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June 2008 - Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Jordan

Israel | Herzliya | Herzliya Marina| Artemis

June 30, 2008

Hi All We've spent a lazy week here in Herzliya, Israel. My brother Mike flew out of Tele Aviv airport on June 23 to go home. Mike Sikorra flew to Istanbul June 28 for a few days before flying back to the states July 1. Al and I are back to cruising alone again. We've been running the air conditioning and finding very few excuses to leave the boat. The beach is lovely and we've swam a few times and gone for early morning walks. We plan to leave tomorrow morning for Cyprus about 180nm so have to plan a daylight arrival. Then we'll move on to Turkey.

We've tried SKYPE a few times but it's a bit bazaar talking to people in the middle of McDonalds. The Israeli teens got a kick out of us talking to Josie especially when I sang her "I don't want to be a chicken, I don't want to be a duck Quack Quack Quack...Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Love Sally and Al

Jordan | Jerash | Colonade

Jordan | Jerash | Temple to Artemis

Sun. June 22

Today we visited the spectacular Roman ruins of Jerash, Jordan . It is one of the best Roman ruins we have seen in our travels. The Temple to Artemis was awesome. There was a hippodrome where mock chariot races take place and a big theater. By request I chose to sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot...I looked over Jordan and what did I demonstrate the excellent acoustics in the theater. Then 3 J

Jordan | Jerash | Theater

Jordanian musicians played Scottish bagpipes. Later this month there will be a music festival in this theater featuring known singers. I wonder who else has sang where I stood to sing? The main artery of the city Cardo Maximus was flanked with over 500 columns.

We had a 3 hour drive to the Jordan border. The people are so friendly. Children and adults would smile and wave to us as passed by. We passed quickly from Jordan but had a long delay on the Israeli side. Two of our families were detained for two hours and never told why. I'm sure our passports were quite unusual with Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and now Jordan stamps.

I got a nice souvenir from the Israeli check point. I stepped forward to point to my knapsack that was caught on the conveyor belt and sliced a 3" line across my shin on a glass plate bordering the belt. It was cut raw glass on the bottom edge and I barely touched my leg to it but blood every where. The Customs first aid came and cleaned my leg up and put on a bandage. It seems to be okay but I'll keep an eye on it.

We went to Murphy's Pub at Herzliya Marina for burger's for dinner. We thought the hamburgers were a little pricey until our plates arrived with 3 hamburgers each on them. Lunch tomorrow... Love and God Bless Sally, Al, Mike S, and Brother Mike

Love Sally and Al

Jordan | Petra | Siq | Colorful sandstone rose, yellow, gray, and blue

Jordan | Petra | Siq| colorful sandstone walls of canyons

Jordan | Petra | Facade of the Treasury

Sat. June 21

We had an amazing day in Petra, Jordan. We walked down to the Siq (canyon) with our guide explaining the sights as we walked. It was extremely hot even at 8:30 in the morning so we were careful to walk and sit in the shade of the rocks and canyon walls. We walked over 2 km through a gorgeous canyon of sandstone-cliffs of rose, yellow, grey and blue. As we neared the end of the canyon our guide led us close to the right hand side. He stopped and guide us to find some lettering on the left hand side. We walked slowing toward the wall staring intently searching for ancient writings. When we were all on the left he said now look to your right and we all saw this spectacular sight at the same moment-The majestic facade of the Treasury framed by the narrow passageway through the canyon. The Treasury facade is deeply carved into the high rock right across from the exit of the Siq.

Jordan | Petra | Urn Tomb

We spent 5 hours in Petra. We among other things we visited the Necropolis, theater and the Urn Tomb. Most awesome is the horizontal bands of colors in the sandstone. Many shops sell bottles of sand art to try and replicate the colors and lines of the sandstone. The climb up to the Urn Tomb made for King Malichos II around 70 AD was worth the effort. The main inner hall of the tomb was made into a Byzantine Church in the 5th century. The ceiling and walls again displayed the beautiful rose, yellow, grey and blue swirls of the sandstone. Petra is so beautiful. It's like nothing I've seen before but then I've never been to the Grand Canyon :-) It took over an hour to walk back out of the canyon.

I'm glad we were leaving at 1:30 not arriving in the extreme heat. Hot, tired and hungry we were glad for a nice lunch stop. We drove another 3 hours through the desert to the capital city of Jordan, Amman. We had a bus tour of the city before arriving at our hotel the Regency Palace (5 Star). Amman is a very modern city of 2 1/2 million people. There is lots of new building going on with foreign money from the Gulf States. Twin Towers of 50 stories, expensive condo's, many US fast food franchises, and the largest Starbucks in the world. We even passed a large Safeway grocery store. US has a very large embassy in a prime location and there is another building that is a replica of the White House.

Our hotel was much nicer and we had excellent meals. The owner's daughter wedding reception was taking place so the winding banister was covered in beautiful flowers. The food in Jordan is a nice change from the food we've been eating. It's spicier and they use more interesting seasonings. We even had an ice bucket delivered to our room.

Jordan | Mount Nebo | Moses view of The Promised Land

June 20, 2008

Hi All We left Herzliya at 8 AM for a 3 day trip to Jordan. After a 2 hour drive to the Jordan River Border crossing we finally cleared customs before noon. Our guide James is fantastic. He's very knowledgeable and organized. We knew from the start this was going to be an excellent tour. We drove through the Jordan Valley along the Dead Sea and Jordan River to Mount Nebo over 2500 ft above sea level and the Dead Sea is 1300 feet below sea level. The view on Mount Nebo sweep the entire valley and is where Moses was told to climb so that he could see the Promised Land before dying. There are ruins to a monastery that the Holy Land Franciscans are restoring. Beautiful mosaics found here will be placed back into the Church complex once it is restored. Many mosaic factories continue this art form today.

Jordan | Madaba | Church of St. George | Mosaic map of Palestine

Next we visited Madaba (Medba in the Bible). Here we visited the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. We viewed a mosaic- sort of a geographic map of Palestine covering much of the floor. It was meant to help pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. We drove 3 hours through the desert to our hotel in Petra. The Golden Tulip Hotel (4 Star) was a disappointment. Our air conditioner was poor and the food was not great.

Israel | Jerusalem| Mount of Olives and Golden Gate of Old City

Thurs. June 19 Our day trip to Jerusalem was spoiled by a horrible guide but we hope to visit again before we leave Israel on our own. We did a bus tour outside the city walls with several stops. The Mount of Olives had spectacular views of the Old City looking toward the Golden Gate (one of seven gates to the city). Jewish tradition says this is how the Messiah will enter the city at the End of Days. So the Muslims sealed this gate to protect against a possible Messiah coming to take their city.

Israiel | Jerusalem | Coenaculum room of Last Supper

Israel | Jerusalem | King David's Tomb

Israel | Jerusalem| Church of Garden of Gethsemane

Next we visited the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed and Judas hung himself. The church was built over the stone upon which Jesus prayed the night before he was arrested and the apostles lay sleeping. Mount Zion we visited King David's Tomb and the Coenaculum believed to be the Room of the Last Supper. We entered the city through the Armenian Quarter having walked through David Street Bazaar. We entered the Jewish Quarter next inhabited by Jews as far back as the First Temple Period 3,000 years ago. Sign posts along the way pinpoint the remains of various civilizations. We entered the Christian Quarter for lunch.

Israel | Jerusalem | Holy Sepulchre

Then we began the Stations of the Cross which are placed within the maze of the Old City. Some are rather difficult to find and our guide made it more confusing by guiding us backwards starting with the Fourteenth and never taking us to Stations One and Two. She had no sense of our need to spend some time at each Station and would move on quickly. Fear of being left behind kept us in pace with her.

Next we entered the Muslim Quarter and visited Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock built by the Marmelukes (accomplished architects and artisan slaves) They rebuilt much of Jerusalem. Temple Mount is where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaacs and were the First and Second Temples once stood. Jewish people are forbidden to visit this site because somewhere on the hill is the site of the Ancient Temples Holy of Holies (inner sanctuary of which only the High Priest is allowed to enter one day a year on Yom Kipper) Israeli Border Patrol and Arab Police secure this area.

Our last visit of the day was through high security into the Jewish Quarter to the western wall. Above the wall is Temple Mount. This wall was the retaining wall for the western side of the Temples and is the only remnant of the Temple complex to survive the Romans' sack of Jerusalem. Jewish people for over 2000 years have gathered here to bemoan the loss of the Temple-thus the "Wailing Wall". Many people write prayers and wishes on pieces of paper they tuck into the wall then slowly back away from the wall continuing their prayers. Tomorrow we leave for a 3 day trip to Jordan. Love and God Bless Sally, Al, Mike S and Brother Mike

Love Sally and Al

Israel | Herzliya | MikeS, Sally, Mike F, Gulchin , Al

Israel | Herzliya | Group 4/Green EMYR members

Israel | Herzliya | End EMYR Rally Party |Group 4 leader Miro, Zdenka s/y Snow White, Sally and Al

June 18, 2008

Hi All It was joyous, but sad parting with our EMYR friends. First we had cocktails with our Group 4 (11 yachts). Miro (Al's "Bohemian Brother") our group leader gave each boat their velvet cased, bronze plaque of EMYR 2008 participation. Then each crew member received a special certificate.

Israel | Herzliya | Final EMYR Party| Flag ceremony and Rally Song led by Sally

We had our final Rally Dinner on the waterfront complete with flag ceremony and Rally Song (led by Sally) We danced, exchanged boat cards, and said our farewells. Many boats are staying on in Israel for a while but some we may never see again.

June 17, 2008

Hi All

We had a late start from Port Said Egypt heading to Herzliya Israel due to customs check out but the sail made up for it. We had one of the nicest sails we've had on the Mediterranean. We left Port Said around 11:00 AM and turned our engine off for the next 12 hours. Great North winds off the beam. We averaged 7 knots most of that time. About midnight we started to motor sail. The only draw back was a starboard tack which made making dinner more difficult as the galley stove is on the port side. It is much easier to cook leaning downhill into the stove than holding on uphill. But I managed a nice "Caribbean Jerk" fresh tuna, potatoes, and corn dinner. The two Mikes took the first watch so I made them a pot of coffee, found some questionable cookies to go with and went to bed. Warm shirt sleeve sailing, full moon and lots of stars.

We arrived at Marina about 11:00 this morning. Hertzliya, Israel is a beautiful, ritzy marina with a hotel, shopping mall, restaurants, large grocery store (expensive) all on site. We're planning a trip to Jerusalem on Thursday and then either a 3 or 4 day trip into Jordan after that. We're hoping to get internet but could be pricey. Love Sally and Al

June 16, 2008

Today Mike S., Al, and I slept in while brother Mike F. and others went on the Papyrus Institute trip. Sleep was a luxury the three of us just couldn't give up after two months of rigorous travel. We then spent 3 hours at the Pyramids. That truly was exciting. The highlight of the day was a 30 minute camel ride by the pyramids. Al, brother Mike, and I gave in and spent $13 each and it was well spent. The camels had halters and a lead rope that our driver attached to our friend Gus' camel. To my dismay the lead fell off of the back horn on the saddle and my camel decided he was going back home. Thankfully my driver caught his lead and my bumpy trot was short lived. It was an awesome feeling riding in the desert next to the pyramids.

I spent an extra $5 to crawl down inside the 2nd pyramid The tunnel went downhill about 50 meters. The tunnel was 1.5 X 1.2 meters and very musty smelling. After that 50m we had about 20m of upright passage and then another 50 meters up into the main burial chamber. That room was about 6 X 10 meter room. Our last stop for the day was pictures by the sphinx.

Egypt | Suez Canal | Ship appears to be passing in desert

We were "pinching ourselves" all weekend. It's so hard to believe where we are. The most bazaar sight during the trip home was looking out into the sand dunes and seeing huge ships and tankers passing on the Suez Canal. Another was women walking down the road with huge baskets or jars balanced on their heads without using their hands.

Tonight were back in Port Said and we had another Rally Dinner. We had kids dancing for us ranging in age from 8-14 years. Such fun, so full of energy, and lots of rhythm. Another great meal and entertainment. Tomorrow we leave early for Hertzliya, Israel the last port of the EMYR. (134 nm)

Love Sally and Al

Egypt | Cairo | Ali Mosque

Egypt | Cairo | Ali Mosque