Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday 24th October 2014….Day seven!!!

Another blog from the memory banks!!!!!

Tuesday 31st July 2012…..a bus day!!!

Woke up to a knock on my door at 7.45am and there was the owner with a plate of French toast and fruit!!!

At 8.30am I went downstairs and paid my bill $50 dollars for two great nights and I shook the owners hand and he said no he would take me the 300 meters to the bus office on his scooter..so he put the big pack in front of his legs and I got on the back and off we went!

The first part was a mini bus to the main town 20 minutes away and a cost of 3 Lira…I had to wait 15 minutes for my bus to Antalya to arrive and this was a a big luxury bus….I went to the back seat which I had to myself and we left at 9.30am..this bus had two young men on board as attendants who brought round snacks and water….each seat had it’s own mini screen with movies and also a web cam at the front of the bus so you could see where we going!

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  The cost of this section of the journey was 27 Lira and nearly 4 hours.

So now I am on the bus and with some time it gives me a chance to catch my breath….I left Nanaimo on 1st June and Janet and Malc and I left England on 4th June and they left me 30th June in Slovenia..what a journey!!

I have never travelled in this fashion and it was a challenge and one I looked forward to….and I really must state that so far it has been very easy.  In two months no issues no problems and I have enjoyed every single day.  I have tried to break up my journey so I am not on the go everyday packing and unpacking and I think I have done that too.

The rooms I have had without exception have been very acceptable, clean and cheap….the most I have paid for a room so far is $40 dollars!!!

I have met so many friendly, helpful, kind and generous people and my one couch surfing stop with Ina in Greece was delightful!!

It seems like every day there was a WOW factor…so many beautiful and wonderful sights….sights that I shall never forget and I am glad I have the blog to go back to in days ahead to relive the journey all over again.

One of my big concerns was getting from Montenegro to Greece….turns out really easy….the next challenge is the town I am going to after Side is an overnight journey and from there another overnight to Istanbul..I may look at air travel for that one.

Being in different rooms I am lucky I have not lost or left anything behind…..Heather and Kirby…..the back pack has worked out so well..thanks.

Apart from Turkey I have had a fridge either in my room or a communal kitchen and this have been so great for me with my strange eating habits and also saved money on restaurant food which I am not a great fan of.

I did hours of research and in my humble opinion it has paid off I have diversified my trip between the ancient, the modern and the wonderful ocean and mountain peaks.  I have done what I set out to do and now as we approach the last day of this fantastic month my mind starts to turn towards the next stage of my journey in September when I make a big move and change my living status from Nanaimo to San Miguel.

This is also a challenge that I accept and I see no reason why this move will not be all that it can be…I have been in SMA for at least three months every Winter for the past 5 years so I look forward to seeing all the seasons.

Of course my girls factor in a huge way especially with the changes that are taking place in Paola’s life….I will wait and see what I can do to maintain a relationship with her and you know me I will do that.  I also look forward to watching Daniela grow and I cannot wait to see how she turns out with those eyes the world is there for her.

I have many friends already in SMA a wide circle of tennis partners, the poker club and hopefully Linda and Guy will return…..the weather is perfect and the people the best…so I have a smile in my heart when I think where I shall be in a few weeks.

I guess the main issue when I get back to Nanaimo on 1st September is to sell my baby and best friend Ramona….I am going to market her properly in two weeks and hope there is some interest Heather has kindly agreed to show her to interested parties…so I hope to have her sold and then I will purchase a small SUV or something similar load up and leave Nanaimo on 17th September and be in SMA around a week later……so lots to look forward to.

This bus journey is great lots of leg room and now I am going to read up about Side and see what mischief I can get into there…

Ok now it is 11.30pm so I need to go back to the bus trip….. this bus had three attendants on it and maybe 20 passengers and they brought small package snacks and drinks often.  One of the attendants a young man about 21 years of age who could speak a little English seemed to take me under his wing.  he asked me where I was going after Antalya and I told him a town called Side.  from my research I already knew that I had to get on another bus in Antalya and get off before the turn off to side and then take a mini bus into the town. So the kid asked me if I had a ticket and I tell him no so he asks me for 10 Lira…….at this point I was really confused but I think he was telling me he would get me a ticket on the next stage of the bus leg anyway I gave him 10 Lira and off he went to the front of the bus.

A while later he comes back and hands me a ticket and tells me to stay on the bus when we get to Antalya and that this bus would drop me off at the junction to Side.  Well this sounded too good to be true but when we got to the huge bus station in Antalya about half the people got off and the bus left right away I was watching the road signs and sure enough we were going in the right direction for Side.  Then the kid came back to me and gave me a Turkey key chain!!!!!!  Unfortunately the Canadian key chains I brought over for gifts were in my back pack underneath the bus.  That is not the end of the story he then asks me where I was staying and he pulls out his cell phone and starts talking.  When he was finished tells me there will be a taxi waiting for me when the bus drops me off.  So around 3pm the bus stops right at the turn off to Side and there is the taxi…I shook hands and thanked the kid!!!!

I knew from here to my hotel was about 3km and it involved taking a mini bus then a walk of about 500 meters and the bus would cost me 1.5 Lira…so I asked the taxi driver how much to my hotel and he tells me 20 Lira..I smiled and said no thanks and I walked across the road to the bus stop and within 5 minutes the bus came and by 3.30pm I was in my hotel room…does it get any easier??

For 27 dollars a night I get a third floor very small room but very clean, a balcony, a fan, separate bathroom and in the hall a fridge!!!

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View from my balcony

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and the other way

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The front of the hotel

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This is a most unusual town when I walked through the old gates to the town there are literally ruins everywhere but get into the center of town amid ruins there are these very tacky tourists shops…hundreds of them with tacky English and German tourists everywhere…it reminds me of a sea side town in England….not my cup of tea at all BUT other things to see.

A new friend on a forum Angela has been so helpful to me in arranging things here and she has put me in touch with a tour guide named Abdullah who she tells me I can trust implicitly!!!

So I called him and arranged for him to come to the hotel at 6pm.

before he came I walked around a bit and checked other tour agencies it seems they are all governed by one corporation and charge the same prices!!

Abdullah was on time and I liked him and one of my main concern was when I leave here on Friday I have a long journey about 500km to the next place I want to visit and getting there involves a few buses and an overnight trip….but one of Abdullah’s trips is to the same town so to make a long story short I have signed up with him for his 3 day trip to that town and it will cost me 130 Lira which includes transportation, tours and two nights hotel and I will just stay in the town and not come back with the tour…this is a great deal especially when the two other tour agents I checked quoted me 170 Lira!!! when you figure apart from the hassle of getting there it would be at least 45 Lira on the bus, then 2 nights in a hotel plus all the hotels…so a happy camper.

Other things Abdullah is doing for me was to show me where to get an authentic Turkish shave and a haircut and tomorrow morning I have booked a three hours full Turkish bath/massage/whatever  for 40 Lira and on Thursday I will rent a scooter for the day…..so that worked out great thanks Angela!!!

So off I went for my haircut!!!

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All this time I have been missing my tea and here they offer me the famous Turkish tea and I say yes and it is lovely!!!!

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DSCF3730Ali, my barber, was a great kid spoke English and even knew about my soccer team Sheffield United!!!

The haircut was really good..next up….

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Never had a straight razor shave before…he was good…next…

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This was hard to explain..he had like dental floss which he wrapped around his fingers then put the other end in his mouth and like flicked it over my eyebrows and nose and it was just a little ouchie!!!!

Next up the open flame!!!!!!

DSCF3736The ceremonial burning of the ear, nose and eyebrow hair!!!!

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Finally a good shampoo and conditioner, a face wash and I was done!!!!!

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I really enjoyed everything and Ali was a good guy..the cost 25 Lira…worth every penny.

Went to another kebab place for supper…

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Then walked around town..

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Two blocks away..

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DSCF3754Almost a full moon!!!

Came back to the hotel stocked up the fridge with drinks and ready for bed.

This is the journey I took today..

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From X to Y

Then on Friday

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From X to Y

So again I have been impressed with how easy it has all been and again my only negative comment about it all is the smoking!!!!!!  Every one smokes everywhere!!!!!

 

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday 23rd October 2014…Day six!!!

I am continuing to post blogs from my travels over the years just for a change…will do this till the weekend hope you enjoy the moments from days gone by….

Monday 25h June 2012……my last big city for a few days….Venice!!!

The camp site provides a ticket for 23 Euros that allows you to get two buses and then a ferry into the Centre of Venice and return plus all the small ferries all day…an awesome deal…so I left at 9am with bag packed

here is my neighbor on the bus

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and it was easy to get into the center and my first glimpse…

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Even though it was a Monday the place was packed with tourists and line ups everywhere and I refuse to pay to go into any church so I skipped that and just walked around and soaked up the flavor and the vitality that is Florence!!!

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Where did you have lunch today??

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After a few hours of enjoying wondering around I hit the wall ..it was hot, too many tourists and I decided it was time to hit the water so I boarded a small ferry on the Grand Canal and did the complete loop!!!

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I was still requiring some quiet time and did some research and with a couple of ferry changes I arrived and the out of this world small Isla of Burano!!!!

Never quite seen anything like in except maybe for the sights in Guanajuato in Mexico!!

Enjoy the peace, the tranquility and the colors!!!!!

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The Island is famous for its lace!!!!

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All this time in Italy with the warnings of beware of pickpockets well it happened to me on this tiny lovely Island…..I felt one of the zippers on my back pack opened and quickly turned around and found these two trying to rip me off…a quick shout and a wave of the hand and they were gone…

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Must have been all of 7 years of age!!!!!!

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What a great way to end a perfect day!!!!

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Janet and Malc did their own thing today and Janet got her lifetime wish to go on a Gondola and Malc has been practicing his “O sol o Mio” all week…they said it was wonderful and 80 Euros for 30 minutes but well worth it!!

A bit of a hard time getting back to the camp site but made it now we are all cleaned and ready for the big scrabble game stay tuned….

Yashi Kochi!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday 22nd October 2014….Day five!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday 13th April…..your lucky day!!

This is the view from Ramona’s door at 8am this morning.IMG_6243

A very lovely morning sunny and warm and it is your lucky day because you get to go on another of those famous Personal Pearson Guided tours.

Ok so here is the scoop:  you need to pack some food and drink, good socks, hiking boots, sunscreen and of course do not forget to sign the waiver!!!

There are about 4 different hikes we are going to do, so lets get started, follow me….IMG_6245 This is a short half mile hike to get you warmed up.IMG_6246

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That wasn’t too bad now we go across the road to the next hike, this one is one mile.IMG_6274

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Anybody spot Ramona?  Clue……left hand corner!!IMG_6267 So we are just getting warmed up…

It is important that we pay attention here because the path is quite narrow and also quite high.  Now ladies I know I am hiking with out a shirt and the Mr.Bermuda 1970 buff body is distracting but you must watch your step. Did I ever tell you that when I was a little baby I won third prize in a Beautiful Baby Competition.  I won a blue cheese dish that my parents kept in their cabinet for years.  My brother will tell you that there was only three babies entered in the competition BUT that I think is sibling rivalry. I lost two hikers here yesterday, they were Calgary Flames fans, so not a great loss (sorry Vicky) and they also refused to sign the waiver, bet they wished they had now.

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Now the serious hiking begins we head out toIMG_6276

this is a 7 mile loop with small vista’s to see on the way.IMG_6279

The path is easy and sandy and only slightly up hill.IMG_6280

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This cave was cool but the photo does not really show it.IMG_6332

I am a tour leader with a heart and it is time for a drink and a snack.

IMG_6338Store bought rice crispy square not as good as yours Mary, or yours Karen, or yours Heather….yes I have my personal suppliers!!!!!

OK lets get going…IMG_6340

I think I should register this plot because I am sure there is gold in this rock!!!!IMG_6339

Well done back to base camp.IMG_6343

To show I am not a slave driver we can have lunch before our last hike.

How about some Mexican strawberries that I froze before leaving Mexico and ice cream and ladies how about the last leg look!!!!IMG_6345

OK OK so I had a little siesta…..time for the last hike this one only 2 miles.IMG_6346

Many beautiful views hereIMG_6347

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The largest natural arch in Utah is in Arches National Park, this is the second largest.IMG_6355

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The only wild life all day.IMG_6387 IMG_6381

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There we are home!!!!IMG_6392

Suppose you think you deserve a cup of tea…wrong…this is the tip jar!!!!!!IMG_6393

Hope you enjoyed that funny hike about 10 miles in all.

It was about 5pm so back on the road and some views on the way.

Love these clouds!!

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If you look on the numbered map from yesterday’s post I am now camped on BLM land, in the middle of now where by No.6 about 5 miles east of Escalente.IMG_6407

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Another great day and I have had a hot shower, a hot meal and now tea, cookies and a movie……hope you enjoyed the tour!!!