A Travellerspoint blog

Paris

Reuniting with our long lost boys...

Saying goodbye to Turkey might have been hard if not for the fact that we were reuniting with our boys - in Paris!! By some miracle, or perhaps ingenious planning, we landed at Charles de Gaulle within 5 minutes of each other, and met at our side-by-side luggage carousels! The reunion was sweet :)

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We stayed in a charming little apartment hidden away in a little courtyard. Our first stop was for baguettes and cheese.

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From the street in front of our place, we had a perfect view of the Eiffle Tower. The Parisians may not appreciate the dazzling lights on the tower at night, but we sure did.

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Mac looking out over Paris from on top of the Eiffle Tower.

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Who knew that you could actually walk among the dead in the Catacombs of Paris? The bones of over 6 million people are thought to have been stacked up in these centuries old tunnels under the city. Nobody can say that the french lacked creativity or practicality in the late 1800's, when they decided to relocate the bones of millions in order to free up the land that the cemetaries were occupying. It was eery and fascinating to walk through them.

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Even stranger than the fact that the bones exist, was the fact that they were arranged in patterns throughout the catacombs. We thought it would make the perfect setting for the ultimate halloween party.

We also managed to make a trip to see the Palace of Versailles, which was the greatest display of excess I have ever seen. Louis (the whatever) sure knew how to impress. He put's our modern day A-listers to shame! And speaking of impressive (or is it excessive?) we also visited Notre Dame Cathedral. I would love to take home just one little stained glass window :)

As impressive as Paris was, my Yukon boys were ready to head somewhere quieter when our 5 days were up. My shopper however, couldn't believe we had leave so soon...

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 11:31 Archived in France Comments (0)

Turkey

The land of "genuine fakes" and "quality crap"!

It wasn't on the original agenda, but here we are in Turkey - and we love this place! My friend Carol wasn't exaggerating when she said Turkey had the nicest people. Similar to Rhodes, when we hit the city, we were lost. The difference was that this time we were driving a rent-a-van. Our confusion must have been obvious, because a Turkish man on a motor bike pulled up beside us, asked where we were going, and led us to our hotel. A few days later, we had a flat tire and 4 young Turkish guys jumped out of their car and battled each other over who would help Mike change it. Having traveled a fair bit in Mexico, I cynically assumed that everyone who jumped up to offer help/advice was scamming us, but unfailingly, the Turkish people were genuine and were offering good advice. I ate crow more than once...

I know I've said it before, but this is our favourite place yet!

We have seen and done so many cool things here, that I could go on and on, but I'm going to try to stick to my word, and let the pictures do (most of) the talking.

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We were all taken aback by the beauty of the Saklikent Gorge.

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The first little bit of hiking was on a boardwalk, but after an exciting river crossing, we hiked right up the middle of the gorge.

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Meg and Solstice.

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Aleix.
After about 45 minutes of walking through the crystal clear stream, we arrived at this gorgeous little water fall.

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On yet another sunny day, we hopped on small boat tour and spent the day enjoying the sunshine...

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snorkeling in caves...

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admiring the remarkable Lycian tombs carved in the cliffs...

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eating, drinking, fishing, driving the boat, barbecuing lunch…it was seriously 'all inclusive'. We were sorry to see the boat ride come to an end.

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Meg (and I) had a day of social studies visiting the ancient ruins of Ephesus.

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When this library burned, over 1200 handwritten books and scrolls were lost.
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If I ever toyed with the idea of becoming an archeologist in my next career, the sight of this guy sorting, organizing, and piecing together a bazillion pieces of marble as part of a restoration project, squashed it!

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Putting together the pieces...

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An example of the fruits of his labour.

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Voila!

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We spent a couple of days at Itzuzu Beach where they have a turtle rehab centre for green head, and logger head turtles. They had several turtles that had been injured from human activity, primarily boating and fishing.

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Every morning, they tried to collect as many babies as they could find that had not managed to make it to the sea the previous night. They would keep them safe throughout the day, and release them the following evening, when life is safer for baby turtles:)

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We were very lucky to be there on the day that they released 5 turtles back into their natural habitat. In an effort to track the turtles to gain a better understanding of their migration patterns etc, they cemented satellite tracking devices on their backs.

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And they're off!

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Pamukalle was one of the coolest natural formations that I have ever seen. Is it snow you ask? Don't be crazy - would I go to where there is snow? The white surface is caused by the water of the calcium rich hot springs that flow down and over the rocks.

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It's easy to see why the Turks chose the name Pamukalle which translates to 'cotton castle'

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There were many travertines (pools) to splash in as we walked up the hillside.

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What's a visit to turkey without some belly dancing?

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Megan and Solstice, 'belly dancing 101'

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Of course the girls weren't the only ones showing off on the floor. We couldn't keep Mike in his seat.

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This says it all about the Turkish Markets.

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 04:49 Comments (0)

Rhodes

A quick stop over.

We hopped a ferry to Rhodes, where we were greeted with a taxi strike! The cabbies were not impressed with the increased austerity measures - BUT, it was better than rioting! There we were, 3 adults, 4 kids, and a ton of luggage in the heat of the day, with only a vague idea of where we needed to go. After walking a couple of blocks in what we hoped was the right general direction, Mike stopped to ask a man for directions. After spending a few minutes trying to point us in the right direction, he said "my truck is ready in a few minutes - I drive you", our hero of the day :)

We had a couple of action packed days exploring The Temple of Athena in Lindos, and the remarkable Rhodes Old Town. The Old Town is a like a living, working, ancient walled city. It was amazing to be walking around in a medieval city that is still being lived and worked in today. Inside the walls is like a maze. I read somewhere that there are 200 streets with no names, but getting lost in the city is not a defeat, but an opportunity. Megan, Solstice and I had a lot of opportunity on our first day!

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Entering the walled city: Rhodes Old Town

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The outer wall of the Old Town seems to go on forever.

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Can a person ever shop enough? Not if the person is Megan or Solstice! In this pic, they are shopping in Rhodes Old Town.

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Mike Toews in Rhodes. Note the sign above his bulging bicep...who the heck thinks laundry is a hobby??!

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Meg and Solstice. "Are we done looking at old buildings? Can we go shopping now?"

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Temple of Athena, Lindos, Rhodes, Greece

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 12:39 Comments (0)

Ahhh...Santorini

Rendezvousing with the Sarin-Towes

It didn't take us long to discover why Santorini is such a popular Greek island. The small(ish) size, the incredible beauty, the laid back atmosphere, the great food and even better bakeries…together with meeting up with the Sarin-Toews( Mike, Meera, Solstice, Manas and Aleix, from Whitehorse), and you get our favourite place yet!

Before leaving Kenora, my brother Al was was talking up a small hotel called "Artemis's", where they had stayed a year or so earlier. He wanted to give me the guy's name, but I said not to bother as I'd never find him anyway. Mike and Meera were already staying at a nice hotel when we arrived, so we decided to stay with them … wouldn't you know it - it was Artemis's! Artemis himself remembered my sister-in-law Linda as the woman who got up early in the morning to exercise. We loved the hotel and pool, and spent many-an-afternoon, lounging poolside.

Mike had the big idea to rent a quad so that we could have quick, easy access to the bakery, and it was so convenient and fun that we rented 3 of them one day and explored the island. One of the great things about Santorini, is that you can see it all on a quad! Not only did we survive the day unscathed, we had a blast. We found the lighthouse on the southern tip of the island, we swam at the red beach, and ate lunch overlooking volcano island. On another day, we hired a boat to take us to volcano island, and hiked up the to see the sights. The last time the volcano erupted was in the 50's, and in places there was still steam escaping. It was pretty cool.

Megan was very happy to learn that Solstice likes shopping just as much as she does, and that their mothers were willing to indulge them as long as there was a scrumptious lunch on a roof top cafe involved.

After close to a week, we very reluctantly said goodbye to Artemis & Anna, the bakery, the pool, and the picturesque white buildings clinging to the sides of the cliffs, overlooking the aegean sea. But we'll be back!

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How could you not fall in love with this place? These beautiful white buildings were perched on the cliffs everywhere you looked.

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Which way to the bakery?

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Manas, Aleix, Solstice, & Megan in front of the lighthouse on the Southern tip of the island.

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Jane, Solstice, Meera, & Jane - Girls day out! Roof top cafe in Fira, Santorini.

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Enroute to Volcano Island. Meera, Megan, Solstice.

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Megan, Aleix, Manas, & Solstice. Meera fed us many gourmet meals on their little patio overlooking the Aegean Sea.

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Jane & Meg, just hang'en out on Santorini.

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 13:14 Comments (0)

London - Corfu Direct

Finally found the sun :)

After a much delayed flight, we arrived at our wee little hotel in Agios Gorgios, Corfu, at 2:30am. It was a whole lot of fun figuring out a way to phone the hotel owner to come and let us in, but she arrived with a smile on her face, and the remainder of the week was fabulous. When we left London in search of sunshine and beaches, we didn't expect to be hit with temps well into the 30's. We were fine as long as we didn't stray too far from either the pool or the beach, so that pretty much sums up our week - it was rough! On the few occasions that we pried ourselves out of our beach chairs, we hit the bigger city of Corfu Town and explored both the 'old' and 'new' fortresses, and went on a boat cruise.

The island of Corfu is very mountainous, and full of crazy, narrow, winding roads, which in turn are filled with crazy greek drivers, and crazier tourists on scooters. Houses dot the olive tree covered mountain sides, and there are little villages everywhere. Meg thought it was a cross between Hawaii and Mexico; it looked a lot like Mexico, particularly the architecture, but like Hawaii, nobody hounded you. It was a happy place :)

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The New Fortress in Corfu Town, was built in the 16 & 17th centuries. It sits on the sea side and has a killer view.

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Megan is sitting inside the New Fortress looking out over Corfu Town.

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A narrow walkway/street, commonly found in the old towns and villages on Corfu. The streets for cars were only slightly wider!

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The Old Fortress was strategically built on an island, in the 15 century.

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Jane & Meg taking in the scenery from a set of stairs at the Old Fortress in Corfu Town.

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Looking down from the New Fortress, we had a great view of the Old Town area of Corfu Town. As you can see, in true European style the houses were stacked one on top of the other, and spread out along the gorgeous Aegean Sea.

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Yet another visit to a Blue Lagoon, on board our boat cruise. Although not the film location of the Brooke Shields film (as promised by the brochure, but refuted by Google), it was stunning.

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Inside this huge (but shallow) cave, for reasons unknown even to me, the water turned the rock wall a very cool purple. I'm sure one of you can enlighten me.

Posted by wilsonprawdzik 23:12 Comments (1)

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