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
We had one of our best single days in Diyarbakır, thanks to the generosity and eagerness of one man to share his city and culture with two total strangers. We met Muzaffer while walking down the street, in what seemed at first like just another friendly “where are you from?” It’s a common enough thing for strangers to stop us on the street and ask. It’s also a part of most of our commercial transactions, as normal as making change or leaving a Lira or two as a tip. “Where are you from?” “Canada,” we’ll say, and usually it ends there. Sometimes someone might go out on a limb, testing their knowledge of geography. “Toronto?” they might ask, hesitantly. “Vancouver?” Almost no one has ever heard of Calgary. So when Muzaffer stopped us, we assumed the exchange would be along those lines. Instead we found ourselves deep in conversation, talking religion,…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-  
Sorry for the lack of updates lately. We’ve been working our butts off on a video for the Second Home Hostel here in Istanbul. If the dang thing ever uploads properly, you’ll see it soon enough. In about three hours, we’ll be leaving on a 26-hour train to a city in Eastern Turkey called Malatya. From there we plan to visit a famous mountain called Nemrut Dagi (“Nem-rut Dog-kuh”) before crossing the border into Iran. It’s raining here in Istanbul (for the fourth day straight) so we’re excited to move on. The train ride should be great since we have our own sleeper cabin. So we’ll be kicking our feet up, taking in the scenery and maybe enjoying a bottle of wine. We have some catching up to do around the blog, so expect both Laura and I to upload some photo-roundups within the next few days, or as soon…Continue Reading
At first Antalya looked like many of the larger cities in Turkey, row after row of off-white or peach apartment buildings all modelled after the same design. But once we started walking around, the beauty of the city was apparent. The city is located on the Mediterranean ocean. It’s natural fortifications resemble those of Dieppe in France. The city is perched on dramatic and beautiful cliffs. Walks, promenades and quaint parks weave in and out along this impressive coastline. The buildings in the old city all look as if they just received a fresh coat of paint. The shops display colourful shawls, pillow cases and rugs. Above all, the people of Antalya are welcoming, relaxed and friendly. In fact, having just joined CouchSurfing 10 days before arriving, Chris and I were aware of a monthly CouchSurfing meeting occurring while we were in Antalya. We were also aware that Ben and Pen, the Australian…Continue Reading
Hi guys! Just to reassure you in regards to our April Fool’s joke (hee,hee) we are actually safe and sound in Italy. We are hanging out in my old stomping ground of Lanciano where I went to high school at the Canadian College of Italy (CCI). Chris and I are both working on photos to show this lovely place to you, but for now here are some photos from back in Olympos in Turkey. Enjoy. -Laura-  
Coming out of the mosque I put my purse down to free my hands and aid in my safe journey back down the awkward, eroded carved steps. Suddenly the world was in slow motion as I heard my bag shift. Even though the top was sealed with Velcro, the only two objects similar in size and shape came rolling out. In disbelief I stared as a red shinny apple and my 50-millimeter Canon lens dropped-off the mosque steps. It all started when the four of us, Ben, Pen, Chris and I piled out of the car to hike the Ihlara Valley. I had hiked the valley 11-years ago with my mom, dad and two friends, so it held a special place in my heart. To help you with the THEN and NOW feelings I was having, here are some photos. We were extremely excited to hike the valley because of the tunnels,…Continue Reading
If you haven’t yet, you should see part one of this in-depth investigative report. But enough chit chat, it’s lunch time! Anyway, it actually is lunch time, and as we are back in Istanbul for about 24 hours before heading off to Rome, we’d better take advantage of the food while we can… Next updates will probably come from Italia!  
Hey everybody! Laura’s got a write-up coming about our last week or two. Me? I’ve got some photos to share. But first a few bombshells and a note on spelling. Bombshell number 1: We will be getting our visas to visit Iran within the next two days, although it’ll be a month or more before we go. After lots of research about the situation there and speaking with other travelers (as well as Turks), we’ve decided we’d be crazy not to visit this amazing and hospitable country. Stay tuned to the blog for some more information about why Iran (as a country) is not the bogeyman you hear about in your newspapers every day. Bombshell number 2: We’ve got tickets to Italy. We’ll be flying there on March 26 from Istanbul. We have plans to spend the better part of a month in Laura’s old stomping grounds of Lanciano, visiting…Continue Reading