A Travellerspoint blog

Dead, Red and Floating

sunny 31 °C
View Reis van de Nautilidae on Estebaan's travel map.

we floated high in the oily salt sturated water as the sun set orange over Israel. Unfortunately we spent too long frolicking in the Ded Sea and ended up having to pitch our tents on a dark, dusty hill next to an abandoned police checkpoint. Today we have been enjoying the colourful splendour of the coral and fish in the Red Sea near Aqaba and we are relaxing by the poolside of our budget hotel which overlooks the Sea. Time to stop and rest.

Posted by Estebaan 02:35 Archived in Jordan Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Immodium in the chaos of Allepo

sunny 22 °C

the boys are enjoying their birthday wish and are sitting nearby at separate computers working together to haul out some treasures from an electronic battlefield within a Runescape world.

Victor has taken an Immodium to plug up the gastro that began last night and Lute will take one tomorrow morning if things don't improve. We suspect the trigger was some hot cheese sandwiches we ate in the Souk but the orogins could lie in many places in this hygiene lax chaos. Yes I'm afraid a health and safety audit would fail Allepo in the first couple of milliseconds.

The Allepo Souk is amazing, a vibrant middle eastern market of ancient heritage that the locals still use. We wandered through it until we had all had our senses battered into numbness by the onslaught of colour, spices, enthusiastic stall owners and endless people who like staring at the boys.

Today we found the blacksmith quarter of the city and I was welcomed into a smithy by an old wirey Syrian who proudly showed me a huge chopping knife he had forged from a piece of automobile leaf spring over a tiny fire on a square anvil no heavier than 15kg - Amazing! . I will try to upload a photo sometime soon.

Off to Jordan tomorrow.

Posted by Estebaan 09:07 Archived in Syria Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

DEAR TRAVELAR...hope you happy stay

sunny 27 °C
View Reis van de Nautilidae on Estebaan's travel map.

that's the greeting that sits on a large plastic sign high on the wall in the passport control office on the Syrian Border 40km outside of Allepo. I had the misfortune to have to use the grim keyhole toilet located outside the office and the book I'm reading called "What Went Wrong" by Bernard Russell (which is an overview of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the West) seemed to be so relevant.

We are really really tired today thanks to a slack travel agent in Istanbul who stuffed up our bus booking resulting in our arrival at a bus station in Hattai in Southern Turkey at 2am in the morning with no follow-on transfer. I also have a filthy headcold but fortunately my headlice seem to have been exterminated by the poisonous shampoo purchased in Dubrovnic.

Since my last entry weve covered some ground, the vast bulk on overnight trains. We took the Balkan Express from Belgrade to Istanbul which was a 24hr haul over the mountains through Bulgaria and we had a 6 berth couchette all to ourselves, in fact we had the whole couchette carriage to ourselves. We also took the Anadolu Express from Istanbul to Ankara which was only 10hrs, but also pleasant (once the Turks next door stopped smoking). The rhythmic patter of the train is a very pleasant bedfellow and having now done a few long bus distance bus hauls, we now know what we prefer.

We are now moving thru the transition zone from West to East. Istanbul is the vibrant crossroad and we enjoyed wandering its streets and taking in some of its historical sights. In Istanbul I became nauseous from inhaling too much mint tobacco from a large exotic waterpipe whilst battling Victor and Max in backgammon on mother of pearl inlaid boards. We were lucky enough to see a live Sufi "whirling dervish" performance in a large room at Istanbul train station and I was elevated and taken away with the music. The performance was somewhat let down by the venue, but it was an insight into the religion that Rumi began so long ago. I think the boys found it a bit boring but perhaps one day they will appreciate it.

Books have become very important on our journey and the boys are now busy chewing on the first two books of Lord of the Rings. Max is a bit like me (somewhat obsessive) and once he gets into a book there is no stopping him. Unfortunately for him this means he is living though floods and droughts as our journey is not regularly intersecting English bookstores. Victor is busy devouring all the maps we are gathering, he loves to get them and adjust them with pens and highlighters creating new imaginary lands.

Posted by Estebaan 21:21 Archived in Syria Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

sick in Mostar

sunny 18 °C

it took some time for me to accept that Lute could go no further. She had managed to get off the bus from Dubrovnic but Max had to repeat that "she would be sick" before I finally "got it" that she was not going to make it another 10hrs to Belgrade. Bloody hell I can be so one track sometimes. Anyway, there we were, late on a Friday night in a bleak, cold almost deserted bus station in Mostar, Bosnia with no information at hand. I felt quite alone as I left Lute with the boys and walked out of the waiting room to find some money and accomidation.

All turned out fine, as it nearly always does. I found the bus station manager behind a closed window and once he understood the situation he rallied to the cause. 30min later we were in a private apartment run by Dino and his mum Tania. Tania brewed Lute a pot of herbal tea to help her out and she was asleep not long after. Today we have spent wandering this war torn town and sitting in cafes whilst the boys waded through their first english grammer exercise in the books we bought for them in Dubrovnic. Lute is feeling better and we are planning to catch the bus tonight.

I am presently treating myself for some uninvited hitchhikers. Yep, somewhere in the last few weeks some headlice jumped on board. The assistant at the pharmacy in Dubronik offered me two products (hair retention and anti dandruff) until I changed from sign language and drew my best picture of a louse.

Posted by Estebaan 05:12 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Dubrovnik

sunny 15 °C

We jumped off the bus and surged past the throng of people trying to convince us to take private accomidation. A short walk towards the church saw us at the information office where I soon learn't that we would need to take private accomidation to stick to our vague budget. I went and had a chat to one of the women standing on a street corner in her long synthetic black patterned dress. I was soon wisked away by Nevzeta's husband in his 26 year old banger. The apartment was fine and I negotiated 350Kruna (50Euro) for all of us for one night (only this morning did I realise that they had vacated their bedrooms for us and slept in their living room).

If you are coming to Dubrovnic and want to stay somewhere close to the port in a clean room with a view call Nevzeta Custovic (020) 418 547. Her warmth and hospitality will remind you why you travel.

Last night we saw Dubrovnic by night. It was chilly, windy and beautiful. We are going to slow down now and hope to spend at least four days camping and exploring Mjlet Island.

Posted by Estebaan 23:26 Archived in Croatia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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