No Matter Where You Go..There You Are Around the world in 115 days-the final chapter

We are now hurtling towards the end of this circumnavigation so this is now my last effort to provide some insight into some of the situations that my little friend Passepartou and I have experienced. Sighs of relief I can hear.

I'll begin where I left off last time i.e. The Ancient Lost City of Petra.

The Treasury

On our "bucket list" this one, even if we did have to be two of eight hundred other tourists arriving in a fleet of twenty coaches at this world heritage historical site.

Waiting for tickets

Despite some apprehension it was an amazing experience. However, I will say that experience did not come without it's difficulties and I still have the aches and pains from the five mile hike to prove it.

The site itself is huge and and there is much more to see and walk around than expected just to visit the other points of interest along with all the other visitors. Unfortunately though walking around the area has certain surprising hazards, most of these have four legs rather than two.

We start the descent

We started the slow descent towards the famous Treasury building (that's the building where Indiana Jones and his father searched for the holy grail) via the SIQ , a chasm between sheer rock faces. This chasm narrows frequently to around probably four or five metres and it varies underfoot from smooth stone to uneven loose stony ground. It had rained the previous night so on sloping ground care was required as well as being sure one was wearing the right foot wear, folk in dressy sandals and flip flops did struggle somewhat.

Into the Siq

Walking or should I say hiking down through the Siq with the large numbers of other visitors in itself is a little challenging as one can imagine, but when the other traffic is taken into account it becomes a survival challenge.

Let me explain.

Instead of using ones own legs to get to the Treasury one can hire a rather rickety horse and trap, which will get you to the bottom and back in no time although from what we observed not necessarily in one piece. Indeed we witnessed one lady of slight build being bounced up and down in such a trap that she was closely resembling Pinocchio inside a tumble dryer, it was not pretty.

Those of us on foot also suffered at the constant procession of these Formula one horse and carts because they never seemed completely under control or make any attempt to slow down, so as soon as we heard the "clip clop" and rumble of wheels it was advisable to throw oneself against the chasm walls avoiding potential marmelisation.

It's important to keep out of the way of the carts!

Strange carvings left by the Nabateans

One or two others at the Treasury site

We survived the challenge of the Siq and stood in front of that famed red Treasury fashioned by the Nabatean people's all those centuries ago, although of course it has undergone a bit of reconstruction in recent years. Feeling a bit knackered, I was surprised to find we'd another few miles to walk during this visit but being brave continued along the uneven stoney ground to see the various facades and Royal tombs. This was when we became aware of other threats to life and limb.

Like everyone else we were keen to take photographs of as much as possible whilst at the same time following as closely to our guide which was all very well, but we hadn't factored in the other transport options available to tourists.

So there I stood composing a picture when I heard from behind me someone shout "coming through ".Turning around I saw galloping straight towards me a posse (well at least two) young ladies on mules and they were not exactly demonstrating skilful horsemanship. Leaping for my life I narrowly avoided being trampled. No exaggeration, it was close.

She decided against hiring the transport

It's rather tiring this five miles hike

Camel trains are a hazard

A shopping opportunity

A lot to see

Beware of donkeys too

After a couple of hours we did become rather tired and although there is a lot to explore it was not difficult to make the decision to make the 2.5mile hike back up to the parks exit. Unfortunately though we did not completely escape other traffic on the way back in the way of the camel trains.

Twice I had to rescue Passepartou from approaching camels carrying tourists back to the Treasury.


Leaving Aqaba Arcadia headed to Suez followed as it happened by a Royal Navy type 45 destroyer where both ships would be at anchor until beginning the Canal transit in the wee small hours. We had thought we would have a pleasant nights sleep but had not reckoned though on the overpowering smell of crude oil wafting into our cabin.....not a pleasant experience. Don't think we'll come this way again.

Followed by the Destroyer

During the 12 hour transit ahead of us were both the Royal Navy ship and a USA warship so it did add a little more interest to the day although again our voyage was affected by the unexpected. A fellow passenger needed a medical evacuation that meant instead of using the new exit branch of the canal we would go via Port Said to disembark him.

Two warships lead our convoy

Canal posers

The following convoy

Southbound convoy across the new island in the canal

Clearly due to the political instability it's been a long time since Cruise ships docked in Port Said and the jungle drums had been beating because as we tied up, lots of taxis arrived at the port gate. The road to the port apparently had become gridlocked. It seemed the locals had not been informed that only one passenger would be getting off this vessel.

Port Said arrival

At least a glimpse of Egypt

Taxis got wind of a cruise ship in port and eventually gridlocked the streets

Our ship remained at the port for nearly two hours such is the red tape etc and it took some time before the penny dropped for the cabbies. The person I felt most sorry for though was the guy who had set up his little postcards and souvenir stall on the dock....he cast a lonely figure standing there looking up at us, tourists who would not be touring.


At last we were back in Europe.....we could use Euros, no more "funny money " or expensive mobile phone prices. This was Greece and specifically Crete, for us a first visit. Following Heraklion would be a day in Athens always a great day out.

Around Knossos

The two best things we thought of our two Greek ports was being able to tour ancient sites without needing to use a guide, plus at our own pace rests could frequently occur where local cuisine could also be enjoyed.

There always scaffolding when we are at the Acropolis

We became rather expert in evaluating the quality of Baklava to say nothing of Greek apple pie. Fattening yes.....sickly sweet....yes....but as they die for!



At Mdina

Edifice at Mdina

Trip around the coast..but it was cold

We missed the four o'clock gun as we were sampling local restaurants

We departed early evening

Friday the 21st April was Valletta Malta the penultimate port of call of the cruise. We had been looking forward to a first visit here, but the temperature had dropped to the low teens.....this was serious cold and time to discard shorts and T-shirts. Ouch! Perhaps booking the tour on that open topped bus was not the smartest thing to do.

So that's it, well almost. We will have a day in Lisbon Monday the 24th , where the priorities may revolve around the splendid cafes famed for the custard tarts.

I think I should have attended the onboard seminars on "Secrets to a Flatter stomach" or perhaps the Body sculpt boot camp, I did think about it.....honestly I did.

The Epilogue

When we arrive home it's really going to be a shock as after crossing three oceans plus many seas it's going to feel strange spending most of our time on land. It's quite possible we may be observed swaying from side to side whilst walking, such is the effect of our seaborne time.

Looking back we have been to many interesting ports of call in this incredible journey and we have visited some fascinating historical sites. Always we have had very knowledgeable local guides but I do have to admit that I didn't always pay attention to the latter. Perhaps it's an age issue but after a few minutes listening to to tales of the ancients or details of the local economy my brain switches off. I figure in any case I can always check out Wikipedia ( I doubt I will anytime soon though)

One thing I did find odd though was the preponderance of tour guides to sing to us en route back to port. I can recall songs in Japanese, Korean and Arabic, none would I want in my personal music collection though, I could not even remember the lyrics, if that's what they were, they were not exactly catchy tunes either. I'd have preferred "ten green bottles "!!!

Nevertheless whatever we have heard, seen or done we do count ourselves fortunate to have those memories to look back my 4000 plus digital photos will no doubt remind us of. AND THATS ONE HELL OF A SLIDE SHOW!

We even bought the T-Shirts

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