Written by Roger Crowley.
One of the small joys of our Mediterranean voyage has been the weddings. Almost every port in Sicily has provided us with glimpses of magnificent Italian marriage ceremonies—the brides with their white wedding trains and delicate lace veils, male guests done up in sharp suits, the women in heels so high, we sometimes feared for their safety in the old cobbled streets! Throngs of well-wishers gathered to watch the ceremonies, small children in new clothes running excitedly through the legs of their grandparents, video and photo opportunities created beside sea walls, baroque churches, and ancient fountains. In the magnificent cathedral of Marsala we got to watch a marriage service unfold. One of our explorers was moved to tears by the ceremony, and the beautiful singing, she was introduced to the bride at the end!
April 14-26, 2008 found us travelling with Zegrahm on their North Africa's Roman Legacy voyage--from Malta to Malaga with stops in between in Tunisia and Algeria.
The highlights were a late afternoon tour of the American Military Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia. The present site was established in 1948 and lies over part of the ancient Carthaginian city destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. Most of the Military Dead gave their lives in the landings in, and occupation of Morocco and Algeria and subsequent fighting in the liberation of Tunisia. At sunset men in our group who served in WW II participated in the lowering of the colors. It was beautiful.
Before going on the trip we watched the 1938 movie ALGIERS with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr. While touring the picturesque alleys and souks of the maze-like Casbah we had the opportunity to visit a local home which was 300+ years old. From their fourth floor roof top we looked down on the harbor and could envision the scenes from the movie.
In Algeria we visited a number of places including a Koranic school, the Church in honor of St. Augistine of Hippo who was born in Algeria in 354 AD and the best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa.
One cannot visit Algeria without being exposed to the serious political problems--past and present facing the nation. For the Algerians a must see visit for foreigners is to the site of the May 8, 1945 massacre of Algerians by the French. Note: everywhere we went we had police escorts clearing the way. There is still concern about the Moslem extremists and their attacks on the Government.
Also what came through is the split within the population between the Arabs who inhabit the sea coast and the Berbers who are the mountain people with a different language and culture and who are demanding equality within the nation now dominated by the Arabs.
Another great trip Zegrahm!!!!!
Trip: North Africa's Roman Legacy
First Name: Dick & Betty
Last Name: Podol
Written by Roger Crowley
We spent today in the tiny little country of Montenegro, steaming into the gulf of Kotor, an amazing Mediterranean fjord. We took on a pilot at dawn to guide us through the intricately twisted channel backed by spectacular limestone peaks, up to the perfect little medieval port of Kotor. Like being in a little part of old Venice – without the canals! Massively fortified walls, red roofs, old churches, Italian-style palaces, archways, narrow passages, a castle on the hill – to which some of us hiked for a stunning view over the whole scene. The ship looked tiny from up there. Now we’re steaming north along the Dalmatian coast – next stop Dubrovnik.
I have only done a handful of cruises with Zegrahm but highlight for us was "swimming" in the ocean on the North Pole cruise (1992) and again surrounded by ice and Emperor Penguins in the Ross Sea (2011). How much better can life be!!
Also, taking a zodiac tour around the world at the North Pole.
Trip: Antarctica’s Ross Sea
First Name: Janet
Last Name: Miller
Prior to the trip, I emailed Jonathan Rossouw and mentioned that my target bird for Uganda was the Pennant-Tailed Nightjar. This is a pretty tough get. A well camouflaged night bird, it is nearly impossible to see during the day unless you step on one and, of course, it is tough to see in the dark at night. Rossouw replied: "Prayer is the only answer, but I will do my damned to put you in the right place so that if our prayers are answered, you will see the bird." We got to the right spot and were out a couple of hours after sunset, but no bird. The locals noted "that bird hasn't been here for three months." Two days later, during the late afternoon, we are in a completely different location and I see one in flight. This is not an easy object identification. The bird has long streamers flowing from each wing, sort of the P-38 of the bird world. It elicits a "what the hell is that?" response and then it hits you--that's the bird. Jonathan and I get off the vehicle and run after the bird. The ranger gets up on the roof of the vehicle and shouts "Get back here, there are lions to the left." I Look at Rossouw. He says "this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance--let's go see the bird." We were careful going around corners and were rewarded with magnificent views--full breeding plumage displayed in flight in full daylight.
Trip: Classic Uganda
First Name: John
Last Name: Kerns
City: San Francisco