Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Turkish Takeover

Welcome to Turkey, one of the largest countries in the world. I traveled to Turkey this past summer in July. My journey started in the magnificent city of Istanbul. I spent 2 nights in the Hamidiye hotel. This hotel had a quaint little pool to cool down in.  The smell of hookah filled the air reminding me I am in a Mediterranean culture.  I made the classic visits to the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia an the legendary Grand Bazaar, where you can find anything imaginable from spices to expensive jewelry. However, the bazaar has become a tourist trap, almost no locals shop here. For a more authentic locals experience, go to the Spice Market for handcrafted goods. Make sure you have baklava (pictured above), a specialty  pastry. One of my favorite day trips, was Pergamon and the Acropolis. This ancient city is a must see for architectural ruins and breathtaking views.   

The next village I visited was gorgeous Kusadasi along the Aegean coast. I love big cities like Istanbul, but living in New York City, I appreciate lush beach towns and country towns, which made Kusadasi a highlight of my trip.  Here, I stayed at the Arora hotel. My room had a great view of the pool , sea, mountains and village, absolutely breathtaking. One night, they had amazing  fire performing artists who put on a spectacular show for the guests. This hotel has two pools, one in the sun and one across the street that is more shaded which made for a less crowded pool area. My days spent here were bliss. Needless to say, I have fallen in love with Turkey. Here's to many more Turkish adventures! 

Until Next Time,

 Out and about in Istanbul
 Inside the Grand Bazaar
 A nice rooftop bar
 The cleanest subway tracks I have ever seen!
 The famous Blue Mosque
 Turkish Tea; a must!
 Ancient Castle
 Pool club on the water
 Dikilitas (Egyptian)
 Acropolis Wall
 An ancient pillar in the acropolis, magnificent
One of the steepest theaters in Pergamon
Taking in the View of Acropolis

 I was in awe of the details on this pillar in the Acropolis
 Heading over to the Asian side of Turkey.
 Acres and acres of sunflowers dot the country.
 Visiting Desen Carpet Weavers Association
 Rugs galore, all hand made!
 Making a carpet is hard work, here I take a stab at it.
 One of the world's most expensive carpets.
 The ruins of Ephesus
 So this is how they went to the bathroom in Ephesus...!
 Ephesus theater

The beach in Kusadasi
Cappuccino time by the water
 Arora hotel room view.

Waking up to this was bliss.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mexican Getaway

Welcome to Cancun.
This past January, I escaped the bitter NYC cold with a Mexican getaway. My friend and I booked a week long stay in Cancun at the Royal Solaris Resort through Hotwire. The hotel was fabulous; great staff, food and amenities. It was smaller compared to some of the bigger Cancun resorts, but I don't want to be in a swamped resort, a smaller hotel usually means a more peaceful time. We bought a vacation package including our flight and hotel in one price. Vacation packages are a great way to go on vacation without breaking the bank. Mexico has numerous all inclusive resorts an I recommend staying at one, it makes vacation more relaxing not having to worry about a huge bill at the end.
One excursion we took was an all day snorkeling cruise to Isla Mujeres. I have never seen water such a gorgeous blue. The island is paradise. After snorkeling, we went to another beach for lunch and enjoyed the swings at the bar. The bartender tried to make my friend and I try tequila with a scorpion in the bottle; we kindly declined. I am looking forward to my next Mexican Getaway.

Until Next Time,

The Palm Trees in Isla Mujeres

Cancun Beach

Room View, Stunning

Hotel Pool

The Swings in Isla Mujeres