23.07.2009 22 °C
Sorry it has been a while since we have posted any text but better late than never!
So abit about Dubai; whilst this city is amazing to see, everything seems to be still under construction. The worlds tallest tower, the Burj, will be completed in September 09 but it was still a striking image against the horizon. The weather is scorching there in the summer hence the bus stops are air-conditioned! The shopping malls are huge and the world's only 7 star hotel was nice from the outside...we didnt go inside since the $200AU entry fee kind of deterred us! Dubai is not the capital of the United Arab Emirates but it is the most populous city with over a million inhabitants, 80% of those being foreigners. From Dubai we took an Emirates flight to Rome. I highly recommend flying Emirates as the service and entertainment are second to none.
Next our 15 day tour around Italy was fantastic. It was also tiring! We visited most of the famous places and enjoyed making new friends with our fellow tourists. For us, the highlights were Venice, San Marino and Sorrento. Rachel & I had a twilight dinner right on the waters edge in Venice, watching all the gondalas and boats. In San Marino we did a night walk with our friends up to their three different castles. And in Sorrento we went shopping and enjoyed a drink on one of the steep cliffs overlooking the coast line. Other adventures in Italy included enjoying Italian pizza, pasta and gelato, wine tasting in a Tuscan vineyard, seeing the leaning tower of Pisa, visiting Florence and going into the Sistene chapel and the Colesseum. Italians are very expressive so that was also entertaining!
After Italy, we journeyed onto Amsterdam where we were met by my grandparents who live in Holland. We spent 3 days in the Nederlands before travelling with my grandparents by car through Germany (also staying there for 3 days) to reach Switzerland. One of the days in Holland we wandered around Amsterdam dodging bicycles! Then our first stop in Germany was in Boppard right on the Rhine River. Our second stop was in Weinheim near Heidlberg, where we enjoyed one morning swimming at the local waterpark. The Germans love to drive, and fast!! We reached speeds of up to 190kms on the Autobahn, kind of scary!
And now we are staying right in the Swiss Alps. My grandparents have a 3 storey chalet in the Lochental valley, which is known as the "Valley of the Vallies" because it is one of the most beautiful in the country. We are enjoying the fresh air, the snow covered peaks all around us and the sound of the rushing river outside our window. Its just unspoilt here, words can't really describe how magnificent this landscape really is. We hiked almost the entire length of the valley (nearly 20kms, half of which is very steep!) right up to the glacier at the end of the valley. Cows with large loud bells graze high in the mountains adding to the delight. The restaraunt right near the glacier was very new since two years ago, the old one was wiped out by an avalanche. The local people's diet of a lot of swiss cheese and bread tastes delicious and the chocolate isn't bad either!
Soon we are moving onto Michigan. Rachel is very excited to be seeing her family and friends soon! We have many fun and exciting things planned while we are there like camping, hiking, fishing and water skiing! We are in the States for 7 weeks then onto Fiji and finally Australia again. It has been a colossal journey so thanks for being a part of it!
Till next time from the States....