Travel Summary July 2008 to December 2008

July 2008 to December 2008 — Egypt to Monaco

  • Suez City, Egypt
    29°56N by 32°34E
    Jul 8 – Jul 17, 2008
    Giza Pyramids, Cairo Museum, transiting Suez Canal
  • Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
    31° 11.2N by 25° 43.0E
    July 26 – Aug 26 & Sep 3 – 9 & Oct 6 – 7, 2008
    Monasteries, Sheep Party, Knossos Minoan ruins, trip to Athens, Delphi, Meteora & Thermopalye on mainland, visit to towns of Rythmeno and Chania on Crete, SCUBA diving, cave, olive oil factory, trip to Santorini, repairing exhaust leak
  • Kos, Dodacanese Islands, Greece
    36°53N by 27°18E
    Sep 10 – 17, 2008
    Ruins, Trip to Rhodes medieval city
  • Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey
    Turtugreis 37°0N by 27°15E
    Yat Lift 37°0N by 27°27E
    Sep 17 – Oct 6, 2008
    Haul out & accompanying work, underwater archeology museum, trip to Izmir & Ephesus
  • Bali, Crete, Greece
    35°25.0N by 24°46.5E
    Oct 8 – Oct 9, 2008
  • Pylos, Peloponnese, Greece
    36°54.0N by 21°40.5E
    Oct 10 – Oct 14, 2008
    Visit to castle/fort & bird sanctuary
  • Siracusa, Sicily, Italy
    37°03.0N by 15°17.2E
    Oct 16 – Oct 23, 2008
    Trips to Catania & Mt. Etna, Il Duormo church, kayaking
  • Vittoriosa, Malta, Malta
    35°53.4N by 14°31.2E
    Oct 27 – Nov 5, 2008
    Patron saint celebration, archeology & maritime museums, spectacular churches & accompanying museums, grandmaster’s palace, medieval citadel, Ggjanta Temples, maintenance work, blue lagoon
  • Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia
    36°22.3N by 10°32.8E
    Nov 7 – 18, 2008
    SCUBA diving, Medina, Ramadan dinner, Bardo museum, riding the sand dunes in the Sahara, set of Star Wars, traditional indigenous housing
  • Trapani, Sicily, Italy
    38°00.5N by 12°31.1E
    Nov 18 – 21, 2008
    Trip to Palermo
  • Stromboli, Sicily, Italy
    38°47.5N by 15°14.2E
    Nov 21 – 27, 2008
    Volcano hike, emergency rescues
  • Lipari, Sicily, Italy
    38°28.4N by 14°57.5E
    Nov 27 – Dec 2, 2008
  • Rome, Italy
    41°44.3N by 12°14.6E
    Dec 4 – 16, 2008
    Vatican, ancient ruins, Pantheon, Vatican fort
  • Monaco
    43°44.0N by 7°25.3E
    Dec 18 – 31, 2008
    Hiking in the Alps, underwater museum

Boat Maintenance and Tunisian Foods

It rained more throughout that night we woke the next morning (yesterday) to dark gray skies, intermittent light rain, and cool temperatures. It was almost cool enough to need a thin long sleeve shirt, but not quite. Shorts and tees are still comfortable, but barely. We are so happy about the change in the weather. After a year and a half of perpetual summer, we are ready for the cooler temperatures of autumn. We are most happy for those celebrating Ramadan. Life without water will be so much easier with it being relatively cool out.

Since our trip to the desert had been long and exhausting, yesterday was a quiet, relaxing day aboard Kosmos. Our big adventure was going to eat. We tried the Tex-Mex place. Turns out there were a few Mexican food items on the menu, but they hadn’t posted them outside for some reason. The rest of the menu was pretty standard western fare, with pasta, seafood, steaks. The Mexican items looked a bit scary. Fajitas and burritos were listed under the “cold appetizer” section. The main courses were totally non-descript, such as “Mexican Fiesta Platter”. Christi decided to stick to normal western fare. Eric, ever the optimist, ordered a burrito. Out came Continue reading Boat Maintenance and Tunisian Foods

Quad Riding in the Sahara and Lightning Storms

Continued from yesterday”¦ From the hotel/set we walked over to another one of the privately owned underground houses that the owner has turned into a “museum”. This house was similar to the second house we saw, except that the living room was at the end of the entrance tunnel, near the outlet to the courtyard, rather than at the front of the tunnel. This is the owner in her living room.

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We found out that several families used to share these houses, with communal kitchen and storage areas, and each family lived in one room. The rooms are Continue reading Quad Riding in the Sahara and Lightning Storms

In-Ground Houses and Star Wars Set

Last night a storm blew through. There was a lot of wind, some lightening, but just a little rain. We were up at 0500 and out the door at 0600. The sun rises at 0700, so it was dark out. We got on an inland two lane highway running south.

The ride south was almost all farm land dotted with little towns. We did pass through one moderately large town. The vast majority of the land was covered in what seemed like endless olive tree plantations where the trees are planted far apart from one another in perfectly symmetrical rows. The land beneath the olive trees is ploughed, so we assume that other crops have been recently planted underneath the olives. Many of the olive tree groves had their property “fenced” off with a hedge of nasty looking cactus. We did see a few other crops actively growing in plots that did not contain olive trees, none that we recognized, though.

At one point we went through a small town where every single building, as well as the fences in front of the buildings, were covered with garlands of red chili peppers. The farm land surrounding the town was mostly the same crop, chili peppers. There were people in the fields picking the fruit, and once again, we were filled with amazement that people could be doing manual labor out in the heat with no water.

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The day was mostly overcast, so the sun wasn’t beating down as hard as it had been the last few days. The air outside was noticeably cooler, but just as humid. So while it wasn’t nearly as bad, it was still muggy and uncomfortably hot out. The air was scented with that wonderful “after rain” perfume.

There were a lot of people Continue reading In-Ground Houses and Star Wars Set

The Bardo Museum in Tunis

Today we went to the Bardo Museum. We have figured out that Tunisians seem to have a map aversion. No one likes to show you where things are on the map. Nor have we been able to find a precise map. So, last night, after dinner Ramses drove miles and miles out of his way to take us to the Bardo Museum so that we knew exactly where it was and would be able to find it today. Talk about nice.

On the way to the museum, in Tunis, traffic was interrupted by a herd of goats crossing the street in town. We were amused.

The museum is housed in an old palace. The palace is beautiful. The ground floor has a few remains from the Phoenician era of Carthage days. They were mostly clay sculptures of assorted gods they worshipped. In addition to the full figurines, there were lots of little masks with incredibly expressive faces. One of the gods was named Baal and the Phoenicians actually sacrificed new born babies to him. Little is really know about the why or frequency of the practice, and there was a display on different theories.

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The vast majority of the museum is devoted to Roman mosaics. These mosaics are mostly floors from the homes of the wealthy. They are intricate and many are absolutely enormous, like two stories tall and so wide they take up two giant walls. By this point we have seen a lot of Roman ruins, most of which contain impressive mosaics, and we were nonetheless bowled over by the mosaics on exhibit here. They are truly incredible. We can’t imagine how much time and energy must have gone into making each one. There are also a few other artifacts, as well, including some statues, sarcophagi, jewelry, and tools.

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There is also a section of the palace with Arab era artifacts. This display is eclectic, featuring everything from Continue reading The Bardo Museum in Tunis