FUN-travel: 3 Continents – 72 Days – Trip Recap

June 4, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: 3 Continents – 72 Days – Trip Recap 

  • Our Opinion: Travel is very personal! We prefer longer trips now because it is both physically and financially expensive to leave the US. We like a blend of cruising and land tours. They both have their pluses and minuses. 72 days was too long! We figure our limit is somewhere between 42 and 64 days.

    u Garabaldi Glacier 8

    Garabaldi Glacier

  • Travel Mantra: “I want to be surprised, but not pissed off.” I have learned I need to do a little more research. It never even entered my mind that we could be on our 22 day Silversea cruise and not actually stop and get off. Rough seas and bad weather caused us to miss a day on South Georgia Island and then to not be able to stop on Tristan Da Cunha. End result – we were on that ship for 11 days straight! Good news, I am very good at entertaining myself.
  • Surprises: It turned out that we went to some of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. Wasn’t planned that way – just realized that half way through the trip. We wanted to see South Georgia Island without going back to the continent of Antarctica. Silversea was the only option and they don’t have that trip scheduled in 2013 or 2014. So if you see a cruise you want to take, go for it, it may not be there next year.
Buenos Aires, Argentina 6

Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Rooms: Size does matter when it comes to a room/cabin. We don’t spend that much time in our room but when one person has to sit down while the other tries to go to the bathroom or closet it can be a real drag.

    Salisbury Plain, South Georgia 59

    Salisbury Plain, South Georgia

  • Food: We are not picky eaters and we found the food to be very good. One thing we are not accustomed to is hotels with “half board.” That means your dinner is included. We don’t like being forced to eat at our hotel (we like to be a part of the local experience) and we never order 2 entrees. It’s just not cost effective for us. Another thing we check is the price of breakfast. Many times it is included in your room mate. We have found sometimes you can opt out and not pay the charge which ranges from $18 to $30 pp. We don’t eat that much in the morning and would rather spend that on a nice lunch. When we do have breakfast included most of the time we make sandwiches to take with us to eat later.
Wadi Rum, Jordan 36

Wadi Rum, Jordan

  • Drivers/Guides: Ali was our driver (not a guide) the whole time in Jordan. While he did not speak fluent English he was very professional and competent. We felt very safe with him. If you’re going to Jordan and want a private tour his email is  Our guide for the last 8 days in Israel was Yuval and he was one of the best guides we have ever had. He had a Master’s degree and was very knowledgeable on history and religion. He was also very objective. Again, if you’re looking for a private guide in Israel his email is
  •  Lessons Learned: Stay out of Israel during Passover!
Easter Island, Chile 146

Easter Island, Chile

FUN-travel: Holy Land – Petra, Jordan – Day 4

April 3, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Holy Land – Petra, Jordan – Day 4 

The ABC’s of The Holy Land
A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration

Trip Day 58 – Thursday, March 28 – Petra, Jordan – full sun, high 60’s, breezy – perfect for walking/ hiking

Petra, Jordan 123

  • 6:30 – wake up
  • 7:30 – get up – down for good, hot cappuccino & typical breakfast of fresh fruit & sandwich to go for picnic later
  • 9:15 – meet our guide for 2 hr tour

    Petra, Jordan 19

    The Treasury

  • 1st stop – As-Siq – ancient main entrance impressive long, deep, narrow gouge over half mile long – hemmed by massive cliffs 250 ft high – bizarre looking colorful rock formations, water channels cut into cliffs & votive niches carved into rock
  • 2nd stop – The Treasury – pride & joy of Petra & most beautiful – 90’ wide x 130’ high – carved 1st century BC as a tomb of important Nabataean King (almost 2 miles from main gate)
  • 3rd stop – street of facades– rows of tombs w/intricate carvings
  • 4th stop – the theatre – carved into solid rock, seats 3000 – end of guide, take off on our own
  • 11:30 – arrive city center to start long trek up to top – over 1000 carved sandstone steps & pathways
  • 5th stop – the monastery – most colossal temple & sacred sight
  • 12:30 – continue on to highest viewpoint (can see to Jerusalem & Palestine across Jordan valley)
  • 1:30 – picnic/rest break before trek back down
  • 6th stop – 2:15 – church mosaic floors
  • 7th stop – colonnaded street – temples, public buildings & shops
Petra, Jordan 88

The Monastery

  • 8th stop – royal tombs – series of carved temples in side of mountain w/commanding views across city center
  • 5:00 – arrive back to hotel exhausted in need of cold beer
  • TA – (totally awesome) – AAA rated ++ – a must see!

FF – (FUN-fact) – Petra dates back to 300 BC and in our opinion is on the same scope as Angkor Wat in beauty and scale.
More FF – The daily entrance fee is almost $70 pp and includes a horse ride back from As-Siq to the main gate.
More FF – President Obama was here on March 23rd and was a very positive experience for the Jordanians.

Petra, Jordan 52



FUN-travel: Holy Land – Amman to Petra, Jordan – Day 3

April 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Holy Land – Amman to Petra, Jordan – Day 3 

The ABC’s of The Holy Land
A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration

Trip Day 57 – Wednesday, March 27 – Amman to Petra, Jordan – cloudy, overcast turns to sun – high 60’s  

  • 6:30 – wake up
  • 7:00 – good, hot cappuccino – huge breakfast buffet – take to-go box for picnic lunch
  • 8:35 – depart – drive to …
  • 1st stop – 9:45 – Madaba – home to world’s largest collection of ancient mosaics – restored Byzantine and Herodian mosaics in Archaeological Park, Apostles’ Church and Madaba Museum – Mt. Nebo, from which Moses viewed the Promised Land, take in view of Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, Jericho and (on a clear day, which we didn’t have) distant spires and domes of Mount of Olives
St. George Church, Jordan 4

St. George Church

  • 2nd stop 10:30 – St. George Church – famous 6th Century map of the Holy Land – contemporary church with display of mosaics from the succession of pilgrimage churches on this venerated spot – find great souvenir store (owner ready to make deal)
  • 11:30 – drive south, zigzagging thru barren sandstone mountains w/sparse bushes
  • 12:30 – tea break – Wadi Mujib – couch & chairs along road overlooking reservoir – Yassar (owner) very engaging – have tea & “fig newton” homemade by his wife (1 of 2) – buy coral bracelet (he was so nice)
  • 3rd stop – 1:45 – Karek Crusader Castle – high on hill w/sheer drop on 3 sides – built 1142
Karak Castle, Jordan 5

Karek Castle

  • 2:30 – lunch – typical tourist buffet – $15 pp – just so-so – depart 3:10
  • 4th stop – 5:00 – Dhana Old Village – 500 yrs old perched on hill overlooking pristine, silent landscape of mountains & valleys – in process of being re-done – (US is paying for this project) – have tea in local hotel
  • 6:45 – check in to Movenpick – 5* – very nice & right outside main gate to Petra
  • B – have to hurry & eat to see Petra @ night
  • 7:00 – dinner buffet – quite good
Mt. Nebo, Jordan 3

View From Mt. Nebo

  • 8:20 – experience Petra @ night (cost almost $18 pp & read this in a magazine as a must see) – pathway lit with candles set in sand in paper bags, the darkness and twinkling lights give it a sense of intrigue you don’t see during the day
  • A – full moon illuminates mountain (creates beautiful silhouettes)
  • B – have to navigate walk over packed earth, huge cobble stone like rocks & sandy gravel path
  • 8:55 – arrive The Treasury (best known & most beautiful temple)
  • 9:15 – chanting starts, followed by flute player, followed by singing
  • BB (big bummer) – sitting too close to candle bag, knock it, starts on fire & burns my coat
  • Another BB – that’s all there is! – they don’t light up the Treasury – Chris is totally disappointed
  • 10:30 – arrive back to hotel


Petra at Night

Petra at Night

FF – (FUN-fact) – We’ve seen a lot of children on school field trips this week. They separate the boys and girls and on you see them on alternate days.
More FF – They still have pull tabs on the soda cans here.

FUN-travel: Dubai to Amman, Jordan – Holy Land – Day 1

March 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Dubai to Amman, Jordan – Holy Land – Day 1 

The ABC’s of The Holy Land
A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration

Trip Day 55 – Monday, March 25 – Dubai to Amman, Jordan – overcast & cloudy upon arrival – clear & warm 80’s Amman

Silver Explorer 4

Dining Room on Silversea Explorer

  • BB (big bummer) – Emirates biz class seats are recliners, not flat beds (like what 1st class was in the 90’s) & we are on it for 9 hrs
  • 8:30 – flight lands
  • B – 2 hr time change ahead
  • B – airport is chaotic – not sure where to go – we paid for business class & since we missed our flight we’re booked in “no class”

    Silver Explorer 10

    Evan (my favorite waiter) & me at Crew Show

  • B – told we have to wait until 1:00 & try @ the departure gate
  • B – also told we have no hotel room (cape town agent said we did)
  • A – do get into Emirates biz class lounge
  • C – it’s huge! biggest biz class lounge I have ever seen – as big as half the length & width of the terminal – I am not kidding!
  • C – don’t need a hotel room – have everything we need & don’t have to leave the airport
  • 1:00 – head to gate
  • B – lady @ gate can’t confirm biz class
  • A – 1:15 – new agent (clearly in charge) confirms biz class
  • 1:30 – board plane
  • C – 2:00 – take off on time
  • 4:30 – arrive Amman
  • C – got an hour back!
  • B – have to buy visas
  • B – only take Jordanian money – costs $20 JD each
  • C – no line in customs!
  • B – baggage claim takes forever
  • 5:30 – walk out & greeted by Ali our driver for the next 6 days
  • B – need bigger car to accommodate all the luggage from this long trip
  • A – Ali says theft is not a problem in Jordan (didn’t want baggage in front seat in plain sight)
  • A – take scenic drive to all of the places we missed today because our flight was delayed – see citadel – roman ampitheatre in old city, US embassy, kings palace offices & upscale neighborhood
  • 7:15 – arrive Crowne Plaza hotel
  • B – only have room w/2 beds – not happy – say so & insist we paid for king bed months ago
  • C – miraculously they find room – get upgrade
  • A – 8:00 – dinner on 12 (top floor) – hummus/pita – grilled halloum cheese, rack of lamb
Silver Explorer 5

Panorama Lounge

FF – (FUN-fact) – Emirates lounges are on the 2nd floor above the duty free shops and the 1st class lounge covers the other half.  Each one has over 1000 seats in various areas. They also have showers, a spa, main dining room, multiple bars and lounges with food, kids play area & food corner, shoe shine, business centers with computers, quite area and a prayer room. There are 3 terminals and the lounges are all just as big. The main dining room had 24 different cold items including salads, fruit and cheese. There were 8 hot main dishes.
More FF – Emirates is the only airline we’ve flown that has stickers you can put on your headrest that alerts the flight attendants to 1) no wake up during flight 2) wake up for breakfast 3) wake up for duty free.

Silver Explorer 14

Me & Fred (AKA Milly)