Beth Vogelzang

Love travelling, with my personal tour guide, PeeVee -trip planner extraordinaire
Living in: Castle Hill, Australia
  • Day13

    Sorrento to Capri

    Today in Italy ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    Sorrento is a delightful town, clinging to the volcanic cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with Vesuvius in the distance. Lemons are huge,and as attested last night, their I on cello is to die for!

    This place must've a nightmare I the summer with tourists, it was very busy yesterday with 3 cruuse ships in harbour. Today less so as noships, but still lots of people . It was very cool today, only about 16 degrees, but some intrepid (Aussie) girls we met decided t I swim on the black sand beach.

    The township has lots of wonderful little alley ways to explore,and great little stores. We bought a ceramic plaque with house numbers that's cute, and I had to pick up a top or two...

    Right now, we have just boarded a ferry for the Isle of Capri, and I will post more this evening. Ciao!
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  • Day12

    Amalfi

    Yesterday in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today we arrived in Sorrento,and dropped our bags off at our hotel. We were early,so we planned to catch a bus to Amalfi through Positano. What a wonderful, if perilous drive that was!

    This is the lemon capital of Italy,and every inch of space on the side of volcanic cliffs are filled with either limpet-like buildings clinging to the sides, or lemon tree groves.

    The skill of the bus driver was impressive,as the roads are incredibly narrow and winding. Cars squeeze past and motor scooters zip by.

    Amalfi is only 26 km from Sorrento, but it takes an hour and a half to get there! Once arriving, we had a great day wandering with the thousands of other tourists in town, it was Sunday after all.

    In the late afternoon, footsore and weary, having walked 25000 steps (again), we boarded the bus back home. We got to our room,in the base of an old light-house “Il Faro”, and found it had a balcony inset into the volcanic rock that was the cliff face. Showered and changed, we headed out for dinner, and found a delightful little restaurant. Salt and pepper shrimp, cooked and eaten whole - so fresh and tender. Paul took a big risk and ordered lasagna, safe today, it was not as good as mine, but it was worthy. I had a lovely piece of sea schnapper gratinato - topped with lovely crunchy breadcrumbs, and roasted baby potatoes. Yum! Paul was given a “man-sized” beer - looked like a litre and a half, and I drank a whole bottle of wine. We finished off with ice cold limoncello,of course. Suffice to say, it’s lucky we were close to our hotel, because I cannot remember getting there! Haha!
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  • Day11

    Pompeii

    May 18 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Today we set off by Metro using our Campania cards, which gave us free travel and museum entry in the Naples area. We took the train headed toward Sorrento, as instructed, but unfortunately we got on the wrong line. Along with two other sets of tourists, a father and son and a couple, we decided to all get off together, at what we then found was a largely abandon station! Anyway, the correct train eventually arrived, and we arrived at the correct station, and headed to Scavi Vesuvi - the ruins of Pompeii.

    Pompeii was quite a large city, with a big amphitheatre and 25 brothels! There are many taverns, bakeries and temples surrounding the forum and the basilica.

    It must have been a very malodorous city, with the inset cobbled roads with ruts of cartwheels intact (see photo) , and raised stepping stones intermittently to protect the feet from the sewage that must have flowed in the streets!

    The casts of the bodies found were eerie, but very interesting. We spent several hours here, along with many many other tourists (it was a very busy Saturday), then headed towards our next stop, Herculaneum.
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  • Day11

    Herculaneum

    May 18 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    The train trip to Herculaneum was uneventful, and we found there were far less tourists who made the trip after Pompeii. We decided against going up Vesuvius, as it was completely cloud bound.

    We found Herculaneum more compact, but more complete than Pompeii. It too was covered in the fallout of the eruption of 79AD, up to 20 metres. It is evident how far, when you see the buildings which now surround the site are so much higher than what was excavated.

    It is quite different to Pompeii, and we both preferred it. The mosaics were still vibrant, and the evidence that it was a richly decorated city abound. The frescoes while somewhat faded show how brilliant they must have been. There was evidence still of the effect the earthquake of 65AD had, with one mosaiced floor completely misaligned and almost a crater inside.

    It was only in 1980 that several boat store rooms were discovered, full of almost-fossilised skeletons, which remain intact.

    I particularly liked the cheeky statue of Bacchus!

    We meet some young Aussie girls, and we each savoured the opportunity to chat to friendly accents! They’d just been to a family reunion in Ireland, and were finishing off with a European tour, heading to Barcelona next. They hadn’t heard of the Sagrada Familia, so we were able to impart “must see” to them!!! They told us the election result, and then we parted ways!

    We left the site at 6 pm, and headed back to Napoli. Showered, changed and a quick bit of laundry done, we ventured out for dinner. Paul chose a scalloping, and I had spaghetti with fruit mare. Amazing clams, mussels, tiny pippis prawns and shellfish I know not the name. All very fresh and tasty!

    Another big walking day, we headed back to our hotel to rest up for the journey to Sorrento tomorrow. Only an hours trip!
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  • Day9

    Athens Airport - en route to Naples

    May 16 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    An exhausting day - train from Luxor to Cairo, a five hour wait for plane to Athens, then Athen flight to Naples, arriving to our hotel very close to the Piazza Garibaldi. Fortunately, they let us check in early, then we went exploring.

    It was delightful to be in much cooler weather - it was about 22 degrees (bliss!).

    We wandered around the cobbled streets, and frankly did not feel unsafe at all - after Cairo, it is practically Switzerland!

    We were very tired, and footsore, so we decided to retire for pizza and beer at a local restaurant on the piazza, and then we crashed for the night, for a well deserved 12 kip.
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  • Day8

    Part three: Temples of Luxor and Karnak

    May 15 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 40 °C

    After the Valley of the Kings, we headed back to the boat to rest up and eat as it was very hot - 40 degrees by then. The first stop was the Temple of Luxor, started by by Amenhotep II in 1400BC, and continued by Rameses II. It is an amalgamation of many cultures, with Egyptian, Roman, Muslim and Christian influences. One big feature is the large obelisk on the left as you enter. The identical twin was taken from here, and we have seen it years before - it is at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, apparently a gift by the ruler of Ottoman Egypt in 1833. There is a big statue of king Rameses II here which is very impressive. There is a long avenue of sphinxes leading toward the Temple of Karnak 3km away.

    From Luxor we went to the Temple of Karnak. This is a shrine to Amun-Ra, the supreme god of Egypt, and is a huge area. There is a 3km Avenue towards the Temple of Luxor, and they are in the slow process of restoring it. The avenue of sphinxes here are different, in that instead of a human head on the lion’s body, there is a ram’s head. There is another impressive obelisk here, dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut, who crowned herself Pharoah of upper and lower Egypt. The carving of the hieroglyphs on this is so precise and clear, it could have been laser cut recently! The obelisks are fascinating, in that they are cut in a single block from the ground, horizontally, and lifted into place by a series of sand and mud ramps. Amazing!

    By now ‘twas 43 degrees, and we all, including our guide Hany who is fasting for Ramadan had had enough, and headed back to the delicious airconditioned boat...
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  • Day8

    Part two: Valley of the Kings

    May 15 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 39 °C

    After breakfast, we headed to the Valley of the Kings. So called because over sixty Pharoahs were entombed here. The day was very hot - at 6.30am is was already 36 degrees, so we had to pace ourselves. We entered three tombs here, unfortunately the tomb of Tutankhamen was not one of them.

    The first tomb was of Rameses IV, it was very colourful and short, as he died not long into the building of the tomb, which starts on their day of accession, until 70 after their death (the length of time of the mummification process). Some of the tombs are larger, and deeper with lots of elaborate glyphs and colour.

    Tutankhamen ‘s tomb was undiscovered until 1922 due to having a later pharoah’s tomb built on top. His mummified remain are inside, the only ones left in situ. Photos are not allowed inside, even with the exorbitant photography pass!
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  • Day8

    Valley of the Kings

    May 15 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 39 °C

    This morning was very special. We got up at 3.15 am to go ballooning over the Valley of the Kings. All I can say is “wow”!

    We were in a basket with a bunch of giggling Japanese girls, some Brits, an Aussie and a delightful Brazilian guy.

    Our balloon was the first one up, and we soared high above the other balloons, then rotated to view the Nile and the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Hatshepsut’s Temple was large and spectacular.

    Watching the sunrise over the Nile was surreal.

    We landed in a desert region just before 6am, and the process of the team to pack up was amazing. Little boys came surging toward us on donkeys, but our ballon pilot warned us not to give them money, as they would start fighting if they all didn’t get some...

    We were collected by Hany and our driver, and had our packed breakfast in a cafe, with hot sweet mint tea, which was delicious! Then, off to our next adventure...
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  • Day7

    Edfu - The Temple of Horus

    May 14 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 39 °C

    In the afternoon we were placed on a horse and buggy, and driven through the streets of Edfu to go to The Temple of Horus. This experience was exactly how I’d pictured the Middle East! The sights and sounds of wild traffic, the rush rush of people, the bazaars, the women in full hijab, the men in galabayas and headdress, kids on donkey carts, it was amazing!

    The temple was built by Ptolemy between 237 and 57 BC, and is dedicated to Horus, the falcon god son of Osiris and Isis. It was really interesting, and our guide Hany explained many of the hieroglyphs and stories associated.

    The inner sanctum had a highly polished granite crypt, so polished it looked like silver,that used to house a golden statue of Horus. There is a wooden boat before the shrine, that would have taken the statue of Horus out on procession to be worshipped.

    Back on our boat, we continued up theNile, through a lock at Esna. These small wooden boats squeezed into the lock with us, to try to sell their wares. Towels, shawls, galabeyas - they toss them up on to the boat, and people would start to barter with them. Quite funny asthma people would often throw them back, and at times they’d miss and land in the water.. not daunted,they’d pick them up and try again!
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  • Day7

    Kom Ombo

    May 14 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 41 °C

    This morning we disembarked at 6am, and the boat had moored in front of this temple. Kom Ombo means Mountain of Gold, and the people gave up their agricultural crops to mine gold. Unfortunately, many then starved as there was nothing to eat!

    Hany , our guide, told many stories depicted in the hieroglyphs which was very interesting! You can still see many of the colours which adorned the walls, after two and a half thousand years. The paint was made from coloured minerals, set with egg white! The lack of rain would also help (it rains here once every 5 years!)

    Back on the boat we had a leisurely breakfast, while the boat set off again. We feel bad for Hany, as he is fasting for Ramadan. It must get very difficult when the temperature rises in excess of 40 degrees predicted today...

    I will post again after our next stop in a few hours!
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