Tibet/China

Posted on November 6th, 2010 by Melody

As we traveled through Tibet we were dumbfounded by the beauty of this country and its people. We’ve been extremely lucky and have seen Mount Everest in all its majesty. Besides this it’s autumn and all the trees are golden. We all three (my mom traveled with us) have decided that although you can’t really compare apples with pears, this is the most beautiful countryside we have ever seen. Our first guide used to be a monk, and although his English is not perfect and we don’t always understand what he’s saying he tells us a lot about Tibetans and Buddhism. We’ve seen so many incredible beautiful things in Tibet and many times we dream about how it would be to travel in Tibet without a time limit, without a guide and with all the freedom in the world. We find it difficult to see the Chinese influence, all their military force, all their police checkpoints. It is very apparent that our guide is not happy with this situation and we feel for him. After Tibet came Yunnan province and with it a new guide. His English was quite good but not as much fun as the first guide, and so is Yunnan. It’s nice, but we are not blown away. All the tourist attractions have been turned into some kind of Disney Land. I guess they have to as some of the attractions can attract about a million Chinese visitors in one day! But the charm is gone. We fear for Tibet. Will it turn into a Disney Land as well?

Now we are in Luang Prabang, Laos. Taking a break from driving and updating the website a bit. Also we are waiting for our good friend Annemarie. She will be traveling in Laos with us  for a whole month!

Many people have asked me what the 5 items we have lost are so here you go: a pair of binoculars, an axe, a brush (to clean the inside for the car once a while), little box with nuts and bolts etc, and a pee-bag (excellent for in the middle of the night when you’re in your tent)

I’m still getting complaints of people that they are not receiving these update e-mails. This annoys me much! Not that people are complaining, but that people are not receiving them of course…. So I’m giving it one more try… From now on, I’ll be sending these e-mails from 2 different e-mail addresses in the hope that at least one of them will arrive. If you get both of them, sorry for the inconvenience, but just block one. In the meantime I have put all the previous update e-mails on our website, so if you have missed any you can read them here

For new photo’s of India have a look here

Crazy India

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 by Melody

Hmmm.. India…. We’ve been here now for almost 2 months and we can’t really decide if we like it here or not. The north is amazing, but as soon as you come out of the mountains it’s hectic.

It took us a week of paperwork in Mumbai to get Fiona back. Of course it took way longer than we had anticipated which resulted into a two day drive from Mumbai to Delhi. We had to be back there in time because we were going to get visitors! Driving 1000 km in two days. Not so difficult in Europe but in India where cows, rickshaw’s, donkey’s and scooters use the highway’s it’s not so easy.

Our first impressions of India: dirty and busy. Especially in Mumbai. But we are amazed at all we see. Elephants just walking around in Delhi, all those brightly colored Sari’s, whole family’s on one scooter….We soon discover that India is very diverse. Not so strange when you consider that India is about as big as Europe but then with more than 1 billion people.

We pick up our friends in Delhi and head for the north. Our goal: the Manali – Leh highway. The more north we get the quieter it gets. No more people everywhere you look and it gets a lot cleaner. The northern states are even ‘poly bag free zones’. A great initiative we think, because we were pretty tired of seeing all those poly bags in nature. With our friends we conquer the highway to Leh. We drive over the second highest motorable road in the world (5305 meter). There is a lot of road works going on, but still the road is pretty bad. Passing a truck on a road that is built for one vehicle is quite an accomplishment. But those truck drivers are amazing and they somehow make it happen! We all suffer a bit from altitude sickness but luckily Fiona does all the hard work and wow, what a beautiful scenery! The mountains and the emptiness are just stunning. One night we sleep in a Tibetan monastery close to Leh. In the morning we are allowed to join the monks during the ceremony. What an experience! What an amazing trip! A few days after we have sadly said goodbye to our friends we hear that Leh was struck by flash floods. A huge disaster. It’s strange to realize we were just there and that there is now so much destruction and grief. It was such a happy place for us. We also realize how lucky we have been. It could have been us there….

We loved the north so much that Nico and I decided to make a trip through the Spiti valley. Again the surroundings are stunning and again we are very lucky. This area was also struck and there had been a lot of landslides. But as we travel through the blocked roads are cleared just before our eyes.

Fiona needs some maintenance (the front windshield is leaking, not very handy in monsoon season) so were back in Delhi. We don’t have to be in Kathmandu until the 26th of September so we are contemplating what to do now. Do we really want to get back onto the hectic roads and into the crazy busy cities? Or shall we go to Nepal immediately? Maybe doing something completely different would be nice……

As for the 5 lost items contest. It was a difficult decision so we decided on two winners! Stephanie Verwijmeren had the most items correct and Suzanne Hijstek had the most original items! So lady’s, let us know your country of choice and we’ll get a souvenir for you!

India

Posted on July 15th, 2010 by Melody

Last night we picked up Mark and Svenja from the airport in Delhi. It's so great to see our friends again. Tomorrow we're driving off into the mountains. We're super excited and can't wait to go. Nico and I are also very looking forward to finally doing some camping again now that we have our beloved Fiona back!

We're very much disturbed by the poverty here in India, especially in Mumbai, but we are having an excellent time! I mean, we've seen elephants walking in the streets of Delhi, how amazing is that!!!!

We've been traveling for 6 months now and to celebrate this we have decided to do a new contest!!!! Along the way we have lost 5 items (wow, that's almost an item per month, we should really take better care of our stuff) what are these 5 items? The person with the most correct answers (and if no one has anything right the person with the most imaginative answers) will win a souvenir from country of choice! (this means of course only the countries we will be visiting from now on until Singapore) so start guessing everyone and good luck! Send your answers in before next Saturday!!!!

I've had some problems from the start getting this update e-mail thing working properly. But I think I've got a new good system here. So I'm terribly sorry for the people who might have missed all the updates up to now.

AMAZING IRAN!

Sent on July 1st, 2010 by Melody

Wow, that was quite a trip. I really do not know where to start! Iran has amazed us every single day. The country is beautiful but the people of Iran have made it unforgettable. We have never ever before met such friendly and hospitable people! Everywhere we went people invited us for chay and dinner. If we had taken up every offer we would not have seen the country at all! Iran has stolen our hearts and we have promised all the new friends we have made  to come back to visit them again in the future. For loads of pictures of Iran visit the cruise page here.

Unfortunately there are also some downsides about Iran. The people are sad and angry about their government. They hate it that the world thinks they are terrorists which they obviously are not! Women have to wear a head scarf even though about 90% of the women do not want to wear a head scarf. Fortunately it has become less strict and the religious police does not exist anymore. This means you see loads of hear peeping out of the head scarves!  Half the internet is blocked, so no facebook (aaarrrrgg) and hardly no wireless internet anywhere. As I use outlook express and therefore have the complete address book on my computer I was not able to send any updates. But that is about to change!!! 

We have just arrived in India! And although Iran was amazing we are really happy to be here. Finally something different then kebab to eat and no more censored internet! We were not able to get our hands on an Pakistan Visa so we had to change our plans (I know most of you are happy that we did not go through Pakistan, but I’m still a bit miffed about it). We drove Fiona back to Bandar Abbas and put our dear Fiona in a container and onto a boat. We will hopefully be able to get Fiona back on Monday and then our India adventure can start! We are really excited because our dear friends Mark and Svenja will join us for 3 weeks driving around!

Nico has written another excellent travel story on libya. Click Here. I know it’s a bit late, but I hope you’ll still read it, cause it’s a nice story and then you’ll finally have some text with all those photo’s I’ve posted! I’m going to seriously start kicking his ass to write about all the other amazing things we’ve experienced! No more lounging around for him!

Hi everyone!

Sent on May 15th, 2010 by Melody

For a really cool feature article in the Muscat Daily click here.

Read about our unplanned trip to Algeria click here.

For loads of amazing photo’s of Oman click here.

We are in Iran and loving it!!!

Hi everyone!

Sent on May 10th, 2010 by Melody

We have arrived safely in Iran. Unfortunately we can’t keep you updated on our travels via facebook in Iran. So we’ll send an e-mail once in a while.
We are doing good, the people are super friendly and we are looking forward to discovering Iran. We are now in Kerman. We have done some shopping and are about to leave for Mahan, Rayen and the mountains!

Hi everyone!

Sent on March 13th, 2010 by Melody

Again a new update! Check the following pages:

For a travel story of south Tunisia click here.

For photo’s of Egypt click here.

For photo’s of the world heritage sites we’ve visited in Egypt click here.

We hope you will enjoy!

We are currently in Amman. Tomorrow we will pick up our transit visa for Saudi. On Sunday we will cross the border into Saudi and Nico will have to drive 1900 kilometers (according to Viamichelin) in 3 days time. I will have to sit next to Nico and do nothing, because women are not allowed to drive in Saudi. We have booked ourselves a hotel with a swimming pool in Dubai! We figured we would deserve it after such a trip. Even though it’s only three days we are looking forward to seeing Saudi. After all, it is the ‘Forbidden Kingdom’….

Hi everyone!

Sent on February 23rd, 2010 by Melody

Again a new update! There are pictures of Libya and a travel story of Tunisia.
I hope you will enjoy looking at our site! www.worldheritagecruise.com

We are currently in Luxor and are having a great time! It’s nice to see some other things then Medina’s, old Roman stuff and desert!

Hi!

Sent on February 15th, 2010 by Melody

New stuff on the website!!!

A quick journal update to let you know what kind of adventure we got in to. Click here.

more pics of Tunisia click here.

pics of the world heritage sites in Tunisia click here.

We are currently in Egypt and are relaxing a bit after our adventure!

Enjoy!

Hi everyone!

Sent on February 1st, 2010 by Melody

There is an update and there are photos. We’re still not up to date yet. But we hope you’ll like this!

New stuff on the following pages:

http://www.worldheritagecruise.com/thecruise.html

http://www.worldheritagecruise.com/whstuneljem.html

http://www.worldheritagecruise.com/journal07.html

We have arrived in Libya today. Took forever to cross the border. We were there at 10 and got through at 15.30. But we’re happy to be here and are having a blast with our guide Ahmed. He lived in Holland for 14 years, so he speaks Dutch! Great to be able to talk to someone again without it being in French!!! He has promised to take us to places in the desert where no tourist has ever been before! He can’t wait to show us everything this country has to offer. All pretty exciting. I think we are really lucky we have him as a guide (thank you Peter and Thea!!!)

Hope everyone is well!

Hi everyone!

Sent on January 23rd, 2010 by Melody

We are working hard to getting the website completely online and updated. Please bear with us a little longer…..
For now there is a new story on how we experienced our departure. Hopefully soon there will be real travel stories with loads of pictures!!! Click here.

Currently we are in Tozeur, Tunisia where we had a nice couple of days. We wanted to relax but we ended up working on the car and the website. We are now packing up our stuff to go for a trip into the desert. We have no idea when we will have internet again. On the 31st we’ll be crossing the border into Libya. We’ll make sure to post new stuff on the website before then.

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Please note: We are still developing this website. Check back regularly for new updates. Contact us at info@worldheritagecruise.com for more information and/or ideas.