Sunday, 17 January 2010

Recent Travels

Despite the best of intentions, this travel blog still isn't being updated on a regular basis. It certainly isn't for a lack of travel. I will have to try harder!

I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Italy in August. Included visits to some of the top galleries in Florence (Bargello, Uffizi and Accademmia), seeing the major sights of ancient and baroque Rome, visiting the Vatican, and touring the Sorrento and Amalfi Coasts with stops at Herculeneum, Pompeii, Vesuvius and Naples. I was fortunate to have a wonderful travelling companion in Alix for the Rome and Florence portions of the trip. Many photos from the Italy trip are posted on Flickr.

I also embarked on my first trip to Africa in December, spending most of the trip on safari and hiking around Tanzania. This included visits to some very special places, including seeing four of "the Big Five" in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, and visiting Olduvai Gorge, "the Cradle of Civilization". The list of animals we saw is very long (I know we hit over 40 when we tried to make a list at the lodge) and included giraffes, zebras, hippos, elephants, lions, cheetahs, ostriches, buffaloes, flamingos, camels, baboons, monkeys, black rhinos, antelopes, impalas, buffaloes and hyrax. We were also fortunate to catch the wildebeest migration through the Serengeti.

The safaris were a small but incredible part of our trip. The main focus of our trip was hiking, and we hiked both Mt. Meru (5th highest peak in Africa) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (highest peak in Africa; world's tallest free-standing mountain). We unfortunately hit the tail end of the rainy season, so it was soggy slogging for pretty much the entire time on Mt. Meru. Kili was a bit of a mixed bag -- some rain, some hail, some snow -- but at least we enjoyed beautiful weather when it counted! We hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro via the Rongai route, which provided vistas of Kenya on the way up, and Tanzania on the way down. The hike up Kili went very well, and we reached the true summit (Uhuru Peak - 5895m) on the morning of December 31st. A great way to end the year. As usual, tonnes of photos from this trip re posted on Flickr.

So, now I find myself back at home. Apart from a work trip to Geneva, Switzerland later this spring, no official travel plans are set. But certainly lots of places I would like to visit, and I'm sure it won't be long until the next trip details are being worked out!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Next Adventures Planned

Seven months have passed since we returned from our Saudi Arabia trip. I never quite got around to chronicling our adventures in "the Magic Kingdom", but did manage to put together a pretty decent photo record. While I might be the one with the journalism degree, my spouse is a diligent blogger and managed to record many tales of our trip.

So, it's August now and the big question is "where to next?" I'm pleased to report that there are TWO trips booked -- one in August and one in December :-)

In one week I will be flying from Ottawa to Naples for a 12-day trip to Italy. This will technically be my second time in Italy, but the first time barely counts as I spent only a brief time along the border with Switzerland -- Tirano, Domodossala, Lago Maggiore, etc. -- and didn't see any of the major sites.

I'll be on my own for the first part of the trip and will be spending about 4 days in the area along the Sorrento and Amalfi coasts. Many hours will be logged at Pompeii, Herculeneum and on Mt. Vesuvius. I'll then spend about 1.5 days in and around Rome before meeting up with my friend Alix to tour Florence and Tuscany. We have already made reservations to visit the David and some of the top galleries in Florence. We'll then spend about 4 days in Rome where we will see many of the famous historical sites. We will also be visiting Vatican City for half a day, which is actually the smallest independent country in the world!

There are never any guarantees, but I will do my best to put up some blog posts from the Italy trip. As always, you can expect to see far too many photos of our adventures!

At the start of this post, I mentioned that a second trip has been booked for December. Steve and I will be travelling together, and it will be a trip of a lifetime to Eastern Africa :-) More on that later. For now, I'm going to focus on the Italy trip as there's less than one week to go!