Summer back in the USA
13 August 2018
We have now been back in the US for two whole months. It's been a madcap time of running around seeing our grand kids, family and friends. We spent a few days with our friend Terre in Canada (thanks Terre) then spent some time with our friend Kris (thanks Kris) then over to visit my family in Port Angeles. We spent several days with my sister Darcy (thanks Darcy) suffice it to say we sleep around being homeless and all. Our daughter Vanessa and her husband Eli bought our old motor home after we left last year and have been nice enough to let us stay in it this summer. We have had roasted hot dogs and made s'mores, swam with the kids in the pool here at Thousand Trails along with many family get togethers. Coming home is always a busy time for us trying to pack as much "catch up time" in as we can. We have began our next adventure buying a 38 foot boat that we will sail once again to Mexico, in Sept. We cannot afford to spend enough money to buy a boat that is ready to go and does not need work, but tried to find one that was basically ready to sail away from the dock needing more cosmetic work and stuff that would not take to much time to repair. So I have spent the last six weeks changing out all thru hulls, bottom paint, standing rigging, engine water pump and now leaking water tanks. Old boats are ALWAYS needing stuff fixed and as has always been the case on project just leads to the next. I am now starting to feel "crunch time" as we plan to leave Sept 12th or so. We plan to sail down to Ensanada and then staying there a few months while we have the boat painted and do more "projects" before continuing south and onto the Sea of Cortez for the season. Once again Leiann will not be making the trip down the coast as she does not like rough water and the west coast can be nasty at times. I told her that if she was willing to cruise the Sea of Cortez for a couple of years I would 1. Get a bigger boat (our last being only 29ft) and 2. Put air conditioning on it for her and 3. That she could fly to destinations that required multiple overnight legs. Now she says she wants to cruise down the Baja and re-visit the places we stopped at seven years ago. So we will try to spend as much time as we can with our grand babies before we leave and try to get the big projects done on the boat over the next month. Time flies when your having fun! I read once that the secret to a happy life is to instantly look forward to doing the next thing rather than to be looking back at the past, works for us. Stay tuned for more Chrysalis Adventures!
European wrap up
14 June 2018
Blog Update: European Wrap Up
It is June 13th 2018, tomorrow we fly back to the states after our nine month adventure in Europe. It has been an eye opening amazing experience. We have made a trip to the north to see Florence and Pisa and another to the south to see Pompeii and Hurcleon. We had saved Rome to spend with our friends who were coming to visit. After nearly a month in Italy we have seen so much but realize we have just scratched the surface. We try to see as much as we can but still take time to relax and enjoy our surroundings. There is so much to tell about the city of Rome, I will try to keep it as brief as I can but still bring you our reader along with us. When we flew into to Rome we were told by our new landlords to come to a restaurant in the neighborhood and he would come and get us at 3pm. We arrived by taxi to the restaurant at noon so had some lunch and hung out till 3. Our host Jacapo showed up and we walked with all our gear (40lb's Leiann and 60lb's for me) to our new "home". It was a fifth story studio but did have an elevator (thank God). The place fit our needs just fine but a little pricey compared to Cyprus ($700) at $1,000 a month. Compared to staying at a hostel for $30-40 a night still a bargain and we have a kitchen so save lots cooking at home. That first afternoon we took a little walk around the neighborhood (not the tourist zone, but nice and clean). We found a little place to have our first meal in Italy. The next day we jumped on a bus that took us into the middle of the city. We were totally lost again (as usual and the way we like it). We walked and found our way to the "Spanish Steps" featured in the movie Roman Holiday (circa 1950's). We then walked in what is one of the main tourist area's looking for the hoop on hoop off bus, which we found. We do this often to just get the lay of the land and target places we want to visit, they also always give you a tourist map. As the sun was setting we found our way back to our apartment with some idea of where we were. The next day we did some walking exploring out further in our neighborhood and made a trip to the grocery store to stock up. The next day we wanted to figure out how to use the local metro (subway) and find the train station that our friend Eilidh (Alee) would be coming into. Rome has a great subway that goes around the city in a big circle. On our way home that evening we walked along the Tiber River overlooking the Vatican, a castle and a large ornate parliament building. The first thing that hits you in Rome is that around every corner there is a huge church, or a huge fountain with large statures, or a huge building with statues and columns. On an open air tour bus it is literally like "oh look at that" "oh look at this" around every corner. Like Athens the City of Rome dates back to several hundred years BC. But unlike Athens Rome was and is again the center of the Catholic Church. There are over a thousand churches and even more fountains in the city! When Eilidh got here we started in earnest exploring Rome. We took the Vatican tour the afternoon she got here and would recommend it as we were able to do a "skip the line" tour. The line getting into the Vatican is blocks long and inside it is just nuts, with people pushing everywhere. We were very happy that we chose this option afterwards. We spent three hours inside with our guide, she was very good and spoke perfect English (not always the case). She told us that there were over 5,000 paintings alone not to mention statures and other relics and that if you spent only two minutes on each of just the paintings you would be there seven months! Then you could start on seeing the rest of the place. So she said she would try to show us the most important things and give us some history without boring us. She did a great job of this. We learned that Michelangelo was only 35 when he started on the Sistine Chapel and almost quit because the pope was trying to direct his work. He returned when he was sixty to paint a huge wall size painting displaying the images of the "Book of Revelations". Also she showed us the famous paintings (read entire rooms) done by Rafael, who was only 24 when he started the paintings. Of course the Basilica of St. Peter was the highlight and again is one of those you gotta be there moments, simply amazing (see pictures in the gallery). The next day we headed for the famous Colosseum and Roman Forums. When you first see the Colosseum towering over you ten stories high it is hard to believe it's nearly two thousand years old and still standing. We spent a couple hours inside trying to imagine gladiators going at it killing each other or lions and other "wild beasts" being slain by a guy with a sword and or spear (see pix). We spent another couple hours walking the ruins of the Roman Forums. The forums are what is left of a compound named and built for a specific Roman emperor, ie: Caesar's Forum..... There are something like four or five of them. It's hard to tell one from another because you are looking at ruins. You see what is left of a building, like the forty foot tall columns with connecting stone beams at the top, which was once the front of a temple. All around you, you see columns, arches, walls, some buildings in whole and many that have been built on top of old ones or even inside older ones (see pix). That evening we headed over to the "Trevi Fountain". This is the most famous of all the fountains in Rome. It encompasses the entire end of a building. Huge statues climb the building (150ft) and are as wide as the building (200ft). Water flows out of many of the statures and into a large pool. All of the statues are made from white Carrara marble. It is said that if you throw a coin over you shoulder into the fountain that you will return to Rome and if you throw two you will find love, three you will get married. Leiann and Eilidh both threw just the one. The next day we took our one day mad cap trip to see Pompeii and Hurcleon which I wrote about in the last blog. On Eilidh's last day with us we went to see the Pantheon Temple (now a catholic church). Another marvel that has to been seen in person. It has the largest unsupported dome, even after nearly two thousand years, in the world! We made another visit to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain. We had a great diner in an open air street side cafe, eating some of the best pasta we have ever had. The next day we took Eilidh to the bus terminal and said our goodbyes. Again wondering if we will ever see each other again. We had a great time with her and wish her well on her educational pursuits. The next day our next visitor friend Colin came. We met him at the bus and brought him to our little apartment. Colin will stay with us until we leave and then will stay in the apartment for a few more days as it is rented for a month. We spent the evening catching up as we have not seen each other for three years since back in our sailing days. Colin has traveled more then us so we had lots to talk about. The next day we walked the town with Colin and got him oriented seeing the Trevi Foundtain, walking along the river with the Vatican in the backdrop. The next day we took him down to the Colosseum and Forum areas which he will explore latter on his own. We visited the Manatine Prison and underground dungeon where St. Peter and the Apostle Paul are said to have been imprisoned before their executions. Standing in the underground stone cell 20 ft wide one can only imagine what it would have been like to be stuck down here with God knows how many other men and no toilet, some were said left to starve to death down here. After that we did some random exploring (always fun). We found a real pyramid on our way, go figure. The pyramid dates to 12BC. It is only 100ft high but is cased with white Carrara Marble so is still quite spectacular and certainly unexpected. The following day we took the subway out to the edge of town to visit the tomb of the Apostle Paul that is under the church known as St. Pauls outside the wall. The church is situated out side the city walls as burials had to be outside the city by Roman law. This church is second only to the Vatican and is a place of Christian pilgrimage and the pope visits it once every year. Standing in front of St. Paul's tomb is a sobering moment. The next day we struck out on our own to visit the crypts and catacombs under Rome, leaving Colin to do some of his own exploring. It is said that there are around 180 miles of catacombs under Rome. We visited the crypts under a very old church that is decorated with human bones, strange as you can imagine. Another crypt took us down three stories below the ground to a 4th century church that the church above was built on. And below that was a 1st century Roman Villa with rooms containing wall frescoes predating Christianity and celebrating a long forgotten religion. Under the Villa ran a spring which is why the structure was found in the first place. The story goes that the existence of the two buildings had been forgotten and that a church leader had heard water running below the floor of the church and so starting digging to see what it was. And so started the excavation looking for the source of the sound of the running water. This then continued long after his death and did not finish until many years later. We were able to visit and see the spring that had been the inspiration of his digging. That brings us to today as we get our back packs stuffed full getting ready to fly home tomorrow. Much more could be said about Rome or for that fact about our nine months here in Europe. We have not seen everything, but we have seen much. We have loved getting to know something of the land our ancestors came from (damned immigrants). We have lots of memories to take with us of friends we have made and experiences of a lifetime. We now look again to the future visiting our grandchildren, family and friends. We plan to buy another boat when we get back to the Puget Sound, live on it and in the fall sail once again down the coast to Mexico and start yet another Chrysalis Adventure in the Sea of Cortez. Stay tuned and be sure to check out the gallery to see pictures of our travels. We hope you have enjoyed riding along with us and we hope to share more of our travels with you our readers.
Pompeii and Hurclean
08 June 2018
In our last blog I mentioned Eilidh (Alee) who we had first met in a hostel in Colombia, coming to visit us. We have been seeing some of the sights here in Rome with her. I will do a wrap up of Rome in another week as we head home in six days; time flies. So the three of us decided to take a trip down to Naples and visit the site of Pompeii and lesser known Herculean. Naples is situated north of the volcano Vesuvius and Pompeii is on the south side with Herculean on the coast in the middle. We wanted to try and do a day visit so we jumped on the high speed train to be able to make it in an hour and a half. We got to Naples and found the subway that would take us first to Herculean. We got to the sight by noon right on schedule. Herculean was completely cover by a pyroclastic flow to the depth of 40 feet preserving the entire town like a time capsule. A pyroclastic flow is neither lava or ash. It is a combination of hot gases, rocks, water and ash, which when dry becomes pumas. These flows unlike what we see with the slow moving lava in Hawaii, can fly down the side of a volcano at speeds of 400 MPH giving little warning to its victims. The heat of the flow is up to 400 degrees so it does not burn the building but rather cooks them. The worst loss of life due to pyroclastic flow occurred in Pelee in Antilles killing 30,000 and Mt. St. Helen's causing much destruction. The location of the Herculean was completely lost until a well was being dug in the 1700's. As the story goes a new town had sprung up on top of the old one without anyone's knowledge. After the bottom fell out of the well, further inspection revealed statues and many other valuable works of art along with houses still completely furnished. So further looting began and tunnels were dug from one building to another looking for treasure, which much was found. It was not until the 1800's that the early beginnings of the new field of archaeology started to dig the town out. Today about 25% of the town is uncovered and the new town still sits on top of the rest off it. Other tunnels have been dug to look for other structures and an entire theater has been found but is off limits to the public, dang. We walked the streets and entered buildings that still had their original roofs on them just as they were left nearly 2000 years ago. At the bottom of the town, which then would have been the shoreline were several brick boat houses built into the wall. In these brick cave like structures many victims hid hoping to be safe but were covered with the flow and then were cooked as temperatures were said to exceed 400 degrees, sad. Many skeletons were found in the structures and were carefully dug out and then left where they died. We spent a couple hours and then jumped back on the subway and headed over to Pompeii. Unlike Herculean Pompeii was inundated with ash very quickly after the eruption suffocating the victims and then burying them in a coating of ash, which then preserved the bodies like mummies. The ash washed away leaving the buildings exposed to the elements so that the roofs and walls of the building eroded with time and also suffering from looting of building supplies (stones). Some of the remaining mummified remains were later found in the debris when the town was excavated. Both towns have well preserved roads and squares allowing us to see what a Roman town looked like in 70 AD. We were plenty tired after a day of hiking and felt that we had seen a lot in a short time. We would recommend giving yourself two days to tour these sites as Pompeii is a full day in itself. We jumped back on the subway to Naples and then took the SLOW train back to Rome getting back to our apartment at 10pm, a full day of exploring. Eilidh spent a total of four days with us, which we all enjoyed. It is really nice to hang out with fellow travelers and adventurers. All of the folks we meet on the road share our wanderlust and love of adventure. We said our goodbyes hoping that we could catch up with each other again further down the road. We now have our other friend hanging with us for the next week, Colin. We met Colin back in our sailing days. He, like us, was sailing down the coast of Mexico and Central America. Like us he also sold the boat and has continued his travels via backpack. He has been been to Southeast Asia and South America so he, like Eilidh share many of their travel stories with us. We still have a few more things to see here in this next week and will report back to you our readers and fellow armchair travelers. Stay tuned for more Chrysalis Adventures and be sure to check out the pictures in the gallery.
Florence and Pisa
29 May 2018
Our Quick Trip Up To See Florence and the Leaning Tower of Pisa
We headed our on our trip north to Florence leaving our new “home” here in Rome at 9 am. We had already made a dry run the day before so we learned how to take a bus to the subway and then over to the train station. We had decided we would take one of the high speed trains which would get us the 200 miles in a little over an hour! You really can’t tell that the train is doing almost 200mph, crazy. We got there in one piece and headed out of the station looking for our hotel. It was only a 15 minute walk but we got a little lost so more like half an hour, no problem. As we headed up the stairs Leiann says oh I forget to tell you it’s three floors up, no elevator. And we are talking a two hundred year old building with really high ceilings so more like six stories up. Breathing hard by the time we got to the desk, we got checked in no issues, yeah. We rested for an hour and then headed out to explore. On our way to our hotel we had already ran into the “Duomo”, the most famous site in Florence. Literally it means “The Dome”. It is a huge over four hundred feet tall, church in the center of town, built completely of marble, with a massive dome in the center. Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery because words just can’t explain this thing. We have seen a lot of churches and always think you can’t top that and then we find something else that blows us away, as the “Duomo” did. We jumped on the hop on, hop off bus as we often do to get the layout of the town and target places we will want to see. We don’t have a lot of time here, but we do not want to rush around trying to see everything. We want it to be relaxed and we see what we see. We ended up having lunch sitting next to the “Duomo” in the big square, with a guy playing classical guitar on the street that echoed off the walls, nice. We called it a night after having some, of all things in Italy, some Mexican food. The next day we still have the remainder of 24 hrs on the hop on, hop bus, so jumped back on and now rode it up to a pictures place overlooking Florence. We then walked up to a church that is said to be the favorite church of Galileo, who had a house not far away and is where he last lived and died. The church is distinct in that is has a white marble staircase that is remarkable. Speaking of Galileo, we did not know quite what the allure of Florence was other than people said it was beautiful and that we should go there. We found out that many of the European Renascence masters were born here, lived here, or visited here when Florence was the capital of Italy and a mecca for artists. Michelangelo was here. We are told that his father was not happy that his son was wanting to be a sculptor, which he thought to be a glorified lowly stone mason. Little did his father know that one day his son would sculpt the “David”, displayed here in Florence, decidedly one of the greatest sculptures of all time. He also painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel here in Rome. Leonardo Da Vinci was here along with Dante, Botticelli, Brunelleschi and many others. So the city is filled with beautiful churches and other examples of fine architecture made of stunning Carrara marble along with statues, paintings, parks and beautiful villas that the rich citizens of Florence built for their enjoyment. We were told that Michelangelo said that he could see David in the 15ft tall solid marble stone before he started sculpting and that he merely cut away all that was not him and freed the statue from the stone. We spent the rest of the day walking the streets of Florence and trying to take a little of it with us. We caught the train headed to Pisa where our friends Lina and Enzo met us at the station. We had not seen them for three years. We met in the jungles of Panama when we stayed at the “Wundebar Hostel”. They were touring Central America heading north and us south. At the time we never thought we would see each other again. We have this experience on a fairly regular basis, thanks to Face Book, we are able to stay in touch we those we meet and plan rendezvouses They took us to see the Pisa. There is a very tall wall around the center of Pisa where the tower is at, like thirty feet, so you do not see the tower until you walk around the corner of the gate and then “Bam” there it is. The tower is actually part of a large church. I never seemed to get that in pictures I have seen of it. The church and tower sit inside this large walled area of about four football fields. Around the church and tower is very green well maintained grass field, so that the white church and tower really stand out. The church and tower are made of gray/white marble. At first impression they do not seem real, more like a picture and hard to describe, other then to say not how it looks in the picture. Also the tower leans much more than we thought. In reading about it I learned that during construction after it started leaning construction was stopped for some time. Later they started again with a solution to stop the leaning, bend the tower backward as they went up! So if you look closely you can see the tower is bent backward like a banana. Finally they built the top “cap” and made it 90 degrees so the top would be straight while the rest of it leaned. However after the cap was completed the tower leaned a little more so even it is not straight. The reason the tower leaned in the first place is that the entire area of Pisa (and much of the coastal area) is barely above sea level and once was a swamp. In addition to the soft ground the tower is hollow like a tube and has a very small footprint foundation. I just wonder what the folks in the day were saying about the architects and builders, must have been a constant source of amusement. Afterward Lina and Enzo took us to their home and made us an amazing dinner of traditional Italian foods. Like most Italians they tried to get us to eat more then we needed. We spent two days with them enjoying the beach and then they took us on an amazing tour into the mountains where Carrara Marble is mined. When you look up to the mountains from the beach you can see all the mines of white marble. When we can came up to visit them and see the leaning tower we never thought about or even herd about Carrara. Most of the marble used in Rome and elsewhere in Italy is mined here. And it is famous around the world. It has been mined here for thousands of years. Michelangelo’s David’s marble came from here as most all statues in Italy, who knew. After a day of being our tour guides we had traditional Pizza at a local outdoor restaurant. The next day they put us on a train back to Rome. People often ask us what’s our favorite part of traveling. We always say the people we meet. Thank you Lina and Enzo for making us feel at home and maybe we can host you if you come visit us where ever we might be. Now back in our “new home” in Rome we are planning for our next week. We have another old travel buddy coming to see us, Eilidh (Alee). We met back in a hostel in Colombia. She also stopped by to visit us in Panama a year later. So we are planning to save some stuff to see together here in Rome. Then when she leaves another travel friend, Colin is coming to visit us. We met Colin back in El Salvador. He, like us, had sailed down from the states. We met him again down in Panama a year later. It is really cool to meet back up with our fellow travelers and catch up. Most of them have done more travel then we have and tell us of lots of places we should go visit. Stay tuned for more Chrysalis Adventures and be sure to check out the photos in the gallery.
Greece blog wrap up
27 May 2018
We have now been in Italy for a couple days and will write about our adventures here in our next update. When we returned home from our trip to Egypt I barely made it into the house before experiencing the gift that keeps on giving. We thought we had been fairly careful about what we ate, but if you are doing world travel you will eventually pick up a bug from somewhere. Could be ice, salad or just someone who handled you hamburger without washing hands. We have come to accept that this happens and take it in stride. This though was the worst I have ever had and after 8 days and 5 lbs weight loss (not a bad thing) finally made a trip to the pharmacy (luckily did not need to get a prescription). Two days later I was fine. Leiann got a little bit of it but nothing like me. My symptoms slowed us down for a few days. We had our friend Kris coming to visit us. She had booked an 8 day sight seeing trip, so we went and visited a few places she would see on her tour. We went to the Acropolis museum the most modern museum in Athens and home to many of the priceless statuary from the Parthenon and other sites from around Athens. Many of these had been recovered after having been thrown off the edge of the summit by invading army's, the Persians Venetians and Turks to name a few. It is unbelievable that any of these survived at all. Some are missing limbs or faces, some have been restored or partially restored. At the top of the Parthenon, at the ends, sitting on the massive beams under the edge of the roof, sat statues larger then life of the heroes of Greece, Zeus, Athena and Poseidon being the most important Gods. A couple still sit in their original position, some were stolen by the Brits and one was dropped when they tried to steal it, breaking it into many pieces. (this was the 10 tall statue of Poseidon of which a few pieces have been recovered). On the outward face of the upper beams of the temple square marble plates measuring 3×5 ft displayed all the mythological stories of Greece and her many battles. These were done is what is called strong relief, such that they looked more like statures stuck onto the plates, making a 3-D mural. There was probably a hundred of these, again some original with broken pieces some restored and some just missing. All of the statues and the Parthenon were carved from solid marble. The quality such that wrinkles could be seen on the skin of the figures! Athens has a good subway (Metro) system and we got really good at using it to zoom around town and out to the coast. We had our landlords and one of their friends over for dinner and served them stir-fry, which it appeared was their first exposure to it. It is always nice to meet the people who live in the places we visit and learn a little of the local knowledge and customs. The Greek people are fiercely proud of their country and of their history. They will proudly tell you the world started in Greece! When our friend Kris showed up, as we expected she was worn out and was ready to relax a bit. So the day she came we just did a little shopping, (her and Leiann) sat at a couple out door cafes and watched the world go by and talked about the sights of Greece. She really had been enjoying her visit but these tours tend to try and pack too much into a day so by the end of it you need a vacation to unwind from your vacation. We love to entertain when we get the chance and really enjoyed catching up with one of our very best of friends. After she left we stared planning for our next leg to Italy. We had already booked the apartment a month before, so we just needed to nail down our getting to the airport in Athens and getting to our new place in Rome. This done we took a few more leisurely walks through the “Plaka” (old area of Athens). We ate in a few more open air cafes taking in the view of the Acropolis, knowing we would most likely never see it again. Sad but grateful to have had the opportunity to see this ancient part of the world we now turn back to the west to move forward again in time, to the world of Romans and begin looking forward to our return home after our nine month tour of Europe. Stay tuned for more Chrysalis Adventures as we explore Italy.
Blog update Egypt
19 May 2018
. Blog Update Egypt
We were up at 5am to catch a 8 am flight out of Athens to Egypt. Even on this short flight we were served free breakfast unlike our cheap air carriers at home. Our hotel sent a car to pick us up at the airport and the driver “Mohammad” was waiting for us with a sign. He welcomed us to Egypt and was very nice and answered our questions in English. The first thing that hit us was the number of minarets (the tower that is used to call the faithful to prayer at a mosque). He said that Egypt is called the land of a thousand minarets! As we drove through the City we were amazed how big it was, Mohamed said that the population was 19 Million! We drove by huge mosques that were hundreds years old, a fortress with forty foot walls, right in the middle of the city! We had read a weather report that said it was going to be 100 degrees, fortunately they were having a sand storm so the sky was overcast and kept the temps down to mid eighties while we were there. As we got closer to our hotel the Great Pyramid came into view and we were in awe. It’s just not possible to explain the feeling the first time you see the four thousand year old Great Pyramid. After seeing it in pictures and hearing about it all my life I expected to be a little underwhelmed, but that was not the case, I was just amazed to be seeing it up close and personal. We got to our hotel and the staff were falling all over themselves to make us feel welcome and answer questions we had. We got up to our room and had to take a look from our balcony, the website said it over looked the pyramids. They were not kidding, we were looking directly at the Spinx with the three pyramids in the background, see the pictures. We took a nap and then got up in the late afternoon. Out in front of our hotel is a little hard to describe. On the other side of the street was the fence and on the other side of it are the pyramid grounds. But on our street you expected it to be lined with five star hotels, but we had horses, dogs, goats, cars, motorcycles, people in typical Muslim dress, some men in full length robes, horse poop in the street, street vendors trying to sell you something or “help you”, it was a little overwhelming. There were horse and buggies running all around so we took one and told them we just wanted him to drive us around for an hour. The driver had his 9 year son along with him so I sang the “raw hide” song which he could not really understand but he did understand the “Head ‘em up, move em out, head ‘em up, RAW HIDE!”. He took us into some very poor neighborhoods and along places where camels, horses and donkeys are kept, not the sweetest smelling places. We do like to get off the tourist path and see what places we visit are really like. Tourism took a huge hit as a result of the Arab spring uprising and we were seeing the results of it. What money is being generated though tourism is definitely not trickling down to these people. It’s always fun for us to interact with the kids in places we visit, kids are the same all around the world. Later that night we had dinner on our hotel roof top restaurant over looking the pyramids. Every night there is a light and sound show. The pyramids light up in sync with the story and music being played. The sound is projected from the Spinx, so it looks like he is telling the story of ancient Egypt. The next day we headed out on our tour. We usually don’t do tours because we hate being herded like cows and prefer to do our own exploring. But we felt that for safety reasons we would use tours for our two days in Egypt. Our hotel set us up with a personal guide, Abdul, who was at the hotel bright and early at 7am. He was a little (an hour) early. We felt bad making him wait while we scarfed down our breakfast. So we were at the great pyramid before the crowds got there, which was his plan. After paying him for the tours he took care of all our tickets and fees. It was definitely the way to go, we felt like VIP’s. We headed right up into the Great Pyramid first thing. Going into a four thousand year old pyramid is again hard to describe, kinda like waking into to a very old church. We headed along a level hallway for about a hundred feet before starting up a three by three shaft that went up at a forty five degree angle. You had to hunch down as you ascend up the shaft for another hundred and fifty feet and then it opened up to a shaft that was fifteen feet wide and a roof that was twenty feet high with walls that slope inward as they reach the ceiling. This next part continued up again at a forty five degree angle for another two hundred feet and then level out onto a landing. A little man in a robe and turban led us through another short tunnel into the “Kings Tomb”. The tomb had smooth granite walls that reach up twenty feet and was about twenty by thirty feet square. At the end of the room was a solid stone vault that a sarcophagus would fit in. Alas the vault was empty, no gold or bones. The little guy asked for a tip and then herded us out ready for his next prey. Our driver took us to all the pyramids telling the history of all of them. Then he took us out for a camel ride. We had lunch in a nice restaurant and then headed back to go see the very first Pyramid built, the stepped pyramid. Followed by the bent pyramid. We visited an ancient boat that had been buried in a stone vault next to the great pyramid. It had discovered accidentally when some digging was being done around the pyramid. The wood had been preserved by the dry desert conditions for four thousand years. It was a hundred feet long and the boards that it was made of were tied together with rope rather than nails, as steel had not been invented yet. It had the typical up swept ends in highly stylized artistry. The oars were thirty feet long. Later we toured another sight that housed a statue of Ramses II. The statue had been found in a swampy area face down. The mud had preserved the front of the stature while the back showed the erosion of time. It took a very large crane to lift the statue out of the mud as it was thirty feet tall and weighed tons. It had been placed on it’s back and then had a building built around it which is today a museum. Amazing to think the Egyptians did not have big modern cranes and moved stuff like this all the time. We ended our day and made arrangements to get picked up the next day to go and see the Cairo Museum. That night we sat at the roof top restaurant of “Pizza Hut”, which was next door to our hotel and watched the light show again. The next day our guide was once again way early, but hey at least he is punctual! He first took us to the “hanging church” not as bad as it seems. It is a Coptic Christian Church, read Egyptian Christian Church. This in a country that is 90 percent Muslim so is a bit unusual in itself. The Hanging Church is named because of it’s location on top of an old Roman fortress in old Cairo. It’s central portion of the chapel is suspended over a passage such that it appears to float above the surrounding old city. It’s main theme is the arrival of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, fleeing from king Harrods order to kill all male babies, as he was told from a seer that the king of the Jews had just been born. Next we visited the famed Cairo Museum. Among the multitude of items housed there is the famous King Tut tomb treasure. Tut ‘Tutankhamen” became Pharaoh of Egypt at the ripe old age of 9 and died mysteriously at 19. His sarcophagus is amazing. First his mummified body was placed in a wooded sarcophagus that closely resembled his facial features, this wooded sarcophagus was the put in a golden sarcophagus that again closely resembled his features, then it was put in a solid rock vault (coffin), this then put in a large wooded box painted in gold leaf, then this put into a larger wooded box and painted gold and then finally this put into a giant wooden golden box of ten feet tall! Going to the Cairo Museum is a “you have to be there to understand” places. We next visited the largest mosque in Egypt which is situated in an old fortress with forty foot walls all around it. A massive structure and again a “you gotta be there to understand so see the photo gallery, but even then”. We ended our long day with another great lunch at our guides favorite restaurant (we think he got a piece of the action so to speak). We took silly pictures wearing Egyptian garb. The next day we were greeted by all the hotel staff so they could say goodbye (at 6am). We would highly recommend the people see the pyramids as it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Stay tuned for Chrysalis Adventures.