2010 in Review.
What a good year it has been. I have enjoyed working for the Community Centre in Administration but the highlight of my year was our "Once in a Lifetime Holiday".
We were away for eight weeks in June and July and travelled to some amazing places. Firstly, we flew to London from Sydney via Abu Dhabi, we were met by relatives and stayed in England in the Cambridge area and ventured into London to see a show "Michael Jackson Live" and visited some of the landmarks. We also went down to Dorset to visit relatives and also took a side trip to Brighton. We left England after a fun 3 weeks for Italy.
We flew to Venice and stayed for 3 nights in a beautiful hotel "Al Sole", typically Venetian. We then boarded our ship the Costa Fortuna for a 7 day cruise leaving Venice, stopping in Bari, Southern Italy, Katakolon in Greece where we took an excursion to the ruins of Olympia, home of the original Olympic Games. We then cruised to Santorini which was amazing and so pretty and our next stop was Mykonos also very pretty, then onto Rhodes and making our way back to Venice stopping in Dubrovnik in Croatia for the day. After arriving back in Venice, we disembarked and made our way to the airport for our flight to Rome. We stayed in Rome for 3 nights taking in the sights, etc.
From Rome we flew out to Israel, arriving in Tel Aviv and travelling south to Jerusalem where our Hotel was situated. We went on 3 excursions. Firstly, Jerusalem Gold which took in the 14 stations of the cross along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus tomb is supposedly underneath. We visited the Garden of Gesemenee and the Wailing Wall, the Jewish Quarter and Yad Vashem, the memorial to the holocaust victims. Our second excursion took us into the Judean desert to Massada where King Herod built a Fortress, it was very interesting and we had to ascend by cable car. On the way back we were taken to the Dead Sea where it is impossible to sink as the salt content is so great. That was a lot of fun floating around. Our third trip was Biblical Highlights of the North arriving in Nazareth, we were taken to the Church of the Anunctiation where Mary received word from God about Jesus. We went to Capernaum where Jesus lived as a boy and carpenter. Also the remains of Simon Peters house and the site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. We also went to the sea of Galillee and the River Jordan where people are still baptised today.
After Israel, we flew to Sharm El Sheik in Egypt and met up with our daughter Kristina who had just finished an overland trip - "Cape Town to Cairo", after six months. We stayed in Sharm for a week and went out on boats snorkelling in the Red Sea. We then flew down to Luxor and after 2 days there picked up a Nile cruise for 4 nights stopping at various places along the Nile including the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and Karnak Temples, Edfu Temple, Kom Ombo Temple and eventually arriving in Aswan where we visited Philae Temple and the Botanical gardens. We stayed in Aswan overnight before flying to Cairo for 2 nights where we visited Giza to see the Pyramids at night in the Sound and Light show, which was amazing with voices seeming to come out of the sky. We also went into Coptic Cairo via the city trains which was an experience in itself but fun - as is trying to cross the roads there.
We then flew out of Cairo to the Arab Emirates, landing in Abu Dhabi and then getting the bus up to Dubai, we did all the usual tourist things such as having our picture taken in front of the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world). The Gold markets were fascinating and I couldn't get over the airconditioned bus stops. The shopping malls were amazing also. We booked an excursion for "Dune Bashing" in the Arabian desert and were picked up at 3.00pm and proceeded to the outskirts of the desert where we switched to a four wheel drive and with 10 other vehicles, we were driven up and down the sand dunes, it was so much fun just like being on a roller coaster with much laughing and screaming, after we were taken to a Bedouin camp in the desert where we had camel rides and a barbeque under the stars and a belly dancer for entertainment. It was one of the best days of our trip. The next day, we paid for a taxi to take us back to Abu Dhabi where we stayed for 2 nights visiting the Emirates Palace Hotel, the Al Zayed Mosque which is fabulous and Yas Island Marine F1 track.
The next day we headed to the airport for our 9 hour flight back to Sydney. We had an absolutely amazing time.
In October, I went with my son Peter on a 12 night cruise to the South Sea Islands, it was a "Thank You" for looking after things while we were away in June and July. We had a wonderful time both on the islands snorkelling and getting attacked by the warriors jumping out of the jungle with spears and machetes (all in fun). The sand is so white and the sea aqua and warm, the islands are Paradise, especially the Vanuatu island of Wala which is small and completely untouched, there are no roads, no supermarkets, it is utterly unspoilt in every way and the people so friendly and welcoming. Peter loved the cruise making new friends on board as I did too.
Well Christmas is upon us again and I am writing this on Christmas Eve, the house is quiet and the year is nearly over. I hope next year is as enjoyable as this one has been ... Happy Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year.