Travels in 2004

I went along with the Dutch tour company Sawadee Reizen on their weeklong tour of southern Tunisia. Starting from Djerba, we made nice walking trips in the region of the "ksour" (fortified villages) and the desert oases, and even made a short expedition on camelback with a desert overnight.
Into the desert
The Egypt highlights trip from Shoestring Reizen took us from bustling Cairo, with pyramids, mosques and musea, to Luxor, home to some of the most amazing temples and graves of the ancient Egyptians. Well on the tourist track, the enchantment was however total. Plus, I got a crash course in reading Arabic script.
Descending toward Hatshepsut's temple
From May to July, I was in Tel Aviv for a scientific visit to the Academic College of Tel-Aviv. I took full advantage of my spare time to explore the Holy Lands of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. In particular, I visited Jerusalem, Jaffa, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Ramallah, Haifa, the Galilee, Akko, the Negev, the Dead Sea, Masada, Jericho, Aqaba, Wadi rum, Petra, Madaba, Amman, Ajloun and Jerash.
A view towards Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
On this introductory trip to Central America, organized by Koning Aap Reizen, we visited southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Honduras and Belize. The central theme was the Maya civilization - past and present.
Indian in Solola, Guatemala
Literally on the other side of the planet this time, I got a short but lasting impression of life around the South Pacific. My time was divided among Auckland and Wellington on one hand, and the Polynesian island of Tongatapu, in the remote kingdom of Tonga, on the other hand.
Busy street in Nuku'Alofa, Tonga
A short break in Nice saw us enjoy mild and sunny weather in November, enjoy (too much!) mediterrenean food, and make walking excursions around the tiny principality of Monaco, and the scenic villages of Eze and Saint-Paul.
Port of Monaco
We had the good fortune to enjoy some vitalizing sun, and many rainbows, in Malta during the last days of 2004, and the first ones of 2005. From the cosmopolitan Valletta area to rural Gozo, from towering cliffs to majestic churches, we never stopped to be impressed by what had seemed, on the map, just to be another spot in the meditterenean.
Standing on top of Azure Window, Gozo

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