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Pre-Trek in Bhaktapur & Kathmandu (Nepal!)

10/04/2013

TL;DR for our Pre-Trek:

  • Photos from Bhaktapur
  • Favorite Moments: Cow festival mini-parades, wandering Bhaktapur
  • Walked:
    on the Trek: 65,994 steps / ~33 miles
    in Total: 2,386,744 steps / ~1,693 miles

Nepal was definitely an Alex-driven destination (“hiking for 12 days in a row?! How awesome!”), but I was game. One of our good friends said that Nepal was one of his favorite destinations and he didn’t do any trekking at all.

After sweating an Olympic swimming pool worth of sweat in India, we figured it’d make sense to cool off for a few days in Nepal, get our bearings, and get our trek organized. After a bit of research, we learned that Kathmandu was not our style (dense and dusty with lots of traffic) so we decided to head to Bhaktapur (45 min east) to get some relaxation in. Read More

How to Travel the World like a Pro: Tips after 2 Million Steps of Travel

10/03/2013

On a hike in Cappadocia, we took our two millionth step. Given Turkey was our 9th country on this trip (if we count our brief transit time in Germany, Bosnia and Slovenia – hey, we got our passports stamped!), it seems like the right time to again share some of the travel wisdom we’ve been gaining along the way. Travel is a skill– one that most people let get too rusty. Months ago, shifting destinations was a bit stressful. Nowadays, we feel like badasses. Read More

Monkeys, Mudslides and Monsoons – Oh My!

10/01/2013

TL;DR for our Northern India Post:

  • Photos from Mussoorie & Rishikesh
  • Favorite Moments: Monkeys(!), Indian food, clown-car cab ride, getting celebrity status for being white, bridges in Rishikesh
  • Walked:
    in India: 156,972 steps / ~78 miles
    in Total: 2,320,750 steps / ~1160 miles

After our month in Turkey, our plan was originally to head to Jordan. A friend had ranked it as one of the most amazing places he’s visited, and it seems like Petra and the Dead Sea are must-sees before you die. Two things derailed this plan:

  1. There was a region-wide terror alert in the Middle East smack dab when we were going to visit. This alone wouldn’t have stopped us, but it did weigh on us a touch.
  2. We were getting sick of mega-hot weather. Our heat endurance had made great strides, but we really felt like we could use a break and Jordan was slated for up to 110 degrees.

So we made the hop from Istanbul over the Middle East into Delhi to start the South Asian part of our journey. Read More

Istanbul (our favorite big city so far!)

09/29/2013

TL;DR for our Istanbul Post:

  • Photos from Istanbul
  • Favorite Moments: Blue Mosque at night, breakfast menemen, water taxis, Kanlica, and Kadikoy
  • Walked:
    in Istanbul: 133,636 steps / ~67 miles
    in Total: 2,188,732 steps / ~1094 miles

Istanbul was the spot where we finished our (outstanding!) month in Turkey and it didn’t disappoint. But it did re-affirm our feeling that we tend to prefer smaller towns to cities.

Istanbul sits astride the Bosphorus Strait, which means it has a European side and an Asian side. It’s the only place you can take a boat ride and bounce back and forth between two continents every 10-15 minutes or so.

We stayed in the neighborhood of Sultanahmet — a somewhat lazy decision based on the fact that it was the most touristic part of the city. Read More

Balloons and Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia

09/24/2013

TL;DR for our Cappadocia Post:

  • Photos from Cappadocia
  • Favorite Moments: Balloon ride, stumbling onto a tunnel in Sword Valley, cool evenings
  • Walked:
    in Cappadocia: 113,718 steps / ~57 miles
    in Total: 2,055,096 steps / ~1026 miles

When we first decided that Turkey was on our destination list one of the reasons was the photos we had come across of the hot air balloons and strange geological formations in Cappadocia.

Outside of knowing that there were balloons and “fairy chimneys” we knew very little about the area, but it was definitely on our must-see list. Read More

Lycian Whirlwind: Kas, Ephesus, and Pammukkale

09/19/2013

After hopping off our Blue Cruise in the port town of Kas, we had a few single-sight destinations that we wanted to hit. But first, we decided to hang out in Kas for a few days to get our land legs back and explore the town a bit.

Kas
Kas is 25 km away from Kalkan and they are both charming towns to visit. As we mentioned in our last post, we prefer Kas over Kalkan (but not by much!). It seems slightly less touristy, and the tourists that were there seemed to be more turkish (as opposed to British).

Kas (like Kalkan) is seriously lacking decent beaches in town (though there were some rocks you can swim from). Thankfully, our pension had a deal with a nearby inn that had a tiny swimming pool, which was critical given how hot it was (generally around 100F/38C). Read More

Lycian Coast of Turkey: A Blue Cruise

09/12/2013

TL;DR for our Blue Cruise Post:

  • Photos from the gullet cruise
  • Favorite Moments: Leaping off the boat to cool off, kayaking, sea turtles, sleeping on deck, exploring Kalekoy
  • Walked:
    on the cruise: 74,202 steps / ~37 miles
    in Total: 1,813,330 steps / ~906 miles

Turkey is a huge country compared to the places we’ve visited so far, but many of its popular destinations are packed along the Lycian coast– with good reason.

It offers beautiful water, a dramatic coastline, and so many archeological treasures that the locals all but ignore them (hey, I’m just going to drop my Winnebago next to this ancient tomb, kay?). Read More

Cirali, Turkey: A sleepy seaside village where the mountains breath fire

08/25/2013

TL;DR for our Cirali Post:

  • Photos from Cirali
  • Favorite Moments: Fire breathing mountains, swimming in 75 degree waters, sunrise, tasty mezes
  • Walked:
    in Cirali: 80,616 steps / ~40 miles
    in Total: 1,704,162 steps / ~852 miles

As we began our month long Turkey adventure, we were looking for a sleepy seaside village location along the Lycian Coast to start things off.  We knew that we we would be ready for a break from crowds since we’d just been in Venice and we had 4 days to kill before our Blue Cruise (stay tuned for our next post on that). Our research uncovered Çirali (pronounced Cheah – Ra – Leah)– and given our new addiction to swimming in the Mediterranean, we were excited.

Çirali is primarily an agricultural village and very small with a local population of just 1,000.  If every local guesthouse (there are no big hotels here) was filled, that’d add another 1,500 (most of them, however seemed pretty empty).  It features a 3.5 km beach with the ancient ruins of Olympos at one end, the flames of Chimaera on the other, with turtle breeding grounds in between– it’s easy to see why it has been discovered by adventurous travelers. Read More

Venice on the Cheap

08/15/2013

TL;DR for our Venice Post:

  • Photos from Venice
  • Favorite Moments: Nonstop Aperol Spritzes, meeting friends from afar, wandering away from the tourist mobs
  • Walked:
    in Venice: 91,440 steps / ~45 miles
    in Total: 1,623,546 steps / ~811 miles

Venice was not on the itinerary when we started our trip. But in one of many “holy crap, Europe is compact” moments, we realized that it was a 4 hour ferry ride from Rovinj, our northernmost destination in Croatia. Destination selection for us is generally focused around the dollars-to-enjoyment-ratio, but sometimes it’s about whether that destination is rapidly changing/declining… Or in this case, sinking.

It turned out that the ferry was sold out (oops), so we had to take a 4 1/2 hour bus ride which started at 5:30am. On the plus side, now we can say we’ve been to Slovenia (for about 30 minutes as the bus motored through to get into Italy). Read More

Natural Highlight of the trip (so far!): Plitvice Park in Croatia

08/06/2013

TL;DR for our Plitvice Post:

  • Photos from Plitvice
  • Favorite Moments: Wandering the upper lakes, randomly meeting friends there, having it to ourselves in the early AM
  • Walked:
    in Plitvice: 194,583 steps / ~98 miles
    in Total: 1,532,106 steps / ~766 miles

I’ll start by saying that we enjoyed Plitvice Lakes National Park (pronounced “pleet veech uh”) so much that both of us really wanted to take the lead on writing this post!  This UNESCO world natural heritage site is truly exceptional and neither of us has ever seen anything like it.  Part of what makes the place so magical with crystal-clear blue water has to do with the travertine deposits, which have been naturally occurring for thousands of years.  The white travertine dust sinks to the bottom of the lakes reflecting sunlight and the sky and creating incredibly brilliant colors.  It also continuously builds to the point of making barriers between the lakes and thus the magnificent waterfalls. It is no wonder that it’s visited by 1.2 million people each year. Read More

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