A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: chrisvasil

Jeep Safari in Wadi Rum

sunny 39 °C

We went on a desert safari in old Toyota Land Cruisers. What we saw was camels, rock carvings, and sand of different colors. Desert and some history. The truck ride itself was less exciting than we were expecting, but the scenery was great.

Here was our truck. Note the big horn on the hood.

Some people sandboarded, but the reviews were poor (really hard getting up the hill, equally hard going down - and that was with people that had some experience surfing or snowboarding) so I didn't.

Here is by far the most successful (a surfer, naturally)

We saw some carvings in the mountains, mostly depicting camels crossing the desert - apparently these were meant to convey that the desert is crossable here.

A wall behind which Lawrence of arabia lived for awhile:

Here's a "bridge" suspended above a hole in a mountain. It's solid enough, but was a pain to descend from, especially on dark-colored rocks in the hot sun. As usual Sue was ahead of me.


Posted by chrisvasil 05:25 Archived in Jordan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Bush camp in Jordan desert; Flogging a dead horse

sunny 38 °C

After a day of driving we settled into a bush camp. A bush camp involves just camping outside without facilities - no showers and the washrooms are defined as 'girls on this side, boys on that side, use the shovel to bury anything solid'.
Here is the timeline on a particularly eventful bush camp day:

5pm - almost there; help push truck after it got stuck in the sand; walk a few minutes to join the truck at the site

5:30 - it's windy and looks like a cold night (even though it was around 40 Celsius during the day); decide to set up a tent. Notice afterward that it's still windy.

6:30 - someone found a spent mortar shell in the distance. He'll be taking it home and adding it to his trophy case. Removed the detonator as that would make it likely to be taken at customs or airport security.

7 - playing soccer barefoot. Using very small nets so that no one gets tempted to kick too hard, especially given the wind. I realize what I had forgotten since high school: I'm terrible when I have the ball, but I'm not bad on defense. I sub out after under an hour as a result of having gotten and burst a blister, and now having a big flap of skin (1.5x1 inches) hanging off the ball of my foot; clean, disinfect, and bandage it.
During soccer, some folks were playing Twister.

830 - someone saw what seems to be a camel in the distance. We go to it, it's a dead horse. Clearly it's been dead awhile - it barely smells and when someone dropped a pebble on it the sound was like a drum - the skin is now tightly bound leather. It looks like this horse died during childbirth.

900 - we eat hamburgers tonight, probably the least healthy meal of the trip.

10pm - a few of the guys can play guitar, one of the guys brought a guitar, so we're crowding around him singing favorites of the 90s mostly. Oasis, Green Day, that type of thing...

11pm - pretty much everyone is asleep. Some can still be heard near the truck by those that aren't sleeping. One bangs drums outside peoples' tents and sleeping mats, I'm fortunate enough not to hear it.

Posted by chrisvasil 05:24 Archived in Jordan Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Eurail Europe overnight train schedule

We are using this schedule to find overnight trains with our Eurail pass.

We are using this schedule to find overnight trains for our Eurail pass. Should be the same for InterRail.

Overnight trains are great to avoid wasting daytime hours travelling and save a night of hotel/hostel (although there are reservation fees of 10-20EUR for most overnight trains)

To From depart>arrive
Amsterdam Copenhagen 1853>1029
Amsterdam Milan 2110>1227
Amsterdam Munich 2244>859
Amsterdam Vienna 1954>1229
Amsterdam Warsaw 2042>859
Ancona Patra 1800>1400
Barcelona Bern 2108>943
Barcelona Civitavecchi1900>1400
Barcelona Geneva 2335>943
Barcelona Granada 2145>929
Barcelona Milan 1940>943
Barcelona Paris 2032>824
Barcelona Seville 2122>806
Bari Bologna 2319>618
Bari Patra 1800>830
Bari Rome 2358>635
Basel Amsterdam 2031>654
Basel Berlin 2222>755
Basel Dusseldof 2312>654
Basel Florence 2157>732
Berlin Basel 2107>718
Berlin Krakow 1945>806
Berlin Malmo 2131>605
Berlin Munich 2304>741
Berlin Paris 2020>902
Berlin Warsaw 2130>806
Berlin Zurich 1944>718
Bern Barcelona 1938>849
Bern Rome 1956>620
Bologna Bari 2359>652
Bologna Brindisi 2236>652
Bologna Munich 2103>435
Bologna Paris 1852>558
Bonn Vienna 1954>817
Bordeaux Nice 2057>810
Brindisi Bologna 2319>738
Brindisi Patra 1730>800
Brindisi Rome 2358>751
Brussels Florence 2109>1147
Budapest Frankfurt 2200>1019
Budapest Prague 2140>832
Budapest Zurich 2240>1134
CivitavecchiBarcelona 1900>1400
CivitavecchiToulon 2100>1130
Copenhagen Amsterdam 1901>959
Copenhagen Koln 2228>959
Copenhagen Munich 1900>959
Copenhagen Oslo 1700>930
Copenhagen Paris 1755>959
Copenhagen Stockholm 2306>719
Dusseldorf Basel 2207>613
Dusseldorf Munich 2244>613
Florence Basel 2201>641
Florence Munich 2103>618
Florence Paris 1852>713
Florence Vienna 1923>618
Florence Zurich 2123>641
Frankfurt Milan 2110>545
Geneva Barcelona 1938>545
Genova Paris 1942>836
Hanover Paris 2020>702
Helsinki Stockholm 1700>955
Iraklion Pireas 2100>600
Koln Copenhagen 1853>614
Koln Munich 2244>545
Koln Vienna 1954>600
Koln Zurich 2042>545
Krakow Berlin 2104>918
Krakow Prague 2109>633
Krakow Vienna 2212>633
Lisbon Lourdes 2225>741
Lisbon Paris 1550>1103
Lisbon San Sebastia2220>1054
Lourdes Paris 2310>748
Madrid Lisbon 2230>858
Madrid Paris 1945>910
Malmo Berlin 2313>808
Malmo Stockholm 2306>620
Messina Rome 2320>805
Milan Amsterdam 1701>750
Milan Barcelona 1938>959
Milan Brindisi 2236>920
Milan Frankfurt 2249>750
Milan Naples 2030>725
Milan Paris 2033>538
Milan Rome 2259>725
Monaco Paris 2225>915
Munich Amsterdam 2031>716
Munich Bologna 2305>630
Munich Copenhagen 1853>857
Munich Dusseldof 2312>716
Munich Florence 2153>630
Munich Paris 2020>716
Munich Rome 1910>630
Munich Venice 2251>630
Munich Vienna 2409>615
Naples Milan 2320>1012
Nice Bordeaux 2157>758
Nice Paris 2225>847
Nice Toulouse 2413>758
Oslo Bergen Norwa2258>626
Oslo Copenhagen 1700>930
Palermo Rome 1958>810
Paris Barcelona 2105>900
Paris Berlin 1958>930
Paris Bologna 2231>916
Paris Florence 2109>910
Paris Lourdes 2220>715
Paris Madrid 1900>827
Paris Milan 2335>819
Paris Munich 2244>930
Paris Nice 2101>746
Paris Rome 1840>916
Paris San Sebastia2135>710
Paris Toulon 2303>746
Paris Toulouse 2235>652
Paris Venice 1957>819
Paris Vienna 2240>1134
Prague Amsterdam 1901>956
Prague Budapest 1958>622
Prague Krakow 2215>654
Prague Vienna 2212>622
Prague Warsaw 2100>630
Rome Bari 1215>629
Rome Bern 2304>912
Rome Brindisi 2252>629
Rome Innsbruck 2305>905
Rome Milan 2320>723
Rome Munich 2103>905
Rome Paris 1852>1013
Rome Zurich 2123>912
San SebastiaParis 2310>830
Seville Barcelona 2230>840
Stockholm Boden Sweden2056>1000
Stockholm Copenhagen 2203>554
Stockholm Helsinki 1700>930
Stockholm Malmo 2308>554
Toulon Civitavecchi2100>1130
Toulon Paris 2225>634
Toulouse Nice 2057>514
Toulouse Paris 2256>641
Venice Budapest 1635>716
Venice Munich 2103>737
Venice Paris 2033>934
Venice Patra 2359>800
Venice Vienna 2040>834
Vienna Bonn 2034>904
Vienna Brussels 1759>904
Vienna Florence 2153>842
Vienna Frankfurt 2200>640
Vienna Krakow 2215>630
Vienna Munich 2345>555
Vienna Prague 2140>630
Vienna Rome 1956>842
Vienna Venice 2105>827
Vienna Zurich 2240>803
Warsaw Berlin 2104>810
Warsaw Prague 2109>720
Warsaw Vienna 2212>720
Zurich Amsterdam 2031>820
Zurich Berlin 2222>917
Zurich Budapest 1805>620
Zurich Florence 2157>842
Zurich Vienna 2125>620

Source: painstakingly compiled by hand from http://www.eurail.com/downloads/eurail/eurail_timetable_2009_full.pdf

Please do not reprint without permission.

Posted by chrisvasil 19:32 Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

Sue is fit

sunny 40 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Through all the climbing, walking, swimming, running, carrying, and staying awake challenges we've had on this trip, Sue has kept up with me or pulled ahead. I'm impressed and pleased, and made the right decision of travel partner and life partner.

I was recently offered my choice of either 2 camels or 2 Egyptian woman in exchange for Sue. In light of Sue's recent performance I respectfully declined the offer.

Posted by chrisvasil 05:27 Archived in Jordan Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)


sunny 42 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

The ancient city of Petra is, in my opinion, overrated. It's cool for the amount of buildings carved into caves and the sheer size of some of the buildings, but there is a lot of walking and if not for the historical aspect (which I don't know, but I hear there is one), it probably wouldn't be worth the admission fee of 21 JD (about 30 USD) plus the 1.2km walk to get to the site plus the hourlong climb in the Jordan heat to get to the main building (the monastary). It was worth seeing given that we were in the area - the monastary must be the tallest 2-story building there is - but I wouldn't recommend planning a trip around it.

That said, here are the highlights:

This is a grave for 5 people, symbolized by the 4 triangles on the top floor, according to the sign (I was confused by that).

Here is the Treasury, build to a massive scale (Sue next to a pillar, people in the doorway).

Sue on a staircase of a complex carved out of stone (she was on the third floor, I was on the fifth).

And here is said complex:

At the base of the complex we had (free) tea with a Bedouin family that runs a jewellery stand. The 10-year old girl knew 5 languages (pretty good english, and at least enough of the others to speak a few lines to tourists) and shifts effortlessly between small talk and sales.
They make tea with a small metal kettle on a small propane tank / burner. When the water boiled the girl held brought the kettle to the ground with her bare hands, holding it for maybe 10 seconds. Then she poured water on the handle to cool it down - it boiled instantly, I'm guessing the temperature was around 150 degrees Celsius. In spite of her ability to handle such hot items, her hands looked normal.
Anyway, this is the family:

Here is the Great Temple, currently under excavation or restoration by Brown University.

Here is the monastary, the main attraction which is arrived only after an hour climb up stairs and rocks, the stairs shared with donkeys.
For perspective, the red and white part just below and to the right of the door is Sue.

Me in the door

The monastary in all its glory

Posted by chrisvasil 05:21 Archived in Jordan Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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