General, Photo

The Galata Tower – Istanbul

GalataTower
GalataTower
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The Galata Tower (the tower of Christ) built in 1348 in the Galata quarter in Istanbul.

On our last day in Istanbul we walked to the Galata quarter to see the Galata bridge and the Galata tower. After we crossed the Galata Bridge we walked through a very high steep street to get to the tower. After waiting in a long line between a large crowd setting in the ground most of them drinking alcohol which look like a free bar area or share with neighbor kind of crowed, we purchased the tickets and walked few step to take the elevator to the observation area on the 9th floor.

It was one a wonderful view to Istanbul, Bosphorus sea and the Galata bridge.

Photo, Travel

Topkapi Palace Museum

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InsideTopkapiPalace22
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Topkapi Palace was the primary resident for many of the Ottoman sultans for more than 400 years (1465–1856). Ottoman Empire was the longest lasting and the largest. It lasted for 622 years and Topkapi Palace held all for 400 years.

From the palace you can see the best view for the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. From there I was able to get some nice photo that I am sharing with you today.

 

Topkapi palace is known as the largest and the oldest survival palace in the world built by Sultan Mohamed II in 1453. One of the places you must visit in Istanbul, you will need at least one full day to see everything, some area will require waiting in line. The importance of visiting Topkapi Palace comes from the following reasons:

 

  • The palace is one of the main attractions in Istanbul.
  • Currently, The Palace held the richest collection of its kind in the entire world.
  • The mosaic on the wall.
  • The furniture.
  • The display of different weapon used during different era.
  • The solders uniform during different era,
  • The different protection the solders wear during the war.
  • The Authentic Turkish state of the art jewelry from different centuries
  • The coffee, the tea set and spoons that made from gold and precious stones
  • The gifts and the medals that given to each sultan from the foreign government.
  • The famous outstanding clock collection display
  • Some of the most important sacred Islamic items that collected from different Arabic countries (specially Egypt) in the 16th
  • The sultan hall that display every one of the Ottoman sultans and brief information about each one.

 

Uncategorized

Chora Museum

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ChoraMuseum27
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Chora museum, Chora Church or The Church of the Holy Saviour is one name to beautiful place we visited during our visit to Istanbul.

It was the old colorful painting on the wall and the experience of our tour guide. I was extremely glad that was one of her favorit places because she explained every paint with the most specific details.

The story was just like Aya Sophia museum, a former Byzantine church on the 5th century, later Ottoman transform it to a mosque in the 16th century and then become a museum in the early 20th century.

I am so glad they did not covered or altered these magnificent colorful hand painting that covers the entire wall and ceiling.

Photo, Travel

view the Golden Horn from Pierre Loti

FromCamlicaHill8
FromCamlicaHill8
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Our first full day tour included visit to Pierre Loti where we took the cable car to go all the way up to one of the highest hill in the European side of Istanbul. It was one of the most a mazing views that exceeded any other view from the other hills that we visited.

As I mention in one of the pervious blog, Istanbul is known as the City on the Seven Hills. I made sure that I have to visit all of them to get the best photo opportunity for the city. Each one of these hills special view to a specific area. Pierre Loti has the most panoramic view for the golden Horn and Bosphorus area.

Photo, Travel

The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

Basilica16
Basilica16
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Before our trip to Istanbul, my son told me a great deal about the Basilica, from what I heard and red, I was very interested to visit it. So, on our second day and very early in the morning we beat the crowd, we were one of the early bird inside there. It was only a few steps from our hotel and cross street from Aya Sophia.

It is a giant water storage reserve underground we took several steps to go down. The Basilica completed during the year of 565 during the Roman period.

As you see from the photos the Basilica’s roof supported by too many beautiful columns (336). Most famous column there was the head of the Medusa with her snake’s hair upside down in the far left corner of the entrance.

I was wondering about how is the Basilica looks great after more than 1400 years, then I learn the place went through several renovation,

Uncategorized

Marina, Alexandria Egypt

PortoMarina
PortoMarina
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This year, during my last trip to Egypt, I was able to visit Alexandria, which I try to make priority every time I am in Egypt. This City is not only my favorite city but it is every one’s favor, if you visited you will understand why. It is the place to visit when you need to relax, spent quite time or for good vacation.

I visited every place there specially El Montaza after the sunset. I have these photos that I like to share with you today.

This year, I was able to visit another place for first time. The place calls Marina. It was long drive, Marina is located 300 km (190 mi) away from Cairo, in the El Alamein area. It was worth it. I spent a wonderful full day there where I enjoyed the views. There is a great view of Mother Nature from any spot there.

In the past, I spoke with several of my friend about how good and relax this place is and finally I find the opportunity to visit. Even with all what I heard about it, it was much better than what I expected. It was very beautiful and relaxing.

Photo, Travel

Watching Istanbul from the Bosphorus Sea

SüleymaniyeMosque
SüleymaniyeMosque
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We all know if you visit any city and would like to see too many tourist site in short time, pay for a tour, a good one. That is what we did on our first day we arrived to Istanbul.

We took redeye flight that landed before 6:00 AM, we arrived to the hotel at 7:00 AM. Upon arrival we huddle with the concierge to avoid loosing anytime from our first day by sleeping for few hours, of course we can do that when we return home.

The concierge suggested a great full day tour from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The tour was consists of two parts. First part was cruising the Bosphorus Sea that introduces us to the city very well. Then we eat lunch at a nice restaurant in the old city. The second part we toured the city in a bus. We were able to see most of the city during this cruise. We stopped several times to visits some these sites, which was included in our tour.

By the end of the day we were able to understand what other site we need to see in our next few days and we planed for our remaining few days of our trip.

We were lucky not only for this nice tour we choose but for our very experience tour guide who explained the history behind each site with details and able to answer every question.

I was able to take nice photo especially during the first half of the day while we in the boat cruising the Bosphorus see that I am sharing with you at this blog.

 

Photo, Travel

The Mosques In Istanbul – Turkey

SüleymaniyeMosque
SüleymaniyeMosque
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We spent the last week in May 2015 in Istanbul. After my visit, the one thing stayed in my mind was the Mosques. If you know there are over 14000 different Mosques in Istanbul, you will understand why they will attract your attention and stay in your mind after you leave the city. It is over 14000 unique ones, they are all different and none of them look like the others. Some of them are high, some of them is large, and other is small. Each one of them has their own uniqueness and history, do not forget that all of them are attractive structure.

We stayed in Sultan Ahmet area very close to most of the historic places in Istanbul cross street from the Basilica and 2 Major building, Sultan Ahmet (more famous with “The Blue Mosque”) and Aya Sophia Museum. Both are very different, extremely large and wonderful structure (as you seen in my photos).

The Blue Mosque as you see from the name built by no other than Sultan Ahmet himself and completed in 1016.

Every Mosque must have at least one minaret (The sultan allowed four minarets princes and princesses allowed two minarets; others allowed only one) and one dome but most of them have more the one minaret so imagine the number of minarets in Istanbul skyline which included over 14000 mosques.

The Blue Mosque alone has 6 large minarets, one main dome and 8 secondary domes.

Aya Sophia museum, another great structure famous with extremely large dome located a cross from Sultan Ahmet Mosque.

Aya Sophia originally built as a Greece Christian patriarchal church at year 547 then becomes imperial mosque at 1453 by order of Sultan Mohamed II after adding four minarets and altered the original artwork from Christian to Islamic, then change to a museum at 1935 to become one of the most visited museums in Turkey.

One of the other large mosques that we visited was the suleymaniye mosque.

Istanbul called the city with the seven hills. Looking at Istanbul skyline you have to understand the city is famous with their seven hills and you need to visit each one of them in order to see most of the old part in Istanbul.

On the third hill after walked through a very narrow and steep streets full with all kind of stores that sells every thing you can imagine we arrived to our destination, which was the Suleymaniya mosque. It was large (The Suleymaniya mosque is largest of Istanbul 14000 mosque).

As the name said, it is built by Sultan Suleyman and completed on 1558, there are one large dome and too many small ones next it famous 4 minarets.

Photo, Travel

El Gouna – Egypt

Elgona28
Elgona28
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Let me tell you about the most surprise place I find during my last trip to Egypt this summer. During my visit to the Red Sea area, my friend invited me to an area called El Gouna to visit a friend have some food in one of the restaurant there.

I visited several places in this area so I expected the same no more no less.

We just entered the gate and my jaw dropped just by looking at the view out there. Both my friend looked at me and laughed for my big surprise.

Yes, I could not believe what I seen, It was piece from the heaven in the middle of the desert. I love to visit the Caribbean islands when I need to relax or when I need to fell my eye with such great location and such blue water, but finally I find it close to home. So, at least now I know there are such places in Egypt that beautiful.

I believe some one imagined a piece from the heaven and try to create it on the earth and he succeeded by creating such place. I walked around for hours by myself to enjoy the moment. I was glad that I my camera bag with me during this visit so I can share with everyone some photo of this great place.

Photo, Travel

Mavera Restaurant in Istanbul

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MaveraBW2
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During our last trip in May 2015 we try to visit as much as we can. We understand there are 4 major high hills in Istanbul and we made it to each one of them. When we visited on one of these hills we dined in a restaurant call Mavera, Mavera is located in very nice neighborhood where we understand it is very the rich and the political group. We enjoyed our visit there for more than one reason. The first and the most important for me was the view. I was able to get some nice photo regarding the bad weather. The hospitality and the friendly staff is another reason but this you can find easy every place you go in Istanbul, the people there is very friendly, even when they stop you for any sales reason, for example to invite you to there shop or restaurant and you said thanks they will apologize for the inconvineance.

It one of the area you need to visit and one of the restaurant you have to get there for the view and deserts.

Photo, Travel

alf leila wa leila hotel hurghada egypt, Wow, wonderful and great experience

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TheStadge2
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My friend and his son invited me to spent 3 days Hergada – Egypt. We stayed in a resort called Alf Lila Wa Lila.

It was such great experience from the time we walked in until we checked out.

The staff was extremely helpful, friendly, and hospitable from the time we walked in through the gate. We greeted by the Front Office manager (Mr. Hany) as we seen him greeting every guest in the wonderful design lobby.

You will not be greatly surprise of this great hospitality when you see the attentiveness and the customer service of Mr. Wafai the resort General Manager who was all over the place greeting everyone in the lobby.

My favorites place when I like to stay in resort is La Romana in Santo Domingo. I was happy to visit this place because now, I find another place close from my second home that I can visit and enjoy the:

  • Great hospitality
  • Friendly staff
  • Outstanding food in several restaurant around the place
  • Even though the place little fare from the red sea but the multi swimming pool and the shuttle to the sister hotel is available all the time.
  • Outstanding entertainments every night that bring hundreds of visitors from outside
  • Only few step from the largest mall in the city which help us to pick up our gift very easy plus what we were able to buy from the resort multiple gift shop

In our way out, we have the pleasure to speak for while with Mr. Wafai again and enjoy his story about the place and his experience in this great place.

I take some photo for this place, I whish this will give you an idea why I loved this place.

Photo, Travel

Porto El Sokhna – Second visit – The same, Misery and Awful

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Sokhna5
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As structure and the whole complex consider a wonder in middle of the dissert, they literary re-constructed the mountain, moved and removed what needed in order to built this giant small city.

Let me start with apologies to every one in Egypt, the country where is everyone are hospitable, generous and friendly, the hospitality is one of the basic behaviors of everyone there.

I apologize before I choose this place as the worst place I ever visited in the world. Yes, during my 35 years of travel, I never visited place that I feel sorry for every second I spent there.

I was looking for a one-word title to review this place and I was confused between too many such as Awful, Miserable, carelessness, and many more similar word which kept running to my mind. The words misery and awful won because the word Misery explains everyone we met or dealt with in this place and the word awful explains how this giant place run and how is the feeling when you interact with everyone who works there.

For me everything is about customer service does not matter if you spent a dollar or million on your establishment, which I do not think this place knows there such word or way to deal with guest?

From the time we check-in:

  1. Nobody said hi, hello, welcome, thank you, good morning or goodbye.
  2. We enter this giant parking lot and our driver could not where he can drop us
  3. No one ever smiled from the staff
  4. Nobody made any eye contact (only during my conversation at the front office during our ugly check-in process)
  5. Waited in line for a very long time so someone can see us but never happen, because every guest stormed the desk and received help – ther are too many guest for only 2 front office agents and one unfriendly bell captain
  6. I asked the only one who looked at the computer once and while if he is there is a manager around, he stated that he is the bell captain and there is a manager but he is not available right now.
  7. If you arrived early, the Front Office will confirmed your reservation and asked me to come after 2 PM.
  8. During my first attempt to check in, she place my ID and credit card on the desk and moved on to another guest asking me to come after 2 PM before I even asked one question
    1. What is my other options
    2. Any place I can keep my bag.
    3. Do you have different types of rooms ready? We are in weekdays and this place is full only during the weekend.
    4. Can I pay for an upgrade and check in one hour early
    5. Where can I go in this over 100 degree weather
  9. Eventually I had to storm the desk like anyone else. I asked the Front Office agent (Marwa, same agent who we met before) if there is a line or turn for the guest. She immediately started a confrontation, why we did not approach the desk like everyone else. The second agent came to her aid and it was guest against the front desk so I asked, “can you please give me my key and let me go, PLEASE”.
  10. When we arrived to our room, there was no water in our room, I tried to call every line listed but no one answered.
  11. I needed to connect to the WiFi but there were no instructions in our room and no one answering the phone.
  12. The Front Desk gave us one card for the pool towels, which created another problem in the pool to get two.
  13. In our way to the breakfast we stopped at the host station who asked for the room number, after we waited to be seated, he asked us to proceed while he is busy writing in his book
  14. The breakfast presentation was good except both my items, coffee was very light and cold and the fruits was cut in night before and frozen in the plate which make it hard to remove it and hard to eat, so we have to check out ASAP to get some real coffee outside and wait for our transportation away from this place
  15. The check out was more than awful by the same agent, no words exchanged (good morning, how is your stay, thank you, goodbye or such). She just asked for the credit card, I sign it, she throw the invoice on the desk and ran to the other computer, so we left even more bitter and I asked my son to run out of this place.

Problems happen, the difference between a good place and a bad one is how it’s taken care of. So think twice before you make a reservation in this place.

General, Photo

Yoli’s Roses

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Flowers26
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Yesterday, Yoli (my wife) comes in the house from the backyard with large smile in her face. She asked me if I like to take some photo for her roses just like I did last year (you can see them in one of my previous blog.
 
I wake to the backyard with the camera and here is the outcom.
 
Abbady

 

Photo, Travel

dahab village – Cairo, Egypt- a tiny island inside a monster city

TooManySquare
TooManySquare
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On the second day of my arrival home, my nephew and his friend (Both of them belong to Suez photo club invited me to one day photo trip which I accepted immediately. The trip planned to visit several areas in Cairo.

The first stop was visiting the smallest island inside Cairo for Village called Dahab (mean Gold).

From the first look you can find that the name is the furthest thing from the true.

There is one a small Ferry you need to ride in order to get to the island. There is no transportation there because you do not need any. You only need 10 minutes to walk the entire island. The transportation there is the bicycle and the donkey only. The people there are not the most hospitable among the Egyptian hospitality but they are not unfriendly either. They just mind their own business, which is actually none. Some of them allow you to take their picture but I tried only once because I felt they just do not like to say NO to their visitors, so I am sure I can live without such photos after I took only one (which I am sure you will understand what I am trying to say after you seen my photos for this trip).

The city consists of one main Avenue and several small streets (tiny is the correct word). There are too many kids and all of them were very engaging, they loved to get their picture taken (it is done under the families watch and you do not need permission). Make sure you have a lot of candy, which my friend was ready with. Just like any other city, there is all kind of kids, emotionless, happy, and vey exited ones. I tried to get sample of each.

General, Photo, Travel

Tanoura dance Show

Whirling dervish
Whirling dervish
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tanoura dance show

It is form of Arabic heritage sofi dance. This type of dance performs in most Arabic country mostly by male dancer. .

When the Sufi Branch created as part of Islamic culture, they implemented different forms of Dhiker (Ziker in Arabic language which mean “remembrance”).

The Sufi ritual ceremonies dedicated in remembrance of God. It used to be performed daily specially during the religious celebration and sometimes through the night asking God for forgiveness.

Ziker performed in different ways silent, loud or sometimes accompany by movements. There are several group of sufi, each group introduces their own way of Ziker. Some of the group was the beginning of the Tanoura dance.

Years later after the Turkish invasion the colorful of the Turkish dervish custom start to overtake the original sufi darker color.

Tanoura dance is very common in Egypt, especially in the older part of Cairo where is the main tourist area, also in some of the night club as part of entertainments. The main shows are presented as folk dance on different stages and some of the government supported theaters like the one I attended. Currently it is performed as part of the wedding ceremony with a single dancer some of the dancer started to be extremely famous e in the arena.

I took these photos during my last trip to Egypt in early 2014. It was great memorable performance that I can’t wait to see it again in my upcoming tris.

 

Abbady