Dead Sea

Last stop of our trip along the beaches of the Dead Sea… Mud, very salty water where you can float reading a newspaper. LOL and relax for all

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a valley carved over millennia by the flow of a river in the sandy and granite-like soil of southern Jordan, about 60 km east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi of Jordan.

As described by Thomas Edward Lawrence (of Arabia), the Wadi Rum is “vast, echoing and so similar to a Divinity” is considered by many to be one of the most breathtaking views in the world, Wadi Rum is a paradise for nature lovers.

One of the main attractions of Jordan, this area is formed by sandy mountains with very different colors, ranging from yellow to white, red and brown, interspersed with deep canyons with geological formations. The panorama is also distinguished by its delicate arches and natural bridges, as well as by molded stones like mushrooms, carved and shaped naturally by years of wind and erosion.

Little Petra

Unlike Petra, in which the Nabataeans lived and buried their dead, Piccola Petra was designed to house caravans from Arabia and the Orient, which went as far as Syria and Egypt. In order to make them stop after the crossing of Wadi Rum, the Nabataeans dug before the small caves in the sandstone, then came to build grandiose for the number of caravansmen who stopped there.

Like Petra this site was also “rediscovered” by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt

Petra

Petra (rock in Greek) is an archaeological site in Jordan, located about 250 km south of the capital Amman, in a basin between the mountains east of Wadi Araba, the great valley that stretches from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba of the Red Sea.
The archaeological complex was revealed to the western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

The numerous facades carved into the rock, mostly referred to as sepulchers, make it a unique monument, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 6, 1985

Mount Nebo

According to the concluding chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is the one on which the Hebrew prophet Moses had a vision of the Promised Land that God had destined for His Chosen People (Land that was forbidden to him to reach).

According to Jewish-Christian traditions, Moses was buried on this mountain by the same God, but the site remained unknown. The scholars continue to question whether the mountain currently known as Nebo is the same mountain referred to in the Torah.

Madaba

It’s a Jordan’s City, built on the ancient biblical site of Medba or Medeba, from which it then took its name. It is located about 35 km south-west of Amman, the capital of the country. The city is located on Via Regia, a road built five thousand years ago, at almost 730 m s.l.m.

Not far from Madaba is Mount Nebo, about 817 m above sea level, and the Dead Sea appears nearby.
Famous for having one of the oldest references to the Holy Land thanks to a mosaic on the floor of the church of San Giorgio.
The mosaic is accompanied by 157 captions in Greek, which mark the main biblical sites of the Middle East, from Egypt to Palestine. Originally, the mosaic was 15 to 25 meters long and 6 meters wide and consisted of about two million cards, of which only a third came to us.

Kerak

al-Karak, once part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, rises south of Amman, on the ancient Via Regia. The city is dominated by the imposing crusaders’ fort, located at the top of a hill about 950 meters above sea level and surrounded on three sides by a valley. From these heights you can admire a splendid view of the Dead Sea.

Jerash

The ancient Gerasa, is the capital of the homonymous Jordan region, in the north of the country, about thirty kilometers from the capital Amman. The city is located on the banks of the Wadi Jerash river
Gerasa was part of a commercial and military association along with nine other cities called Decapolis, the city became rich and flourishing. In the first century AD, the city was redesigned and assumed the classic appearance of the Roman model: a main colonnaded road in a north-south direction (cardo maximum)intersected by two roads facing east-west (decumani).
There are a Forum, the Arch of Hadrian, the Temple of ZEUS, the Hippodrome, a Nymphaeum, two theaters and the Baths

Amman Citadel

the archaeological area of the Jordanian capital with findings that tell its story from Roman domination onwards

Jordan

Amman CitadelJerash GerasaKerak FortressMadaba and the Holy Land mosaicmount NeboPetralittle PetraWadi Rum desert Dead Sea

Visit of the Hashemite Kingdom for the 2013-2014 New Year holidays, with the visit of the capital Amman and its Citadel with the Roman theater, the Temple of Hercules and the remains of the different dominations.

A day spent visiting the archaeological site of Jerash with the imposing gate of Hadrian, the Cardo Maximus and his decumans, the temples of Jupiter and Artemis, the thermal baths and the theaters and its theaters.

a brief visit to the site of Mount Nebo where Moses had a vision of the promised land that he could never touch.

the visit of the city of Madaba, to visit the church of San Giorgio in which there is a famous Byzantine mosaic called the Map of the Holy Land, as it depicts the route to reach Jerusalem through over one hundred and fifty locations. The mosaic is accompanied by captions in Greek, which mark the main biblical sites of the Middle East, from Egypt to Palestine. Originally, the mosaic consisted of about two million cards, of which only a third came to us.

A day to visit the archaeological site of Kerak, with the imposing fortress built by the Crusaders.

Two days to visit the site of Petra and its buildings excavated in the Arenaria by the Nabateans and one to visit the small Petra where the Nabataeans ran the Caravans coming from Wadi Rum.

A year end in Wadi Rum (famous for the filming of the film Lawrence of Arabia) where we slept in a very nice tented camp.

A rest stop on the shores of the Dead Sea with a day passed between mud and baths in the salty waters where it is impossible to sink.

Vietnam and Cambodia

HanoiHa Long BayHoi AnSaigon Mekong estuarySiem Reap.– Angor Watfrom Siem Reap to Phnom PenhPhnom Penh

A respectable trip to spend the year-end holidays in two countries that fascinate us the Vietnam and the Cambodia.

The cities we have visited during the trip were Hanoi, the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay with a cruise, then a flight to Danang and to Hoi An

from Danang flight to Saigon, transfer to Cambodia to Siem Rep and then to Phnom Penh from where we came back to Italy via Hong Kong.

a journey that enchants the eyes of the wonderful Cambodian archaeological sites, the thousand islands of the Bay of Ha Long, the lively thrill of the Vietnamese cities and saddens the heart passing through the places dedicated to the persecution of the Cambodian population by the Khmer Rouge followers Pol Pot.
It also impress the ability of the Vietnamese country to engage in global growth through trade agreements with multinational companies that seek labor and specialized technical personnel at lower prices while in the same way the difficulty of the Cambodian country to get out of a political and economic apathy that it forces its population to remain at widespread poverty levels.

Phnom Penh

Start of the visit of the Cambodian capital with a stop at the complex of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, so named for the more than five thousand silver tiles from which the floor is made, all embellished with gifts offered to the royal family from around the world .
We will then visit the National Museum, built around 1918 and completely dedicated to Khmer art: there are beautiful exhibits of both Angkorian and pre-Angkorian, including an important statuary from the same Angkor and several objects of daily use found in various areas and historical periods.

Continuation to Toul Sleng, tragic prison museum, testimony of the bloody Khmer Rouge regime and the genocide perpetrated against the Cambodian population, guilty of being able to read and write, wear glasses, be teachers, doctors, professionals, speak foreign languages: it is estimated that about three million people out of twelve have been tortured and killed over a period of four years until 1979.

Siem Reap 3

Departure towards the capital in the direction of the provincial capital of Kampong Thom, located just over half way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
This was once the Royal Way and at Kampong Kdei the passage will take place on the stone bridge of Spean Praptos, dating back to the Khmer period and built by King Jayavarman VII.
The rural landscapes that can only be seen along this road are pleasant and interesting: rice fields, villages, scenes of real life in the Cambodian countryside.
Stop at Sambor Preikuk, the most important pre-Angkorian archaeological complex of the country, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Chenla, precursor of the Khmer one.
There are more than a hundred temples of great charm and rarely visited, divided into three monasterial complexes: the South group of Prasat Yeay Poan, the central group of Prasat Tor and the North group of Prasat Sambor. The latter includes the most important buildings and is dedicated to an incarnation of Śhiva.
Continue to the village of Skhun, famous for its giant spiders, served to those who want it, just in all the sauces: you are surrounded by vendors in baskets turned to the sun to not cool the delicious food, offer the delicate arachnids, purchased in small bags from which they are taken and enjoyed one by one, like fries.

Siem Reap 2

Morning dedicated to Angkor Wat, the masterpiece of all Khmer art, the most famous and impressive temple, considered one of the wonders of the world. It is a structure that dazzles in its spectacularity, an example of extraordinary architectural knowledge, decorated with extremely refined sculptures and bas-reliefs, through which the main scenes of the Indian epics are described in a masterly manner.
In the afternoon visit to the Grand Circuit of Angkor, starting with the vast and majestic temple of Prae Khan, also known as the temple of the Holy Sword, which served as a religious and cultural center and, for a period, also as a royal residence. At the time of its maximum development, there were more than ten thousand people, including many important teachers and the Apsara dance corps, the celestial dancers.
It continues with the Neak Pean, the only circular structure in memory of a mythical lake from which the four rivers of Hindu mythology are born. It was at the time used as a place of purification through the waters.
Then we head towards one of the most evocative and romantic temples, the Ta Phrom, totally immersed in the jungle and deliberately left in the conditions in which it was found by the French archaeologists around 1860, partially covered by vegetation, with the roots of the ancient trees that magically enveloping the sculptures and the stone blocks of the galleries, signifying a union between the history and the bursting force of nature itself.

Siem Reap

Visit at the fortified city of Angkor Thom, passing through the South Gate and continuing towards the spectacular Bayon temple which, with its more than two hundred enigmatic faces, represents the central building both in the location and in the conception of the citadel itself. It is a masterpiece with a surprising structure consisting of 54 towers and which presents beautiful bas-reliefs representing daily life in the times of the Angkor kingdoms and in which more than ten thousand figures carved in stone were counted.
Then we have passed before the imposing Baphuon and we have reached the pyramid-shaped temple linked to the legend of the king and the snake, the Pimeanakas; we have continued within the area where the royal palace was located and end with the splendid Terraces of the Elephants and the Leper King.
In the afternoon, excursion to the discovery of the temple of Bantey Srey, that is the “citadel of women”, famous for the splendid bas-reliefs carved almost all in pink sandstone and, according to many, superior for delicacy and precision even to those inside of Angkor Wat.
The temple is located about 40 km from Siem Reap and is reacheable between pleasant landscapes characterized by rice fields and villages. We return to Siem Reap via the temple of Bantey Samre, named in honor of the legend of the peasant who became king.

Delta del Mekong

A long transfer via bus from Saigon to a port in the town of Vinh Long, from where we took a local boat (the long ones that have a car engine and the very long propeller shaft) with which we crossed the river Mekong meeting artisans, fruit and vegetable vendors, we stopped near improbable candy factories and puffed rice (we followed the whole production chain) bottles of grappa with scorpions and snakes and lots of crafts (local and Chinese)

we then returned to Saigon late in the evening to prepare for the transfer to Cambodia

Saigon

In the actual Saigon, the district one of Ho Ci Min City, lives the neuralgic and chaotic heart of a western metropolis, the rhythms of life are frenetic, the traffic unimaginable (the sidewalks serve the scooters to move around cars perpetually stationary) cross the road requires expertise, attention and good health insurance.

We visited the war museum and the reunification palace. We also visited the Thien Hau Pagoda dedicated to the protector of the sailors.

a special note goes to the celebration of the Western New Year that we spent at the top of a skyscraper surrounded by fireworks and columns of cars and motorbikes mixed in a primordial chaos.

 

Hoi An

We visited the historic center of this town tens of kilometers from Danang, famous for its Japanese Bridge, a wooden work of 1600.

Then we visited the Chinese congregation present in the city for over 200 years and the old houses of merchants.

In the afternoon a beautiful boat excursion along the Thu Bon river to watch the sunset and visit the fishing villages that rise along the shores

 

 

Baia di Ha Long

The famous Halong Bay, almost four thousand square kilometers of jade and turquoise waters overlooking the Gulf of Tonkin, considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world, formed by thousands of limestone islets that emerge from the sea. An ancient legend tells that the birth of this wonder took place thanks to the remains of the tail of a dragon sank in the sea.
Arrive at the village of Halong in the late morning, boarding a suggestive junk and the beginning of navigation to discover enchanting scenery that wind through the myriad of islands, islets, stacks and cliffs where caves full of stalactites and stalagmites arise. The overnight stay on board has allowed us to enjoy unforgettable moments, in an incredible setting.

The next day we continued sailing until we returned to the port from where we moved to the airport to reach Danang.

Hanoi

The city of Hanoi (Vietnamese capital) has a French architectural imprint along the Song Hong River, a visit to the Ho Ci Min (uncle Ho) mausoleum where you can visit the embalmed body of the revered president. We also visited the Pagoda at one pillar Chua Mot Cot and the famous 36 ancient districts linked to the number of old guilds that housed there where the artisans opened their activities by similarity (mechanics, blacksmiths, weavers, etc.)

In the evening we took part in a show of water puppets that accompanied by evocative music told the ancient stories of the Vietnamese tradition alternated with scenes of everyday life.