February 2011 Update: If you are looking for info on the visas and border crossing itself, Chris has posted about that here. We were both still sick, but nonetheless on Wednesday, June 16th we bought bus tickets from Van, Turkey to Orumiyeh, Iran. I must admit that deep inside me I was a little uncertain. The bus left Van at 9:45 am. Tired, a bit hungry (because I’m always a little hungry) and still sick, I struggled to keep my eyes open. I don’t know what it is about buses but they’re always rocking me to sleep. When I managed to keep my eyes open I saw a wonderful landscape unfolding before me. Fields turned into shrubbery-covered mountains that, for some reason, reminded me of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. Perhaps it is from photos I have seen. We got to the border at 2:00 p.m. Immediately when the bus…Continue Reading
Hi Dads! We are thinking about you. We also want  you to know that we love you and that we wouldn’t want any other dads. You’re both fantastic people. We look forward to giving each of you a BIG hug next time we see you. For now, here’s a virtual hug: “hug”. Hope you enjoy the photos, and we hope you have (had!) not only one fantastic day, but a whole year of them. We love you very, very much. -Laura & Chris- p.s. – Laura typed this one, so it’s a little cornier than I would have put. I would have stuck with a good old handshake, and maybe an awkward “Love ya.” But I like how she put it too.  
Images of fast moving clouds blackening the sky and a lightning bolt allowing me to see the silhouette of the castle  in front of me raced through my mind. Chris and I were about to visit Bran Castle, one of the magnificent castles of Romania. My imagination was going wild. I couldn’t help it. Dracula was on my brain.  Although he is a fictional character created by Bram Stocker, he was loosely based off a real man named Vlad Tepes Dracula.  Living back in the 1400’s, Dracula was the prince of Wallachia, a historical region of Romania which on a modern map would encompass the entire southern half of the country. He was also known as “Vlad the Impaler” due to his cruel way of killing his enemy.  According to the Lonely Planet (although if this trip has taught me anything, it’s taught me to not trust every word in…Continue Reading
For the first time in my life I have had people ask me where I’m from and when I say Canada they shrug their shoulders and say, “Where’s that?”  After 5.5 months I am officially homesick. Although some of my homesickness might be brought on by the fact that my entire body is aching, my eyeballs hurt and my head is pounding. To say the least, I’m glad I brought Imodium.  To make the situation even worse, Chris is also feeling like this.  I hope we get on our feet soon because we should jump on a bus and head into Iran. Right now we’re in a city called Van which is very close to the border.  To get here we took a 7-hour bus ride from Diyarbakir where we spent two nights and had a wonderful adventure. We’ve had people ask us throughout our trip if we are homesick,…Continue Reading
Currently Chris and I are in a hotel room in Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey. I thought I could post a bunch of random photos for you guys to enjoy. They cover all sorts of different things and times during our trip, including our Sahara trek, Italy, Morocco and Turkey. We plan on heading into Iran in three days and apparently Internet is very hard to come by, so I’ll try to get a few posts ready to be published automatically throughout the next week. I promise we will try our best to let you know how it’s going and our where abouts in Iran. I know how nervous some of you are about us going there, and how jealous the rest of you are. Ha, ha. Anyways, for now, enjoy these photos. Ciao! -Laura-  
On our second (and last) day in Madrid we decided to go on a tapas tour. Tapas are traditionally the little snacks you are served when you order a drink.  They are called tapas because back in the day the small plate of snacks would be placed on top of the drink you ordered.  On our tapas tour we were taken to three different bars where we got a small complimentary drink and a tapas or two.  The tour consisted of myself, Chris, the guide and a writer for “Let’s Go” travel books.  The writer named Grace was enjoying her first week out of six in Spain.  She was a young 20-year old student from Harvard who managed to secure a gig for herself writing for “Let’s Go”.  She was kind enough to take down our blog address and apparently on her own “Let’s Go” travel blog will put a link…Continue Reading
I’m sitting on a comfy bed in our quaint hotel room in Brasov, Romania.  Located within the old city walls, we can almost touch the house across from us. We took a four-hour train ride here yesterday from the Romanian capital, Bucharest. After our time in Madrid and Morocco, it was refreshing to see the lush environment, farmer’s fields, foot hills and tree covered mountains out the train window.  The first thing I noticed about the buildings and houses outside of Bucharest were the roofs. They reminded me of a mixture between a barn and architecture commonly found in Germany. However, within Bucharest we were constantly surrounded by massive, sad looking apartment complexes from the communist era, huge public parks and the few buildings  (like the ones below) that survived the 35% demolition of the city by communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu when he built numerous communist blocks. Prior to his…Continue Reading
Chris enjoying Morocco's special brew of beer.
During our 3-week adventure in Morocco, I noticed some interesting things that I thought I could share with you.  Currently we are in Bucharest, Romania. We just arrived here yesterday after a one day layover in Milano, Italy and before that we spent a quick two days in Madrid. I will get some photos up of Madrid shortly. In the mean time enjoy the following. CERAMICS & TILES Morocco has tiles on some roofs that strongly resemble the ones used in Italy, only the tiles are smaller and are usually found in one of three colours:  orangish-red, blue or green.  After visiting a ceramic producing town near Zagora in south-eastern Morocco, we learnt that green is the most common and traditional colour for not only roof tiles but also any shape that can be made out of ceramic, like ash trays, serving platters, plates, sugar bowls and the infamous Moroccan…Continue Reading
Editor’s Note: The photos on this blog are the work of each post other, unless noted otherwise. My lovely wife Laura shot all these ones. She deserves the mad props. Our introduction to Morocco went rather smooth considering we had spent the previous night lounging around the Milano airport unable to sleep.  Stumbling up to the train ticket office, Chris piped up in French, “Parlez vous anglais?”   From that moment I knew I would be very much lost for language, not knowing any appropriate phrases in French or Moroccan Arabic. As the train chugged along we desperately struggled to keep our eyes open. The landscape unfolded like the Alberta prairie. I could see for kilometres in every direction. The sky was open and wide. Field after field made the landscape patchwork quilt I am so familiar with back home. The occasional olive orchard passed, but mostly it looked like wheat…Continue Reading
May 12, 2010 Whatever you call it, Morocco is a sensory overload. Laura and I are waiting around in Marakesh for a bus that leaves in a little over an hour. We’re traveling today to a small town on the edge of the Sahara desert called M’Hamid. We hope to hire a guide to take us on a camel trek out to some large sand dunes called Erg Chigaga. Blogging will be sporadic for the next two days, and since I set this post to publish a few days after I’m writing it, by the time you read it we will already be among the dunes. Morocco has been very interesting, and in many ways the most challenging country we’ve visited to date. Marakesh left a slightly sour taste in our mouths after traveling in hassle free places for so long. Everyone seems out to get a piece of your…Continue Reading
Like many European cities based on urban planning that goes back centuries, Piacenza has a thriving bike culture. It probably also helps that the city is overall quite flat. Most of the bikes were classic cruisers, and I figured I’d make a small photo project out of capturing some of the most interesting ones we came across. They are literally lying all over town, locked up to poles, signs, walls, and pretty much anything else around. Which bike do you like best? I also wanted to mention that one of the photos I took in February and posted on this blog is a finalist in a photo contest over at IstanbulEats.com. If you feel like sharing a little love, you can vote for my pic here, by emailing istanbuleats3@gmail.com with the subject heading “Turkey Vote Chris Simit”. There are some good photos entered, so I don’t really expect to win,…Continue Reading