Haifa, Israel

July 16, 2018

We woke up early to go to Masada and afterward we visited the Dead Sea Spa and went into the water which was incredible. We had lunch at the spa.  After lunch, we drove to the top of a mountain to take a beautiful picture of the city and went to the ship.

July 17, 2018

Today we went to the Lebanon border and took a picture by the fence and spoke to a nice soldier. It turns out that he was half Lebanese and half Irish.  At the Lebanese border is the Rosh HaNikra Grottos after the Grotto we then went to Acre (Akko) and walked through the souq and had a nice fish lunch at Abu Christo.  After lunch, we went to this little town where we walked around a bit. Unforutanlety, I don’t remember the name of the town.

Follow us on our journey the next destination is Limassol, Cyprus.

If you would like to see what we ate while in Israel.

Masada

The amazing Dead Sea

Camel Parking
The Blue Caves in Israel

Walking through the Souq
John & Maria
Maria & Samantha

Jerusalem, Israel

July 15, 2018

This is a side note about our Tour Guide Zvika he was one of the best guides we ever had. He showed us all the best Israel had to offer. His business card is the first picture below. Tell him you want the Selloni experience. I guarantee you will have a great time!

Today we were redirected to Haifa because the Palestinians were throwing missiles into Israel at the Gaza Strip. Our tour guide Zvika Livneh picked us up from Haifa and took us to see Caesarea. After dinner, Zvika took us for a walk around Jerusalem at nighttime.  I recommend doing that if you get the chance.

Follow us on our journey the next destination is Haifa, Israel.

If you would like to see what we ate while in Israel.

Our amazing Tour Guide Zvika

Our hotel lobby at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem

The King David Hotel where famous people have their signatures in the floor of the lobby.

Jerusalem at Night

Bangkok, Thailand – Canals & Royal Barges

March 30th & 31st, 2014

Today is our second to last day on the ship we have arrived in Bangkok which is an amazing city full of waterways which give this city character. From the pier, we boarded a river boat which took us along the Chao Phya River through the canals (Klongs). Along the way, we saw floating grocery stores, water taxis, teakwood houses on stilts and some temples. Our first stop on this water tour was at the Royal Barge Museum which houses the ornately decorated longboats once used for royal functions. In the pictures below you will see a picture of the Suphanahonge, gold encrusted swan-shaped barge used solely by the king.

Our next stop on the water tour was Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. After walking up the steep stairs, we had fresh coconut milk which was delicious.

The next day we had a private tour set up where we took a James Bond style boat around different parts of Bangkok which were very cool. From our James Bond long boat, we got a chance to see The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw Then in a car we drove to Wat Pho which is known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The measurements are 45 meters long and 15 meters high. It’s so big it has to be viewed in sections. From there we went to see, Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya where the Buddha’s head is embedded in a tree trunk. To end our day we had a chance to ride an elephant which was decorated with a red canopy.

Bracelet made out of Tuberose & Orchids
Rose all day by the pool
Chandelier made out of real flowers
Mandarin Oriental Pool
Maria
Made out of flowers

Mandarin Oriental water taxi

One of the Royal Barges

A handmade purse made out of laquer

Maria & John

Maria & John

Maria & John
Maria & John

Maria & John

Maria and John – with our good friends Bill & Deepen

Maria & John

A club we went to in Bangkok

Saigon, (Ho chi Minh City), Vietnam – Mekong River Cruise

March 27, 2014 – Saigon – Mekong River Cruise
Today we had a river cruise scheduled which was once again something I learned about in school. Our tour bus drove us to the delta port of My Tho where the Mekong River begins. The river starts in the Tibetan Plateau and is 2,795 miles to the Mekong Delta and the South China Sea. The river has what they call Nine Dragons that fan out covered with green rice paddies and orchards of coconuts, mangos, pineapples, and bananas.

From here we boarded a motorized boat to get to our paddle boat. We paddled through the jungle which was thick with vegetation you could barely see the sky. We then stopped on a small island and saw some handmade things being sold by locals. It was quite an experience. After a short ride through the Delta, we then boarded a motorized boat once again and went back to our tour bus to the pier.

March 28, 2014 – Saigon – Private Tour
We schedule a private tour today so that we can see more things without having to deal with 40 other people. Saigon began as a small fishing village; then it was rebuilt by the French in the mid 19th century. Modern day Saigon has a population of more than seven million people and is the largest economic center of Vietnam. We visited the Huyen Khong Monastery inside a cave which was cool. After that, we just drove by the beach and visited some stores that sold marble stone statues.

Follow us on our journey the next and last destination on this trip is Bangkok, Thailand.

Maria

Maria & John – with Captain Igor Bencina & F&B Director Adam Martindale onboard Oceania Cruises

Hue/Da Nang (Chan May), Vietnam – Da Nang & China Beach

March 25, 2014 

Today we had a half day tour scheduled for the city. Da Nang is a beautiful city considering all the conflict that happened years ago. It was a major US Marine base during the Vietnam conflict, Da Nang was a strategic air and seaport, and most of the brutal fighting of the war happened there.  We visited Cham Museum it housed the most extensive collection of Cham art in the world, dating back to the fifth through the 16th century. After a visit to the museum, we stop at the Han Market for a little retail therapy.  The last stop was driving to Marble Mountain.  This mountain was made up of five hills, each representing one of the five elements of the universe: water, wood, fire, metal, and earth.  Our tour guide said that both Vietnamese and the Cham used these mountains to build shrines, so it’s picturesque with numerous grottoes, caves, and pagodas. The caves were also used by the Vietcong to hide during the war.

Follow us on our journey the next destination is Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.

Maria & John

Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam – Junk Boat Cruise

March 24, 2014

Today we arrived in Vietnam and began our day with a short drive from the ship to the junk pier in Ha Long city. Once there we boarded the junk boat called Phuong Hoang, this was one of the wildest boat rides we’ve ever been on. To get out of the pier, all the boats were bumping into each other hence their name Junk boats. We began our cruise in the bay which is located in the Gulf of Tonkin; Ha Long Bay is one of the world’s outstanding natural wonders. This densely concentrated zone of Karst Islands, world famous for its spectacular scenery of grottoes and caves and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We weren’t lucky with the weather it was raining and foggy, but it was still pretty.

Follow us on our journey the next destination is Hue/Da Nang (Chan May), Vietnam.

Our friends Bill & Deepen

Hong Kong, China

March 21, 2014 – Hong Kong, China – Open Top Bus & Temple Street Night Tour

Tonight we boarded an open top double decker bus for our night tour. We drove through the heart and soul of Kowloon. We drove past the Peninsula Hotel and modern Hong Kong Space Museum. We then drove to the animated Golden Mile of Nathan Road, the longest street in Hong Kong. On Nathan Road we were dazzled by all the bright neon lit up buildings. We also had the chance to go shopping at the Temple Street Night Market. This was a long street filled with vendors selling clothing, knock-off watches, posters all sorts of souvenirs.

Maria & John with elementary school kids

Our friends Albert & Beverly
Our friends Marilyn & Willy

March 22, 2014 – Hong Kong, China – Lantau Island & Po Lin Monastery

Lantau Island is the largest of the 235 islands. The full day tour began with a drive to Tsing Yi Lookout where we had a panoramic view of the Tsing Ma Bridge. After a brief photo stop, we drove to Tung Chung Terminal to change bus’ to drive on Lantau Island. We drove along the winding roads to Tai O Village which is known as “Hong Kong’s Venice” because of its many crisscrossing waterways.

Upon arrival on Lantau Island, we began our walking tour of Tai O and the Po Lin Monastery. The monastery is located at an altitude of 1,700 feet on the Ngong Ping Plateau. We then walked to see the main attraction which is the 250 ton, 102 foot high Bronze Buddha statue called Tian Tan Buddha. This is largest seated Buddha statue in Asia. The pedestal of the statue is a three-story exhibition hall embellished with Buddhist figures and scriptures.

After taking a bunch of photos, we walked to have a vegetarian lunch prepared by the resident monks which was delicious.

The last stop on this tour was a cable ride by Ngong Ping Skyrail. This is a spectacular 5.7km (3.54 miles) cable car journey, traveling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island the floor of the cable car was glass which was scary at first but after a few minutes we got used to it and were able to enjoy the panoramic views. We went to the South China Sea and the North Lantau Country Park. We saw the best views of Hong Kong on this complete glass Skyrail.

Follow us on our journey the next destination is Hanoi (Ha Long Bay), Vietnam.

Maria & John – with our friends Mark & Dennis from Miami