Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Backpacking In Germany (12-18 August)

As this was my trip without any work attachments, excitement and anticipation should overwhelm my entire being, however, having just touched down from Zurich 5 hours before my Singapore-Frankfurt flight, I was completed exhausted.

As I arrived at the Singapore Changi Airport, I was greeted by my beautiful travelling partner and colleague, Sharen before checking in our luggage. Everything at that point of time was relatively smooth,until my first mishap.

Our first hiccup ( Or rather, MY HICCUP) was upon checking my boarding pass, my flight was to be a day later. In order to have a seat on that particular flight, I would be on hold until there was an available seat. Fortunately for us, I had a seat and we were off to Frankfurt!

Upon touching down at Frankfurt Airport, both Sharen and myself proceeded to get ourselves a train ticket to the historical Berlin. Our train was extremely punctual, in fact it was frighteningly PUNCTUAL as we were expecting the train to leave 5-10 minutes from the expected departure time. The doors closed just a few minutes upon stepping onto the 2nd class carriage. If we were too slow to get to the doors, we had to wait few more hours for the next train!

4 hours 32 minutes later, we reached our destination and proceeded to our accomodation, St. Christopher's Inn. The hostel was homely, nice and VERY CLEAN. Since this is my first backpacking trip, I was suitably happy with it and we proceeded to explore Berlin as soon as we got changed!

Our virgin steps into the city wasn't as lucky as we were frequently confused with the streets as they were all in German. The fact that the blindly hot sun constantly upon us did not help us to navigate the streets easily! One thing I did notice were the interesting graffiti strewn all over the city. The grafitti though was not like any plain, uninteresting drab that destroyed public/private property, but beautiful drawings/ paintings that not only beautify the place but truly represented Berlin for what it is.

Germany, like the Germans represented efficiency and great technology. But with great efficiency and technology (Like its Birkenstocks) , 'boring' comes to mind. But in Berlin, it was a city unique on its own with a melting pot history and new and old culture algamating into one. A city that was once the centre of major historical events such Bismarck Germany, Nazi Germany and the Cold War, the city now boasts of great nightlife, wonderful operas and caberets as well as wonderful museums!

On Day 2, we took the free tour around Berlin, the best decision we ever made! If you are ever at Berlin/Munich/Edinburgh/London or Paris, do check out Sandemans New Europe free tours. The Berlin tour was not only comprehensive and had an excellent guide, it was FREE!

On our 3rd day, our first stop was the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, located at Orienberg, just outside Berlin. Watching numerous movies and reading about concentration camps was one thing, to see the camp in our own eyes was another! The experience was certainly impactful and sad as you are reminded on how evil men could be. It is certain a place you shouldn't miss as it reminds us that history SHOULD NEVER REPEAT itself and atrocities like this should never occur onto any race or community.

The other half of the day was spent in Potsdam, a beautiful, quaint town which boasts once of the most beautiful palaces and gardens in Germany. Though it was raining throughout, it did not stop us from admiring the lush gardens, breathtaking statues and ostentatious palaces. One particular palace which stood out was the Schloss Sansoucci ( Sansoucci Palace). The summer palace, build on top of the hill had rows and rows of vineyards at the descending downwards with ornately carved statues greeting you at the base. The scenery was just stuff of legends:- I could just imagine myself passing through the gardens towards the palace on a horse- carriage. My luscious curls would be blown gently by the summer winds as I clung at the sides of my gilded gold carriage. As I were to meet my prince in waiting,I would be dressed in a beautiful baby blue corset which snugged my body tightly and a flowing tulle skirt held by various petticoats.

Well, I could only dream so much as I had to get back to Berlin before dark to enjoy Friday night out and before we departed to Dresden the next day!

Day 4: After forcing ourselves to wake up early, we were on a train to Dresden! As the Internet was down the day before, upon reaching the city, we had to hunt for a new hostel! We finally found a place. It very homely but pretty far out from the city which meant that we had to go home early just to be safe! Coincidentally, we were just in time for the Dresden Stadfest.

Like many major German cities, Dresden was not excluded from the major bombings of World War 1 and 11. Pretty sad as Germany especially Saxony area is full of history. However, with the Stadfest, history was revived with some of the citizen wearing beautiful Prussian era costumes and walked around the carnival which was filled with loads of delicious German food, theme park rides and activities galore. The bad news was that the place was raining heavily on the 1st day, spoiling our mood for some fun and sightseeing.

As darkness drew, the hostel did not look as inviting at night. Perhaps it was the narrow steps that creaked and echoed at night, blindingly dark room or even the sounds from the adjacent rooms that echoed throughout the hostel. It was just highly possible that our imaginations ran wild and perhaps an overdose of horror movies that made the place scarier that it would be. The humiliating part was that I was travelling with a friend, whereas our hostel mate was a 50 year old woman who did not seemed scared at all!

Fortunately for us, the 2nd day, a Sunday was clear and sunny, allowing us to soak in the wonderful carnival. We departed at 1455 hours from Dresden back to Frankfurt, though it was a long journey ( Approx 5 1/2 hours), the train ride was certainly breahtaking as we passed numerous small towns, castles and vineyards along the way.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Watching a play in London West End, The Lion King ( 13 March 08)

My trip to London this time round was supposed to be an uneventful one, as I would be concentrating on my upcoming exams.

Luckily I decided to take a little break with my friend, Jiayun at night to watch a musical. We chose Lion King as it had been one of the top musicals ever performed at the London West End.

I had my reservations at first; it was based on a Disney cartoon and there was seriously no secret of the plot and ending. However, I found the experience certainly mindblowing with really breathtaking sets of Pride Rock and Elephant Graveyard and their creation of the savannah and the movement of the animals.

What really blew me away were their employment of puppets such as Zazu, Pumba, cheetahs,etc. If it were up to me, I would have just thought of putting Zazu or Pumbaa into large animal suits. But instead, the producers deployed very visible puppeteers (dressed in complementary colours of the puppets they were operating) to operate their puppets. The effect was certainly amazing, as the animals were more flexible and nuanced in their acting, expressing lifelike movement of animals which would have been severely restricted if operated by humans in fully dressed animal costumes.

My favourite had to be the wildebeest stampede in which Mufasa is killed. The effect in the theater was fantastic, as seemingly thousands of wildebeests seem to be rushing straight at Simba -- and at the audience. With the clever usage of canvas scrolls, mirrors and a series of rollers, it created an illusion of thousands of racing animals driving forward.

Back to the details of the musical:- I really thought lots of research were done to create such a great affect. Inspired by Japanese Bunraku puppetry, the puppeteers were dressed in complementary colours instead of black. If full black costumes were used instead, you would have just noticed the puppeteer sticking out of nowhere in the musical. I must mention in this blog of their effective usage of shadow puppetry (Which i suspect was inspired by our very own Wayang Kulit!) to create the illusion of the giraffes walking at a distance, which of course were amazing!

The beauty of watching a musical in London was the fact that there are special theatres for each and every show. For instance, The Lion King perfomances would only be at the Lyceum Theatre whereas Les Miserables would only show at the Queen's Theatre. This would allow the creation of extensive sets and more nuanced acting as the characters were allowed to sharpen their performing skills being in a fixed place compared to a travelling group where they would have to adapt to a new theatre and the sets would be constraint by the logistics of the hall they were performing all the time.

All in all, the experience is something not to be missed and I look forward to seeing another musical again at London West End.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Portobello Market : Notting Hill (4-7 January)

Apologies for the late entry of this blog, was really busy with alot of stuff especially with my CFA ( Certificate of Financial Analyst) just around the corner
(June 2008), so soon I'll be a busy busy lady!

Since I started my travelling job in August 2006, I've always wanted to visit all the art galleries in the world, the big cities such as London, New York ( When will i get that) and Paris.

One particular place that I yearned to go was Portobello Market, Notting Hill. The market, made famous from the eponymously famous movie 'Notting Hill' starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, is one of the 'must-see' tourist destinations when you drop by London. Located near Notting Hill Gate, the place is especially famous during Saturdays for antique merchandising.

Lucky for me, I was there during a Saturday, and decided to make my way to the famous location while singing along Ronan Keating's 'When you say nothing at all and 'She' from Elvis Costello. ( From the movie soundtrack)

As expected, the place was freaking amazing. They sold really fantastic stuff like the old telephones, microscopes, old navy compasses ( Where you can actually navigate the ships via the constellations at night), pretty english crockery, jewellery etc. My favourite location has to be the retro/vintage section ( Located just under the bridge at the very end of the market) where you can buy vintage clothing/accessories for just a song ( Well, not literally just a song, since no one really wants to hear my voice, but it was so cheap to buy these stuff, approx 5-10 pounds).

Not only can you get really great bargains, there were so many things to see and do. There was this stall where you can test your stress level for free (Though I think they were actually supposed to sell some science fiction books by Ron. L Hubbard, founder of Scientology), fresh fruits, amazing array of sumptous snacks from all cultures, bags,etc. And if you dont feel like flea market shopping, there are a wonderful selection commercial stores to browse from such as Accesories and Body Shop.

One thing to highlight is great range of nice vintage purses on offer though they were pretty expensive after conversion from pounds to sg dollars. Many were intricately made, with colourful beads and stitched with silk lining with the range selling from $40-100 pounds. Being the typical stingy Singaporean/Malaysian, I was hesitant to buy the purses though they were well made and nicely kept. I ended up in buying a retro slingback with gold trimmings to match my newly purchased vintage wear. I promised myself to go back to Notting Hill given any chance just to get some an amazing piece of vintage item.

I ended day by visiting the British Museum. As I have been to the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo and Lourve in Paris, the museum did not do much for me. However, if you wish to see lots of ancient relics/sculptures from all over the world. you can head down to this place. The only amusement I have is amazing the number of items taken from the acropolis (In athens) and displayed in the museum as well as the fact that many statues were decapitated and either were lost or was taken away by another museum somewhere in Europe.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Moscow Via Dubai ( 25 April to 4 May)

Upon receiving news that I was to fly to Moscow via Dubai, my initial feelings were mixed with apprehension and excitement. The thought of 10 days away from Singapore, away from my friends and my nice, cozy warm bed was quite hard to swallow. However, the very idea of visiting Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral (The building with lots of colorful domes), Russian Metro, etc was indeed something to look forward to!

And of course, I was definitely curious whether the Russian girls look as hot as Maria Sharapova and why the domes/facade of ancient Russian buildings was so colourful!

Day 1, Dubai: Stopover in Dubai. After some rest, we took a cab to the Mall of Emirates, the largest shopping mall outside North America. The 223,000 square meter Mall was spacious and palatial, offering a wide range of entertainment including an artificial skiing facility, Ski Dubai and a 2-level arcade. The eclectic mix of shops (As many as 450 retailers in total) definitely held our interests as we zoomed in from one shop to another in search of the best bargains. Oddly though, Vivo City (Singapore’s largest shopping centre) came to our minds whenever walked through the mall.

Day 2, Dubai (Friday): Our mission of that day was to experience the famous Gold and Spice Souks in Dubai. The catch: The shops were closed till 4 pm due to Friday prayers in Dubai! (So remember, do take this in mind if you are planning a tour to Abu Dhabi/Dubai) Therefore, we ended up hunting for more bargains in another shopping mall in Dubai before flying off to Moscow at night.

Day 3, Moscow: (We warned you first) After enduring a 2 hour journey from the airport to the hotel, we finally reached our hotel at noon time. The rest of the day was spent in Tverskaya Street, Moscow's main street where we sipped coffee and watched the world go by. The sights was simply dazzling, we kept seeing beautiful Russian girls everywhere we went, as long as they were young and thin, they were simply beautiful. This made me wonder on how Russian supermodels would look like if the girls in the street looked like this!

Day 4, Moscow: We took the metro down to the Russian flea market, which sold an interesting array of items including Russian Dolls, intricate hand painted jewellery boxes, fur hats of various assortments, etc. Interestingly, many Russians were interested to take pictures with 4 of us girls. In general, most Russian women are womanly and statuesque in height. Being Asians and being petite, we were very interesting to them! Standing at approximately, 5 feet 2, we were similar to the smallest piece of the Russian doll. Russian Dolls are beautiful handmade dolls in cylindrical shapes and can be opened up into 2 halves to reveal a smaller doll of similar painting. The smaller piece will open up to reveal another smaller piece and this will continue till it reaches 10th piece. At 3 pm that day, our little flea market adventure came to a halt when snow unexpectedly fell and we had to cower under shelter (As well as to quickly buy more winter gear as we were ill prepared for snow) till the weather got better. We ended the day with a quick trip to the Red Square and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour before heading back to our hotel.

Day 5, Moscow: Our trip this time consisted of just us 4 girls instead of the entire group. The metro, breathtaking and unique, was not easy to navigate as the signages and directions were all in Russian (We had someone to guide us the day before). The weather forecasted today was ‘light showers’, luckily, the sun was shining brightly that and we finally reached our rendezvous point, the Red Square. We started our sightseeing with the most famous cathedral of all, Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed. The church was built by order of the Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the victory of the Russian army over the Kazan Khanate and final liberation of the Tartar-Mongol yoke. There is a legend that Ivan had the eyes of its architects removed so that they could never create something of comparable beauty. Its also said Ivan was especially fond of the cathedral because the domes reminded him of Tartar heads on sticks.

Thereafter, we proceeded into the Kremlin where we visited buildings such as the Cathedral of Dormition, Cathedral of Annunciation, etc. The interior of the cathedrals were wonderfully painted with frescoes of Christ with many of them richly decorated.

Before proceeding back to our hotel, we hopped in and out the stations in the Russian Metro where each and every station displayed a royal splendour of its own. We visited stations such as Kievskaya, Mayakovskaya, Novobolskaya, etc in which each station were adorned with either magnificent sculptures, basreliefs, paintings, stained glass panels or murals executed by the best artists.

Day 6, Moscow: During my trip from the hotel to airport, the sights were just as interesting sd I actually managed to see a Russian walk a bear (Sadly in chains! around the park. Disparity between USSR and new Russia could be seen with grey non-descript buildings amid the colourful houses and buildings.

Day 7, Dubai: Our excursion to the Gold Souks were a success this time round however the excursion itself was not as interesting as expected. It did not help that the temperature was dry and went up as high as 35 celcius. We ended up shopping in Mall of Emirates and ended the night with a quick trip outside of the famous Burj Al Arab just to take pictures. The Burj Al Arab is one of the most famous landmarks in Dubai and is designed to resemble a billowing sail. Entry into the Burj is strictly prohibited except for its guests. You may enter the hotel should you wish to have tea or a meal there as well. However, a tea can cost you up to S$120 per person!

Day 8-9, Dubai/Singapore: After getting some rest, we flew back to Singapore and back to my nice, cosy bed!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Athens and Mykonos Islands, Greece ( 8-12 April 07)

My upcoming trip to Greece was really one of the trips that I was seriously looking forward to especially after hearing of the amazing stories of the Greek Islands and of Athens; where the birth of civilization and democracy started.

Prior to the trip, I had planned to visit both the Acropolis in Athens and one of the islands during our 2 day stay, therefore, the moment we reached our hotel in the morning, we inquired of the ferry timings and accommodation available at Mykonos Island. As soon as I reached an agreement of the cost, accommodation and ferry timings with the travel agent (The apt word would be bargaining ), I managed to convince three of my workmates to join me for a little excursion to Mykonos for the night before departing back to Athens in the evening the next day.

After a little rest and some lunch, all of us headed of to the Acropolis. Along the way, we trudged through the shopping area, Plaka, bustling with tourists and locals from all walks of life. The shops consisted mainly ubiquitous retail outlets such as H&M, Loccitane,etc with the sidewalks lined with street peddlers selling everything from seeshas, Greek paraphernalia to unique puppets. Similarly to Italy, the street floors were of white marble stone, and once in a while, you would stumble upon ancient ruins amongst the modern edifice of the city. Unfortunately for us, as it was the long Easter holiday, all the shops were close, therefore we could only literally window shop there.

After getting lost through the maze-like streets and of course, detouring into the endless rows of little shops selling Greek souvenirs, we finally reached Acropolis to find out that the place was closed at 3 pm due to the Easter holidays! Therefore, all we could do was to take pictures outside the historical site and to savour the atmosphere of the rest of the city before heading of to the jetty.

The journey to Mykonos took 3 1/2 hours, and upon reaching the island, it was already nightfall. As agreed by our travel agent, we would obtain complimentary transfer from the jetty to the hotel. Unfortunately, there was no transport waiting for us when we alighted the ferry. The scenery at night was certainly breathtaking, however, the experience of getting stranded in an unknown area plus the constant gust of wind blowing at our faces at the temperature 14-16 Celsius was not something we enjoyed. Using the auto-roaming function of my mobile phone, I immediately took out our travel documents and called the hotel to pick us up after roaming the jetty for about 20 minutes.

Note: If you happened to travel to a country for work and decided to book a tour via the hotel/travel agent nearby in the last minute, there are a few things that you need to do:

1.) Get all documentations, especially addresses of phone numbers of your hotel and transport ( i.e. airline/ferry/speedboat) in case there are complications. In my case, they forgot to fetch us at the jetty.

2.) Name card of the travel agent. According to our travel agent, the tickets back from Mykonos to Athens would be provided by the hotel. However, the hotel was not aware of this and no tickets was bought even on the early morning of the day we departed! Luckily, we checked earlier and with the aid of our travel documents and the name card, the hotel managed to get a ferry ticket for us to go back to Athens.

3.) Don't totally leave the travel arrangements to the travel agents especially if you are pressed for time. Always check if the documents are ready and whether your transport is waiting for you. Do note that things do go wrong and miscommunication do happen, just that you don't want be the one who suffers from it!

Back to Mykonos: Upon checking into the our seaside hotel at Platy Gialos, we decided to head down to city, Hora to check out the night life available. Even at 9.30 pm, the shops were filled with people with eateries and night clubs opened till dawn. The night scene at the waterfront was simply stunning, the crashing waves onto the shore reflected bright azure upon reflection of the city lights.

The next morning was spent savouring our breakfast whilst embracing the crisp morning air, cloudless sky, white sandy beach and azure waters at our seaside hotel. As soon as finished our meal, we headed out to the city only to be greeted by a row white windmills and the sight of houses literally suspended over the sea (Dubbed 'Little Venice').

The rest of the city was filled with gleaming white cubical houses (All not more than 2 storeys high and with colours painted only at its doors, windows, railings and stairs) and never ending white narrow alleys. At the waterfront, sight of the innumerable white houses at the hills was simply breathtaking; even the ships and boats were white based!

The morning was spent roaming around the white filled alleys, enjoying the sights and scenery of Hora. We finally ended the day at a cafe (Near Little Venice) overlooking the sea and enjoyed a round of beer and crepes before heading back to the hotel.

In the evening, we took the ferry back to Athens and safely reached our hotel. The trip to Athens/Mykonos Island was definitely something to remember and we hope to go there again in the future!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Vancouver Via Seoul (17 March to 23 March 07)

In the middle of March, I had the opportunity to visit the Land Of The Maple Leaf, Canada.

The denizens of Canada are pretty friendly bunch! I was actually taken aback when a local approached us just to have a little chat with us. Being Asian, i was not comfortable initially as we were in a foreign country for the first time and we weren't really sure of his intentions. Slowly we warmed up to him and listened to his stories of his life in Vancouver and prior to that.

Sight seeing wise, in Vancouver, we headed off to Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension bridge. The suspension bridge was definitely breathtaking, just below the bridge were lush Canadian forests divided by a gushing river gurgling below. Right above the tips of the trees was a misty backdrop to complete the enchanting experience.

At Grouse Mountain, it was my first time seeing snow, therefore, I was definitely estatic the moment that I alighted from the cable car ( Which we had to use to go the mountain). As it was a skiing resort, the sight was not as picturesque unless you climb out to the tip of the mountain and start skiing there yourself. We had a ball of a time having snowball fights, lying on the snow and just savouring the beautiful scenery and weather around us.

My highlight of the trip was actually in Seoul. I had 2 and a half days there. The first night was spent hanging out with my journalist friend who happened to be there on the same day. At the bar, we could not get any waiter/waitresses to attend to us. And when we finally got the attention of the staff there, the manager immediately knelt down to apologize profusely to us before giving more thorough attention to our requests. After a few rounds of drinks, when we wanted to settle the bill, the staff came to explain that since we weren't attended to initially, the drinks will be settled by the hotel( Westin Chosun, Seoul was the hotel, btw). This is the first time I had such excellent service rendered to me.

Day 2 consisted of shopping. We spent the day strolling down the streets of Myeoung Dung and Namdemun for good buys esp Korean skincare and fashion. If you are a Korean skincare fan, you can get items from the Face Shop, Skin Food and Laniege at much cheaper prices compared to Singapore.

Btw, in Myeoung Dung, there is this American Donut shop that sells the tastiest donuts ever, Krispy Kreme. I love the original glazed donuts sold there. Lets hope Krispy Kreme will head down to Singapore soon!

At Day 3, which is the highlight of my Seoul trip, I booked a tour to Panjamun, this demiliatarized zone between the North and South. It was certainly an eye opening experience for me. You could actually see the North from observation tower. All the tree were cut at the hilly areas, from the video shown to us, it was speculated that the trees were for fuel and to prevent ppl from escaping as it increased visibility from the North military. There was a barb wire to fence up the area, with electricity as high as 10,000 watts in case anyone intended to escape( 250 watts was enough to kill a normal human being)

Lastly I got to visit the demilitarized zone between North and South, you can virtually step into the North if you want to, though you might get a risk of getting shot at! And of course, the Freedom Bridge, which was also the starting scene of the Bond Film ( when Pierce Brosnan was still Bond) in Die Another Day.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Cairo via Dubai ( 20 Dec to 27 Dec 2006)

I know it is bit odd for me to write of my sojourn to Cairo especially when it done in Dec 2006, however, I have to admit this is certainly one of the most captivating experiences I had ever come upon. (At least for now). Even the journey from the airport to the hotel was an experience by itself as Cairo city was steeped with history with many of its buildings and sidewalks filled Christian, Islamic and ancient Egyptian influences.

At Day One, with the aid of a tour guide, we headed down to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquties. At the front of the museum, we were greeted by a pond filled with Blue Lotus Flowers and a patch of papyrus plants in the middle. In ancient Egypt, the leaves from the papyrus plants were used to make paper (In fact, it was claimed that the Egpyptians was the first ones to invent paper) whereas the Blue Lotus flowers growing on the pond were placed into wine during feasting in order for them to get high.

The relics in the museum held truly amazing Egpytian treasures including mummies, sarcophagus (Tombs used to placed the mummies) ,hierogliphics inprinted into stone/paper,ancient Egyptian jewellery, etc. In fact, the most famous artefact in the museum was the tomb and treasures King Tutakhamun. As you are aware, every archeologist whom has excavated the tomb of King Tut at the Valley of Kings in Luxor someone died an unnatural/cursed death. The items in the excavated tomb was truly ostentatious, the sacorphagus was gilded with gold and the jewellery buried with him was just simply dazzling.

And should you examine the hieroglific drawings on the sacorphagus in detail, you would realize how brilliant the Egyptians are: the drawings were all in symmetry and every space in between the drawings were all spaced out equally.

As the day turned to dusk, our tour guide brought us to the Nile River for a relaxing dinner cruise. During the cruise, we were entertained by ancient Egpytian dances including belly dancing and a dance where this guy could twirl his skirt using one hand and make it into a canopy/umbrella whilst savouring the night scene of Cairo right outside our ship.

At Day 2, we headed off slightly outside Cairo to the Great Pyramids of Giza. The journey to point zero was done via riding a camel/horse. Our journey was without lots of shrieking and shouting as many were not accustomed to bopping up and down the desert on a camel, not to mentioned sand blowing into your eyes when the sudden gusts of wind blew at our direction.

When we reached the pyramids, we were at awe at the sight of such a marvellous invention. Quick summary,the Great pyramids of Giza consists of three pyramids (And 3 smaller ones for the queens) and is believed to be constructed around 4500 years ago. The largest pyramid is the pyramid of Khufu and is touted to be the only remaining Seven wonders of the World. The ancient Egyptians believed that death on earth was the beginning to the next wrold. The embalmed body of the king would be entombed within the pyramid to protect and allow the transformation into afterlife and a place among the Gods.

Adjacent to the Great Pyramids is the famous Sphinx; a monument which consist of a body of a lion and head of a man. The nose had been snipped off, rumoured to be accidentally chiselled off by Napolean during his French campaign in Egypt from 1798-1801.

We had the opportunity to visit one of the tombs that was recently excavated by the officials, and the experience was just surreal. The body has been transported to the Museum of Antiquities and what remained was the sacorphagus which had to be built from underground using the limestone available as the entrance to the tomb was too small for the sacorphagus to be transported into the site.

At night of Day 2, we were entertained by a light and sound show which used an array of lights and sounds on the Great Pyramids/Sphinx to depict the history/stories of ancient Egypt.

On Day 3, we decided to head down to the famous Khan El-Khalili Bazaar. Well known for its medieval Egyptian atmosphere, the bazaar was bustling with activity. The labyrinth-like streets were filled tourists and locals browsing through the large array of shops and side stalls selling unusual oriental souvenirs, handmade crafts,
sheeshas, clothing, and so on. According to a few travel books which I read previously, it is recommended that you buy the belly dancing costumes as prices here are reasonable and there are many varieties to choose from.

We ended the bazaar experience in a cafe, sipping Egyptian tea and getting a puff of Apple flavoured sheesha before heading off back to our hotel.