TRAVEL - FOREIGN TRIPS AND HOLIDAYS - MEMORIES
ENGLAND - London , GERMANY-Dresden, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Cologne, SWITZERLAND ,
AUSTRIA, POLAND, SLOVAKIA, CANARY ISLANDS , EGYPT , MADEIRA , KENYA , DUBAI , TUNISIA , GREECE ...

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The information in this article is even 30 years old (1990 - 2020), so it is possible that much has changed.
Also currently due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many paths cannot be realized.
Nevertheless, I believe and hope that this writing will interest, enrich, make laugh and maybe teach someone :-)

 
dopravní ikony

If I do not count my stay near Piešťany in Slovakia, when we tortured our teachers' comrades as compulsory weeks as children in school, I made the first trip abroad to Germany to Dresden. In the end, at that time I lived in Czechoslovakia, so Slovakia was not abroad.
The goal of the trip to Dresden was to buy things that were not with us.  It was a few years after communism and so he went shopping to buy who. I got it  marky and my friend and I got on the train and set off. Not far from the station was the store I wanted to visit. I bought a jacket, I got a pen and a lighter and I was happy :-)  Then I married Denisa, with whom we only traveled to cottages after a year, we divorced and I (despite the fact that I had quality protection and did not have to) volunteered for the war and for a year I traveled only at the shooting range, barracks and airport: - )
Subsequently, I traveled to Slovakia (shortly after the partition of Czechoslovakia), where I actually got a little by accident. At that time, in addition to working and participating in various events, I also played one online game. The Internet was at the beginning of the boom, and at that time I was regularly failing a dial-up, table game with minimal graphics on a dial-up landline connection (I suspect 40 kbit / s).
Today, probably no one would play such a game, but it was full of kingdoms, magic, battles, kings and queens.
And so it happened that there were also meetings and some were in Slovakia. In the end, I went to Bratislava quite often because I found a liking in Queen Julia :-) In the end, everything ended because the queen killed herself on horseback and I tried to work in complete sadness and despair and started to build a company. I was sitting in an office in Prague and I hadn't been going anywhere for at least a year.

Moldaublick rozhledna a výhled

A short and funny visit to Austria affected me during a holiday in a camp near Horní Plané u  Lipno reservoir. My friends and I had the idea that we would go to see the nearby Moldaublick lookout tower (Vltavská vyhlídka in Czech), which is about 1 km from the Austrian-Czech state border. We got on the ferry that took us across Lipno and crossed the border. There was a pub on the way to the lookout tower so we tasted the local beer, which we really liked. It was July the sun was shining, it was nice :-) The hike of the Sulzberg mountain was very difficult, but when we arrived at the metal structure of the Moldaublick lookout tower we ran 137 steps to a height of 24 m we had a beautiful view. Since we could clearly see from the lookout tower where and where we went to the lookout tower, it was quite obvious that we went around it a lot. We decided that when we descended, we would not follow the road, but a straight line through the forest to Lipno. That was a big, but really BIG mistake :-)
Absolutely completely unmaintained, totally overgrown forest with an uneven surface, which until recently "was" part of the border zone, so no one went into it. After more than an hour (before that we went to the lookout tower for a weak half hour), tiring work in the terrible heat, we reached Lipno, waited for the ferry and left for the camp. When we came, our women and friends who didn't come with us laughed and asked what had happened to us, because we looked like after the fight - dirty, scratched,
  torn and the horror of a terrible experience shone in our eyes :-)  

 

                                    ENGLAND - LONDON

As it turns out one evening in a bar, I met a cheerful girl, Andrea, and she gave her word, and it was only a few months old, but a very intense love. Due to a certain coincidence and also because she worked as a flight attendant on the bus line to London, I got to England. It was a long journey, but really interesting and I also saw a bit from France. The ferry from Calais to Dover literally thrilled me, because, among other things, the price of whiskey in this duty-free zone was more than favorable. So in Dover at the check-in, where everyone was asked why he came to England, where exactly he goes, how long he will be there and how much money he has with him, etc. I answered cheerfully :-) Andrea went to visit her sister who worked there a short distance from London and I went to visit a "friend of my friend" whom I also knew and who had worked in London for more than a year as an Au-pair and a waitress in a restaurant. Everything was, of course, agreed in advance, and I, alone with poor language skills, stood around Victoria at noon in London and took the tube. I knew where I wanted to buy a ticket and I had a subway map with a marked start-finish route. But as many know, the London Underground is really a staple of almost 300 stations and 11 routes distinguished by name and color. However, that's not the point, I'm still from Prague, when I can change from B to A, so I can do it here too :-) But oh :) The problem was that I needed to change from Victoria Line to a specific station on Northern Line. light blue to black and then get out until I hear the name of your station. Well, when you hear that she reports that due to the delay they will not be in the station where you need to stop, you will just cross it (it will not happen to you in Prague and of course I did not expect it at all). I accepted this "trip" :-) I get off at the next station I walk to the train on the other side, which arrived in the opposite direction, and I mess with  knowing that I'm leaving another station, but how-that he doesn't report to her and reports a completely different station. And that's the fun thing ... When you cross your station in the London Underground and go to the other side of the train, you come back to one station. You have switched to another route and you are going somewhere to ... :-) If you want to go back on the route you have to go one floor lower and not opposite the train from which you will get off. Eventually a black man advised me and I got to my station and met Pavla. 

London Underground mapa znak

It was a very pleasant evening and since I wanted to stay in London for 4 days, we talked a lot about where we were going and what I would be interested in. Great was that only one afternoon she had to go to work otherwise it turned out perfectly and she had time off, so I had a guide. I bought music, I bought sweatshirts, shoes, I ate and drank well, because Pavla knew where to go. I saw the Queen coming from the park at Buckingham Palace, I was in Trafalgar Square, where, among other things, they are lighting up a London Christmas tree. I also walked to the bustling Piccadilly Circus, which is also London's hub. I was at Madame Tussaud's wax museum, which I can highly recommend. I also experienced Chinatown (Chinatown) in Soho, where, among other things, shopping is good. In the end, I really enjoyed the party in a pub in London.

Pavla brought her 6 friends who also worked as an Au-pair so I'm really nice to me :-) I was surprised that the girls, even if they were in London for more than half a year, did not see even a fraction of what I and envied Pavla, because she she went everywhere with me. I also learned that this is how we met in a pub for the first time. I had to realize with some regret that girls didn't have it easy at all. They came to London to make money, and if they "jumped out" they wouldn't bring much home, so work, school, talk to a friend, phones, food and sleep. Zero fun, but I understood that I also felt that London was not a cheap affair and I had a great guide and a free night's lodging. It should also be noted that all girls pay for school to bring an English certificate in addition to the money. Maybe that's why the party was really more than the happy girls were torn from the chain, and I was sad only when I realized I was leaving tomorrow. Interestingly, the pub was completely full, but when the chief rang the end without any discussion in a few minutes, the pub was empty. I had breakfast with Pavla in the morning and said goodbye to her at Victoria station where she accompanied me. I bought something to eat and waited for Andrea, who had already texted me, that she would be there in a few minutes. Then we waited for the bus together and headed to Prague. After a few days, Andrea and I broke up and unlike the other breakups I had behind and which followed this sorry to this day. Andrea was pregnant with me and I stood like a calf (just no enthusiasm) so she had an abortion and we broke up. So I worked here again and again, I went for a beer with my friends and I didn't go anywhere for a few months and I wasn't in the mood for anything.

Then fate brought me into the arms of a Moravian girl, Katka, and we lived between Prague and Přerov. Katka was a nurse, so it was not a problem to get her a job and teleport her to Prague.  As part of a rather poetic relationship, I was partially forced to visit Poland more precisely, the markets in Cieszyn, Poland. Well, they had where what. I don't even remember if I bought anything, but otherwise I bought a lot. However, I remember that I was fascinated by the traffic lights at the crossing with three dolls. Germany and the West True West - Düsseldorf. It was an interesting week, but despite some bonuses, it was quite expensive. I remember seeing men's gold Rolexi in the shop window in the square, which had diamonds in excess of CZK 1 million instead of numbers. I've got a few watches in my life, but I've never worn them, so it didn't excite me much, I just wondered how someone could buy it.

In a few months Katka and I went by bus to Switzerland. We went with another couple of our friends. The trip was long, but we had a good time. The girls fell asleep and I talked and drank a beer with a friend. An acquaintance of us all rented a mountain hut and rented rooms to skiers, especially in the winter season. We had a discount on accommodation and we still had a good advisor "what, where, where, how". Les Diablerets is a village and ski resort located in the village of Ormont-Dessus in the French canton of Vaud in Switzerland. The village lies at an altitude of 1,200 meters on the north side of the Diableret massif, 3,210 meters, in the Swiss Alps. It was interesting that the communication with the locals was a bit complicated, they strictly refused to speak German and spoke English with a French accent, where one understood every fifth word :-) However, the people in Switzerland were very friendly and kind.

Of course, it must be admitted that the Swiss franc is indeed a hard currency, so it was not cheap. As part of the savings, we even drank wine rather than beer on occasional visits to local restaurants because it was cheaper. The girls didn't mind, but my friend and I sometimes had a kiss - the wine was quite bitter. One day we also visited the water park. He was monstrous and the water slides unreal. I wouldn't even write about it aquapark is aquapark, but such an incident happened to me. Although it was all great, there were a lot of small and large Swiss and Swiss women and the best attractions were quite queues. So I once climbed the stairs to the "pipe" where there were few people. When it was my turn, I climbed into it and bounced. Then I just flew and with the absolutely terrible feeling that I would definitely die, I fell down. I didn't feel the floor of this tubular water slide at all. After about a minute, it slapped me into the water and I finished at the end. Subsequently, I found out that this toboggan is extreme and there is a timer on its ascent, and if I set a record of the day, a siren would sound and I would win 100 francs. Well, I didn't break the record and I didn't try it a second time :-) It would be weak to write that Switzerland is beautiful - we knew it devilishly wildly beautiful. It really was great! So we went to Switzerland in July, so no skiing, but if you take the cable car to Glacier without a little 3000 (m asl), you can easily build snowmen from morning to evening :-) Everywhere on the rocks fall small and large waterfalls from mountain springs and the air is saturated with the scent of trees, shrubs and all plants. Another great experience was also a sightseeing cruise on a lake on Lake Geneva, where I was captivated by Chillon Castle. The castle was built in the 13th century and is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. A unique experience is also a ride on a mountain panoramic train. We have completed this several times. We couldn't get enough of the taste of different cheeses on a regular basis and, of course, we didn't miss the Swiss national dish Fondue. Beautiful nature everywhere clean, well-being, quiet and grazing cows. That was my Switzerland.

 

                                        GREECE


Katka and I also went on holiday to Greece for the first time. I didn't fly the plane for the first time, but I didn't land on my first flight because I jumped out with a parachute :-) Well, it's a different plane, but it was nice. Only the check-in and waiting at the airport bothered me (but I didn't know what I would experience in later years). We did not fly on vacation alone, but a friend with his girlfriend and another friend who was alone flew with us. We were just such a bunch.

So we landed in Thessaloniki in Thessaloniki and from there we were taken to a hotel. Accommodation was sufficient so no comfort, but it worked. At that time, no one from our party had much money, so we tried to make it a "low-cost" holiday. Strange and annoying was that in Greece in many places, including what we were, there are outdated sewer lines - they just have too narrow pipes and often clog - you don't have to throw paper in the toilet on it's basket next door. In the hotel we had only prepaid breakfast so we went to a nearby town and sometimes had food in a restaurant, but we had a lot of excellent Gyros from the stalls. Greek cuisine suited me very much and I especially fell in love with Tzatziki forever. The strange thing was that we didn't find a piece of classic bread everywhere, we sold such ages or baguettes everywhere, so it was all about white bread.

The nice thing was that we were a few meters from the beach, so we enjoyed the Mediterranean. We always went along the beach to shops and restaurants, so the trips were pleasant. Once we went a little further and we also bought some things, so we agreed to get together and take a taxi back. Never before and never after have I experienced access to a lunch break like in Greece. You have no chance of any services between 12 and 13 o'clock. We offered the taxi driver twice what the trip would normally cost, but it couldn't be broken, so we walked in peace. During the walks along the beach, we regularly passed one interesting place. It was a shallow lake washed up by the tide of the Mediterranean, and there were perhaps thousands of crabs in it. It looked like a moving bottom, a little disgusting, but definitely interesting.

We only made one trip, but it was worth it. The monasteries of Meteora are beautiful and impressive. Meteora are monasteries - monasteries on the tops of conglomerate rocks in the region of Thessaly in Greece, near the town of Kalambaka. Monks and hermits settled here as early as the 11th century, but it was not until three centuries later that the first Byzantine monasteries of the Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churchs began to emerge. You must be sufficiently covered during the inspection (men must have covered knees, women shoulders). No photos or videos are allowed inside. For entering the monasteries, the monks collect an entrance fee of about 4 EUR. Today, if I were in Greece, I would definitely make many more trips. I was quite sorry at the time that I had not seen the Acropolis in Athens, among others. There was little money and I also learned in the future who to go with and not to go on holiday. Not that there were any major conflicts, but Katka and I wanted to have peace and someone was still bothering us. Especially the friend's friend was often unbearable. So a little recommendation - think carefully about who on holiday can quite disrupt your experience.

 
 

                            CANARY ISLANDS - GRAN CANARIA

Katka and I also flew on my first regular vacation to the Canary Islands. After landing and transfer to the hotel, we stayed. The view from the balcony of the room captivated me and I spent hours there watching the ocean and passing boats. It was my first sea, but I admit that I never got tired of watching it. We had a room on the 5th floor of the hotel, 200m from the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Within the Canary Islands (7 islands) we were on the island of Gran Canaria. The Canary Islands are an autonomous community of Spain. I believe that a lot of readers in the Canary Islands also made it an affordable and very enjoyable holiday. When booking the trip, in addition to the room with a sea view, I also checked All inclusive (ie everything included in the room price - food, drinks and other services.) And I then practiced this system for all other holidays. It's mainly (at least for me) that although Xx happens to go somewhere to a restaurant for lunch or dinner, therefore you are not interested in the menu in the hotel and "fail", but it also happens that you go somewhere on a trip you miss lunch and you are happy to return to the hotel and something is there. Due to the fact that in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner there are also some snack bars throughout the day, you can be sure that whenever you come to the hotel you have something to eat and drink (including alcoholic beverages :-). In terms of taste, I can't even imagine that no one would choose or be dissatisfied. Everything is buffet style and you can choose from about 10 options and countless combinations of how you can mix, taste, taste and the dishes change every day.

The island of volcanic origin Gran Canaria belonging to the Spanish Autonomous Community offers a very quiet stay and also a few experiences. Personally, I was most satisfied with the built very pleasant path along the cliffs of the coast. From the hotel we walked about 1.5 km along the beach and then we joined the path, which on one side was lined with rocks, flowering shrubs just played it with all the colors and the other with a railing made direct contact with the ocean, which crashed into the waves. rocks, sometimes you were even at a height of 20 m and it still splashed on you here and there. After about 2 km at the end of the road you will find various cafes, buffets, restaurants (with a nice view) and shops. I probably enjoyed these walks the most. Undoubtedly an interesting experience was a sightseeing cruise for dolphins. Of course, sailing on a relatively small boat by sea is not for everyone (a little rocking) however, whoever manages it and meets the dolphins will not regret it. After about 20 minutes of sailing, we came across a flock of about 30 dolphins (from babies to grandfathers :-), who immediately joined the boat - the boat stopped and we could all watch the dolphins fool around the boat. The cameras began to click and the cameras ran. Well I know commercial tourist entertainment, but just who has not seen with their own eyes will not believe, who has seen knows that it is worth it.

On the other hand, such a Yellow Submarine can live without it. You will actually ride in a submarine a few meters below the ocean, you will see fish here and there and see the plants at the bottom, but otherwise nothing much. So Cocodrilo Park was also a useless trip, even though they regularly threw meat at crocodiles and their jagged jaws could be heard. The parrots were big and colorful and it was all :-) It should be noted that the entrance fee of 10 - 30 EUR is paid everywhere. It's not about whether it's expensive or cheap, I've always mainly perceived the price / performance ratio. Sitting with Pina Colada in a chair and a nice view is definitely worth it, especially when you and your partner have something to say, however, I managed these moments in solitude and I just listened to some music that they played from the bar and the murmur - crashing of the waves ocean. Of course, everything I have written and will write is intended primarily for adults. Children perceive everything differently and both the submarine and the crocodile park and more and more will be inevitable, so get enough money :-) An important place in Gran Canaria is the resort of Maspalomas with Faro lighthouse, which illuminates the local coast for over 120 years with beautiful beaches with white sand and on the edge of the sand dunes, which formed the remains of corals and shells and something blew the wind from the Sahara. In the dunes, you may feel lost in the middle of the desert, but the murmur of the sea will calm you down. Katka and I were in the Canary Islands in September, so this period left me as a time for a warm holiday forever. Never warm in the heat because I hate the heat :-) So after 14 nice and quiet days we flew to Prague and continued to work. A few months passed and our three-year relationship with Katka left and we broke up and life went on.

 

                                         KENYA

One evening, when I was sitting in my favorite restaurant (popular mainly because I had her 40m from the office :-) I noticed a new waitress at dinner. She smiled at me whenever she carried me. This was repeated a few evenings before I contacted her and asked her if she was laughing at me or at me :-) we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to go to dinner the next day. Dinner went well I learned that she is not a waitress, she does warehouse administration on a computer and as a waitress she earns extra money because she wants to buy a car. After a few days of regular meetings, we agreed to fly somewhere together on vacation and experience intense coexistence. I won't lie long enough for the relationship and since the situation in the company was constantly improving, I decided to do a little bit. After consulting with an acquaintance who arranged tours from various foreign travel agencies, I decided on Kenya. Lenka was excited by the sea, so far only in Croatia. Before we started preparations for the trip, I had to meet Lenka's parents (her father was a former police officer). They wanted to meet me and make sure I brought Lenka back in order. Everything turned out well and I drank the vodka :-) We had a week before departure and we had to arrange a lot. First mandatory vaccinations for yellow fever and jaundice and I still had to buy malaria pills, which we had to swallow before and during the whole trip. I also had to arrange a friend to take us to the airport, because because we had a trip through a German travel agency, we were leaving Vienna.

This was followed by packing suitcases and buying things that might come in handy. At that time I didn't care at all, but in my mind I said we weren't anywhere yet and 80,000 (including the price of the tour) in the grove. The transfer to Vienna was successful, the airport there was nice and I bought a shoulder bag there, which I have to this day - 18 years. When we were in Vienna, of course, we had Viennese coffee, found the plane, got on board the plane, and flew. We had a stopover in Milan, Italy, which was an unbelievable poison, because we were locked in the boarding area for more than an hour, where there is nothing but toilets and seats - one German lit a cigarette and then argued with an Italian police officer, because in the boarding hall of course he is not allowed to smoke. Well, in the end, the sign showed our flight, the door opened and we walked through the tunnel to our seats on the plane. This took place after midnight. It has been 12 hours since we left Prague and at the beautiful morning dawn we are landing in Kenya in the city of Mombasa, one of the largest ports in East Africa. The transfer from the airport to the hotel was short, so we were not far from Mombasa. The room was more like a cottage, but nice and equipped.

The whole hotel complex was actually an African village as such, and all the buildings had roofs covered with sticks to the top. The hotel complex also had an exchange office, so I changed the money - I drove dollars on recommendation and exchanged them for Kenyan shillings (the exchange rate was about 80 shillings for $ 1). The shift is quite important, because of course you can pay everywhere in dollars, traders who sell something there will be very happy, but they have a slightly worse rate :-) The food pleasantly surprised me took place in the classic buffet, where you take everything yourself. There were always really rich buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner many different fish, chicken in XY ways, mutton, cheese, various vegetables, exotic fruits and very good were such fried pockets of puff pastry stuffed with meat or vegetables called Sambusas . Simply everything possible and impossible, and regularly at dinner the chef was at the table with hanging roast meat (beef, mutton, venison) and cut off everyone who came with a plate - like at a banquet. They make beer from bananas and are not worth anything, the wine is also not much, but the menu for an additional fee was Haineken and South African wines so cool. We had the beaches of the Indian Ocean about 100m from the cottage. The sea was warm and seemed more salty than I knew - swimming was not very pleasant, but I swam a few kilometers in Kenya. However, it was very pleasant when we sat on the terrace with a bar and a view of the sea and he came (the cleaner, the maintenance man just kept running everywhere black people in hotel overalls and did something) and offered us a coconut. We agreed he climbed on a palm tree, plucked 2 coconuts, cut off the tips of the bar with a machete, took the wrapped straws and thus handed it to us. You gave him some shillings and he was happy and so were we :-) Among other things, you reminded us of monkeys every morning in Africa. They were cute, but rather rude, and we were warned not to irritate or stroke them, they liked to bite. Anyway, when you threw them candy you experienced a really funny spectacle. The monkey deftly began to unwrap the candy, tossing it and sucking the candy.

It should be mentioned that the whole stay was accompanied by such humid heat, the wind blew here and there from the ocean and it was nice, but it was best in the hotel pool. I also didn't hesitate for a second when the air conditioning in our room broke down and I was very happy when it was quickly replaced. Part of the hotel complex was also a hotel park, where you could walk and see various plants, shrubs, birds, etc. The whole hotel complex was thoroughly fenced and the gate was constantly guarded by soldiers with submachine guns, it was a bit uncomfortable and one realized that behind the hotel gate is a completely different world. Of course, I did not fly to Kenya to see the hotel complex, drink at the bar or roll in bed. It was the turn of the trips and since we flew with the German travel agency, there was no Czech delegate, but a German delegate. I knew a little English at the time and Lenka a little German, so it took us a while to find out everything we needed to know. In the end, everything worked out and the trips could begin. The first trip outside the hotel complex was sea. They took us to the port of Mombasa, where we boarded a ship. There were about 10 of us tourists, Germans, British and we. We had a rather incomprehensible picture of cars approaching a huge ferry a few meters away, and when the capacity was full, the police dropped the rope behind which a crowd of people stood and pushed the people to board them quickly. The cruise took about 30 minutes, but it was really worth it. They literally took us to a fairytale island. Only palm trees, white sandy beaches and an incredibly clear sea full of colorful fish. I felt like I was in a huge aquarium. Lenka fried on the beach and I tried to snorkel here. After about an hour, we boarded the ship again and took us to another island for lunch at a restaurant, but I felt more like I was at someone's cottage. They took us to the Big Wooden Room, where we all sat down at a long table and the show began. They brought a cage of crabs, tied them and knocked them to pieces of carapace, and they clicked them. The clasps cut it with such force that a click could be clearly heard. I would certainly believe that their finger would click. Then they started carrying bowls of vegetables and fruit, and of course the main course was the crab. I must admit that I really enjoyed it. You mined the white meat from the claws and the carapace with a spoon, but first you had to help yourself with the tongs to get to the meat. They gave us carafes of fruit juice to drink, which was 100% fresh and organic because it is impossible to imagine how else they would have done it there before they tore it and squeezed it :-) After an hour of feasting, we boarded the ship again and took us to Mombasa, where a minibus was waiting for us, which took us to the hotel. On the way to the port and even now on the way from the port we also saw part of the buildings, markets, people on bikes and motorcycles, old and new cars just normal traffic in Mombasa. In addition to the terrible living conditions for Europeans, which were often seen, I noticed very common old signs with English inscriptions from the time when Kenya was a British colony. As he later learned from 1895, Kenya was the British East African Protectorate, which ended in 1904, and subsequently Kenya was declared a British crown colony in 1920. Kenya did not become an independent republic until 1963. The main commodities were coffee and tea.

There was a beautiful sunset that illuminated the Indian Ocean every night. After dinner we planned another trip. It almost seemed a duty to us when we were already on safari. We agreed to find out about it the next day and order and leave. The next day, after breakfast, we picked up the leaflets at the reception, talked a little with the delegate, and went to the pool. During the whole holiday in Kenya, we met only one Czech, a Czech with a small child, whom her husband simply sent on vacation. She wasn't very happy, but otherwise she was fine, so I talked to her here and there. The next day we went to the beach to buy something. They sold various souvenirs and "nonsense" there. As we walked around the stalls, an event took place that determined the fate of the next day. Despite my distrust, Lenka let herself be broken by one of the many tour sellers, so we ordered a safari trip from him. I didn't feel good about it, because I'd rather take a trip from a delegate than from a completely anonymous black man who went with promotional flyers along the beach.

At five in the morning we met at the gate of the hotel complex. He was not allowed to enter because he was not certified at this hotel. I was a little reassured that an older couple of Germans and an Englishman boarded the minibus with us. Then other people approached at another hotel. We arrived at Mombasa at dawn and stopped at a very unpleasant place at the gas station. Our driver, guide, tour operator - all in one - got out and started talking to the standing men from the gas station, pointing to the minibus where we were sitting. There was a lot going through my head and nervousness was in the whole minibus. Then our guide came and said in English that he would collect money for the trip. So everyone gave it to him and he went out again. In about 15 minutes he came to the steering wheel, he started and we left. I took a break and wondered what would happen. We drove out of Mombasa towards Nairobi (the capital of Kenya) and watched Kenyan colors from the minibus window. Interestingly, the highway was lined with walking people in both directions. It has been explained to us that some go to the factories near Nairobi to wait for work and others return to Mombasa and the surrounding area with some earnings. Those who sometimes go even 500 km after their arrival sit down at the factory and wait for a boss to choose a few people to work. This way, they can also wait there for a week or longer, depending on how much food they took with them. Drinking water is available at the factory. It may happen that the collector simply does not select them and so they return with the understanding that they have nothing. We turned off the highway on such a dirt road and drove to an African national park whose name I no longer remember. A truly extraordinary spectacle awaited us. We were the first to see a herd of elephants swimming in such a lake, we were not far from them and they didn't notice us at all and calmly cooled their backs after sucking the trunk's water. Especially the cubs moved funny. Zebras followed, giraffes simply zoological, but in real life and without fences. During the trip, the roof of the minibus was open for watching and photography, but he did not allow us to get out. When I asked our guide that I needed a baby he wasn't very happy and told me to stay by the car. After a few minutes, I realized that she wasn't so much fun, because about 15 meters from us a huge lion was biting the ribs of some prey. Then the guide took us to such a wooden safari hotel, where we got refreshments on the terrace with a beautiful view of the tree savannah of the park. The safari trip was really successful and we returned to the hotel with many experiences.

The next day there was a souvenir shop at a nearby market and preparation for departure. I was a little sorry that we couldn't visit the highest mountain Mount Kenya (Kirinyaga - Mountain of Whiteness) after which Kenya is named and on which there is a glacier - it would be funny for me to roll in Africa near the equator :-) I must admit that it was really a holiday interesting, but I was determined that I would not want to go to Kenya for the second time. During my entire 20-day stay, I was haunted by the stifling, damp, heat that I could not bear, and we also had to take the malaria pill every day and we didn't catch anything, but it used to be weird. Subsequently, I read that the pills have quite a side effect like insomnia, nightmares, irritability, depression, etc. However, it is definitely better than catching malaria, so it must be taken. We returned home with some relief and agreed that after this holiday we would need a few more days to relax a bit :-) However, a visit to Kenya is really worth it and I have countless experiences from this trip, but as I have already written me that was enough once.

                             Gran Canaria - CANARY ISLANDS

Not perhaps from the need to "vacation by the sea", but we just needed to rest, get out for a few days and rather somewhere so that no one would bother us. I chose the Canary Islands and, like the first time, the island of Gran Canaria. I have already written about the Canary and on this holiday everything was actually almost the same. I left out the nonsense about trips and attractions and I only knew the city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest city in the Spanish Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and one of its capitals. It is a pleasant place to find sights such as the Santa Ana Cathedral, built in 1500, historic streets, cafés and shops. Of course, there is also modern construction and shopping centers - Las Palmas has 400,000 inhabitants, it's just really a city. You will definitely feel similar to me when, after a day at the beach resorts, you find yourself in Las Palmas that it is perhaps not possible that you are still on the same island. On my second visit to the Canary Islands, I must also note that we had a really large living room, bedroom, kitchenette, shower, two toilets and a large balcony. And I only write about it because the shower was actually located in the middle of the living room and was glazed. I didn't really understand the point, but it was interesting :-)

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
 

                                         MADEIRA

Year after year has come together and my life has changed radically. The company developed, I started to have employees, Lenka resigned, she joined me and we lived together in my apartment. Of course we started planning another vacation and after the experience of Kenya we definitely wanted something calm. We decided on Madeira. One day I booked a trip, we packed up and the next day we landed in Madrid 6 hours after takeoff in Madrid. Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Africa belonging to Portugal. It is an island just like the Canary Islands of volcanic origin (more precisely - the top of an extinct submarine volcano), but otherwise there is no comparison.

I literally fell in love with Madeira. The island will actually provide you with all the seasons depending on which side of the island you are on. Wonderful walks in absolutely amazing forests, hills and mountains. Ponds and falling streams of water. All this mainly thanks to the Levads - irrigation canals that bring water from the north of the island to Madeira, where there is enough of the island's south to the agricultural parts. They are actually such streams with a narrow stone path or a concrete path. Levad is about 200 in Madeira with a total length
2,400 km. The climate in Madeira is so diverse that I had to help myself on Wikipedia, because I probably wouldn't have written it better. The climate on the island of Madeira has a strong so-called altitude bandwidth. The water temperature around the island of Madeira does not fall below 18 ° C even in winter and its location south of Europe allows tropical crops to be grown here up to 200 m above sea level. As the height increases, the structure of the crops changes. From 200 to 400 m the climate is subtropical and from 400 to 700 m above sea level vines, apples, cherries and cereals are grown. At higher altitudes up to 1000 m above sea level there are heathland, eucalyptus and Azores laurels grow here. Above 1000 m above sea level is the mountain range. The stay is most pleasant on the south coast of the island and there are also the most hotels. It is hardly raining in Funchal (the island's capital of over 100,000 inhabitants) in the summer. The daily temperature in summer does not rise above 25 ° C. and in winter the night temperature does not fall below 11 ° C. We stayed at the perfect Royal Orchid Hotel on the coast with beautiful ocean views. Right at the exit of the hotel you were in the center of Caniço de Baixo with shops and restaurants about 12 km was Funchal where there was a regular free minibus and nearby was a bus stop island bus.

The food was perfect, but we enjoyed the most breakfast at the hotel, because the hotel offered only half board, ie breakfast and lunch, as well as lunch, we regularly went to restaurants. The fish Ešpada (Espada) was delicious, which was served with baked potatoes and banana. When you saw these fish in the market they looked scary - they have such big eyes. He later learned that they have those eyes because they hunt from great depths and climb out when they are pulled out. I also often had Caldeirada fish soup. It was such a thick soup of fish and vegetables that looked like it was randomly cooked from what the house gave, but it was just as good in all the restaurants. I did not despise, also pieces of squid in olive oil, but you could also have a classic Steak with potatoes or Hamburgers you are on an island not far from Africa, but still in Europe. The Madeira pie didn't appeal to me much and it still haunted us because it was often given attention. When I had to specify it, it came to me as a very, really very sweet, firm, spicy gingerbread. Another chapter was the famous Madeiran wine. We drank a lot of that and before I left, I bought an archive bottle with a certificate (1973) in a special ancient wine shop in Funchal. I hid it for a special occasion for years, but I will never taste it again four years ago due to my inattention while moving.
  And the lesson is that there is no point in hiding something good, it is better to consume it right away.

Especially in Funchal, but also elsewhere on the island, the Middle Ages breathe on you. The history of Madeira is  they start writing in 1418, but the island has been listed on Italian maps since 1351. In 1419  landed in Madeira by the Portuguese - the name of the island is derived from the Portuguese "ilha da madeira" - "island of wood". Numerous church buildings and anti-pirate fortresses recall the ancient history. The cathedral of Sé, completed in 1518, was interesting, but I was most interested in the fortress of Sao Lourenço  16th century, where the town hall is located today. Otherwise, it was no fun with the pirates in Madeira. IN  in 1566, pirates invaded an island of 11 ships under the command of Bertrand de Montluc and killed 300 islanders in 16 days (which I think at that time practically exterminated the island), destroyed  sugar crops, they ravaged the island and dragged away again. I can definitely recommend visiting the fish markets there to see really a lot of "monsters" from the Atlantic  ocean and not bad was a trip to the village of Camacha, where they hand-made the famous wicker from  a classic basket, for example, for deer - I think they were able to make almost anything out of wicker :-) A trip to the Monte Place botanical garden was also great. We took the cable car to the garden and had  wonderful panoramic  views of Funchal and the coast. Then a park full of unreal orchids, then  small snacks and 5 km walk down to Funchal followed by dinner in the restaurant and minibus to  hotel and at the end of the day to lie down in the pool to suck a drink I enjoyed it :-)  In 1478, Christopher Columbus visited Madeira for the first time to buy sugar cane. The island is  he returned six years later to marry Donna Philippe Moniz. After Columbus' discovery  In 1492, Madeira became an important stop on the route between the New and Old Worlds. A walk through the harbor was also nice you could see the huge ocean liners, modern  warships and a couple of Portuguese soldiers (at their berth it was not allowed to take pictures for I took pictures there :-), a large number of small and large yachts, fishing boats and also a replica of Columbus' ship Santa  Maria (the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus), which was built in 1998. Of course, a ride on a large wooden sailboat could not escape us, even though it was powered by  mainly by engine. The sightseeing cruise on Santa Maria was an interesting trip, but it was too long, we saw a piece of the coast of Madeira from the sea, we got a glass of wine and a Madeira cake. The waves weren't big, but it was swaying enough for me and I was quite happy when we got back to  port and it was the end of this event :-) In the end we bought orchids on the market (most of them caught and when they bloomed it was  parade at home and in the office) then transfer to the airport and departure to Prague. Return flights (I have no idea  why) I always experienced them all in the evening or at night. So we flew in the dark and the pilot took us  surprised, turned off the lights and made such a turn with a tilt over the night radiant Prague, that  it was nice. 

 

                                         EGYPT

Two years have passed (we have never preferred that we must, every year to the sea in the Czech Republic in the mountains, in the woods, at a dam or at  quarry etc. is also nice. I still lived with Lenka and we decided to take a look at Egypt.  In the end, there is more history, mysticism, monuments just like that, and the Red Sea is also interesting. So  the already established carousel began. Select a hotel, book, pay, pack and arrange a taxi to  in the morning (usually it was 5 in the morning) to the airport. After check-in and customs inspection, we are around 8 o'clock  in the morning, sometime in early September, they took off from Prague to Egypt. Regarding flying, I just have to point out that I experienced quite a lot of turbulence many times, but somehow it didn't hurt me. In my opinion, thinking that we will fall is useless, because if we fall it will not be the same :-) The on-board refreshments and service were ok on all years and once it happened that after the start I was so upset with my then girlfriend, that I would immediately exchange her for a flight attendant :-) I always tried hard to get mainly to get seats on the plane at the emergency exit. Not maybe to be the first at the door in case of an accident :-) I measure 190 cm, and when I had to spend the flight in a normal session, I almost didn't feel my feet after the end of the flight. I take the seats at the emergency exit as better than Business Class, which I once afforded, but I wasn't very happy. Of course, I understand and have enough information that everything is different on large intercontinental flights than these "small" charter flights. 

It is shortly before 2 pm (in Egypt it is 1 hour more than in the Czech Republic) the year 2007 and
  we land at Hurghada Airport in Egypt. The hotel was great right on the beach, a nice hotel park and a room of course overlooking the sea. Three hours after our arrival, we were rolling in the sea on that journey. It was a pleasant boost. The food in the all inclusive system was perfect, only the sweet things were nice, but they tasted weird. I don't eat sweet as much so I didn't mind. In the evening, the hotel organizers organized a welcome party, which included a demonstration of Egyptian folklore. The next day after breakfast we had a meeting with a delegate, who gave us some information about the hotel and attractions in the vicinity and handed out a list and prices of trips. She warned us against consuming perishable or undercooked food by drinking water from uncertain sources. Basically, it meant not eating anything from the street and drinking only bottled water and using it to brush your teeth. No one would want to take "Pharaoh's revenge" on vacation - vomiting, severe cramps and diarrhea. We only had such a pancake with vegetables on the street once and then (even though I'm not a big fan of this chain) I visited McDonald's. As my friend McDonald's said, the only advantage is that everywhere in the world you know what you eat, it's still the same. We also learned that a Czech pub is open in Hurghada (we had about 1 km to the city). So here and there we jumped on tap Pilsen and once we had a sirloin steak. It was owned and operated by a married couple from the Czech Republic. They simply decided to do business in Egypt. We talked a lot and I learned that doing business in Egypt is very complicated. Haunted bureaucracy and corruption. To my astonishment and sadness, I witnessed in a few days when the innkeepers demolished the wooden terrace because they were not allowed to do so. An excavator arrived and pulled her down. Much has been described and filmed about Egyptian monuments, and there have been more than a lot of Czechs in Egypt, but maybe I hit something. There were always several buses from several hotels in a convoy on each trip, and in front and in the back there was a transporter with armed soldiers, and along the way we saw several points with armed soldiers as well. I did not experience any terrorist attack, even though there were more than enough Arabs everywhere :-) Anyway, in a few years I was glad that I was in Egypt in a time of peace, because then Islamic terrorism penetrated into Egypt and tourism ended for several years. I also saw a church in Cairo and learned that there is also a Christian community (the Copts form a Christian minority in Egypt and about 15% of Egypt's population profess it).  I mention this mainly because the guide said that the Copts are the closest to the original Egyptians, if you want descendants of the pharaohs. Cairo's markets were truly an experience in the narrow streets on both sides of everything possible and impossible and clouds of people everywhere.  Carpets, jewelry, tools, clothes, etc. I bought a hookah called "shisha", but most of all we were interested in spice vats and a bag of saffron, cumin, and turmeric. The spice sold in the markets of Egypt is very high quality no crumb as it is sold in our country.

The trip to Cairo also included a boat trip on the Nile. The guide told us that the river was so dirty that we would not put our hands in it. He followed
  lunch in the reception restaurant. We also visited the museum in Cairo and although I am not a museum type Egyptian museum I can highly recommend. In more than fifty rooms you can see almost 130,000 different exhibits from colossal sculptures to small jewelry,  which represent the history of ancient Egypt from the beginning to the advent of Islam. It was mandatory  of course a visit to Giza. The Pyramids of Giza are among the Seven Wonders of the World and are the only ones  buildings from this list of wonders that have survived to the present day. See Khufu's pyramid  (the largest pyramid in Egypt) and the mystical Sphinx, etc. are worth it. The sphinx has no nose and how am I  he read what the guide told us was not true. Napoleon's soldiers did not shoot him in the course  his campaign in Egypt, but was destroyed in 1378 by a Sufi fanatic who was hanged for it. It was all an unreal, monumental show. You can see it a thousand times in the photos and in  television, but standing by seeing it with your own eyes and reaching for it is irreplaceable. The Valley of the Kings, a place that served from the 16th to the 11th century BC as the burial place of pharaohs and powerful nobles, was also interesting. We inspected a few tombs (Tuthmose, Ramesses, etc.). However, it was unpleasant that the sandstone valley was hellishly hot and the autumn sun was shining. I can't imagine being there in the summer. About two kilometers away was the Valley of the Queens, where the wives of the pharaohs were buried and where you can see, among other things, the monumental statues and decorations of the tomb of the famous Queen Nefertari. We really liked Queen Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple.

I admit that everything was interesting, beautiful, mystical and mysterious, but for me the temple in Luxor leads a temple It was built of Nubian sandstone which was mined and transported from more than 200 km  distant Gebel el-Silsila. The temple in Luxor was dedicated to the Theban trinity of gods (Amon, Mut and Chons). For the record: the god Chons is the son of the Venetian gods Amon and Mut, so such a divine  family :-) Veset was the ancient capital of the Egyptian Empire. The dominant feature of Luxor himself  The temple is twenty-four meters high and sixty-five meters wide pylon of Ramesses II. Wonderful  sanctuary, extensive columned courtyards (columns 16 m high) massive pylons, giant obelisks, statues will all engulf you and just won't let you go. It's just great, and most importantly, when you're crawling through the ancient Egyptian monuments (most of which are 5,000 years old), you're wondering what was going on in Central Europe at that time. It's a paradox an advanced civilization will disappear and an immature will become an advanced :-) It occurs to me that the only civilization that "gave it" is China, they are small people, but otherwise they were big they are big and they will probably be big :-) 
It may be a little uncomfortable (but they can get used to it) when five times a day (before dawn, morning, noon, evening and after sunset) the minaret of the mosque hears the Muezzins' call to prayer -
  inu islam. What is getting worse, however, is the Egyptian road riding system. They also go there  for petrol and diesel as in our country, but a horn is a necessary part in Egypt. You could safely say that whoever blows more has more priority :-)

The event was a desert ride on quad bikes. We drove 50 km to the Sahara with a visit to a Bedouin village as part of this event, there was also a camel ride. We also glanced to the workshop for decorative items, statuettes, etc. made of alabaster. Of course, there was a shop right next to the workshop. The shelves of the store were folded with various things, and there are also alabaster jewelry and hookahs with alabaster mouthpieces. We made one trip
  on his own shirt without the assistance of a delegate and only in two. Our mutual friend was in Israel and when we called, we agreed to meet and have lunch together. He crossed the border into Egypt and we took a ferry across the Red Sea and met at a restaurant in Sharm el-Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh is a city located at the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula. It is also a tourist center, ie beaches, hotels, restaurants, etc. In addition to a pleasant meeting, it was also an interesting trip.
11 days in Egypt were over and the end was approaching relentlessly. We didn't want to go home in Egypt, we liked it and something was still happening. We agreed with the delegate and paid extra for another week. Everything went smoothly with tickets and the only sad thing was that we had to change the hotel. Of course they took us there, the room was fine food as well, but it was further from the sea.

We spent the final week in the pool at sea and I under the sea. I decided to take the PADI diving exams. It led me to meet on the beach in a different way than at a bar with two Slovaks who did diving instructors. At first I learned to breathe and swim with a bottle underwater in the pool. Then I went through a test when I was underwater with an instructor, and we only had one bottle. We served each other. We were not very deep about 5m, but it was not very pleasant. There was another training dive to 20m, where I also learned to decompress the stop and then came the grand finale. We went by boat to the coral reefs, got dressed, tested automatically and jumped into the sea. We flushed my glasses, "swallowed" the automatics, made a half-boiler, slapped my fins a few times, and went downstairs. I was so fascinated by diving that I completed this trip 3 times. The more I gained experience, the calmer I was and stayed longer below the surface. Stress consumes more oxygen. I saw beautiful coral reefs, colorful fish, sea turtles, "flying" Stingrays, Sepia or Squid flickered here and there, starfish lying on the bottom, hedgehogs, stinging anemone predators look like a flower, and with a certain dose of respect I looked at the head of a moray eel that was stuck in a crack in the cliff. I also tried to take some pictures, although no extra pictures came out, but you can look at them and they are part of the photo gallery for this article. Everything played with colors and from some animals there was also a certain danger, where which "colored fish" has poison glands with poison thorns. However, if you do not irritate anything by yourself, no animal will attack you and we have not met sharks. Otherwise, everything is protected and it is not allowed to touch corals, feed fish or collect anything from the bottom (eg shells). During the final dive, I also swam to the wreck of the ship. Lenka didn't want to dive, she snorkeled a bit, but spent most of her time sunbathing on board the ship. The last day of our vacation has come. We bought some souvenirs (papyrus, statuettes, vases, perfumes and other nonsense) then transfer to the airport and departure to Prague. Holidays in Egypt jumped, but we had a lot of experiences and we really liked it. With Egypt also came a change, I started taking pictures with a branded digital SLR camera. Until then, I took pictures with a manual camera on film and I shot something here and there with a camera. I understood that the time was up and in truth, when I last looked at the photos for the album, I don't even remember, and that I would start scanning the photos, I didn't find the strength and I'm afraid I won't even find it.  :-)

vlajka Egypt

German trips and skiing in Austria

One day a friend asked me if I could see and help move an apartment she rented in Berlin that she no longer needed. I agreed and in a few days I left with two more guys. When we arrived in Berlin for a long time we drove along the river called Spree and I saw the dominant feature of the Berlin socialist building unique Berliner Fernsehturm (Berlin TV Tower). I understand from Berlin, I saw little, but even so, the city seemed strange to me. We loaded things from the apartment and went to Prague.

Then one day in the company, I decided to take a friend who worked for me at the trade fair in Cologne. So that we don't have to worry about the car, I bought tickets and we took the train. The journey took more than 8 hours and we had to change twice (in Schwandorf and Nuremberg), but believe me or not, it was nice - we basically spent it in a dining car :-) You would also drive there for 8 hours if you didn't stop anywhere and they didn't take their foot off the gas so maybe in 7. I liked Cologne. We stayed at the hotel near the station and went for a walk. We came to the square and looked at St. Peter's Cathedral and came to the banks of the Rhine. We visited a few pubs, but we didn't like German beers very well, so we ended up in an Irish pub and got Guinness. The next day we held the Koelnmesse GmbH (Cologne Trade Fair), which was really huge and interesting, we got on a train and rushed back to Prague. The experience from Cologne that I can't forget was paradoxically negative. The smoker's hunt time has begun. Nothing has happened in our country in the Czech Republic yet, but in Germany and especially the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne lies, it was consistent in its pursuit. Well, I'm not proud that I like to light a cigarette, I've never smoked at a table or in a room where there were children, and I respect not to smoke anyone. However, two things took me by surprise in Cologne. The fact that you can only light up in the garden at the restaurant did not bother me at all because we would sit in the garden, even if we could smoke everywhere. The first thing that surprised me was that smoking was not allowed in the square in front of the cathedral and only a red circle was marked on the pavement in the middle of the square and an ashtray was in the middle of that circle. So you could only smoke in that circle - there were two figures standing there as if in shame. Another thing I didn't understand at all was that cigarettes could only be bought at newsagents and only in vending machines. The worst thing was that not only the euro was enough for you, but you also had to put your ID card there, but a new stamped within the EU, and we didn't have one. In the end, I made a deal with two Englishmen, and they bought us cigarettes. Time went on and the next year he was in hell.

One day Lenka had an idea with our friend and a friend at a joint dinner that we would go skiing in Austria. In truth, I don't remember exactly where and I don't even want to find it. Lenka loved skiing. I bought her skis here for Christmas. I don't ski at all, but I like the mountains, so why not. At six o'clock in the morning we drove out of Prague, we drove there through Germany, I remember, because before we turned in front of Munich there was a terrible convoy, the journey took more than 8 hours, we were there for three days and two nights staying in a nice mountain guesthouse. I took the cable car to a few ridges, drank the welders and watched them ski. It's a real paradise for skiers, if I took a non-skiing friend with me, I would also be fine, because it was really beautiful and the sun was shining. This was a bit of a nuisance for me, and especially on the last day a friend overtook (of course unintentionally) my partner. Lenka was a little shaken with a few bruises, but otherwise ok, my friend turned his knee so nicely that he could hardly walk. He had to have surgery for a few days after his return and was out for a few weeks. I was very happy when this trip ended and I really regretted that I agreed.

 

                                         DUBAI

Two years after we returned from Egypt and we started preparing for another vacation. It was December and I wanted to avoid Christmas in the Czech Republic. Not that I didn't like the holidays, but I didn't like going to Lenka's parents' house anymore and not sitting at home watching TV at all. I was also increasingly annoyed by the ubiquitous pre-Christmas campaign, which has been brainwashing confused and stressed crowds in stores since October. I decided to fly to Dubai. Lenka could at least satisfy her envious friends, and I was looking forward to hearing a lot about Dubai. I think it was December 20 when we flew from Prague to the United Arab Emirates 
Emirates. From frozen Prague, where the roads turned into slushes of snow, we landed at Dubai Airport in a sunny 21 ° C warm day in 6 hours of flight. Already at the airport, I felt that I was in a different world than I had ever known before. The clocks in the corridors and halls of the airport that came from the ceiling had all the Rolex inscriptions, and at the entrance check-in they scanned our irises, among other things. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which may seem classy, but within Dubai it's a decent average. In the first few hours in Dubai, I understood that while in Kenya or Egypt you are a "master" as a tourist, so in Dubai you are welcome, but a "mob" :-)

Even though most of the territory of the United Arab Emirates is occupied by a lowland, which is mostly covered by desert, you will not feel like in the desert. The coast is lined not only with natural islands, but also with artificial ones, which are constantly multiplying in the Dubai area. Dubai, Dubai or Dubai, translated into Czech as "meeting place",  is the capital of the UAE of the same name in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and also the most populous city in the country. It is located on the shores of the Persian Gulf of the Indian Ocean. The UAE has almost the same area as the Czech Republic, the time shift is plus 3 hours and the Dubai currency is the Dirham (AED) and the exchange rate for one Dirham is 6 CZK. I must admit that I was thrilled for the first hours in Dubai. Beautiful room overlooking the ocean, which was about 100 meters away. As expected, great beaches, perfect pools and in the hall where there was a reception, entrance, elevator, etc. was beautifully decorated about 7 meters high Christmas tree. The food and drink (of course in the all inclusive system) was perfect and we had a comfortable walk of about 2 km to the city. I said there will be a Christmas and a New Year's Eve celebration.

To understand what Dubai is all about, you need to be aware of important facts. At the time we were in Dubai, about 15% of the 8 million people living in the UAE were nationals. The rest are cheap labor from South Asia, the Philippines, Iran, immigrants from the Arab world and a few people from the West. You will not see those who have UAE citizenship work according to the information we have received, the worst job they do is serving in the public sector, the army, the police, etc. Being an UAE citizen is a real win. At the birth of the boy, the family gets $ 50,000. Until they reach the age of majority, each child receives $ 150 a month. The government will set aside $ 18,000 to $ 30,000 to support the young families, and the young family will receive a comfortable villa as a gift. In addition, UAE citizens receive free education, free medicine and the right to free housing. The average Arab receives about $ 15,000 a year in the UAE and has a contribution of $ 2,000, and a government official earns about $ 10,000 a month. I have also heard that if a woman fails to marry at some age, she will receive a subsidy of x thousand dollars from the state to make it more interesting. However, if you think you will buy a ticket, land in Dubai and go apply for citizenship so you are wrong. The process of acquiring citizenship is very demanding in the UAE, the conditions are restrictive and even after fulfilling them, such a citizen does not have the same rights as ordinary UAE citizens. In order for a citizen of another state to obtain the citizenship of the United Arab Emirates, he must be trustworthy for the UAE, live here for at least 30 years, have a legal livelihood, not break the laws there and be fluent in Arabic. The UAE also does not allow you to have dual citizenship, so you must give up the original one. Once these conditions are met, you will receive such small citizenship without most of the benefits, without the right to vote, and cannot hold office. Maybe your children born in the UAE will then gain that full citizenship. Of course, the rulers of the Emirates can grant an exception, but I very seriously doubt that you will meet any noble sheikh, let alone talk to him :-) The rulers of the Emirates are members of the Supreme Council. The emirates elect the president and vice-president of the federation from among themselves and appoint a four-member advisory body. The emirates' parliament meets once a year and approves federal laws, and many ordinances, and especially traditional customs, remain different in each emirate.

The Emirate of Dubai is an absolute monarchy, headed by Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the vice president and prime minister of the UAE. In this regard, it is clearly necessary to state that, in addition to everything else, the UAE government in the Czech Republic can envy them with their heads down. The sheikhs rule wisely and justly. As in most Muslim countries, there are many strict bans in the UAE. You can't throw garbage on the street with impunity, hitchhike, take pictures of local women, government buildings and also some kinds of attractions. Do not kiss your lady or your master on the street - expressing any feelings and emotions in public is prohibited and you may be fined. Also, don't look at Muslim women too much - a very staring look can also be fined. You can also get a solid fine for exposed shoulders or shorts. Transporting or consuming alcoholic beverages in public is a crime - the hotel "alcohol" is fine :-) The UAE still uses the death penalty in various forms, according to tradition from throwing stones (for example, for a proven act of adultery as in biblical times) to decapitation. Drugs are punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment. If you decide to rent a car and drive on the perfect roads and highways in the UAE, keep up the speed and drive in peace, a $ 800 fine is common, and if you happen to run over a camel, you better run away or start praying. Perhaps thanks to a tough and radical approach to punishment and generous social support, there is virtually no crime in the UAE. What's interesting is that pouring beer on the street would lock you up, but you can smoke everywhere, even in the mall, and cigarettes are also sold everywhere. Shopping is possible both in super huge malls, shops and in the market. According to Eastern tradition, it is necessary to bargain in the market, which allows you to reduce the price several times. What made me laugh was when I earned the vending machines for gold - you insert the card, pay the appropriate amount and you lose the appropriate gold bar :-) All bus stops in Dubai are air-conditioned. No underground underground runs on the surface and trains are automatic without a driver. It is normal for locals to leave their car unlocked. In the city streets you can often see, say, an exposed Ferrari. The main color of UAE citizens' cars is white and the smaller the number on the license plate, the "bigger sheik" :-) Women and men must use public transport and taxis separately, on trains - in different cars. When men and women travel by bus together, they must be in different sections. In shopping malls in cafes, simply everywhere, black-veiled women were at their tables and men in white at their own. There can be no talk of this in the Emirates, because there is very harsh censorship. And, for example, if the relevant authorities find that the content of the website is in conflict with the Qur'an, it will be blocked immediately, so that, for example, Facebook or Yootube do not click in the UAE. An UAE citizen man can marry four women at once, but no more. At the same time, each of his wives receives his material benefits equally. If one of the wives gets the house, the others must have the house. The same is true of property such as gold jewelry, cars, etc. However, polygamy is gradually becoming a thing of the past in the UAE, it is too expensive and demanding for men, because paying equal attention to each of the wives is not easy :-) arab woman must give her a man 5 kg. gold jewelry. The Arab woman has the obligation to marry exclusively to the Arab, while he can choose a foreign woman as his wife.

In the 18th century, the territory of today's UAE became the "Pirate Coast". Arab corsairs collected fees, traded in slaves and built ships. Piracy and slavery ended in Great Britain in 1892, when the territory became part of the Protectorate of Treaty of Oman. Oil discovered in the 1950s "started" the country's economic growth and turned a poor pearl and spice trading country into a prosperous state. Following the abolition of British rule in 1971, the independent United Arab Emirates (UAE) was declared. When visiting the Dubai Museum, we saw, among other things, photographs and objects from a hundred years ago, and everything there looked pretty poor - shacks, people, cows, etc. The Dubai Museum is in itself one of the few sights you can see in Dubai is the oldest The city building was built in 1787 by Al Fahidi Fort. The guide then told us a very nice lesson. The UAE and Dubai in particular must be understood in the development, as we perceive the period before Christ after Christ, so in the UAE they have it before oil after oil :-) Today, in addition to oil, building materials, gold, silver and copper ore are also mined in the UAE. Daily swimming in the sea or in the pool and sipping at the bar alternated regularly with walks in the city and excursions. We were very lucky (of course we didn't know about it in advance so  we were more surprised) because we witnessed the opening of the Burj Khalifa, the Arabic "Khalifa Tower", the tallest skyscraper in the world, which is 828 meters high. A few days before our departure, a ceremonial commissioning took place on January 4, 2010, including an incredible, huge fireworks display. The United Arab Emirates, whose full name is Khalifa bin Said Al Nahyan, has a total construction cost of $ 1.5 billion.  The use of the building is various 37 floors of the skyscraper occupied by the Armani Hotel, the first of its kind. There are a total of 700 luxury apartments on 63 floors, the rest of the building belongs to offices and technological premises. The observation platform for visitors called At the Top is on the 124th floor, the top of the building is used for telecommunications. There is a swimming pool on the 78th floor. We learned from verified sources that one of the first people to buy apartments in Khalifa's Tower was singer Madonna (Louise Veronica Ciccone) and racer Michael Schumacher (he was still fine at the time).

We could not miss a visit to the Mall of the Emirates - Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. You might say, "I would definitely like to go somewhere around the mall" on vacation by the sea, and I would agree with you 100%, but the Mall in Dubai is really a very special "mall". I'll start like this. It has a special entrance for the chosen and at this entrance you can see the most expensive cars you can imagine. As for the sales part, which interested me the least, there are 1200 stores and about 635 sellers. In 2011, Dubai Mall was the most visited building on the planet, with more than 34 million visitors 
visitors. 80 luxury stores are guaranteed to allow you to see shoes, handbags, perfumes, jewelry, etc., which you will just look at and think that even if you sell all your property, you will not be too scattered there :-)  It is interesting that in this "mall" prices rise with each floor, so it is clear that the TOP luxury was at the very top. Dubai Mall is also a luxury hotel with 250 rooms, 22 cinemas, 120 restaurants and cafes. However, none of what I described would particularly excite me, but the ski area (22,500 m2) was a different show. When it gets to a snowy hill (from + 28 ° C to -1 ° C) within an hour from a sunny beach, it's quite a shock. The covered area gives the impression of an 85-meter-high mountain with 5 slopes, and a four-seater cable car or a classic anchor-lift serves to transport to the top of the piste. We rented overalls and boots, Lenka rented skis and rode the ski lift to the ski slope and skied. I don't ski, so I took pictures and looked at children's attractions. Then we went to a restaurant near the complex, which was made like a Swiss chalet, and had hot chocolate. We enriched our next visit to this strange "mall" with a visit to the aquarium. As you might expect after what you have read is really great. An amazing walk through a 48 meter long underwater tunnel through the aquarium, which has a volume of 10 million liters and is home to 140 species of marine animals will definitely get you just as it got us. You will see, among other things, sand sharks and stingrays floating over your head and you can also see divers and wave with it :-) We went to the Dubai Mall 4 more times, because we were relatively close to the Hotel and there was still something to do. to watch.

In general, in Dubai you will not enjoy the sights much, but skyscrapers and all sorts of attractions there are clouds. However, one day we took a few sights and went to Fujairah. Fujairah (AL Fujairah) is the capital of the emirate of the same name within the UAE. The main destination of the trip was the Old Fort built in 1670. It was built by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Matter Al Sharqi. Fort Fujairah is one of the oldest and largest castles in the UAE and has played a significant role in the fight against colonialism. It was nice there and today it will be even better, because when we were there the fortress was closed and as I found out now there is an open-air museum. The whole area around Fujairah  the capital of the emirate of the same name is dotted with monuments. We saw Al Badiah Fort - a system of fortified buildings with watchtowers and fortifications from the originally British military base from 1670, the settlement of Al Bidya with the oldest preserved and functional mosque on the Arabian Peninsula, its foundations are dated to 1446.

If in Egypt we were touched by Islam is marginally in Dubai it was more noticeable, but we only felt real on a trip to a fishing village in Oman. As the guide at the local hotels told us, you have to dress for the pool - not in a sweater, but also in a swimsuit. The road was interesting straight straight highway endless desert and then in a hilly and mountainous landscape. It was interestingly strange when we crossed the UAE-Oman border and went through customs passport control. I really had an experience from the local fishing market, but better than I could describe anything to you  I recommend looking at the photos . Then we went for a small but nice fish snack and the trip to Oman was over and we returned to our hotel in Dubai.

You may think that such a holiday is very expensive, but it is not terrible. Of course you can book a room in the beautiful world-famous Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The hotel is actually a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge with a road and a road and there is about everything .atd in terms of services. A Rolls-Royce driver will take you from the airport or take a helicopter ride, as the hotel has a rooftop landing area. Count on the fact that sleeping in two will cost you food, if you are "modest" about 100,000 CZK and it doesn't make sense for one night, so you will have to buy something in stores for at least a week and the michuda is in trouble :-)
On Christmas Eve, there was a great carp and we didn't have a salad, but the Asian opera singer accompanied by a beautiful pianist sang English carols to us for dinner. New Year's Eve was also cool we got hats with Happy New Year ribbon, confetti, etc. and at the beach was decorated with balloons a large shelter.  Of course, it's not worth pretending that it will fully replace Christmas Day with relatives and traditional food - it really isn't. Also, nothing will replace the New Year's Eve celebrations with friends in the mountains, but it should be noted that the company of "roommates" was a pleasant couple of Czechs, but especially Germans, English and Spaniards. He got every bottle of champagne at midnight, and of course there was a great fireworks display at midnight.

I admit that it was hard for me to fly away from Dubai, it was nice there and I knew that only work and especially worries awaited me, because everything started to get complicated in the company. A few days after arriving in Prague, I had to release a few people and I was generally depressed. I started thinking very seriously about my relationship with Lenka, because after 7 years we were friends rather than lovers. I realized that we would either get married and have children, or we would have to end it. It so happened that about half a year after Dubai, we ended our relationship.

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                                         TUNISIA


A very special period of my life has begun. Although I was already 30 years old and I had a lot of experience and experiences, but I had the feeling that I was probably finally mature :-) I always took everything lightly, with calm and foresight and that changed a bit. I started to get nervous and I also started making mistakes. It was a complete tragedy when I met the beautiful Zuzana and my hell with a horned angel came. Lying in things where it is not necessary to lie at all is stupid and annoying life, but when the truth is worse than a lie, it is only "great".

After a six-month non-relationship relationship with Zuzana, I first flew to Tunisia to stabilize the relationship. Tunisia, (Republic of Tunisia) is a state in North Africa and part of the territory is the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It has a very varied history full of wars. 3000 years ago, the Phoenicians settled the area and built the large city-state of Carthage. Then the wars with the Romans began and the territory was also conquered by the Vandals (tribes from southern Poland). Then a few centuries of Turkish territory was annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Subsequently, in 1881, the country was occupied by the French, who held Tunisia as a French protectorate until 1956. During World War II, heavy and bloody fighting took place in Tunisia, which ended in the crushing defeat of Germany and Italy. Today, it is an Arab country with moderate Islam and pro-Western politics.

Great was the Colosseum in El Jam. It was built by the Romans and is the third largest Colosseum ever built, and today it is the best-preserved Roman Colosseum in the world. We saw the Berber natives of North Africa and visited the unique village of Matmat, where a few families still live in typical cave dwellings. The trip also included lunch. We got Couscous tunisien so Tunisian couscous and a lot of sweet green tea with mint and thyme - it was interesting, I ate it. The rocky landscape and extraordinary scenery also attracted filmmakers, and it was interesting to visit the scenery from the Star Wars space saga. Among other things, you can spend the night in the house of Luke Skywalker and see a series of underground caves of the planet Tatooine. We also went on a trip to the salt lake Shot al-Jarid. That was really nice and interesting. Shot al-Jarid is a non-drainage salt lake in southern Tunisia. It is the largest salt plain not only in Tunisia but also in the whole Sahara with an area of 7000 km2. The hotel was quite nice food sometimes worse sometimes better but always edible and everything was enough. I also remember that I bought a branded shirt in a store, knowing that it is definitely a copy due to the price, but I still have it today and it is still cool :-)
 

Neither trips, nor shopping, nor swimming pools, nor alcohol, nor camel rides will help you when you are on holiday with a person you feel good for one day and it is worth the next day ... I have conflicting memories of Tunisia and I take It's also like your worst air vacation. I later learned that the island of Djerba is better than the mainland, but I don't think Djerba would help either. Tunisia just didn't succeed, but Tunisia can't blame it :-)