Dec. 31: Drove to Sorrento B.C. to drop off all worldly possessions and our beloved cat with Chris’ family
Jan. 1: Drove back through blinding snow and darkness
Jan. 2: Red Arrow bus to Edmonton, Alberta to see friends and Laura’s grandma
Jan. 14: Greyhound bus to Kamploops, B.C. to see Chris’ parents and family.
Jan. 20: Greyhound bus to Kelowna, B.C. to see friend
Jan. 28: Flew to London, UK. We saw the British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Tate Modern, National Art and Portrait Gallery, St. Peters Cathedral, London Tower, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Covent Garden Market, the outside of the Globe Theatre and the inside of several pubs.
Feb. 3: Flew to Istanbul, Turkey.
Feb 4: Visited Aya Sophia.
Feb 5: Visited the Basilica Cistern, the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum and Galata Tower.
Feb 6: Saw the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul University, the Spice Bazaar and the Roman aquaeduct.
Feb 7: Visited a Turkish bath and relaxed.
Feb 8: Visited Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque (Mosque of Sultanahmet).
Feb. 9: Visited the Archaeology Museum, Yedikule Hisan (Fortress of the Seven Towers) and the old city walls.
Feb. 11: Through a tour company, we visited the battlefields of Gallipoli.
Feb. 12: On our own, we visited the archaeological site of Troy and left Canakkale for Pergamum. The bus only took us as far as Dikili. Tomorrow we will find a small shuttle to take us the rest of the way.
Feb. 13: Shuttle, known as a dolmus, to Bergama and the ancient site of Pergamum.
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day, we had breakfast in bed and Starbucks coffee that Chris surprised Laura with. Visited the ancient site of Asklepion and the Bergama Archaeology Museum.
Feb. 15: Walked five kilometers up the mountain to the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamum.
Feb. 16: Traveled from Bergama to Denizli.
Feb. 17: Traveled from Denizili to Pamukkale. Visited the Travertines and the Acropolis. Swam in the Antique Roman Pool.
Feb. 18: Walked through the hills and farmers fields surrounding Pamukkale.
Feb. 19: Visited the ancient site of Afrodisias.
Feb. 20: Traveled from Pamukkale to Selcuk.
Feb. 21: Borrowed bicycles from the hotel and road three kilometers to the ancient site of Ephesus. In the afternoon we visited the sea side town of Kusadasi and enjoyed some beers by the water.
Feb. 22: Traveled from Selcuk to Guselcamli, a town near Dilek National Park. Our two new friends, Petrit and Gloria, we met in the hotel at Selcuk, joined us in Guselcamli.
Feb. 23: Chris, Laura, Petrit and Gloria started the day with a swim in a natural cave. We continued with a hike into Dilek National Park, where unfortunately we got lost and ended up 50 kilometers from our hotel. We paid a local to drive us the one-hour back to our hotel. Our feet were soar — to say the least.
Feb 24: Traveled from Guzelcamli to the ancient site of Priene. We visited Priene with Petrit and Gloria, then we all took a dolmus back to Soke where we went our separate ways. Chris and I traveled to Bodrum.
Feb. 25: We explored the Bodrum Castle Museum and walked around the very North American like tourist town.
Feb 26: Traveled from Bodrum to Fethiye. Chris got his head shaved and beard trimmed at the barber. We visited 1 of the 7 wonders of the world, the Mausoleum of Helicarnassus.
Feb. 27: Enjoyed Turkish coffee by the water. Rented a sooter for three days. Drove around the hill sides and saw an old Turkish ghost town, the town of Oludeniz and a gorgeous lagoon.
Feb. 28: Drove on our scooter to the ancient site of Tlos, then to the natural Gorge within the mountains. Had lunch at an amazing authentic Turkish house/restaurant near the Gorge.
Mar. 1: Drove for 1.5 hours on the scooter to get to the World Heritage Site of Xanthos, the ancient Lycian capital. We also took a side road to gaze at the amazing site of Pinara, which is a mountain covered with hundreds of Lycian tombs. Applied with an agency for our Iran Visas.
Mar. 2: Enjoyed a Turkish breakfast and Turkish coffee along the water in Fethiye. Bought some donars for lunch and took the bus from Fethiye to Olympos. We were suprised to find Ben and Pen at the same pansion in Olympos. At night with Ben, Pen and another couple, we walked 1.5 hours across the beach, a river and along streets to Chimaera, the mountain with flames coming out of it.
Mar. 3: Breakfast in Turkey is something else, especially eating it on a cushioned wooden platform near a river. We sat around all day on the cushioned platform at the Saban Pansion in Olympos. Spent the evening chatting with Ben, Pen and another lady at the pansion named, Hannaka.
Mar. 4: Again, we sat around all day and watched a documentary on Iran.
Mar. 5: Sat around all day reading, blogging and Laura worked on her cross-stitch. Researched prices of flights to Italy.
Mar. 6: Sat around on the cushioned platform, read, and walked around the ancient ruins and the nature of Olympos for 2.5 hours.
Mar. 7: Big surprise, we sat around again, reading, blogging, and editing photographs.
Mar. 9: Sat around the wonderful custioned platform reading, writing, blogging and editing photographs. Enjoyed some shisha at night.
Mar. 10: Left Olympos! Travelled to Antalya. Enjoyed beers at a restaurant with a magnificant ocean view in Antalya. Saw Ben and Pan again!
Mar. 11: Visited the Antalya Museum with Ben and Pen.
Mar. 12: Went shopping! Laura bough new shoes, a skirt, scarf and two shirts. Woo-hoo!
Mar. 13: Brainstormed ideas for entering a film contest about our blog website for a CIRA contest. Met Turker, a very friendly man from CouchSurfing. He showed us around Antalya. We visited a waterfall and the nightly light and water show. We attended the monthly CouchSurfing meeting with Turker and his sister.
Mar. 14: Laura was hit with food poisoning. In between bathroom visits, Laura and Chris shot footage for the contest entry. Chris worked for nearly 18 hours straight to complete the film.
Mar. 15: Took it easy before making our way to the night bus to Cappadocia, a 9-hour bus ride from Antalya.
Mar. 16: Walked around the town of Goreme in the area of Turkey known as Cappadocia. Visited 1001 Books, the English second-hand bookstore in Goreme where we found a Lonely Planet travel guide for Iran and a Farsi (Persian) phrase book for only $20 CAN. Enjoyed dinner with Ben and Pen.
Mar. 17: Switched hotels to get a better deal on the price. Bought provisions for a picnic lunch. Hiked through the Red and Rose Valley. Saw many carved pigeon holes, tunnels and churches. Cooked dinner with Ben and Pen in the hotel kitchen.
Mar. 18: It snowed last night! It’s magical to see the Cappadocia landscape covered in a thin layer of snow. We rented a car, splitting the cost with Ben and Pen and all four of us headed out to explore the famous landscape of the Ihlara Valley. Laura dropped here 50-milimeter lens down the valley! For dinner Chris and Laura enjoyed their first “Testi”, a traditional meal cooked in a wood oven in pottery. The ceramic jar is broken open at the table. Yummy.
Mar. 19: We drove to many different sites includeing Imagination Valley, Pigeon Valley and the other small valleys and cities surrounding Goreme. We enjoyed a picnic lunch, and our last dinner with Ben and Pen.
Mar. 20: Bought ourselves a tablecloth as a souvenir of Turkey. Had a lazy day writing post cards and watching a documentary about Ataturk.
Mar. 21: Visited the Open Air Museum just 1.5 kilometers out of Goreme. We were not entirely convinced the stone-carved churches were any better than the ones we found while hiking through the Red and Rose Valley in Cappadocia. Caught a bus from Goreme to Ankara (12:00 noon –5:45 pm) for 50.00 Tukish Lira.
Mar. 22: Got photos and passport photocopies before walking to the Iranian Embassy to apply for Visas. The embassy was not open because it’s a holiday. Did some shopping in the very, very cheap local market.
Mar. 23: Went back to the Iranian Embassy. Paid 90 Euro’s (180 Turkish Lira) for two Iran visas for Canadians. At first we were told it’d be 10-days until the visas were ready. After telling them we had a flight in 4-days, they told us to come back to the embassy tomorrow. ha,ha.
Mar. 24: We headed to the Iran Embassy first thing in the morning. Not 10 minutes after arriving we were leaving with big smiles on our faces and Iran Visas in our passports. Immediately we headed to Starbucks to spoil ourselves. For lunch we ate at Burger King across the street. What can I say, we were sick of Turkish food after 7 weeks. Took the overnight train from Ankara to Istanbul (50.00 Turkish Lira for 2 adults in 2nd class). While waiting for the train we visited the railway train station museum which is housed in the building Atatürk lived in during the War of Independence.
Mar. 25: In Istanbul (again), we walked about Taksim Square and popular pedestrian shopping street. We sat and enjoyed coffee in Starbucks (again....)
Mar. 26: Before leaving Istanbul we enjoyed fish sandwiches in Sultanahmet. In the afternoon we flew from Istanbul to Rome.
Mar. 27: Walked around the many sites of Rome. Enjoyed our first gelato in Piazza Novona and our first Italian pizza near the Trevi Fountain. Bought and started writing postcards.
Mar. 28: Didn’t know it was day-light savings day so we missed our bus from Rome to Lanciano. After sitting around for 5 hours waiting for that bus, we had to sit around for 6 more until the next, and last bus of the day departed to Lanciano. We didn’t arrive to Lanciano until mid-night.
Mar. 29: Walked to the old city wall of Lanciano with Chris, a place my friends and I use to go daily while in high school. Walked around the city a bit before eating lunch with the teachers and Laura’s good girlfriend Cristina D’Alessandro.
Mar. 30 — April 26: We hung out in Lanciano. Helped out at the market making flower arrangements, stocking shelves and serving customers. Worked on blog posts. Researched and bought tickets for the next lag our trip. Hung out with Cris and Dave (her boyfriend/the science teacher). Went to the beach once and visited Ortona and the Moro River Commonwealth War Cemetery.
April 26 — May 4: Hung out
with Christine in Piacenza, Italy. We made fabulous Italian food with fresh Italian ingredients from the market. We roamed the streets of Piacenza. We helped Christine make a video for her boyfreind. We had a day trip to Parma the homeland of Parmigiano cheese. And thanks to Christine’s fabulous classmates we had an amazing 30th Birthday Party for Chris!
May 5: We flew from Italy to Morocco. We landed in Casablance but decide to jump onto a train and head for the small city of El Jadida. We walked around the Portegese city a bit. We bought two potato pancakes for a snack for 2 Dhirham ($0.20 CAN).