasia 2012

Stoopid east facing windows and stoopid sun that gets up at 4am and stoopid blinds that do nothing to keep out the light or heat :( Blah. So it was very hot in our room. So didn't sleep all that well :(

Breakfast was at the hotel. We'd chosen "western" breakfasts the night before (fish and natto for breakfast? no, don't think so). But they brought out all this food. I couldn't get through it! Saved my bread roll and sweet roll for later.

Then we headed up into the mountains again.

Stopped first at the dam at Lake Chubetsu. Cause I like dams. Have I mentioned that? :)

Then into the national park and up to the Asahidake Ropeway.

But first, 500 yen for parking. WTF? When just down the road was a public car park that was free. Grunt. So already feeling ripped off. Then to go up the cable car it's 2800 yen. Each. !! WTF?? I was way pissed off at that point. But we went up anyway and I grumped the whole way :(

Still, it was a fairly nice place at the top. We went up for a wander up into the snow and mud around the walking tracks and saw the little lakes and the fumaroles. Stu definitely enjoyed it. I would have more if hadn't been so badly ripped off. *sigh*

Had some snacks while waiting for a cable car down.

Then we decided to just go to Asahikawa rather than try and do any more mountains.

So got into town and negotiated city streets and got to the hotel ok.

Had a bit of a relax for a little while.

Then we decided to head out to find some dinner. We were going to get ramen (which this place is famous for), but as we were getting ready Stu looked out the window and said "there's a festival" and I'm like "Japanese street food!!!!!" So that's where we went.

It was just in this little park near the river. All around the outer edge of the park, and through the middle were stalls setup selling food and toys. We had some *amazing* food, as well as some average food, and some pretty good food. Love love love Japanese street food :) Not really sure what the festival was for. We asked at the hotel, she said something about the transition between spring and summer. Couldn't find anything online about it, but not really sure what to look for! heh. We were probably the only gaijin there (we certainly didn't see any others).


Distance covered on the GPS: 128.2 km
Steps walked: 10696
Photos on the Canon: 143
Photos on the Sony: 39
Videos: 0

Pretty good day today (although still didn't sleep too well - too hot).

After breakfast had a bit of a slow start getting out the door. Had to plan what we were going to do first.

I waited outside the hotel with our bags (we didn't really feel like carrying my broken bag all the way to the car rental place). And then the sweetie arrived and off we went.

Fortunately this trip, not only do they drive on the correct side of the road, but we got an automatic, and the blinkers are on the correct side!! Yayy for Japanese cars :) (London in 2010 had the correct side of the road, but a manual and backwards blinkers).

So pretty much just headed straight out of Sapporo (after getting a coffee for the sweetie at a Scottish Restaurant we passed). Decided to go via quieter roads rather than expressways.

Except Hokkaido has ridiculously low speed limits. Roads that would be 60, 70, 80 in Australia were all 50, or maybe 40. It was impossibly slow, and we were pissing off the locals, who were all passing us any chance they could. After ages doing this we gave up and drove more to conditions (but still slower than the locals!). I suppose their limits are for when the conditions are bad, which is sure to be much of the year, or to reduce the number of wildlife accidents. But this was the middle of a clear sunny day. Whatevs.

So basically just drove slowly to Furano. Stopped at a dam on the way. Because I like dams.

Had more Scottish Restaurant for a late lunch, then went and checked into the hotel. Crazy design to the room. The bathroom has a big glass window next to the bed, with a blind on the outside! Weird as!

We headed straight out again, deciding to drive up into the mountains.

Drove up towards Tokachidake springs.

The "lavendar road" would sure be pretty in a month's time. But for now it was just green.

Saw a few foxes around the place. Nat would have loved them heh :)

At Tokachidake springs got out and walked up a trail a bit (I was a bit worried about getting eaten by a bear). There was still snow around!

Drove around a bit more, ending up at Bogakudai for a nice lookout (although looking straight into the late afternoon sun).

Then down the hill to the "Blue Pond" which is a famous tourist attaction in the area. The parking lot and one-way paths testify to that. But when I got there I was very disappointed. The "pond" appears to have been created by the damming of a creek, flooding the area and killing a bunch of trees. There's no flow through the pond so it's a stagnent pool full of dead trees. Yuk. OK so yes the water is a pretty blue (in the right light, sadly we were there a little too late in the day), so if you look at the right angle you can see live trees and not the stagnent muck, it's not too bad. If you want pretty blue lakes, go to Canada.

Then back to the hotel (and stopped at another dam).

Had dinner at the hotel. I had some wagyu beef which was *awesome* and the freshest, nicest asparagus I've ever had!

And finally we stayed up *very* late doing our washing (last load of the trip though - yayy!!)


Distance covered on the GPS: 205 km
Steps walked: 6936
Photos on the Canon: 278
Photos on the Sony: 15
Photos on the Video: ?
Videos: ?

Urrrgh. I hate drama. Hate stress. Blah.

Breakfast at this hotel was ok - the nicest thing was meats at breakfast!! Haven't had meat at breakfast this whole trip (except for some tuna on the first day).

Loaded up in the coach and got driven through the most affluent part of Amman, with the tour guide doing a whole PR spiel for the country. It certainly was nicer that the first impression we got of the country.

Our first stop was the "Memorial of Moses" on Mount Nebo - possibly the place that Moses came up to see into the Promised Land before he died. There were a couple of nice mosaics there and you could just barely see Jerusalem through the haze.

Came down from there and stopped at a mosaic-making workshop where they make some stunning mosaics from cut stone. They can take months to complete, depending on the size of stones and intricacy.

Then into Madaba. Traffic was a little crazy as traffic lights were out, and did I mention they don't really have road rules here?

We parked and walked up to see St George's Church and the amazing mosaic they have of the middle east something like 1500 years ago. But the buttheads decided to build a church on top of it, and stuck a supporting pillar *right in the middle of the mosaic* !?!?!? Idiots.

And then back to the bus back through the market street.

For some reason this town had a nice feel to it. Maybe because the shops looked more familiar (a lot of English and selling more western products), maybe because the locals were friendly and waving, maybe because the vendors weren't aggressive. Who knows.

Headed a way out of town to a new restaurant for lunch and it was really nice (with nice clean free toilets - a major bonus in this country!). They even had this camel milk custard dessert!

Next up - another one of Herod's palaces at Mukawer, traditionally the location that they beheaded John the Baptist. A good little climb up and a great view.

This country is amazingly water poor, but we did see a couple of interesting things. One thing was temporary water tanks with tubing to irrigate roadside trees they're trying to grow. At another point we saw a burst water pipe on the side of a mountain gushing water in a huge geyser half way down the side of the mountain.

Then to the "Grand Canyon of Jordan" - Wadi Mujib.

Then headed south. The landscape changed dramatically from farmland to semi-arid.

Had a pitsop along the way, but had to pay for the toilets here.

Continued south (then west) to Petra (Wadi Musa), arriving just on sunset (behind the clouds anyway).

Navigating this hotel is a drama. You have to take two separate lifts, but there's only two at each site, and they only hold six people at a very tight squeeze. Found some stairs and decided they were much easier and faster.

Dinner was a total drama. First the parents arguing about which way up or down the table to move to not leave odd seats, so abanonded them. But then getting food was a *massive* drama because of a bunch of rude Europeans (Italian I think but could have been French - both are in the building) pushing in and making everything take longer. Hate.

Internet is $5 for the whole stay, but another couple gave me a couple of dollars to use it briefly. But it's so slow I may not be able to get my blog entries online anyway. Plus the only place you can use it is in the lobby, and that's where all the Europeans come to smoke :( *sigh*

Now it's stoopidly late because we got here late and have to get up stoopidly early. Which means my chances of getting any decent sleep tonight are about zero..


Distance covered on the GPS: 351.5
Steps walked: 16414, but I'm taking off 5000 due to bumpy roads screwing up the count
Photos on the Canon: 335
Photos on the Sony: 49
Videos: 11
USD Spent: 5-2
JD Spent: 0.5+2

For the first time in days the parents didn't wake me up!! Although did wake up at 4:51 (which sadly I couldn't partake in last night due to the Holocaust Memorial day), but got back to sleep and woke up again at 6am.

Drove north and crossed the Jordan river (looking at the photos you'd think it was a river somewhere in Australia).

Crossing the Jordan River
Crossing the Jordan River

Stopped first at Bethsaida, which is a ruin town on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee (at least it *used* to be on the edge - it's silted up since biblical times, so the edge is a few kilometres away now).

Bethsaida
Bethsaida

Bethsaida<br>Photo by Mum
Bethsaida
Photo by Mum

This used to be the edge of the Sea of Galilee
This used to be the edge of the Sea of Galilee

Then we headed north, going to the top of Mt Bental, which overlooks Syria. There were some foxholes and bunkers you would walk around so that was pretty cool, and the view was spectacular.

White Storks
White Storks

Mount Bental
Mount Bental

View north from Mount Bental<br>Photo by Dad
View north from Mount Bental
Photo by Dad

Dinosaur sculpture (there were heaps of these)
Dinosaur sculpture (there were heaps of these)

Soldier cutouts
Soldier cutouts

Mount Bental
Mount Bental

View into Syria
View into Syria

Bunkers and foxholes on the top of Mount Bental
Bunkers and foxholes on the top of Mount Bental

Looking north towards Mount Hermon
Looking north towards Mount Hermon

Battlements on Mount Bental<br>Photo by Dad
Battlements on Mount Bental
Photo by Dad

Bunker corridor on Mount Bental
Bunker corridor on Mount Bental

Looking out towards Syria
Looking out towards Syria

Barbed wire on Mount Bental<br>Photo by Mum
Barbed wire on Mount Bental
Photo by Mum

Continued north west over some mountains.

Looking towards Ein Kinya in northern Israel<br>Photo by Dad
Looking towards Ein Kinya in northern Israel
Photo by Dad

Next stop was Caesarea Philippi which had some springs that are some of the starts of the Jordan river, as well as the remnants of a bunch of old temples.

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Springs at Caesarea Philippi
Springs at Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Continued on, coming very close to the border with Lebanon and driving past minefields.

Minefield in northern Israel
Minefield in northern Israel

Defence lines in northern Israel
Defence lines in northern Israel

Had lunch in a restaurant near Dafna. Their specialty was trout, which was nice once you could get past all the bones, but too much food, a lot of which got wasted because there was too much for us all to eat. :(

Trout at the restaurant
Trout at the restaurant

Then back to Tel Dan, another ruin city and another Jordan spring (which was a raging torrent of water due to the heavy winter they've had here). The old city wall was pretty cool and there was even the remnants of a chair in the city gate that the king would likely have sat in. A little way around from this was a city gate made out of mudbricks, which is something like 3500 years old!

Dan Stream in Tel Dan Reserve
Dan Stream in Tel Dan Reserve

Pool in Tel Dan Reserve<br>Photo by Dad
Pool in Tel Dan Reserve
Photo by Dad

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Lizard at Tel Dan
Lizard at Tel Dan

Dad sitting at the entrance square of Tel Dan
Dad sitting at the entrance square of Tel Dan

Mum at Tel Dan<br>Photo by Dad
Mum at Tel Dan
Photo by Dad

Tel Dan<br>Photo by Mum
Tel Dan
Photo by Mum

Ancient mud brick city gate at Tel Dan
Ancient mud brick city gate at Tel Dan

And then back to the hotel. Went down to the lake to document it because the water was so blue. Then got caught up on news feeds (or at least to the point that if I don't have internet again before I get to London Google won't delete them on me).

Sailing boats on the Sea of Galilee (sorry my head wasn't on straight)
Sailing boats on the Sea of Galilee (sorry my head wasn't on straight)

Tiberias
Tiberias

Distance covered on the GPS: 163.7km
Steps walked: 13080
Photos on the Canon: 444
Photos on the Sony: 15
Videos: 26
NIS Spent: 15

Well my day started at 6am when I had a light suddenly shone in my face. Woke up to see dad walking out the door.

?!?!?

As it turns out he'd accidently knocked the switch with his shoulder on his way out and didn't notice. But still. #grunt

Got up around 6:30.

Snuck in a little internet before breakfast (huge as always).

Drove through Cana but didn't stop there.

Heading south from Ginosar, looking towards Mount Arbel
Heading south from Ginosar, looking towards Mount Arbel (on the left)

Cana
Cana

Our first stop of the day was Zippori, which is a roman town they've been excavating over the past few years. It was a pretty awesome place with some stunning mosaics. Did get frustrated again at the pace. Spent the first half an hour there basically just listening to talks, which don't get me wrong are interesting and all, but I want to *see* stuff as well. They were initially talking about only spending half an hour there and not seeing the theatre and crusade fortress, but fortunately we did get to see all those as well.

Main street in Zippori
Main street in Zippori

Excavations in Zippori
Excavations in Zippori

Mosaics<br>Photo by Dad
Mosaics
Photo by Dad

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Zippori
Zippori

Zippori
Zippori

Theatre in Zippori
Theatre in Zippori

Crusades fortress in Zippori
Crusades fortress in Zippori

They recycled stone wherever possible - here's a sarcophagus built into the foundations of the fortress
They recycled stone wherever possible - here's a sarcophagus built into the foundations of the fortress

View of excavations from the fortress
View of excavations from the fortress

Looking towards Nazareth from the fortress
Looking towards Nazareth from the fortress

Mosaic in the fortress
Mosaic in the fortress

Mosaic in the fortress
Mosaic in the fortress

Just down the hill from there was the Zippori water system, which was a reservoir attached to a spring, with some tunnels as well. Walked through the reservoir and then the tunnel which was completely dark (good thing I took my torch) so that was a lot of fun.

Zippori water reservoirs and plumbing
Zippori water reservoirs and plumbing

Inside the Zippori water system
Inside the Zippori water system

Me in the Zippori water system
Me in the Zippori water system
Photo by Mum

Next stop was Nazareth. Drove past Mary's Well, but didn't stop.

Mary's Well
Mary's Well

Had lunch at "Holy Land Restaurant". Again, good but altogether too much food.

Manhole cover
Manhole cover

Inside the Holy Land Restaurant where we had lunch<br>Photo by Dad
Inside the Holy Land Restaurant where we had lunch
Photo by Dad

Then walked to Custodia Di Terra Santa/Basilica of the Annunciation, which is this big modern church built atop of what has traditionally been known as "Mary's House".

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation<br>Photo by Dad
Basilica of The Annunciation
Photo by Dad

Inside the Basilica of The Annunciation<br>Photo by Dad
Inside the Basilica of The Annunciation
Photo by Dad

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Roof of the Basilica of The Annunciation
Roof of the Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Ancient street excavations under the basilica
Ancient street excavations under the basilica

More walking, this time to "The Synagogue Church" which, according to tradition (hmmm), was where Jesus preached in Luke 4. Whether it actually was or not, it was pretty awesome being in the town that Jesus grew up, and seeing the hills around that he was nearly pushed off.

Walking through street markets in Nazareth
Walking through street markets in Nazareth

The Synagogue Church<br>Photo by Dad
The Synagogue Church
Photo by Dad

The last stop of the day was to the top of Mount Arbel which has some pretty cool cliffs and some awesome views of the Sea of Galilee. We'd only just made it to the top when very suddenly a change came through and we were nearly blown off the top! It suddenly made very real the story of the storm on the Sea. We'll be going on the sea tomorrow, hope the weather is better!

View off Mount Arbel
View off Mount Arbel

Cliffs of Mount Arbel
Cliffs of Mount Arbel

Ginosar from Mount Arbel
Ginosar from Mount Arbel

Mum and tree on top of Mount Arbel
Mum and tree on top of Mount Arbel

Coming down Mount Arbel
Coming down Mount Arbel

Passing Sea Level in Tiberias
Passing Sea Level in Tiberias

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

Washed a few tshirts (it seems I only have five tshirts, I could have sworn I had a few more, that'll learn me to listen to people that told me to take stuff out #grunt) then did computery stuff before dinner. Apparently there was goat as one of the dishes - go figure!

From 6pm tonight til 6pm tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day here.

Distance covered on the GPS: 115.8km
Steps walked: 15173
Photos on the Canon: 505
Photos on the Sony: 55
Videos: 21
USD spent: 1
NIS spent: 23

Last night I pretty much passed out at 9:30 and fell asleep before the parents even got back to the room from their walk.

Unfortunately I also woke up at 5am this morning :( Mum woke up at 3am and dad early too.

We all gave up and got up around 6am.

Breakfast was at 7:30. So much yummy food, but I didn't eat *too* much!

Piled into the coach and left the hotel by 8:30.

First stop was Caesarea. This was amazingly cool place, complete with old palace floors, a hippodrome and theatre. We walked into the hippodrome and I had the urge to run around it ala Ben Hur style. Unfortunately we didn't have time to do that. In fact it quickly became a case of ignoring the history talks so I could go get photos. Because it was a case of walk somewhere with the group, stop and listen, then move onto the next location, but keep up! Don't get lost! So the only way I could get any photos was to just keep an eye on the group but really just do my own thing. Most frustrating. And really only scratched the surface of all there was to see there.

Back of the theatre at Caesarea Maritima
Back of the theatre at Caesarea Maritima

Part of the palace at Caesarea Maritima
Part of the palace at Caesarea Maritima

Caesarea hippodrome
Caesarea hippodrome

Caesarea hippodrome
Caesarea hippodrome

Caesarea
Caesarea

Waves crashing against the hippodrome
Waves crashing against the hippodrome

Shells on the beach
Shells on the beach

In the palace area
In the palace area

Remains of the lower palace
Remains of the lower palace

Mosaics
Mosaics

Replica casting of the Pilate Stone
Replica casting of the Pilate Stone

Restored theatre<br>Photo by Dad
Restored theatre
Photo by Dad

Went up the road to see some more excavations. Then went a bit further up to see a way cool aqueduct. But we couldn't get out, so just had to get photos out the bus window as we drove past it :(

Ancient street behind the temple at Caesarea
Ancient street behind the temple at Caesarea

Roman aqueduct<br>Photo by Dad
Roman aqueduct
Photo by Dad

Roman aqueduct
Roman aqueduct

Roman aqueduct
Roman aqueduct

Next stop was Mount Carmel, where Elijah faced off against Ahab's prophets. Awesome view from the top of the mountain of the Jezreel valley.

Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel
Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel

Military airport
Military airport

Carmelite Monastery<br>Photo by Dad
Carmelite Monastery
Photo by Dad

Stopped for lunch at a local restaurant on Mount Carmel. Tonnes of good food. I'm amazed by the salads in this country. Heaps of fresh food for salads, it's great!

Lunch time salad buffet
Lunch time salad buffet

Then down to Megido (Armegeddon) to see a man-made hill which was actually thousands of years of settlements built on top of each other. Fascinating place, but again, not enough time to just go explore :(

Tombs at Mishmar HaEmek
Tombs at Mishmar HaEmek

Megido
Megido

Stairs at Megido
Stairs at Megido

City gates
City gates

Some sort of kestral
Some sort of kestral

Excavations at Megido
Excavations at Megido

Megido
Megido

Megido
Megido

Grain silo
Grain silo

Stables
Stables

Megido<br>Photo by Mum
Megido
Photo by Mum

Heading down into the water tunnel
Heading down into the water tunnel

Water tunnel under the city
Water tunnel under the city

Another mountain next up - Mount Tabor. The road up is narrow and windy and too small for coaches, so you have to stop half way up to catch minibuses the rest of the way. We got there at a good time, as several coaches pulled up after us. "The Church of the Revelation" was at the top which was originally a crusades church but now has a modern catholic church there.

Nazareth.  Everywhere in Israel towns are built at the top of hills, not at the bottom (where the water is) like in Australia.  I found it quite odd.
Nazareth. Everywhere in Israel towns are built at the top of hills, not at the bottom (where the water is) like in Australia. I found it quite odd.

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Photo of Mount Tabor in the minibus
Photo of Mount Tabor in the minibus

View off Mount Tabor
View off Mount Tabor

At this point my GPS was flashing its low battery light, but it hung in there til we arrived at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. The sea is smaller than I thought it would be. And today it was dead calm.

My room at Ginosar, Galilee
My room at Ginosar, Galilee

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee
Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee

Another amazing dinner and then I setup in the cafe to use the internet (first internet since Hong Kong. I could have paid $5/30 min or $20/day to use it at the last place but didn't on principle).

View from the dining room towards Tiberias
View from the dining room towards Tiberias

Distance covered on the GPS: 203.4km
Steps walked: 13533
Photos on the Canon: 995
Photos on the Sony: 26
Videos: 28
USD spent: 1