Enterprising tour operators used the availability of aircraft on Sundays to fly to various European locations, breakfast and evening meal on the plane and a choice of excursions at the location. We flew from Edinburgh to Reykjavik, swam in the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, had a tour of the island’s volcanic activities, lunch and a tour of museums – with Viking headgear. Most shops not open on Sundays.
1995, March – Israel, Eilat, Petra and the Dead Sea
Flew into Tel Aviv and then on to Eilat, for a week in a resort on the edge of the sea, built to resemble a Thai village – great snorkelling, with lines marked on the seabed, so you looked down and chose your route to wherever. Photo of Joyce in village.
Day outing into Jordan, to visit Petra. Moral question at the Jordanian passport control – ‘You can join that queue in the sun or you can slip me ten dinar and go through now.’ Petra was fascinating, but heaving with tourists – contrast Ian’s visit in 1953, when he seemed to be the only person there (‘The Lands of the Book’ on this website, Part Three, 31 March.) Three photos inside Petra.
Another day outing, this one to St Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, claimed to be on the site of the burning bushwhere God first revealed himself to Moses. Some visitors stay the night, are taken before dawn by donkey to the top of Mount Sinai to see the sunrise, then breakfasted at the monastery and sent on their way. We spent only the day, looking round its treasures.
After a week in Eilat, we hired a car, spent two nights on the shore of the Dead Sea (swimming/floating again) and then drove to Jerusalem and back to Tel Aviv.
1995, June – Arran
Based at Robin’s house, but overnight at a B&B just up the hill from them. Bus tour round the Island and also much walking and climbing on the west coast. Visited Ken and Gretta Pritchard at their holiday home in the north of the Island.
1995, September – Sandy’s wedding in Norway
Flew to Oslo and hired a car. Wedding at the church in Drobak and the reception and meal at a splendid castle near Oslo. Wedding pictures
1995, September – David Saunderson’s wedding to Fiona in Eire
Flew to Dublin and hired a car for three days. Before driving south to stay at Fiona’s home, we did the tourists sights of Dublin – photo of the portrait of Christ in the Book of Kells in Trinity College Library. Very lavish wedding. Photo of David and Fiona cutting the cake. Amusing incident on our return journey. After handing in the car, we had some hours to spend before the flight home. We went on the ‘hop on-hop off’ sightseeing bus. The guide gave an interesting commentary. As we had time to spare, we sat on for another round-the-city-tour. A different guide joined, and gave a completely different commentary on the same sights.
1995, December – Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Zanzibar
Paul Saunderson’s wedding to Anne-Marit at the Mission compound in Addis Ababa. We arrived, via Nairobi, a few days before the wedding, and Paul and Anne-Marit showed us and David and Fiona Saunderson some of the hill country round about Addis Ababa. Ian made a video of the ceremony and the speeches at the reception, but few back home wanted to watch it. Flew on the following day to Nairobi, with Paul and Anne-Marit, then they went on their honeymoon and we flew to Zanzibar for a week in a sea-side cottage. Explored the island – interesting history, including David Livingston. Fascinating British Airways flight from Dar-es-salaam to Heathrow, one stop at Nairobi, clear skies all the way, easy to follow the scenes on the ground by looking on the map as we flew over Africa, the Mediterranean, the coast of Italy and the Alps.