As one of the most popular destinations in the US, Las Vegas opens its doors to 42.9 million people on average per year, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With all the excitement that comes with preparing for a trip to the so-called Sin City, there might be a few things that might not have made it on your list. You’ve packed your ID, your fancy outfits, your camera, the works — but to top it off, we’re listing five more essentials for a memorable trip to Las Vegas.

Clothing fit for the season

This might not come across as a priority factor for a trip to Vegas, as you’re probably planning on bringing your flashiest clothes. However, you might want to take note of what season it is, as October to April in Vegas is cooler, while the months of May to September get unbearably hot. In our How to Feel More Comfortable When You’re Traveling’ blog post, we mention the importance of donning clothes that will allow you to enjoy your trip to the fullest. So during hot seasons, steer clear of coats and thick fabrics, and be sure to bring a good cover-up during colder months.

A list of all the top attractions

There are hundreds of sights to see and wonders to experience in Las Vegas. From seeing performances, playing games, and going for some relaxation, you’ll never run out of activities to do. If budget is an issue, there are plenty of free events and attractions like the 15-ft aquarium at The Silverton Hotel, or the Bellagio conservatory and fountain show. We recommend keeping an eye on event calendars as well and exploring areas outside of the city, like the hiking trails in the Red Rock Canyon National Park. Making a list of attractions you want to visit before you go will help ensure you don’t waste any precious vacation time.

A selected casino to explore

You should choose one casino to visit and fully explore while in Vegas rather than dipping into multiple locations. The casinos are much more than their gaming floors and have a wide range of attractions for all interests. For those looking to experience a world within a world, CNTraveler.com recommends The Venetian, as you can get a taste of what it is like to visit Venice as you travel on your own personal gondola within the casino. For those who want a more luxurious experience, make sure you fully explore the Bellagio. It is a AAA Five Diamond Hotel with one of the best spas in the entire country.

Knowledge of casino games

If you do plan on playing at the casino tables then it is best to be prepared. Vegas attracts players from all over the world, and if you want to play against them in a game like poker it is best to have a good understanding of the rules. Poker.org’s guide to poker for beginners points out that Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of the game and it is the easiest to grasp. As you could be facing up to nine other players do some research to develop some solid poker strategies. This will make for a much more thrilling experience with a greater chance of success. And if you’re not planning on joining any poker tables, it is still a good idea to be familiar with the rules of blackjack and roulette. This way you will have a much more engaging experience.

Finally, it’s Vegas — so throw away your hesitation and worries and you’re sure to have the time of your life.

The Malvern Hills are the most renowned and internationally famous travel destination in central England. Whilst perhaps not being the same as a trip away to locations in Australia, or other popular European travel destinations, Malvern has a cultural history, a celebrated past, and amazing hiking opportunities. It is well known that the composer Edward Elgar famously came up with his Pomp and Circumstance (Land of Hope and Glory) here, inspired by the countryside and the peaks of the Malvern hills.

malvern hills

The Malvern Hills End to End

The Malvern Hills have been designated a Biological and Geological site of special scientific interest, as well as an area of outstanding natural beauty which stretch around 13km from north to south, rising and falling across the vast flatness that surrounds them on either side. The highest peak, the Worcestershire Beacon that reaches 425 metres (1,394ft) is a popular hiking destination. The region boasts leisurely, intermediate and some quite steep routes, so hiking sticks to steady your feet are recommended here. The hills are also particularly famous for their natural springs, with springs cropping up at many places set into the hills.

This hike can be quite tricky for beginners and it can take a toll on your feet, especially if you don’t have much experience with the steep sections. Packing the right gear will help you manage the hike comfortably, so make sure that you get a good quality pair of hiking shoes to cushion your feet and give you more grip. It’s also worth packing some heel balm to put on at the end of a long day, so your feet don’t get cracked and dry. Even on a hot day, it can get cold when you are that high up, so pack a warm hiking jacket too.

Another common hike is the walk from end to end, inbetween the villages of Great Malvern and Colwall, and is easily short enough for a strong day’s hiking, but many split it into two, stopping at the various and plentiful sites along the way. The pubs and country shops (an especially quaint and picturesque one being the hidden Saint Ann’s Well) sell local produce and detours into the town of Great Malvern can be made easily across the route. A final destination for the walk, (or one that is often walked in its own right) is the hill known as British Camp, the name referring to the remains of a Bronze Age hill fort that ripples down the hillside. At the top there are views to the north and south, with both the Cotswolds, and the Brecon beacons visible in the distance. On stormy days, the peak has an ancient feeling to it, the force of the winds often amplified by the folds of the hill, and people take cover within the safety of the mounds.

Quarry’s, Lakes and Reservoirs 

Walking the route, there are woods to pass through, springs to stop at, quarries, lakes and reservoirs to view. The Malvern Hills Trust lists a number of these. Gullet Quarry is well known for its steep face and the depth of its water, where many people congregate in the summer or walk around for the view and the wildlife in other seasons. There are many stories about Gullet Quarry, and its location close to the market town of Ledbury, close to the Malvern Hills, means that it can be visited easily. There the town hall, the Victorian facades of the buildings and the many cafes and independent shops are visibly close to the hills, alongside other walking routes of Dogwood or The Conigree.

The Wytch Cutting is another well known and dramatic destination along the course of the hills. Close to the Worcestershire beacon, the roads rise to cut through the hills themselves, passing through a rock face at one of their peaks. Here, set into the rock are a number of small pubs and hotels with undeniably beautiful views, the ability to sit out in pub gardens with a view only usually reached at the peak of many of the other hills.

The Malvern Hills are definitely a world renowned site, on a par with many locations around Europe and at the heart of England make a day out that can be both child friendly, or more challenging, with culture sites and beautiful views that see people returning year after year.

The evening before traveling, it is always worth getting your bags by the door and going through your hand-luggage to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Write a quick checklist and ensure everything is packed, from your passport to your travel documents and entertainment devices. No matter your journey, whether it be for business or pleasure, going away can be exciting, so you don’t want to forget something and be disappointed when you land at your destination. If you are traveling to Southeast Europe, read my article before you go! Below is a list of a few things to remember before your trip. 

Phone charger 

Potentially number one on your list, a phone charger is the most annoying thing to forget when going away – especially if the country uses different plugs to yours. The night before your flight, make sure you have one packed in your hand luggage, and if you have a spare, one in your hold luggage as well. This way, if you did lose one, the other will be there when you arrive at your destination. 

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Face Wipes

A long haul flight can make you feel a bit groggy and unclean. Before getting off the plane, why not give your teeth a brush to freshen them up and your face a wipe with some face wipes? By having these in your hand luggage, you can quickly get them out and pack them away discreetly, instead of having to look through your main suitcase when you arrive. 

Entertainment device 

Do you like to bring your Ipad, Kindle, or some headphones to listen to music on your phone? Make sure you remember to pack these the night before your flight. No matter the type of flight, not having your entertainment device can make the journey a lot slower, let alone a pain when you are in another country. If you forget them, it costs a lot to replace, so chances are your whole trip will be without. 

Compression socks for the flight

Valid more so for a long haul flight than a short (over five hours). Compression socks are important to wear, as they can prevent swelling and reduce DVT. Make sure you have some packed in your hand luggage, which you can quickly put on at the start of your flight and take off at the end. They can be really comfortable and warm up your feet during a long flight. If you haven’t bought any yet, you can buy compression socks at therawear.

What snacks will you be enjoying during your flight

Have you bought any snacks for the journey? If so, make sure you remember them, and they are packed in your hand luggage. Breakfast bars, dried fruit, and nuts can be really useful for a long haul flight whilst hard-boiled sweets are great for if your ears pop on take off or landing. Make sure you check with your airline on what you are allowed to bring on before traveling as you don’t want them taken away. 

Do you have a checklist that you follow before going away? What do you check is in your hand luggage? Let me know in the comment box below. 

But could you believe that while Paris and Italy and England are extremely popular locations, they definitely aren’t the best ones in Europe to visit? In fact, South East Europe offers some of the wildest, most picturesque places on the continent.

Now, southeast Europe is quite a big chunk of countries to visit in a single trip. We thought, why not choose our favorite locations for you? To be frank, we certainly believe that those will be awesome as standalone trips too. So, without further ramblings, let’s run through them!

Spend a day or two in Croatia!

One of the most beautiful countries in Europe is certainly Croatia. With all the castles and old architecture, no wonder it was one of the main locations the Game of Thrones crew chose to shoot at.

But the beauty of its cities doesn’t end just there. Rent a yacht in Croatia with 12knots.com and you’ll be sure to experience one of the most amazing times of your life. The Adriatic sea is certainly one of the most beautiful in Europe, only maybe rivaled by the Black Sea.

Make time to roam around the Albanian Riviera.

We briefly mentioned the French Riviera in the intro, but we truly believe there are other, just as good, rivieras in Europe.

The Albanian Riviera is certainly in the top five most beautiful places in Europe and the town of Himara is surely the top destination if you’re looking to have an awesome time during your trip.

Plan a trip across the mountains of Bulgaria.

Certainly, our favorite choice, a summer trip across the Bulgarian mountains should be on the list of every person that loves traveling.

Grab a rental car and roam across the Rila and Rhodope mountains. Get yourself across Old Mountain and witness some of the most beautiful sights in the world, like the Seven Rila lakes hidden high in the mountains.

A bonus is that you’ll get to go through some isolated villages with no more than ten people living in them, which gives you a perfect opportunity to see how people lived sixty years ago.

And why don’t you enjoy a summer trips across the Crete island?

After spending some days in Bulgaria, it’s a great idea and opportunity to hop over to the beautiful Grece and visit the Crete island.

Explore the biggest island in Grece. It offers everything from small villages to metropolitan cities bustling with life, shops, and beaches — there’s pretty much something for everyone’s cup of tea.

With so much to do and see in Europe, it’s definitely worth exploring the Southeast part of the old continent. With some of the most picturesque places, the scenery and nature is nothing like you can see anywhere else. We’d love to hear what’s your favorite place to visit in Europe in the comments below.

At this point, many adventure seekers have grown tired of virtual travel and are ready to get out and explore again. Yet, things are a bit complicated at the moment still.

Safety when traveling is an issue that has taken on new dimensions in the last few months. Which is why people should be looking into traveling in an RV instead of staying in hotels.

There are a lot of benefits to traveling by RV and there are many different worldwide motorhoming holidays to be had.

In this article, I will go over several of the ways that a motorhome is the best way to travel. From the ultimate in comfort when traveling, to the freedom there is nothing quite like traveling in an RV.

1 – Safety

Traveling with the shadow of a pandemic still present in some areas means that you need to be extra vigilant about how you travel. And hotel hopping can be risky when it comes to the cleanliness of the hotel rooms.

Some hotels are taking things very seriously and doing everything possible to reduce the risk of transmission of any kind of threat. Others talk about it but may not be as diligent.

The only way to be sure is to be in your own room wherever you go. In a rented RV, you are in control of how it gets cleaned and don’t have others coming and going in your room.

2 – Convenience

Imagine being able to roam to the exact spot where you want to stay and then set up your temporary home. You will usually be staying in a campground where you have a lot of different amenities that go way beyond what a typical hotel offers.

But, there is more to it than that. You have your own little home that you can cook in when you have a motorhome with a great kitchen. You can sample the local specialties and shop at the farmer’s markets to take food home to cook yourself. This also saves a lot of money as you aren’t forced to eat out for every meal.

3 – Closer to nature

Staying at hotels usually means being in the thick of a city, or in some lifeless industrial area outside of town. This is convenient if you are going to a conference, but not ideal if you are looking to see the natural sites of the area where you are traveling.

In an RV, you can stay in a campground on the edge of many natural parks so you can feel like you are immersed in the natural setting. Even outside of campgrounds, you can generally find RV friendly places to stay the night that are off the beaten trail.

4 – Group travel is cheaper

A family of four or five can see some pretty big hotel bills as you will usually need at least two rooms or even a suite to be able to fit everybody. In an RV there is usually plenty of room to sleep a group of people. And in comfort, too.

If you have never been to Australia before, and you are planning on going soon, then you will want to consider how you are going to make the most of it. There are a number of sights that you will absolutely want to visit and which you might consider essential if you do go, and some which are less well-known but still amazing, which you will also want to think about. All in all, you want to make sure that you are going to have seen Australia in all its glory, and that is something that you can make sure of easily enough. In this article, we will look at some of the things you might want to add to your list when you visit Australia, to ensure that you engage in a wide variety of activities while you are there.

Image Credit – CCO Licence

See Uluru

The huge mass of rock in Northern Territory otherwise known as Ayers Rock is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it a beautiful spot, from the top of which you can see much of central Australia, it’s also a place with incredible history and culture attached for the aboriginal people of htat land. Any visit to Australia is definitely worth a visit to Ayers Rock, and it is worth climbing it if you have the chance to do so. But do make sure that you take care to be respectful of the land while you are there – it is an important, even sacred, place for those who have lived there for so many years, and it needs to be treated with great care and respect.

Go Diving

If you find yourself in the growing city of Brisbane, Queensland, you might want to take a spare afternoon to go diving. This is not in the city itself, but in another well-known town in the same part of Queensland, known as Mooloolaba. There you can find the HMAS Brisbane, an historical shipwreck which is worth a visit in its own right. But as well as the fascinating history of that, you can also do an HMAS Brisbane Dive – and see some stunning underwater life and coral in doing so. This is a great choice for anyone who wants to see a slightly different side to Australia – or if you want to see the famous coral but you are not going to have a chance to get to see the Great Barrier Reef.

Image Credit – CCO Licence

Eat Out In Sydney

Sydney is the most popular tourist destination in Australia, and often considered to be its cultural capital in many respects. If you are hoping to soak in as much of the Aussie culture as you can, then visiting Sydney is absolutely going to be a vital thing to do. There is so much to do there, and you could easily spend weeks just in Sydney without going anywhere else, but in particular one of the things that it is great for is eating out. Sydney has some of the world’s top restaurants, and if you love to eat well then you are going to feel that you are in the right place indeed. In particular, you can expect to find some amazing seafood restaurants, so if you want to try out some surf and turf, you are absolutely in the right place.

Visit The World’s Largest Zoo

In terms of the sheer spatial size of the thing, Australia Zoo in Queensland is the largest in the world – quite impressive, but so is the fact that it also houses the widest variety of animals of any zoo in the world. It is also an ethical zoo, as it was set up for conservation purposes by the late, great Steve Irwin – something of a local legend, and someone whose spirit still infuses the experience of the place today, not least because the zoo is still run by his family. If you want to see some of the world-famous croc shows, then you are going to be in the right place for it – and if you’re lucky, one of the Irwin family will actually be there on the day to perform it!

As you can see, there is such a wide variety of things that you can do when you are visiting Australia, and no two visits are ever going to be quite the same. If you visit Australia soon, consider doing these things in order to get a good glimpse of the country.

There are, of course, countless things to love about packing your bags and setting forth on an adventure. However, it would be wrong to think that every aspect of it is amazing. There can be trying times when you’re out of your comfort zone, and sometimes you’ll run into things that slightly derail your fun. At other times, you’ll simply feel a little physically uncomfortable. There are things we can do about this, though. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some useful tips that’ll ensure you’re more comfortable when you’re on the road. 

Well-Rested 

You’ll find it hard to stay comfortable when you’re traveling if you’re uncomfortable when you depart. The thing about adventuring is that it slowly takes away your energy; if you’re going on a real adventure, then you’ll likely return home in need of your bed. But it’s important that you only feel this way at the end of your trip, not halfway through. As such, look at setting off feeling in great physical shape. In the week running up to your trip, take things easy, and get plenty of sleep. You’ll be raring to go and have energy to spare.

Comfortable Clothes

There may be times when you want to dress up and look your best, but it’s not as if you need to be wearing your best clothes all the time. If you’re going to be moving around a lot, then choose comfort over style. It’s much easier to enjoy your adventures when the weight of your clothes isn’t dragging you down, for instance. And take it from us: if you have a long flight, coach, or train journey, you’ll be grateful that you packed comfortable pants, rather than say, stylish but uncomfortable jeans.

Handling Issues

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re traveling. That’s part of the fun! But sometimes, it means that unpleasant things might happen too. If you have physical discomfort, such as nausea or heartburn, then you’ll find it much more difficult to enjoy all that your trip can bring. One way to get around this is to pack a small pack of medicines, just in case. Things like aspirin, zanzole tablets, and common-cold tablets will all be worth their weight in gold, should they be needed. You can’t always prevent falling ill when you’re traveling, but you can control how well you can combat the symptoms. 

Schedule In Downtime

We always want to make the most of our time traveling. However, it’s important that you’re scheduling in some downtime too. You’ll only wear yourself out if you’re constantly moving. Plus, if you’re always on the go, you’ll miss some of the magic of your destination. 

Hotel Options 

Finally, if you know that you’re going to be extra tired by the time you arrive at your destination, be sure to book a comfortable hotel. It’s sometimes worth paying slightly more than normal if it means you can have a great night’s sleep when you really need it. 

Pantheon is most unique building I’ve seen because of it’s open dome (meaning a hold on the roof). It is about 20 minutes walk from Colosseum. Being one of the best-preserved and most influencial of all Ancient Roman buildings, it has been in continuous use throughout its history.

It was built as a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. As the brick stamps on the side of the building reveal it was built and dedicated between A.D 118 and 125.

The coffered dome has a central oculus as the main source of natural light. When it rains, it also rains inside the Pantheon.  But the floor is slightly sloping floor with 22 well-hidden holes help the water flow away, thanks to an effective drainage system.

One of the masterpieces of architecture present in Rome, it is a must see. The original Pantheon was destroyed in a fire around 80 A.D. It was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian, only to be burned down again in 110 A.D. Hadrian became emperor in 117, a time when the Roman Empire included much of present-day Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East and northern Africa. The final Pantheon was entirely rebuilt in 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian, using more up-to-date architectural and engineering techniques. In honor of its original builder Agrippa, Emperor Hadrian did not take credit for it by inscribing its own name on the building.

Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has been the site of several important burials. Today, this impressive museum is free to visit.

From Pantheon, walk towards northern east direction, you’ll reach Trevi Fountain in 10 minutes also.

The Trevi Fountain is one of the oldest water sources in Rome. The fountain dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome.

The fountain is located in Rome’s Trevi district, abutting the Palazzo Poli. An earlier fountain on the site was demolished in the 17th century, and a design competition for a new fountain was won by Nicola Salvi in 1732. His creation was a scenic wonder.

trevi fountain

Trevi Fountain, Italian Fontana di Trevi, fountain in Rome that is considered a late Baroque masterpiece and is the best known of the city’s numerous fountains. It was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762. The fountain also features statues of Abundance and Health.

According to legend, tossing one coin into the Trevi Fountain means you’ll return to The Eternal City (Rome), tossing two coins means you’ll return and fall in love, and tossing three coins means you’ll return, find love, and marry. An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. In 2016, an estimated €1.4 million (US$1.5 million) was thrown into the fountain. The money has been used to subsidise a supermarket for Rome’s needy. Not surprisingly, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain, even though it is illegal to do so.

Remember the scene in the movie Roman Holiday? The right way to throw a coin is to toss a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder, with your back to the Fountain. 🙂

Head north for another 10 -15 minutes, you’ll reach another famous spot – the Spanish Steps.

But in reality, you might be stopping here and there in between because this is the ancient centre of Rome. Nearly the whole walk is lined with buildings of interest, bars and small restaurants. Do get a good guide book and pick up a detailed street map to guide you throughout the journey.

Standing at the top of the Spanish Steps is Peter’s Basilica. the 16th-century Trinità dei Monti church, which was built using French funds, having been commissioned by King Louis XII.

The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there, so the name simply extended to the steps, which were built in the 18th century to connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (which was under French patronage) with the Holy See – the seat of the Catholic Church.

That scene of Princess Ann eating ice creams while sitting on the steps in the movie Roman Holiday made those steps famous worldwide. I was lucky enough to have visited it in earlier years, so siting and chilling on the steps were not a problem then. Unfortunately sitting on the staircase at Rome’s Spanish Steps has been banned now. The move is reportedly part of the raft of strict new regulations which recently became available to the city’s local police force.

The steps are a wide irregular gathering place consisted of 138 steps placed in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline.

A couple of days ago out of boredom, I watched the movie “Roman Holiday” again. Can’t believe the movie was made nearly 50 years ago. 50 years! Time marches on but Rome remains timeless.

Watching the movie brought back fond memories of travelling in Italy years ago, especially time spend in Rome. Not sure what Rome will look like after this pandemic, but I can never forget that gloriously beautiful summer in Rome.

Rome – Part One

The Arch of Costantine – The Roman Forum – Colosseum

Walking from Via S. Gregorio and you can’t help but admire the Arch of Costantine – the most famous of all the ancient arches of Rome. Built along he Roman street it was used for celebrating the victories and it’s the biggest honorary arch that reached the modern ages. Started in 321 to celebrate the victory of the Emperor Constantine at the Milvian Bridge, it was completed in 315 in time to mark the tenth anniversary of the reign of Constantine.

Upon the Palatino hill, it was where the first core of the city was established. It was all around the base of the Palatino that Romolo outlined the sacred boundary line of his city, Rome. Palatino Stadium (or Hippodrome) is situated in the private part of the Domus Augustana. It occupies a large space with an extended rectangular shape and a minor side curved. The satdium was ploughed by a large circular avenue furnished with every kind of statues and marbles.

The Roman Forum, for centuries the centre of the public roman life, in origin was a marshy valley included among the hills. The valley in which the Roman Forum came into existence was formed by the Tiber’s erosion of the sides of the volcanic lava which constitutes the base of the seven hills. The lower part of the this basin, stretching roughly from the central area almost as far as to the river, was occupied by a marsh know as the Velabrum. On the edge of this marsh, at the foot of the Palatine, rose some of Rome’s most ancient monuments, such as the Regia, seat of the ancient kings. The draining of this zone, happened around the 600 B.C. The valley was relaimed and the waters drained into a sewer, the Cloaca Maxima. The area was now ready for use by the tribes who were already living on the surrounding hills, providing them with a place to meet, exchange goods and carry out the main activities of daily life. Thus the Roman Forum was born. It was transformed into the commercial, juridical, religious and political centre of the city. It reached its definitive settlement under Cesare and Augusto and kept for a long time its function of representative place. The Forum is the biggest monumental complex of the ancient Rome that has reached us.

The monuments that form the Forum are: the Holy Street, the Basilica Emilia, the Curia, Romolo’s tomb, Settimio Severo’s Arch, the Nostrum, Saturno’s temple, Concordia’s temple, the Forum’s Square, the Basilica Giulia, Castrori’s temple, Santa Maria Antiqua, Cesar’s temple, Vesta’s temple, the Regia, Antonio and Faustina’s temple, Romolo’s temple, Massenzio’s Basilica, the Aniquarium Forense and Tito’s Arch.

Leaving the Forum area, through Via di San Gregorio, you’ll arrive Via dei Fori Imeriali and the in the Colosseo square. There it is! The symbol of Rome itself: the Coliseum.

The place where the Colosseum now stands was occupied by an artificial lake which was drained after the emperor’s death to allow for the construction of the grand new monument. This was brought about by the fusion of blueprints for two theatres, resulting in an elliptical building designed to hose spectacles of wild animal hunts and gladiator fights. Its actual name was the Flavian Amphitheatre, because it was built by the Flavian emperors. It was inaugurated in 80 A.D, by the Emperor Tito with a series of spectacles lasting a hundred days, which saw the slaughtering of over five thousand wild beasts. A retractable canopy was installed, manned by a special crew of sailors, in order to furnish the seating area with shade. The name Colosseo goes back to the XI century and has its its origin from the closely positioned and colossal, more than 35 meters high. Nero’s bronze statue, inspired by the Colossus of Rodhos. 53 meters high included in an area of 19,000 sqm. Four orders of floors of 80 arcades each and it could accomodate about 70,000 people.

Renouncing the possibility of the flooding the arena, an underground system of passageways was created with equipment for facilitating the rapid succession of animals and scenes. The amphitheatre was repeatedly stricken by earth quakes and fires and was repaired many times over the years. in 523 it hosted its last wild beast hunt. the Coliseum’s ruin began. In the Middle Ages it was Converted into a fortress by the Frangipane and then the Annibaldi families. The monument’s decline accelerated after the 1349 earth quake, when the materails in marble, bronze and iron started to be stripped systematically. For centuries the Colosseum became nothing but a city building material quarry.

In order to save it, Pope Benedict XIV pronounced it a holy place in 1744 due to the blood spilt by the martyrs. The restoration of the monument began in the 19th century, but its condition only improved notably after 1870. The amphitheatre is elliptical in plan, measuring 188 metres by 156, and travertine was used for the exterior and load bearing parts. The cavea, which seated a public of as many as 50,000, was planned with particular care, with the seating rows plotted on radial walls, inclining at about 37 degrees. At the bottom and middle levels the seating rows were of marble, as these were the places taken up by the most important spectators. In the upper section of the cavea the structures were of wood. Rationalised systems of access and numbered entrances facilitated the rapid transition of spectators. The imperial family and the highest ranking state of officials enjoyed the use of entrance passages especially designed for retinues, without steps or long diversions.

The architectural structure of the building was of three orders, each with eighty archways, framed by engaged columns set in the middle of piers. The lowest order was in the Tuscan style, the middle one Ionic, and the upper on Corinthian. The attic contained windows alternated with bronze shields in ancient times. Two thirds of the way up the attic we can still see the large stone brackets which held the masts used to hoist the canopy. The underground sectors included storage areas, lifts, ramps, trapdoors, cages for the wild beasts and various facilities. There was also an underground passageway via which combatants might reach the amphitheatre from the nearby gladiatorial barracks.

The Pyramid of Djoser is the oldest Pyramid in Egypt, which was built about 4,700 years ago.

Located at Saqqara Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis, the 6-tier, 4-sided structure is the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt. It was under maintenance on the day I visited but nothing really distract its raw beauty.

Djoser’s Step Pyramid complex included several structures pivotal to its function in both life and the afterlife. A pyramid was not simply a grave in ancient Egypt. Its purpose was to facilitate a successful afterlife for the king so that he could be eternally reborn.

Entry hall: Step Pyramid Complex

Entry hall: Step Pyramid Complex

Roofed colonnade corridor leading into the complex:

Temples of the festival complex:

Ancient Memphis was the homeland of creator God Ptah, God of the arts, architecture and crafts. The UNESO world heritage site is the first Egyptian capital in history. Today above the ancient memphis lies the modern town of Mit Rahina, that’s famous for its beautiful palm trees.

Excavations are still on-going at Memphis as the city has influenced Egypt so much and there are still so many more secrets to be revealed.

Before my trip to Egypt, the Sphinx at Giza Pyramids was the only one I was eyeing for. But after I came to Egypt, Sphinxes can be seen quite regularly, especially around ancient temples and tombs. Sphinxes are often guards and protectors of Egypt ancient sacred places. The Memphis Sphinx (c.1550 – 1669 BC ) was unearthed in 1912 at the exact same spot we see it today. It’s one the the largest monuments ever made by Egyptian alabaster.

Ramesses II is regarded one of the greatest and most powerful pharaohs in Egyptian history. The colossal statue of Ramesses II dates back 3,200 years, and was originally discovered face down in marshy ground near the Great Ptah Temple in Memphis.

It took several attempts by various people to extract and turn over the colossus. it wasn’t until 1887, a British engineer who succeeded in raising the colossus and moving it to its current location. To do this, he used a system of pulleys and levers.

During his remarkable around 66 years of reigns, he bought many wars and built cities, temples and monuments extensively all over Egypt.

The great Abu Simbel Temples in Aswan are two massive rock temple built by Ramesses II for himself and his wife. It was also so incredible to see Ramesses II’s mummy in the Egyptian Museum. I can never forget the sight of the prominent bridge on his huge aquiline nose.

The Great Ptah Temple in Memphis built by Ramesses II:

There are many Egypt ancient antiques in the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. But it was a really a different experience to see all these historical treasures in the country where they were originated.

I was finally able to visit Egyptian Museum in Cario for real. Truth be told, the museum is a bit run down than what I was expecting. But I was thrilled to see everything it hosts, especially the mummies of ancient Pharos and Queens.

 In 2020 the museum is due to be superseded by the new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza. So I made it just in time before the new transformation.

Here are some photos of the musuem.

From the Tomb of King Tutankhamun:

Coptic Cairo is a part of old Cairo that comprises many ancient coptic churches, historical sites and a Jewish Synagogue.

This part of Cairo is definitely cleaner and more pleasant to look at.

The Convent of Saint George

The huge wooden door stood 7.6 meters tall, dated back to 10th century

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga)

Abu Sarga is the oldest church in Egypt dating back to the 5th century A.D. It is believed The church’s been constructed on the spot where the Holy Family stayed for three weeks during their sojourn in Egypt.

Church of St. George

There are many distinguished mosques along the way during my middle east trip. To me, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali has the most WOW factor.

No matter which direction you are from approaching the Cairo city, The great Mosque of Muhammad Ali is one of the first landmarks to be seen.

One of the downside to travel in Egypt is that you can’t explore freely as a tourist. You might not want to wander alone on the streets of Cairo anyway after seeing the dirty roads, run down buildings, police armed with guns and local people passionately following/grabbing every opportunity to get money from foreigners.

But the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is just so beautiful to look at, outside and inside.

Luxor Temple was the last stop of my Nile Cruise tour. Now I understand why older people lover travelling by cruise. It’s the comfort, the convenience and the glorious food served on the cruise ship. Maybe I’m officially old, running around all day and everyday in heat made me long for my cabin so much.

The city of Luxor is my tour guide’s hometown which is both pretty and clean.

Here’s a map of ancient Luxor:

An avenue of Sphinxes leads to the entrance the Luxor Temple. There were originally two 25 meters’ tall obelisks standing in front of the entrance but only one remains now. The other one is in Paris.

Avenue of Sphinxes
Pylon towers with only one of the two obelisks standing

Walking pass these two pylon towers, you’ll enter into the great court of Ramese II, where you can see the Mosque abu al-Hallaj built and still sitting on top of it.

More photos of ruins of this amazing ancient temple:

Processional colonnade of Amenhotep III
Sun court of Amenhotep III