Prague

We were rudely woken up at 8 am on October 27, 2011.  There was REALLY loud construction noise going outside the apartment.  How annoying!!!  I went back to sleep while Ivan didn’t.  I woke up at 10 am.

Ivan and I went to find breakfast really quick.  We wanted to check out a free walking tour at 11 am.  We stopped at a vegetarian restaurant called Country Life.  Ivan and I shared a tomato soup.  Lil Dave got a banana sandwich.

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We walked to the Clock Tower to meet for the Free walking tour.  Our guide was a crazy, funny Swedish and Czech guy named Christian.  We checked out many places in Old Town including Old Town Square, Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, St. Nicholas’ Church and the Estates Theatre. 

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Then, we went to the New Town such as places like the National Museum, Republic Square, Powder Tower, the House of the Black Madonna and the Museum of Cubism. 

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We stopped at Bohemia Bagel for lunch.  The bagels are expensive and very plain here.  I wish they had the bagels from Jerusalem – those are 1000% better!

The group started walking to the Old Jewish Quarter. 

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Here, we saw the Spanish Synagogue, cemetery that has 3 levels of bodies buried there and the Pinkas Synagogue.  This was a great 3 hour tour.

We walked so much during the tour.  Ivan and I went to the store to buy thicker jumpers (sweaters) since it was REALLY cold out.  Ivan and I bought jumpers at C&A.  Our guide was right that clothes were expensive in Prague.  Luckily, our jumpers were on sale.

We went to Café Colore for lunch.  Ivan and I shared a kulajda soup which is Czech.  It was a tasty soup which came with mushroom, potatoes and egg.  Lil Dave got a salad with bananas and chicken.  Ivan and I shared a warm vegetarian salad with beetroot, walnuts and goat’s cheese which was rather boring.

We walked back to the apartment to get some rest.  Ivan and I took showers.

We walked to the Old Town Square to find the Beer Tour which is run by the same company who do the free walking tour.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the right tourist information office.  We seemed to have missed the tour by a few minutes.  Ivan thought we should try a place that had entertainment and dinner.  Ivan asked the tourist information office about it.  The lady gave us a map.

We tried to find the place, but we gave up.  It’s not easy to find.  Ivan and I checked out restaurants in the area to see which one was the best choice.  We ended up at U Schnellu.  It’s so strange that you can smoke in restaurants and bars in Czech Republic.  Ivan and I shared a boring onion soup for a starter.  We also got marinated Camembert, baked trout and grilled vegetables.  Lil Dave got marinated bananas and a banana kebab.  The food was good.

Ivan and I went to Starbucks to get an espresso.  We needed to be awake for the bar crawl.

Ivan and I went to the Clock Tower to meet up for the Clock Tower Bar Crawl.  We didn’t see many people there.  A Mexican guy took us to the first bar which was below the Old Jewish cemetary in a church.  Apparently, there were people already there for the bar crawl.  The Mexican guy asked us if we had a flyer which provided a discount.  We didn’t, but he said that we should tell the lady that we found out about the crawl through him.

The church was pretty cool.  Most of the people were in group at the bar crawl.  There wasn’t a central table like in the last Clock Tower crawl we did in Krakow, Poland.  It would have been better, so everybody can chat and get to know each other. 

The first 2 hours of the crawl includes free drinks.  There was absinthe shots, beer, wine with vodka and rum (sounds like a deadly combination!) and alcohol with mixers.  Ivan and I had a beer, but it wasn’t good.  We got a rum and coke which was alright.  We decided to get a absinthe shot. 

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There was a crappy band playing in the church.  It was so loud and stuffy in there from the smoke.  Ivan and I popped outside for a breather.

The group left the church at 11 pm.  We headed to our next bar which was the Iron Curtain.  This is a cool bar with 200 old Czech and Slovak Communist art and junk pieces.

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It’s a great themed bar.  I wish Vegas had something like this!  Ivan noticed our guide Christian from the walking tour there.  We said hi.  Ivan thought he didn’t look happy to see us AT ALL.  Ivan and I walked around to check out the cool décor.  Ivan went back to talk to Christian.  He was with a friend.  Ivan asked him about the map above the main bar.  The cities listed were important during the war.

We went to our next bar where we got another free shot of something watered down.  I don’t remember the bar’s name or anything.  This bar had cheesy music playing.  I was dancing around.  I met two girls on the pub crawl named Steph and Ely.  They were really sweet.  I danced with them.  Ivan was talking to two American guys.  Ivan wasn’t sure if we got left by the pub crawl group.  It seemed like we were at this bar for a really long time.  The music started getting really good.  A few minutes later, somebody from the pub crawl said it was on to the next bar.

The last bar was super packed.  We tried to get in, but somehow were denied access since it was so busy.  I guess we had to be with one of the guides to get in.  Ivan and I really wanted to get in for some reason.  One of the guides helped us get in with Steph and Ely.  The bar was soo crowded.  Ivan and I only stayed a few minutes, before going back upstairs. 

I exchanged e-mails with Steph.  I told her she should visit Las Vegas.  We said bye to them.  We headed back to the apartment.  Thank goodness for the GPS and Google Maps (which can now be cached – what a godsend!).

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Eating in Rome

The Norwegian Jade arrived at Civitavecchia at 6 am on October 26, 2011.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8 am.

We got some breakfast at the buffet.

Ivan and I packed up the rest of our stuff.  We left the boat at 9:15 am.  There was no line to leave which was nice. 

Immigration was easy – they just looked at my passport and waved me through.

It was a rainy day in Italy.  We hoped it wouldn’t be raining in Rome as well.  We got the train from Civitavecchia to Rome.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I were really hungry.  Ivan wanted to find an internet cafe, but we weren’t having any luck.  We needed to print our boarding passes for our flight later.  You would make lots of money with an internet café in the middle of Rome.

Ivan found a wi-fi connection, so we could find some stuff to do.  We had a few hours to waste before our flight later today.  We went to Le Bistrot since we had a wi-fi connection right in front of the restaurant.  The connection was a bit buggy, but worked in one spot.  Ivan and I shared beans with pepper and sage, pasta with tartufo and porchini mushrooms and pasta cacio e pepe (pepper and cheese).  The food was alright.

The rain had gone away and the sky started to clear.

I went to use the bathroom.  The place was located next door.  I noticed that they had a computer and a printer.  I told Ivan this and he asked if he could use their printer so we could print our boarding passes.  They asked if he was a guest, but he said he just needed to print boarding passes so they agreed.

We went to get gelato at Il gelato di San Crispino.  I had Caramel and Grape while Ivan had Caramel and Banana.  Of course, Lil Dave got Banana with another scoop of Banana.  It was tasty gelato!

We saw a group of men all in silver sitting on the street.  They seemed to be drunk, but were dressed in a humorous way with masks and they had fake knives.  I gave a tip and Ivan took a few pictures. 

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Wish all buskers were as funny!

Ivan thought that we should eat more and then head to the airport early.  We got a great brochure during the Eating Italy tour.  We tried to find a good pizza place on the brochure.  Most of the places were only open for dinner.  So, we walked around to find a pizza place. 

We found a restaurant called Cantina & Cucina.  Lil Dave got a pizza made with his own bananas.  Ivan and I shared Contadina pizza with tomato, mozzarella, zucchini, eggplants and pepper. 

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It didn’t have much pepper on it, so Ivan added more.  The pizza was alright.  A lady at the restaurant told us where the nearest tram was.

We got the train to Termini station.  We got the train to the airport from there.  Ivan and I used the internet at the airport.  We checked in for our Wizz flight very quickly. 

The flight wasn’t all booked up.  We left Rome headed to Prague, Czech Republic at 9:45 pm.  The plane arrived at 11 pm.  There was no Immigration to go through which I thought was odd.  But, Ivan said it was fine since it’s in the EU.

Ivan set up pick-up from the airport from our accommodation through AirBnB.  It was a short drive away.  The man gave us the keys to the airport and a Prague map.  We had the 1 bedroom apartment all to ourselves which was nice.  It had a living room area.  Lil Dave was happy since there was a big couch for him to chill out on and sleep on.

We used the free internet and later went to bed.

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Last Sea Day

On October 25, 2011, it was our last sea day on the Norwegian Jade cruise.  Ivan was already up when I woke up at 9:30 am.  He was up at 7:30 am.

We had the breakfast buffet.  We went to check out the Family Dodgeball, but nobody was up there.  Ivan noticed that the court was all wet. 

We played some table tennis.  Ivan wasn’t feeling very good, so we went back to the room.

Ivan took a nap while I worked on the blog.

We went to play Where in the World Trivia.  Three people joined our group.  You had to answer with the city.  There were questions like The Beatles which is so obvious and What city is 3 times bigger than Paris which was Berlin.  We ended up in 3rd place.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to get lunch at the buffet.

Later in the evening, we went to see the show The Jade international Crew Show.   It had the staff performing.  A couple boring singers and a juggler who kept messing up came on.  A group of Filipinos did the traditional Filipino dance tinikling.  Check out a video of tinikling here (it’s not from the show).

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Another group of Filipinos did a modern dance which was really good.  Some of the Entertainment staff did a show called Fountains.  There were all dressed up in togas and would put water in their mouth and then spit the water at the person in front of them. 

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Ivan and I thought it was funny for 5 minutes.. and then it got REAL old. At the end,  The cruise director Jill said we were part of the family.  We didn’t really enjoy the entertainment and food on the Norwegian Jade.  Carnival is a much better cruise line company.  I don’t know how Carnival is considered a budget cruise line since they offer a lot of things for free like a sushi buffet and pizza which they didn’t have on the Norwegian cruise ship.

Ivan and I went to get a quick dinner.  Ivan felt horrible for some reason.  We each had a boring clam chowder and the Norwegian salmon.  We got the flourless molten cake for dessert.  It was delicious!!

Ivan went to bed early.  I packed up most of our stuff since we’d be back in Italy tomorrow.

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Soccer Elements

Ivan was already awake on October 24, 2011 when Lil Dave and I woke up at 10 am.  He went to the Sudoku Challenge.  He won again (he’s so smart!) and won a pack of cards and a cup coozie.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went to eat at the breakfast buffet.

Ivan and I watched the tv show Miranda in the room.  We went to the Great Outdoors and watched Frankie Boyle on the laptop while drinking a nice Mangopolitan which was the Drink of the Day.  Lil Dave went to the kids room to see if he could play with the kids.

We headed up to the basketball court.  We wanted to play in the Staff vs. Guests soccer game.  There was lots of guests there, but not many staff – so, the staff took a few guests on their team.

I haven’t played in years, so I wasn’t much help.  Ivan is alright.  We had two really good players on our team.  So, I let them play by staying out of their way and tried to kick it if it came my way.  Half-time came.  An Asian guy (I think he was Chinese, but Ivan thought he was Filipino) told me to cover the tall Turkish guy or anybody really.  Right, he was way taller than me.  I’d try, but it would be a bit difficult I think.  We ended up winning the game 4-2.

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We went to the Officer’s Profile with the captain, chief engineer and the hotel manager.  It’s a Q&A session.  The Hotel Manager was funny.  The captain looked young, most captains are a lot older.  Ivan asked a lot of questions along with other guests on the ship.  It was interesting to find out what goes on on the ship.

Ivan and I grabbed an ice cream cone at the buffet and headed to the pool area.  We played a few games of table tennis.  Then, we chilled out in the jacuzzi.

We headed back to to the room and relaxed for awhile.  Ivan and I took showers.

Later on, we went to see the Elements show in the Stardust Theatre.  It was dancing, magic, and aerial acts.  The magic was cheesy, but it was a good show.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out the desserts at the Chocolate Buffet.

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Lil Dave got lots of bananas dipped in chocolate and banana chocolate cake.  Ivan and I enjoyed a few things.

Ivan and I headed to the dining room.  Lil Dave was too full from all the banana desserts.  Dinner was watermelon and feta cheese salad, fried calamari and Norwegian salmon.  The salad and salmon were good.

We walked around the ship taking some pictures.

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We were tired, so we walked back to the room to get some rest.

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Pyramids

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had to wake up really early on October 23, 2011.  We went to get the free breakfast buffet at 6:45 am in the hotel.

We got picked up at 7:20 am. 

Our first stop was Saqqara

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Here, we saw pyramids that are falling apart.  We saw the entrance to a tomb and many others in the distance. 

I always thought it would take miles and miles of desert by camel to get to the pyramids. But, unfortunately the Egyptians have built the city of Cairo so far out. The Giza pyramids are really close by.

Then, we drove to the Giza area.  Here, we got to the see the big pyramid.  You have to pay to go inside, but it’s not really worth it since there’s not much inside. 

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We did get to climb up the pyramid while our guide took pictures of us. 

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Lil Dave wanted to slide down the pyramids.  He was on his way up when the pyramid security stopped him.  He wasn’t very happy.

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The driver drove us to a great viewing point of all the three pyramids.  What a sight!! 

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I definitely had to do the “Walk Like an Egyptian” pose with the pyramids behind.

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I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids.  They really are quite amazing.

Next, we drove to the Sphynx. It’s so sad that somebody decided to chop it’s nose off.

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What a pity! It still looks really cool especially with the pyramids right behind it.

Our next stop was the Papyrus Institute.  A lady showed us how papyrus paper was made.  Then, we had a look around.  The lady kept following me around since she gets commission.  I was just checking it out.  It was way too expensive and the art wasn’t anything special.

We went upstairs to Gohan Gallery.  Ivan and I checked out the souvenirs, but didn’t find anything good.

We were driven to Cavier for lunch.  There was a great view of the pyramids from the restaurant.  The appetizers were salads and dips.  Our main course was fish, shrimp and fried calamari.  Dessert was cheap ice cream – we only took a bite of it.

It was time to head back to the port in Alexandria.  It was a long drive back.  We arrived back at 3:40 pm.  The overnight tour was very enjoyable.  I think this is the best way to see Egypt.

Ivan and I checked out the souvenir stalls right on the port.  I couldn’t decide if I should buy anything.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I headed back to our room.  Lil Dave and I were so tired so we relaxed in the room.  Ivan went to the Sudoku Challenge.  He won again.  He won a pack of playing cards and a light keychain.

We headed to the Margarita Madness in the Mexican restaurant.  It’s cheaper margaritas at $4.95 each.  The strong margaritas are very tasty.

We took our margarita up to the jacuzzi.  We listed to the band Ocean Vibe play songs from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s while we relaxed in the jacuzzi.  We saw the Norwegian Jade sail off.

We went back to the room to take showers.  Ivan and I got espresso in the Atrium so we could wake up.  We’ve been sooo tired from waking up lately for the tours.

Lil Dave decided to stay in the room and watch tv.

Ivan and I headed to the Spinnaker Lounge for The Perfect Couple game.  We decided to participate for the game.  It was three couples: a young American couple (like our age, probably younger) who we saw on the Jerusalem and Dead Sea tour, a couple who have been together for 37 years and Ivan and me.

Ivan’s purpose was to make the audience laugh.  The Turkish guy was the host.  He asked each of the couples what we did when we got on the first day.  The other two had a long boring description of things they did like getting in from the airport and eating.  Ivan said we ate and then we went to our room and had some fun, if you know what I mean.

The first round was dancing.  It was interesting to see people dance.  Ivan and I were last.  Ivan started tango’ing around which I thought was weird.  At the end, I jumped in his arms.  My pants started coming down – I think I might have showed the audience my underwear.

The next round was wrapping up our partner as a mummy.  I got to wrap Ivan in the toilet paper.  I didn’t do a good job since the toilet paper kept ripping since I was trying to go fast.  The older couple won that round.

The last round was more difficult.  I was sat down with a cup between my thighs.  Ivan was blindfolded and had a water bottle between his legs.  I had to guide him with my voice to where I was sat down.  Then, once he was near me he would have to squeeze his thighs in order to get the water into the cup.  This was really hard. 

The audience got to decide who won by their applause.  We came in last unfortunately.  The oldest couple won which Ivan predicted earlier.  It was a fun game.  Ivan thought it would better to be part of the show then watch it.. and it was!

Next, we went to eat dinner and met up with Lil Dave in the dining room.  Ivan had the teriyaki tilapia while I had the vegetable lasagna while Lil Dave got the banana and chicken kebabs.

Later on, we went to the Spinnaker Lounge.  The White Hot Party was on.  The dance floor is way too small in there.  There was music playing and LOTS of guests were in white.  Some of the Entertainment staff were wearing wings.  I wanted to wear the wings!   The music was really lame.  The party was cheesy.  We decided to head back to the room to get some rest.  I was happy that we’d be able to sleep in tomorrow.

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Egypt

On the morning of October 22, 2011, Ivan and I went to pick up our passports in the lounge.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I  got off the cruise ship and headed to the port exit.  We got picked up by our guide for the Egypt Private Excursions tour at 8 am.  It would just be us on the tour.

Our guide was a nice Egyptian man.  He told us about the history of Port Said and Egypt in the car.  It was WAY too early for a history lesson.  The car ride was making me tired and I was falling asleep.  The guide noticed this and said he’d let us rest for 10 minutes and then he’d continue talking.  Ivan asked the driver to book the Nile River Cruise for us tonight.

We drove to Cairo.  Cairo is not a pretty city.  It looks very run down.  The traffic is horrible.  People drive crazy – they don’t stay in their lane at all.

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The first stop was the Citadel.  It’s really pretty inside filled with lots of lamps.

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The ceilings were quite impressive as well.

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Next, it was time for lunch.  We went to Soiree.  It was a buffet lunch which wasn’t very good.

We drove to the Egyptian Museum for our next stop.  Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.

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There are over 200,000 artifacts in this big museum.  We saw many big statues.  We saw the tomb of King Tutankhamen and his treasures.  Our guide was a wealth of knowledge and told us about many of the artifacts.  At the end, he asked if we wanted to check out something else on our own.  Ivan told him that we’d be back in 10 minutes.  We went to check out the mummies since I wanted to see them up close.  It’s sad that the process of mummification is lost.

The driver drove us to the hotel.  We checked in to Mena House Oberoi.

Our guide said that he would be in the lobby at 6:30 pm to pick us up for the cruise.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I chilled in the room.  Ivan and I took showers.

We walked down to the lobby around 6 pm.  I walked around and took a few pictures of the hotel.

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We saw our guide in the lobby at 6:30 pm.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I boarded the car.  The journey took an hour since the traffic was so bad.  The guide told us that Cairo, Egypt should have 5 million people in it, but it actually has 23 million living there.

We got on the boat and were sat down at our own table.  The Nile River Cruise would start at 8 pm.  There was a buffet of salads and dips.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I got some salads and started eating.  There was cheesy karaoke style music going on.  It was really bad.  Ivan hoped that the entertainment would get better.

Ivan and I ordered fish for our main course.  Lil Dave was sad since they didn’t have a banana dish option – so he went back to the salad buffet.  Ivan and I ate our fish and enjoyed our red wine.

We went outside to take some pictures of the Nile River.

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The scenery was okay.

Later on, a twirler came on.  The guy twirled around for ages to music while holding things.

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He came to the tables and twirled his skirt around people’s heads.

A pretty belly dancer came on next.  She danced forever (ok, like 30 minutes) to the same song.  Belly dancing is good for 5 minutes and then it just gets old.  Ivan think it’s like strippers for the Muslims.  The belly dancer had three different songs – but the same dance.  The river cruise was alright – nothing special really.

We left the boat a few minutes after 10 pm.  We started driving back at 10:20 pm.  It was a shorter ride this time.

We got dropped off and went to bed after arriving to our room.

Source: Egyptian Museum picture

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Jerusalem and the Dead Sea

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had breakfast at the buffet before leaving the boat early on October 20, 2011.  We got on the Guided Tours Israel tour bus at 8 am.  Everybody in the group arrived and we left at 8:30 am.

Our tour was a Christian tour going to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.  Our guide was a funny Jewish guy – can’t remember his name at all.  Our guide gave each of us a piece of paper to write a wish on.  Later on, we’d be placing our wish on the Western Wall (Wailing Wall). 

We were driven to Old City Jerusalem.  Our first stop was a bagel stand.  Ivan and I didn’t hesitate to get a big bagel and a falafel.

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The bagel was heavenly while the falafel was really dry.  It was definitely the best bagel I’ve ever had.

We stopped at Parliament and the Christian Quarter.  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was beautiful inside.  This site is where Jesus was crucified.  It was hard to take pictures at the The Altar of the Crucifixion. 

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This was a big line to touch under the table.  I spent most of the time taking pictures while the guide talked.  The only bad thing about tours is that there’s not much time for pictures since there’s so much to see. 

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The architecture and artwork were great.

We stopped at The Stone of Anointing – the spot where Jesus was prepared for burial. 

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People stick their possessions on it for good luck and make a prayer.  I put my wish on the stone for luck as our guide suggested.

A nice treat was stopping while two little boys made us fresh pomegranate juice.  It was tasty!

The group went to many places like the Jewish Quarter and the Muslim Quarter.  We went to the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice.  You can actually stay here right in Jerusalem.  The view was lovely from the top.

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Our last stop in the Old City was the Western Wall (Wailing Wall).  There’s a men and a women’s section.

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Ivan, Lil Dave and I parted ways.  The women have to cover their knees and their shoulders.  The men have to cover their head – free Yarmulkes were given out.  There was lots of women praying against the wall.  It took a few minutes to find a spot to put my wish in the wall.  The cracks are really small and already filled with papers in them.

It was time to head back to the bus.  Our bus driver couldn’t pick us up at our location since the road was blocked.  The group had to walk to the bus. 

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We got to see the City of David and Mount of Olives.  Mount of Olives is a graveyard that faces Jerusalem.  Our guide said it costs 1 million dollars to be buried there.

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We drove to the Dead Sea.

We got an hour and a half to spend at the Dead Sea.  It feels weird floating in the water.

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I was walking  in the mud, but you have to be careful coz the mud is slippery and you can fall since there’s a change in height of the mud.  The mud has minerals which is really good for the skin. 

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Ivan, Lil Dave and I covered ourselves in the mud to get the free benefits.  It started hurting my face so I tried to take it off with the water.

This was a great tour.

We got back on the Norwegian Jade cruise ship.  Ivan and I went to the jacuzzi to relax.  Later on, we chilled in the room.

It was time to get dinner.  Lil Dave went off to get lots of bananas at the buffet.  We stopped at the dining room.  Ivan and I each got a tasty tortilla soup.  We shared a crab cake.  We each got the eggplant parmesan which was only okay.

We didn’t go to the show since it was a boring singer.  We went back to the room to watch a few episodes of Luther.

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Haifa, Israel

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up really early on October 20, 2011.

We had to show our passport and a landing card which was stamped by Israeli Immigration to get off the ship in Haifa, Israel.

There was a bus waiting for us outside the cruise ship for Guided Tours Israel.  Our group consisted of 8 people and 1 monkey.

Our guide was a Jewish woman named Michel who was nicknamed Mickey.  The bus left at 8:30 am.  Our tour was a Jewish tour in Haifa.  Since it was a Jewish holiday, a lot of Jewish sites were closed.  Mickey asked what was on our schedule for today.  You would figure the guide would know what was on the itinerary.

The driver was driving around Haifa.  We could see the view of the lovely Baha’i Gardens. 

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We drove up to see the gardens from above.  There was also a great view of Haifa.

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The group boarded the bus.  Mickey talked about the history of Israel.  She was very opinionated which could offend some people.  At one point, she said Arabs were stupid.  Mickey said that we’d be having fish for lunch.  A man said that he didn’t do fish.  Mickey was talking about falafel to the driver.  She said she didn’t want to go to a falafel place since they always have that for lunch.

We stopped at the Maritime Museum.  It was closed, but we stood outside to see submarines.

Mickey said that Ivan looked Jewish and she knew that I wasn’t.  Mickey said that I looked mad.  She said if I wanted to visit some Christian sites that would be fine and she said we could go there.  I wasn’t mad at all.  It seemed like she couldn’t understand why a non-Jewish person would want to visit Jewish sites.

We saw the Sea of Galilee and through the Jordan Valley.

The group stopped at the Jordan River.  We walked to the river. 

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Our tour guide Mickey didn’t explain anything about the people in white robes who were about to get baptized in the river.  She only liked to talk mainly about Judaism. 

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Ivan and I gathered from the sign that Jesus was baptized in this river. 

There was time to walk around the big souvenir shop.  Ivan got a cup and a small Jewish flag.

We waited outside for the other couples to finish their shopping.

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The group got back on the bus.  We drove trough a Jewish kubbutz. 

We drove through Tiberius.  Then, the driver took us to a service station with restaurants.  Mickey said we could get sandwiches.  The sandwiches didn’t look appetizing at all.  Ivan and I walked across the street to a falafel place.  We each got a falafel pita.  Lil Dave got a falafel and banana pita.  One of the other couples went to McDonald’s.  The woman said the meat was really bad.  I don’t know why we ended up here for lunch.  The restaurants weren’t the best.

Next, the driver took us to Akko.  We stopped near the sea.  Mickey told us to go ahead since we were young.  She didn’t say about how long we’d be at this stop.  Ivan and I took some pictures with the sea as the background.  There was a nice restaurant with a great view of the sea.  I bet that’s where we would have gone for a fish lunch. 

We started driving again.  There was a synagogue Mickey wanted to take us to.  Two kids were going inside.  She talked to them.  It was closed, but she said somebody was coming.  The kids came back.  I guess the man wasn’t coming to let us in. 

The driver drove us back to the port.  I wish there hadn’t be a holiday, maybe we would have actually gone to a couple Jewish sites.  Ivan and I both felt that we didn’t really go anywhere on the tour.   I think Mickey should have planned the tour more since many things were closed due to the Jewish holiday.

We got back on the boat.  Ivan and I chilled out in the jacuzzi.

Later that night, we headed to the Grand Pacific for dinner.  Lil Dave got a banana salad with a banana kebab.   Ivan and I enjoyed the tortilla soup and a crab cake.  For the main course, we both got the eggplant parmesan.  The soup and crab cake were great, but the parmesan was only okay. 

We decided to skip the show tonight which was just another boring singer.

Ivan and I watched an episode of Luther before getting some rest.

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Cyprus

Ivan, Lil Dave and I grabbed food at the breakfast buffet on October 19, 2011 before leaving the cruise ship in Limassol, Cyprus.

We walked to the exit of the port.  There was a man holding a sign with Ivan’s name on it.  We were doing a buggy tour today with Sayious Adventure Park.

The man drove us to his house which took 45 minutes.  I was really tired, but managed to stay awake during the ride.

The man gave us outfits to put over our clothes so we wouldn’t get dusty.

Ivan and I put our helmets on and jumped inside a buggy.  Lil Dave sat in my lap.  He was a bit frightened since little monkey helmets weren’t available.

The man rode a bigger buggy and started guiding us through the mountains.  Ivan likes driving fast.  We didn’t go THAT fast.. but it was exciting riding up in the mountains.  The view was quite lovely.  We were driving close to the edge of the mountain.  It was best not to look down – otherwise, you might get scared of falling off.

We stopped in a village.  The man took us inside a house.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I were served tea.  We chatted for a few minutes with our guide while drinking our tea.

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Later on, we stopped at a lake and took some pictures.  Then, we went off to further explore.

We saw an old tunnel and an old mine.  The weather was warm and quite nice.

We drove more in the scenic mountains.

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It was lots of fun during our 2 1/2 hour buggy tour.  I highly recommend this tour, if you want some adventure in Cyprus.

Our guide took us into Limassol.

We found a café.  Ivan got a local beer while I had a glass of red wine.  Lil Dave drank a banana tea.  Ivan used the internet on the laptop.  I forgot the phone, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the weather.

Ivan and I were hungry.  We walked further along to Caballeros Restaurant for lunch.  Ivan and I shared tzakiti, cod dip and grilled halloumi cheese.   Lil Dave got a banana dip and a banana pita.  The dips and cheese were really tasty.

The NCL bus was leaving soon for the port.  We went back on the ship.

Ivan and I put our stuff in the room.  Then, we went to the Spinnaker Lounge for the Cypriotic Folklore Show.  Folk dancing to Cypriotic music began.  We saw two men dancing with a napkin.  The men kept hitting their hands on their boots making a loud sound.  At the end, a man put a glass of water upside down on top of a cloth on his head.  Then, more glasses were added on top of the glass – sometimes added by women in the audience.  He danced around the room with the glasses.  I think he ended up with 10 glasses on top of his head.  An announcer said that his record is 40 glasses.  But, the ceiling in the lounge wasn’t tall enough for that many glasses.

Later on, we went to have dinner.  Ivan and I started with a tomato soup and a salad with apples and walnuts.  Lil Dave got a banana penne pasta.  Ivan went with the vegetable calzone and the salmon.  I had the teriyaki sesame chicken kebabs.  The teriyaki sauce was nice, but the chicken was a little tough.  Ivan and I shared an apple pie for dessert.

We sat down in the Stardust Theatre to see 4Ever which is four guys singing.  We stayed for two songs.  They sounded good, but we didn’t really care to hear any more singing.  It usually gets boring after awhile.

It was time to head back to the room.  The Housekeeping staff turns down your room.  We found Lil Dave posing on the bed next to a monkey towel animal who was in the same pose.

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How cute!

We watched a show on the laptop before going to sleep early.

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Turkey

The Norwegian Jade arrived at 8 am on October 18, 2011 in Alanya, Turkey.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 10 am.  We grabbed food at the breakfast buffet.

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We got off the boat and headed into the seaside town Alanya.  We walked around trying to find internet.  The town seemed pretty quiet with not much to do.  Ivan thought there would be free wi-fi at McDonald’s, but there wasn’t.

We walked towards the port.  We ended up at a café that had free internet if you bought something.  Ivan got a Efes Turkish beer while I got a Turkish coffee.  Lil Dave got a Turkish banana shake.  Ivan used the internet on the laptop.  I checked out my Facebook and Hanging with Friends games on the phone.

Ivan read about a good restaurant nearby called Red Tower.  So we walked up to the restaurant.  We checked out the menu outside the restaurant and it seemed fine.  We sat down, but the menu was different with more expensive prices.  We left and went next door.

The Yakamoz Restaurant has a good menu with reasonable prices.  There was a lovely view from the restaurant.  Lil Dave got white bananas with cheese and a banana salad.  Ivan and I shared tomato soup, white cheese, white beans and a stuffed aubergine.  The food was good especially the aubergine.

We walked along and I saw a nice view of the ship.

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We walked to another café and used the internet for awhile.

At 2:30 pm, we boarded the Norwegian Jade.

We grabbed snacks at the buffet.  Ivan and I watched Luther on the laptop while eating a snack at The Great Outdoors.  The Great Outdoors has a small buffet with outside seating.

Later on, we went to have dinner.  Ivan and I each got the potato and leek soup for an appetizer.  Ivan decided on the trout and the Norwegian salmon.  I got the salmon gnocchi which was very stodgy.  It looked like the gnocchi was fried.  I only had two bites and decided to order the salmon instead.

The Showdown show was the entertainment tonight in the theatre.  It was going to be a singing competition with dancing.  The audience would get to choose the winner.  The dancing and singing were pretty lame, so we left the show early.

We returned to our room to get some sleep since we had an early start tomorrow.

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