The Egyptian Pyramids

Many people, including myself, find the Egyptian Pyramids fascinating.  So I thought I would provide some info on what I learned after putting them on my bucket list.  I hope you find this mini-history lesson helpful and, like me, want to visit them someday.

You probably already know that most of the Pyramids were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs, and other select individuals, many centuries ago.  But if you are anything like me that is all you can remember from what you learned in school.

(Courtesy of Huffington Post)

The earliest known Egyptian Pyramids are found at Saqqara, which is northwest of Memphis.  Some of these were designed by the architect Imhotep; and they are considered to be some of the world's oldest monumental structures.

The most famous Pyramids, however, are those found at Giza, on the edge of Cairo.  Many of the Giza Pyramids are among the largest structures ever built. And the Pyramid of Khufu is the largest Egyptian Pyramid.

Later Pyramids were smaller, hastily constructed, and therefore not built as well--this was a result of many changes.  Consequently, many have not been preserved well, or are buried by desert sands.

All of the Egyptian Pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile.  As this is where the sun set, Egyptian mythology associated the west bank with the realm of the dead.

The Pyramids have always held our attention, even in more recent times.  In the 12th century, Al-Aziz Uthman tried to destroy the Giza complex.  He did succeed in damaging the Pyramid of Menkaure, but gave up after that because it proved to be too much work.  And the fascination continued into the 20th and 21st century.  Researchers have set out on digs throughout the years; in fact, the latest Pyramid to be discovered was found in November 2008.

I hope you have enjoyed this mini history lesson on the Egyptian Pyramids and that you go visit them.  I know I hope to soon.

Marianne

Top Ten Things to do in Belize

If you're like me Belize is a place you have dreamed of going to for a while.  The ocean, the beaches, the warm weather...it all sounds so nice.  So what should you do while you are there?  Read on to find out what is on my bucket list.

(Courtesy of Lonely Planet)

  1. Visit any one of the numerous ruins.  There are several to choose from, so you can take your pick.  Caracol is part of the Mayan Ruins with none of the crowds like Tikal, in bordering Guatemala.  You can climb the highest pyramid of Caracol and see far into the distance, even seeing into Guatemala.  Lamanai are other ruins that are more off the beaten path but worth seeing.  You can also explore Altun Ha, Xunantunich, or Cahal Pech.
  2. Enjoy seeing marine life.  You can snorkel or sail with sharks and rays, snorkel with manatees at Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary--just remember no touching, or swim with turtles.
  3. Catch a nice sunset.  This is actually harder than it sounds with the coast on the east side--but if you head to Caye Caulker you will see an amazing sunset.  A prime sunset spot can be found in under 5 minutes here, vs Ambergris Caye.
  4. Speaking of Caye Caulker, spend a day here at the Split.  There is a makeshift beach where the water is deeper and more blue than usual.  The Split is perfect for swimming and diving.
  5. Go caving in Actun Tunichil Muknal, voted #1 by National Geographic multiple times.
  6. Take a helicopter tour over the Blue Hole.  This allows for a better view of this iconic landmark than diving into it from a boat.
  7. If you are scuba certified go scuba diving in any one of the many reefs.  Please use reef-safe sunscreen and I highly recommend a travel insurance plan that covers scuba diving accidents.  World Nomads' Explorer Plan is an excellent addition to a top tier Allianz Plan.
  8. Catch an amazing sunrise at Ambergris Caye.
  9. Spend time at the semi-secluded Ranguana.  Here you can snorkel, kayak, paddleboard, or sunbathe on one of the most pristine beaches in Belize.
  10. Head to Cockscomb Basin to see the wildlife.  Here you can see jaguarundi, ocelot, or if you're lucky a jaguar.

If you make it on a helicopter tour over the Blue Hotel leave a comment and let me know!

My Bucket List for Greece

Hello again!

I don't know if you know anything about Greece, beyond the fact that it is comprised of several islands, but there is so much to see in a location that has mythological, archeological, historic, artistic, and philosophic influences.  So are you planning your trip to Greece and wondering what you should do there?  Well keep reading to find out what is on my bucket list for when I finally go to Greece.

  • Visit Santorini.  The architecture here, with the white buildings with blue rooftops is amazing!!!  With buildings that contrast so well with the sea, it is no wonder people flock to Santorini to enjoy a view whose formations was aided by the help of a volcano.

(Courtesy of USA Today)

  • Tour the Acropolis.  The Acropolis used to be the site of the famous statue of Athena, goddess of Athens.  The columns and the glittering marble of the Parthenon are a sight to behold.
  • Climb Mount Olympus.  If Greek mythology fascinates you then you won't want to miss coming here.  Mythology asserts that Zeus' throne was here, and this is also where Hades ruled in the Underworld.  Few places are as steeped in mythology as Mount Olympus is.
  • Visit Lake Plastira.  Lake Plastira is surrounded by trees and offers activities such as, rafting, canoeing, hiking, and horse rides.
  • Wander around the Acropolis Museum.  The museum is known for its cafe and terrace that overlooks the Acropolis.
  • Tour Epidaurus Theater.  This theater is dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius.
  • Visit the Delphi.  People used to travel here to pay homage to Apollo, god of healing, music, prophecy, and light.  Today there are temples and ancient ruins.
  • Hike the Samaria Gorge.  This site is on the island of Crete and is a stunning site to behold.
  • Spelunking at Melissani Cave.
  • Head to Hephaestus Temple.  This temple is dedicated to Hephaestus, god of fire, and Athena, goddess of pottery and other crafts.
  • Visit Corinth Canal.  Here you can go on the Zulu Bungy Jump to see the canal in all its majesty.
  • Travel to the monasteries of Meteora.  These monasteries are atop of rock formations.
  • Take in the history when you visit Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
  • See the sites in ancient Corinth.
  • Visit Phaestos and enjoy the stunning vistas it has to offer.
  • Travel to Ancient Mycenae.  This location is famous due to Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey.  Sites to see in the area include Agamemnon Palace, Lion Gate, the Great Court, and the royal cemetery.
  • Learn more about the Holocaust at Museum Of The Kalavryta Holocaust.  This is the only Holocaust museum in Greece; it honors those who were victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis.
  • Travel to Mount Athos.  20 monasteries can be seen on its slopes; but the monasteries can only be visited by men.
  • Visit the Palace of Malia.
  • Enjoy Balos Beach.  Spend some time surfing here or explore the many lagoons that open up to jet blue water where fish can be seen.  Sunbathing is also a popular past time here.
  • Go to Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil.
  • Wander around the Museum of Contemporary Art.  In a country so full of ancient history, it is fun to see more modern works.
  • Enjoy time sunbathing at Psarou Beach.  This beach, in Mykonos, is one of the most famous, and has many restaurants along the beach.
  • Visit the Vergina Royal Tombs Museum.  Phillip II tomb is here, as well as items he was buried with.
  • Hike Corfu Trail.  The landscape and views along this trail are breathtaking.

My Italian Bucket List

My "Bucket List" of things to do in Italy!

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  • Throw a coin in Trevi Fountain for luck/wish to return.
  • Visit Vatican City -- There is so much to do in Vatican City.  The Pope offers a blessing one day a week, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and museums are some of the offerings available at Vatican City.
  • Tour the Colosseum -- There are tours that explain all about the bloody history of the Colosseum.
  • Walk around Campo de Fiori -- Campo de Fiori has an amazing farmer's market.  The food and flowers are a sight to behold.
  • Head to the Spanish Steps.
  • Watch people in Piazza Navona.
  • See the Cinque Terre -- Cinque Terre is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.  They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Cinque Terre is connected by trains and boats, and inaccessible by car.
  • Take a Gondola ride in Venice -- Snuggle up with your significant other and enjoy a romantic evening ride to see Venice all lit up.
  • Visit St. Mark's and watch people in the square.
  • Head to the Bridge of Sighs -- Rialto Bridge is a popular tourist spot.
  • Take a day trip to Murano/Burano -- Murano is known for its glass; and Burano is known for its lace.
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  • Drive along the Tuscan countryside to view the wildflowers, including poppies.
  • Visit the David -- The David is a marble masterpiece created by Michelangelo.
  • Tour Uffizi -- Uffizi holds priceless collections from the Italian Renaissance.
  • Take a walk to Ponte Vecchio.
  • Get a picture in Pisa and enjoy the sights -- The Tower was spared from a WWII artillery strike because a US sergeant was impressed by the beauty.  There is also a cathedral by the Tower.
  • Visit vineyards in the Tuscan region.
  • Walk around San Gimignano -- San Gimignano is known for its Medieval towers.
Dark and Moody Italy Travel-15.jpg
  • Visit Civita di Bagnoregio -- Erosion has altered this town over the centuries; and Civita di Bagnoregio owes the unchanged nature of the town to its isolation.  The population surges to 100 during the summer, from around 10 during winter time.
  • Take in the views from Mole Antonelliana (in Turin).
  • Enjoy Lake Como -- The Huffington Post has called it the most beautiful lake in the world.
  • Visit the Duomo (in Milan).
  • View, or ski, the Italian Alps.
  • Head to Juliet's house in Verona.
  • Take in the landscape in Umbria.
  • Walk around Positano -- Positano is a beautiful area on the Amalfi Coast, and is close to many beaches on the Amalfi Coast.
  • Visit Mount Etna in Sicily -- Sicily also has several beaches, popular Palermo, and Valley of the Temples.
  • Head to see Pompeii ruins -- Pompeii was covered in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Eat pizza in Naples.
  • Enjoy some gelato.

Hope you enjoy Italy,
Marianne