Results tagged “Walking” from Eurasia 2012

OK day today, a few ups and downs.

The first down was a lack of sleep, it being too hot in the hotel, even after having the window open to let the cold air in, then the aircon on during the night. Stoopid all or nothing quilts :( Not to mention the sun getting up at stoopid o'clock. Got back to sleep but then slept in til 8:20!! Gah!! Then got stressed cause had to get ready quickly so we'd get down to breakfast in time *sigh*

But made it down in time.

Finished getting ready then headed out for the day.

First we headed to the Odori park. It's quite a nice little park. Enjoyed the flowers and the fountains and the people feeding the pigeons.

Japanese toilets failed me for the first time today. The toilets in the park had three squatty toilets (which I don't like because they're awkward and usually dirty and nowhere to put your bags) and a disabled toilet which I waited ages for someone to get out of, only to find *none* of the toilets had toilet paper anyway. So didn't go. Fail.

Wandered past the old government office building, which also had some nice gardens, and tormented a couple of tortoises.

Then we headed up to the station and got a train to Otaru. Couldn't get a seat to start with, but did later when some people got off.

So got to the station and just wandered down to the water. Found the canal. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting it to be a little more "European" with shops along the canal.

But we did find the Otaru beer cafe, so went in there for a couple of beers and lunch.

After lunch went to the harbour, then wandered back to the station.

Got back to Sapporo and I found signs for the JR T38 tower. So went and found that while the sweetie had a coffee. 700 yen (no discount or freebie for JR pass though - doh!). It had a pretty good view - probably better than the TV tower that you can also go up, as it's quite a bit higher.

Got back to the hotel and didn't end up doing anything else for the day. The sweetie had a snooze and I read news feeds. I also got all my beer of the day entries done which hadn't been done since London.

Went out to get some snacks for dinner but that was all for the day.


Distance covered on the GPS: 90.3 km
Steps walked: 14117
Photos on the Canon: 142
Photos on the Sony: 76
Videos: 2+?

Had a nice slow start today. Breakfast at 7:15 then back up to the room to sort through all the paperwork I've accumulated since the beginning of the trip. Photographed and packed up everything from Australia to Amsterdam and was out the door a little later than I wanted to be. Checked out but left the bag at the hotel.

First stop was the post office. I packed up and sent home all the aforementioned paperwork, nearly 2kg of it! Partly to not have to lug around an extra two kilos for the rest of the trip, but also to reduce weight for my next flight which will be on something small and I don't want to get charged excess baggage!

Wanded up to the Rathaus which looked pretty spectacular in the morning sun.

Then down to St Nikolai's. This church was bombed during the second world war but the spire survived so they've left it as a monument. You can go up it for 3.70, so I did (I've done something Dave2 hasn't done! Yay me! hehe). Unfortunately they're doing restoration work on it at the moment so you can't see out to the west :( Came back down and went through the photo gallery of some of the photos taken of the destruction during the war.

Next up was St Michaelis, which is the church featured on Germany's two euro coin. This one you can also go up, for 4.00, and it has a much much better panoramic view. Unfortunately there was a big group of kids up there at the time which made it noisy and crowded :(

Kept wandering down to Landingsbrücke to see the piers and docklands.

And then hopped on a train back to the Hauptbahnhof. Grabbed my bag and went back to the station and picked up a roll for lunch while waiting for my train. Was slightly worried because I couldn't see Kolding on the station list, but the train number and time and even platform were correct so hoped for the best. On the train I did finally see it saying Kolding.

So train for next three hours. No GPS track. There must be something about the Germany express trains that causes grief with the GPS :( Had trouble getting mobile coverage too.

Got off at Kolding in Denmark, where I was going to need to buy another train ticket to get to Vejle. Why this country can't use Euros I have no idea. I went out and scanned all around for an ATM but none to be seen. So went and asked at the ticket office where I could find one. They said try one of the banks a hundred metres down the road in town. Like seriously guys? I know Kolding is nowheresville, but would it kill you to have an ATM at the station?? So I get back to the ticket office after getting some money and it's just after 5pm so they've closed. !?!?! Gah!! OK so the smallest money I had was a 100 dkk note, and the machines only take coins (I needed 48 dkk). So went into the 7-eleven to get some chips (lunch tomorrow - that's my excuse) and asked for some change as well. All sorted, ticket purchased, onto the train I go (good thing I had plenty of time and that there was a lift!)

So a short trip to Vejle where I got off to transfer to a bus. Thankfully that was pretty painless, although did confirm with a local that I'd be able to buy a ticket on the bus.

A little while later and I'm at the Legoland Hotel!!! Everything here is *hideously* expensive (I think dinner was going to cost me $60). But the hotel is awesomely cool. Lego everywhere and Lego-themed *everything*, including carpets, bed linen, decorations, soap, shoe shine, sewing kits (!!). Went for a wander after I checked in to have a look through the place.

Then had dinner at one of the restaurants, an all you can eat buffet for previously mentioned astronomical price. Still a bit full .. oops!


Distance covered on the GPS: 90.2 km (plus Hamburg to Kolding which I just couldn't get a signal for :( )
Steps walked: 15102
Photos on the Canon: 214
Photos on the Sony: 78
Videos: 0
EUR Spent: ?
DKK Spent: ? (too many!!)

So had to wake up at stoopid o'clock this morning so I could get to Hamburg by lunch time. So up, ready, out the door and at the station by 6:30. Three trains and six hours later and I'm in Hamburg (and I'm well over half way through my book).

Couldn't check in yet, so dumped my suitcase and walked down to Miniatur Wunderland!!

I saw this on the internet some time last year, and added a night in Hamburg to my trip just so I could see it. It's incredible!! The dioramas are of Hamburg and Germany, Austria/Switzerland, Scandanavia and the Americas. Most of the fun of the show is looking closely at the figures to find them doing funny (or rude) stuff. There's action going on everywhere. It's just amazing. I got there just after 1:30pm and stayed til nearly closing time (5:45pm). The crowds were starting to thin out by 3:30 and it was pretty empty by 4:30, so afternoon is definitely the time to go.

The biggest trouble I had was finding the entrance and actually getting in. The Hamburg Dungeon is right next door and gets all the big signage. The Miniatur Wunderland just a portable sign by a door further along the building. I wasn't sure if I was going in the exit (and it's up a few flights of stairs - next time - catch the lift up!). There's not a word in English so I wasn't sure if the line I was getting into was for people with or without tickets. There was only one line though, and it was all a big mess. Even when you got your ticket you're in the middle of the shop that's selling stuff and that's where the exit is too. It was just chaos. This is pretty abysmal for Germans who are usually so much more organised at that sort of thing.

Anyway, so after that I just wandered up through the city, passing St Nikolai's (which is being renovated - don't know what the view will be like) and the Rathaus and Binnenalster.

Went through the station, and looked for local beer and/or hamburgers for dinner. No local beers, but did find a hamburger (patty), but it was pretty dry.

Finally back to the hotel and checked in. This is a nice hotel from what I've seen so far, pity I only have the one night!


Distance covered on the GPS: 487.5 km (a bit more than this but the GPS kept dropping out on the last train :( )
Steps walked: 12415
Photos on the Canon: 421
Photos on the Sony: 71
Videos: 23
EUR Spent: ?


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: ?

Well I can say I've done Paris. And have no burning desire ever to return. It's big and noisy and overcrowded and full of rude tourists.

And the metro system is painful. From line changes requiring walks of hundreds of metres to lack of signage.. give me London any day. Today I entered a station only to find that that was the entry for one platform only. To go to the other platform would have meant leaving the station and using another ticket. In the end I just got on a train and swapped directions at the next station down. And several times I've come to an intersection in the maze of tunnels only to find no Sortie (exit) sign anywhere. At one point the only way I could figure out how to get out of the station was way off in the distance there was the little green man for your standard fire exit sign. And just for fun the little carnet of tickets you buy don't get "eaten" by the machines when you're done. So you end up with these things that you can't tell if you've used or not. Some of the machines print a date/time on the ticket, but others just a bit of purple.

But mostly it's the crowds and people that turned me off. Rude people that push in, push past or just stop in the middle of narrow footpaths. Queues for everything. Blah. Having said that I did meet some nice people too, like the group from Sao Paulo Brazil, or the lovely couple from Brisbane (the only other Australians I heard in the whole city were at D'Orsay today).

So where was I?
hrmmm

Yeah so had an easy day today. Only 24000 steps, down 14000 from yesterday's 38000 ..

Was hoping to have a bit of a sleepin, but got an SMS at 7am which woke me up.

Up, blogged yesterday, got ready, breakfast at the Scottish Restaurant.

First item on the agenda was St Chappelle. Probably about a fifteen minute wait to get through the security check, then fast track into the church. I was in a weird mood, a bit over Paris, so yes it was very pretty and all, but didn't fully take it all in. Didn't spend much time there, and they were restoring some of it anyway so a quarter of it was covered off.

It was blue skies and sunshine at this point, so I wandered around the back of Notre Dame to get it in the morning light, then trained it over to the Eiffel Tower. Sat in the park and had some chocolate and pondered the tower for a while.

Then trained it back to Concorde.

First up, the Orangerie. Eight big Monets in two rooms upstairs, and a bunch of stuff downstairs.

Then over to the Musée d'Orsay. I wandered through the majority of the museum and saw about three paintings I recognised. Call me uncultured but I'm just not an art person.

So both museums do visual bag searches, but then force you to cloak backpacks (so why even bother searching them??). Both have next to no descriptions in English. Both are relatively quick to enter with the museum pass. Both I was pretty meh about.

So on another train up to Pigalle then a short walk (I could have switched trains and gone to Blanche but switching trains is always a pain) past all the sex shops to the Moulin Rouge. On the way I walked down the middle of the street which is a tree-lined walk way. Would have been nice except for all the creepy guys just sitting there watching, waiting. Yuck.

Got a couple of photos, then walked back the way I came, and continued on to Sacre Coeur. I was tired and initially didn't think I'd bother going up. But decided to anyway. One of the most crowded places so far. Decided to go into the basilica. Not too long to get in (it's free entry). Like Notre Dame you kinda just go in and around in a loop then come out. But no photos allowed in this one. Afterwards decided to go climb the dome (6 euro). More steps, I must be mad. But the view was pretty spectacular (aside from it being hazy and grey) and it was remarkably uncrowded. So very glad I did it.

Came back down, then walked back to the hotel.

Read some news feeds while it rained (the rain sounded lovely outside the window). When it let up I went for a wander to find some dinner. Wanted french fries since I hadn't actually had any since I got here. So got a steak and fries. Well the steak was nice, but the fries were these soggy things that I wouldn't have called fries. Oh well, frites avec mayo await me in Brussels and Amsterdam.

Back to do photos, blog, and figure out what I'm doing tomorrow. The dodgy hotel I got in Amsterdam charges 4 euro/hour for internet, but I think that is by the minute, so might get away with just one hour for the whole three nights.


Distance covered on the GPS: 23.2 km
Steps walked: 24364
Photos on the Canon: 135
Photos on the Sony: 83
Videos: ?
EUR Spent: ?

Wasn't the best sleep ever - bed was a bit too soft and saggy in the middle.

Got ready early and headed out.

Stopped first at The Scottish Restaurant for a bacon and egg McMuffin (they don't do hash browns though).

Then into Gare du Nord to pick up a museum pass.

Then to the Eiffel Tower. I decided to go early, arriving there about a quarter to nine (ticket office opens at 9:30). Best. Idea. Ever. The line for the lifts stretched across the square, but the line for the stairs was only about 20-30 metres long. So when they opened the office I had my ticket within about ten minutes.

So through another bag check and xray (there's a bag check before the ticket office) and up the stairs. All six hundred odd of them to the second level. Probably quicker than the lift too, which doesn't really take all that many people.

Then another short queue to get the lift to the top. Getting there early certainly paid off, as you could actually move around fairly freely at the top. So that's another thing ticked off my bucket list :) It was getting pretty crowded by the time I left, and I went to the toilet at the top of the tower to add to my collection of cool places I've been to the toilet :)

Got the lift back down to the second level but didn't really stay there, as got my photos as the top. So got a lift to the first level (if you walk up the stairs you're allowed to get the lift down). Walked around there and looked down the hole in the middle at the queues snaking their way around the square. I wondered if those people would be there all day. (I got off the tower around 11:30).

Next up tried to have waffles at a Dave2 recommended place but looking at my photos and the location, I don't think it's there anymore. The satellite picture shows a building that's been replaced by something else. But I didn't realise this at the time and went down and found some at another place that I actually thought was it. It was a very yummy waffle though.

Walked all the way down Champ de Mars, and then got on a train over to the Pantheon. Walked in the wrong direction from the station for a block or two because various other attractions had signposts but not the Pantheon, and I didn't want to get my map out and look like a tourist. But found it eventually.

Another place that needs better queue control. The queue was out the door, but museum pass holders can walk straight in. But you don't know that til you're there because of the queue being out the door and all. This city is hopeless at queue control.

But it was pretty cool inside with a huge pendulum clock and the crypt had the likes of Victor Hugo and the Curies and Louie Braille in it.

Had a bit of a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens.

Walked to St Sulpice next to see the "Rose Line" as seen in the Da Vinci Code. There's a pretty funny note on the wall next to it -

Contrary to fanciful allegations in a recent best-selling novel, this is not a vestige of a pagan temple. No such temple ever existed in this place. It was never called a "Rose Line". It does not coincide with the meridian traced through the middle of the Paris Observatory which serves as a reference for maps where longitudes are measured in degrees East or West of Paris. No mystical notion can be derived from this instrument of astronomy except to acknowledge that God the Creator is the master of time.

There was a bit more to it too.

Continued on.

Was going to go into St Chappelle, but the queue was too long and no quick entry for museum pass. So went next door to the Conciergerie. I think I may have accidently cut in, it was all a little confusing as a bunch of people with passes were also being shown in through an earlier door. I did skip the bag check.. oops. Oh well.

Next up, Notre Dame. It's free entry, but the queue was all the way across the square again (going in a different direction today). It moved fairly quickly though, although that didn't stop a few people pushing in. Bastards.

So Notre Dame was big and all, but you kind of just walk through it with the masses, and there's nothing particularly spectacular about it. There was a choir singing though which was lovely.

Continued on trying to find somewhere to have dinner. I wanted something reasonably priced with English subtitles. Not too much to ask right? hrmm. Eventually found a place near the Louvre which had two cassoulets. Decided to have one of them. It was basically just a cheesy potato bake, but was pretty yummy.

And so the Louvre. It was about 6:45 by this point (it opens late on Fridays). There was still a fairly long queue, but as it turns out, that queue is for people without tickets. If you have a ticket or museum pass you can jump the queue and go straight to the security check. Win! So walked straight in :)

Got a guide and headed for Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. I was actually surprised how uncrowded it was. I was expecting to have to queue for like an hour to see the Mona Lisa, but while the room was fairly full of people, they were only about four deep in front of the painting itself. So got a photo and ducked out again.

Walked all over the museum finding different things. This place is *enormous*. I tried also to find the boat that had been taken from the temple in Edfu that our guide said was there but couldn't find it. It was kind of weird seeing all the Egyptian stuff in a museum, and I'm like, meh, I've seen the original locations .. heh.

I stayed til the museum closed at 9pm then waited for like half an hour outside waiting for the sun to set and it to get dark enough for them to turn the lights on. But they still hadn't by 9:35 so abandoned that idea and headed for the Eiffel Tower again.

It was 10pm by the time I arrived and the tower was already sparkling. So raced into a good position and saw the last couple of minutes. It was pretty awesome :)

And then trained it back to the hotel.

I found an electrical adapter today (yayyy) so got that working first up (it took a bit of poking). Then I had to book a hotel in Amsterdam, because I forgot to do it in London :( Amsterdam is crazy expensive. Eventually found one that was reasonably priced and not too dodgy, but it has a shared bathroom, and I don't even know about internet. Oh well.

So bed after midnight.


Distance covered on the GPS: 39.9 km
Steps walked: 38450
Photos on the Canon: 370
Photos on the Sony: 115
Videos: ?
EUR Spent: 83.10

Pretty overwhelming day today.

Got up early and headed out of the hotel, grabbing some takeaway breakfast on the way, and off to St Pancras. I thought I'd left myself plenty of time, but as I was walking through St Pancras I looked at my watch and realised checkin closed in like a minute! Slight panic and a bit of a run, but made it just in time. Through security and passport control and into the Eurostar lounge. Had about a minute there before they opened the train. Sadly I got an aisle seat, and the girl beside me slept the entire way - #grunt. Apparently further back in the train there were *heaps* of seats. Le sigh.

So two and a quarter hours later arrived at Paris Gare du Nord. Pretty good time for 490km!

Walked to my hotel - it's like two minutes from the station - best location ever! Tiny little room, but perfectly adequate. Luckily I was able to check in and dump my crap.

Headed straight out again because it was sunny, and decided to travel light so wouldn't have to lug my backpack around.

Gare du Nord is *huge*. And the automatic ticket machines only seemed to take coins, but I wanted a carnet, which I didn't have enough coins for, so queued to buy tickets. Fifteen minutes later .. hrmm. Eventually got my tickets, and eventually found where to go to get the train I wanted. Paris' metro signage is not nearly as user-friendly as London's :(

So into town I trundled.

Got out of the station and it's freezing cold and cloudy. WTF?? And of course I didn't bring my jacket, because it was *sunny*. Le sigh.

Anyway, got out at Notre Dame. Had a look, but the queue was all the way back along the plaza in front of it. So just wandered up and down the Seine having a look.

Continued walking along the south bank. Came across a bridge that was covered in padlocks. And realised how much I missed the sweetie :(:(:(

Eventually was opposite the Louvre so went across and had a look around. The queue for people *with* tickets was all the way across the plaza. I don't even know where the people were that needed to buy tickets.

Headed west, walking through the little arch, and through the gardens to see the obelisk which is the pair of the one I saw last week in Luxor.

Kept walking up Champs de elysee or however you spell it. It was nice through the park section of it, but then the shops hit and it was crazy crowded.

Finally got to the Arc de Triumphe. Crowded. So crowded. I couldn't remember if this was covered by the museum pass or not, so just decided to do it, since I was there. Fifteen minutes queueing later.. hrmm. I think it was actually on the museum pass, which if I'd had I could have walked straight in. Le sigh.

Went up and the view was pretty good. 194 steps in the sprial staircase to the first layer, more after that to the upper layers.

Came back down and it started raining.

Then it stopped, so kept walking.

Headed south-west and had a look at the Eiffel Tower from the north west side. There was sun for a while, but not when I was in a position to photograph it. Le sigh.

Went under the tower. They were setting up for a concert or something so couldn't stand in the middle and look up :( Why do I always seem to have crap timing for these sorts of things? Sussed out the queues. There's a lift broken so you can't buy tickets in advance (I tried when I was still at home - they were sold out til like June - now they're sold out til July). The lift queue looked *insane* and the stairs queue was like an hour and a half long. :(

I'd had enough at this point so headed back to Gare du Nord. Really don't like the signage here :(

Found a semi user-friendly cafe and had some veal and veggies (I'd been craving meat and veggies since had too much doughy stuff today).

Then back to the hotel. The sweetie was still up after his last day at his Japanese school, so we had a skype chat which was pretty emotional for me. Have I mentioned how much I miss the sweetie?

I can't find my Euro electrical adapter. I had it in Cairo but it's gone now. Will pull apart all my luggage to see if I can find it. Gonna be a pain if I have to buy a new one :/ Also realised this morning that the camel bone letter opener I got in Egypt was smashed in my suitcase :(

*SIGH*


Distance covered on the GPS: 490.3 km on the train, 13.5 km walking around Paris
Steps walked: 26692
Photos on the Canon: 213
Photos on the Sony: 51
Videos: 2
EUR Spent: 43.80

I'm still after someone to come and give me a foot massage.. I've done just over 100000 steps in the past four days!

First stop this morning was a short walk to Garden Lodge - Freddie Mercury's old home (and current home of Mary Austin) in Kensington. There's a bunch of written notes to Freddie stuck to the walls (behind some plexiglass heh).

Then the tube into town to go to St Paul's cathedral. I arrived at the opening time of 8:30 and ended up spending three hours there! The audio tour there was actually an audio/video things on an iPod! Climbed all the way to the top of the domes for some great views of London.

Then walked across the Millennium Bridge to go to the Globe Theatre. Got to see some Argentinians rehearsing for their show tonight - they were doing Henry IV Part 2 as part of the Globe to Globe festival (which sadly doesn't appear to have Hamlet in the original Klingon).

Back across the bridge and tubed over to Leicester Square to meet Campbell for lunch. We had some nice dumplings, and was good to catch up with him again.

Then we walked up the road a bit so I could get some more USB and SD memory at a pretty decent price too. Should do me until I get to Japan, then can use Stu's computer for the rest of the trip as the non-platter backup.

And finally to the British Museum. I was hoping to have most of the afternoon there, but with the late lunch and shopping, I ended up only having an hour and a half there :( Hoping to get some more time there tomorrow afternoon, but that's all a bit up in the air at the moment.

Stopped in at M&S on the way back to the hotel for some reasonably decent salads for dinner.


Distance covered on the GPS: 27.8 km
Steps walked: 25438
Photos on the Canon: 188
Photos on the Sony: 65+?
Videos: 0
GBP Spent: 35.36

So fricken exhausted tonight. Walked around 30000 steps, including lots of vertical ones.

This morning's breakfast was the worst so far in terms of variety and inspiration.

After breakfast we headed down the hill to Petra. 50JD to get in ($75). Ouch!

I knew *nothing* about Petra other than the treasury building (and the horse ride to it), so let myself be surprised.

First surprise is that they don't let you ride horses through the siq (gorge) anymore, which was a bit disappointing, because was looking forward to that (Indiana Jones, anyone?).

Second surprise is just the concept of the place, which is essentially the biggest ancient graveyard on the planet.

So yeah, walked down the hill and through the siq to the treasury building. We had to keep hurrying up to stop and stand still which was pretty frustrating. So took quite a while to walk through.

Our guide was pretty sneaky at one point and got us to walk in single file through a narrow bit, citing dangerous driving by the horse and buggy drivers. Then he got us to step out and look back up the gorge to look at the colouring of the rocks. Then he said "turn around", and there was the building through a gap in cliffs. Very cool!!

Of course the treasury building is pretty spectacular. Stopped and admired it for a while.

Then continued on past the dozens and dozens of tombs cut into the rocks.

Six of us then decided to power walk up to the monastry at the top of another canyon. Approximately 1000 vertical steps, 35 minutes each way, and a 5000 step round trip on the pedometer. I was very hot by the end!

They kept offering donkey rides to the top. But I didn't ask how much they were cause otherwise they wouldn't leave you alone. Similarly all the vendors all the way up the hill were all "buy a gift, one dinar" (except someone from our group tried to take them up on that offer, but it was of course a lie, and wanted to charge more for what she wanted). What these people don't seem to realise is that their crazy hard sell is a complete turn off for a lot of people. I want to window shop without being hassled. You can't do that here. If you so much as look at their stalls they won't leave you alone. So they won't get my business, because I really don't even know what they have to offer.

Had lunch at the Crowne Plaza cafe, then continued back. Dad and I went up to another temple the others had gone to while we'd gone up to the monastry.

Continued to walk back fast.

At the end of the siq, we claimed our included horse ride (plus $3 tip) back to the bus.

So left Petra at 2pm, covered in dust. You could easily have spent a couple of days exploring the place. We were meant to get a full day, but it had to get cut short because we had to go to Wadi Rum today as we won't have time tomorrow.

So yeah, headed south to Wadi Rum.

Hopped into some utes and headed out into the desert a la Lawrence of Arabia. That was pretty fun.

Part way along we stopped a bedoin camp and a bunch of us had a couple of minute camel ride which was a tonne of fun.

Then stopped a little way along at another bedouin camp for some thoroughly delicious tea, and a kick-back shopping opportunity.

Back to the visitor's centre, then headed back to Wadi Musa to the hotel, stopping once to look at the sunset.

Went straight to dinner because it was about 7:15pm by the time we got back. So we were all filthy and smelly. Oops. The super rude Europeans weren't around so dinner was a lot more relaxed, although not super great.

Then up to do photo stuff and try and use the internet.

But I really need to collapse into bed pretty soon. After I have a shower. And wash my hair. With some of my clothes on (such as my socks) which really need a wash..


Distance covered on the GPS: 229.8 plus some stuff in Petra
Steps walked: 33324, but I'm taking off 3000 due to bumpy roads screwing up the count
Photos on the Canon: 467
Photos on the Sony: 103
Videos: 17
USD Spent: 6

Urrrgghhhh. Today was not a good day. We did see some pretty cool stuff, but lots of stresses too :(

To start with I slept like crap. It was just too hot in the room (and Israel, like Europe, doesn't believe in layers (sheets). It's all or nothing with a blanket). There might have been air conditioning but I didn't feel like fussing about with it in the middle of the night. Woke up at 5:30 to go the toilet and the parents took this as their cue to turn the lights on >:( I think I might have gotten a little bit more sleep.

Then I got rejected at breakfast. Most of the tables only sat four people so I couldn't easily join people. In the end I went and sat by myself on a bigger table, and felt like a nigel, and only got joined near the end.

Went for a little walk after breakfast to photograph the beach and the hotel.

Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea
Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea

View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)
View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)

Checked out, then headed north back up the shores of the Dead Sea, this time with the light on the canyons.

Our first stop was Masada, which is this super cool fortress built by Herod atop a rocky mountain, and accessed by cable car. It finally fell to the Romans after a lengthy seige. It was another case of hurry up and wait and not enough time to really explore the place. So that was a bit frustrating, but I think we saw the majority of it.

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Cistern in Masada
Cistern in Masada

Water collection trenches
Water collection trenches

Top of the cable car at Masada
Top of the cable car at Masada

Top of Masada
Top of Masada

Room in Masada.  The black line was the height of the wall when they found it.  They then rebuilt the walls on top<br>Photo by Dad
Room in Masada. The black line was the height of the wall when they found it. They then rebuilt the walls on top
Photo by Dad

Store rooms in Masada
Store rooms in Masada

Tristram's starlings at Masada
Tristram's starlings at Masada

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Top view of Herod's Palace
Top view of Herod's Palace

Roman seige camp
Roman seige camp

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce
Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce

Pigeon roosts
Pigeon roosts

Where the romans attacked from
Where the romans attacked from

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Continued north, back into Palestinian territory to Qumran (unless it was Masada in Palestinian territory, can't remember) where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. I didn't realise there was an ancient town excavated there as well. But can you guess what happened? That's right, rushed from one point to another with little time to take it in. Fortunately after lunch they gave everyone an hour to go shopping, so Dad and I went back in. This was sooo much better just wandering around at my own pace and exploring stuff.

Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea
Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yeah so lunch at Qumran. Worst experience of the trip so far. Had to battle your way through the shop then hundreds of people all jostling each other to get to the food and the tables. When we found a free table we got told to move. Then as I was trying to take a seat and dump my crap people kept telling me to move up and down the table to let people come or go as they changed their minds and then a heap of others were all trying to push past. I basically lost it. I *hate* crowds like that :(:(:( And the food was pretty average, probably the worst of the trip so far as well. Maybe just because I was too stressed/depressed, although someone else commented as well.

So left there and headed for Jerusalem. And we were there in like half an hour. Bizarre. Especially since everywhere east of Jerusalem is completely arid, but Jerusalem itself is relatively green.

Headed up to the Mount of Olives first up for a nice view of the old city.

Temple mount from the Mount of Olives
Temple mount from the Mount of Olives

The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock

Eastern (Golden) Gate
Eastern (Golden) Gate

Then started walking down the hill.

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

First stopping in at Dominus Flevit, or the Jesus wept church.

Dominus Flevit
Dominus Flevit

Temple mount from Dominus Flevit
Temple mount from Dominus Flevit

Then at the bottom of the hill in the Garden of Gethsemane to the basilica there.

Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane<br>Photo by Dad
Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
Photo by Dad

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

East side of the Temple Mount
East side of the Temple Mount

Then we got taken in the coach up to the old temple walls.

Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount
Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount

Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount
Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount

South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch
South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch

Went in and through the security check (and apparently there was a bit of a scene because some of the girls went through the men's line).

And there was the Wailing Wall. Went and touched it. And probably got dirty looks from the Jews who apparently resent us gentiles being there.

The Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
The Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Prayers in the Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
Prayers in the Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Then we got to go underneath the walls through a bunch of tunnels which was way cool.

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple<br>Photo by Mum
These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple
Photo by Mum

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

And then to the hotel. Have I ever mentioned how much I *hate* fancy hotels? Internet: $15/day. Laundry facilities: non-existent (except for a massive fee). Sink plug: none. Power points: none spare, had to disconnect lamps and kettles stuck behind a cabinet. Table to work on laptop: none really, but can use one on the side of the room with no electricity nearby. We have a wonderful view .. of the lobby. No elevator to our floor. I'm sleeping on a cot taking up most of the free space in the room. The waiting staff at dinner were pretty useless. I don't know about the food, I was too depressed to even feel like eating much. And I forgot to even document my food, that's how bad a day I was having.

Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel
Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel

Our hotel room - I got a cot bed
Our hotel room - I got a cot bed

So now I have the aircon trying to cool the room down so I can sleep tonight, and then the parents come in and complain its freezing.

Can I go home now?

Distance covered on the GPS: 128.1km
Steps walked: 17373
Photos on the Canon: 512
Photos on the Sony: 31
Videos: 17
NIS spent: 2

So my day started at 4:50am when the parents switched their lights on.

!?!?!

Fortunately I think I got a little more sleep, but got up at 6am.

Our first stop was actually at the hotel - the "Jesus Boat" museum - which houses a two thousand year old boat they found buried in the mud on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus Boat Museum
Jesus Boat Museum

Two thousand year old boat found in the mud
Two thousand year old boat found in the mud

Model of what they thought the boat might look like
Model of what they thought the boat might look like

Gate at the Jesus Boat Museum
Gate at the Jesus Boat Museum

Next up we headed north and went to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. From wikipedia: "According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to "Feed my sheep" after the miraculous catch, the third time he appeared to them after his resurrection." Whether these were the exact locations or not who knows, but we were defintely close. Pretty awesome.

Beach on the Sea of Galilee - Jesus probably walked on this beach at some point!
Beach on the Sea of Galilee - Jesus probably walked on this beach at some point!

Bruce talking about the sea and the feeding of the five thousand just across the water
Bruce talking about the sea and the feeding of the five thousand just across the water

Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Inside the Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Inside the Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Then we went a little further north and hopped on a boat for a little cruise on the lake. Was a lovely experience and great to be on the lake and see some of the sights from a different perspective.

At Kfar Nahum heading down to catch a boat
At Kfar Nahum heading down to catch a boat

Capernaum from the boat
Capernaum from the boat

Capernaum from the boat
Capernaum from the boat

Mount Arbel and western side of the sea
Mount Arbel and western side of the sea

Looking towards the Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Looking towards the Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Potential location of the sermon on the mount
Potential location of "the sermon on the mount"

Me and Cutie on the Sea of Galilee
Me and Cutie on the Sea of Galilee
Photo by Mum

Another tour boat on the Sea of Galilee
Another tour boat on the Sea of Galilee

The boat we took
The boat we took

Next it was time to battle hoardes of tourists to see Capernaum. I was totally surprised that Capernaum is a ruin town. I somehow imagined it would be like Nazareth and a big town by now. Turns out it was destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and never rebuilt. But this made it cooler, because you could actually see some of the original streets and buildings. The synagogue there was dated quite a bit later, but even so, there's a good chance it was built on the same location, which meant we walked where Jesus once walked! Unfortunately there were too many crowds to ponder the significance of this, and we didn't spend much time there :(

Capernaum
Capernaum

Capernaum
Capernaum

Capernaum
Capernaum

Synagogue in Capernaum
Synagogue in Capernaum

Synagogue Capernaum
Synagogue Capernaum

Lunch was at "St Peter's Restaurant" a short distance away, and we sat on the deck with a great view of the lake. Had some yummy fish and the place had tonnes of salads. I'm still amazed by all the fresh food and salads in this country. It's awesome! I'm probably eating too much, but I'm certainly eating very healthily!

Sea of Galilee from our lunch spot - St Peter's Restaurant
Sea of Galilee from our lunch spot - St Peter's Restaurant

Kingfisher fishing in the Sea of Galilee
Kingfisher fishing in the Sea of Galilee

Next stop was another ruin town - Korazim - with another cool synagogue and buildings. In contrast to everywhere else, we had this place entirely to ourselves which was nice.

Northern edge of the sea on the road to Korazim
Northern edge of the sea on the road to Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Lizard at Korazim
Lizard at Korazim

Then up to the Church of the Beatitudes. This is a possible location of "the sermon on the mount", also a location that Jesus was likely to have been at some point in his life. Very cool. Although us Aussies are taking over - eucalypt trees are everywhere in Israel and this location was no different.

Church of the Beatitudes
Church of the Beatitudes

Church of the Beatitudes
Church of the Beatitudes

Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount.  Complete with gum tree.
Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount. Complete with gum tree.

Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount
Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount

Looking across to Jordan from the Church of the Beatitudes
Looking across to Jordan from the Church of the Beatitudes

Our tour was joined by the tour guide's brother and his wife for a couple of days
Our tour was joined by the tour guide's brother and his wife for a couple of days

It was back to the hotel at this point, but we didn't stay long, we headed out again shortly after to walk around the kibbutz this place is part of. Was quite surprised to see a small dairy farm with a bunch of calves. So cute!

Entrance to a bunker at the kibbutz where we stayed
Entrance to a bunker at the kibbutz where we stayed

Calf on the kibbutz
Calf on the kibbutz

Cattle shed on the kibbutz
Cattle shed on the kibbutz

Did a bit more washing before using the internet for a while.

Kebab meat for dinner with more salad. I'm going to miss all the wonderful salads here when we leave.

Distance covered on the GPS: 49.9km
Steps walked: 13774
Photos on the Canon: 495
Photos on the Sony: 21
Videos: 20

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

Well the parents turned up a bit before 2am last night. We stayed up a little while. I was worried that I wouldn't get back to sleep. But I did without any problems and had an awesome sleep. Yay for earplugs!! (I have to wear earplugs because my father is a worse morning person than I am, and there was nearly a patricide when we were travelling together in 2004). So I even slept through the alarm I had set on my phone to remind to take my malaria pills.

Morning view from the hotel
Morning view from the hotel

View from the south side of the hotel
View from the south side of the hotel

So wandered down for a late breakfast (they had a pretty awesome buffet).

Some of the breakfast buffet - so much awesome fresh food!
Some of the breakfast buffet - so much awesome fresh food!

After breakfast we went for a wander along the promenade which was a little warm but very pleasant.

Down at the beach
Down at the beach

Hooded Crow
Hooded Crow

Looking towards Old Jaffa
Looking towards Old Jaffa

At 10am we all piled into the tour bus. Twenty nine people in a big coach, which means plenty of free seats which is good.

Me next to our tour coach
Me next to our tour coach
Photo by Mum

Our coach captain (Osama) and tour guide (Ronen)
Our coach captain (Osama) and tour guide (Ronen)

Our first stop was a valley south of Tel Aviv where (supposedly) David slew Goliath. They've based this on a few of the old place names in the area. There was a river bed there with lots of smooth stones. If it was actually the place it was pretty cool. If not it still had a nice cliff and wheat field and a few poppies.

Buildings in Tel Aviv
Buildings in Tel Aviv

Seeing road signs with biblical names was so cool
Seeing road signs with biblical names was so cool

They actually grow prickly pear here!
They actually grow prickly pear here!

I was surprised how green the countryside looked
I was surprised how green the countryside looked

Possible location of the place where David fought Goliath
Possible location of the place where David fought Goliath

Bruce reading the bible
Bruce reading the bible

White Stork.  These guys were everywhere
White Stork. These guys were everywhere

Cliffs near possible location of David and Goliath
Cliffs near possible location of David and Goliath

Stones in the creek bed
Stones in the creek bed

Poppies
Poppies
Photo by Mum

The countryside was very green, which was surprising given how little water the country gets. Apparently 50% of the water used is from desalination (don't know how true that is). And they're very good at water management.

Green countryside, with burning off
Green countryside, with burning off

Then we headed back to Tel Aviv and stopped in Jaffa. It had a bunch of old buildings and a lovely view. We got dropped off and walked down the hill and had lunch in a place which served "traditional Arab" food - which basically to us meant "Turkish" - ie, bread with varieties of dips, and chicken kebabs. Nice food and a really nice lemonade to go with it.

Roundabout and clock tower in Old Jaffa
Roundabout and clock tower in Old Jaffa

Danger of death!
Danger of death!

Buildings in Old Jaffa
Buildings in Old Jaffa

Looking north along the coast from Jaffa
Looking north along the coast from Jaffa

Military helicopter
Military helicopter

Minaret in Old Jaffa
Minaret in Old Jaffa

Minaret in Old Jaffa
Minaret in Old Jaffa

Some of the lunch spread
Some of the lunch spread

But after lunch instead of giving us some time to explore the town some more, they gave us a whole twenty minutes. Was so pissed off about that. Because we really didn't have the time to see *anything*. We went back to the bus at 14:45 and were back at the hotel at 15:10. That was it for the day. And I'm like .. it's ten past three.. would it have killed you to give us another half an hour?? Lame.

Clock tower in Old Jaffa
Clock tower in Old Jaffa

Theatre in Old Jaffa
Theatre in Old Jaffa

So the parents and I headed out again for a little walk around the beach again. But noone wanted to come with me to see if the Star Wars escalator was still there, so went back with mum to go for a swim.

Our hotel in Tel Aviv
Our hotel in Tel Aviv

Had a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, which actually had some small waves. Didn't stay long, but it was really refreshing. Then we went inside to go in the hotel pool. Which was good too, but to be honest I thought it was a little too warm and actually preferred the temperature of the sea!

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea
Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea

Ship passing in front of the sunset
Ship passing in front of the sunset

Had a bit of time to kill before our scheduled dinner time so downloaded and resized photos.

Dinner was in the buffet again, heaps of good food. But I was good and had just a little meat and plenty of veggies and salad. Best bit though was these little chocolate cups with sour berries - yummm!!

And back to the room to blog.

Distance covered on the GPS: 148.3km
Steps walked: 13823
Photos on the Canon: 557
Photos on the Sony: 52
Videos: 17