Footprints for the Oceania TransAtlantic Crossing ... from Miami to Athens … with three weeks added in Turkey to visit family.
  • Day53

    Home Sweet Home

    May 10 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    We’re back home! As much as we love traveling to lands distant and near, it’s always a delight to return home.

    Our flight from IAH to COS was on time and uneventful … but it sure was cold on the aircraft. The flight attendant had an ingenious method to help me stay warm. She filled a plastic water bottle with hot water, put a latex glove over it to create an extra layer of heat protection, and put the bottle in a paper cup so I could hold it without burning myself.

    Once we landed at 1:30p and collected our bags, an Uber whisked us home.

    Thus our 53-day trip has drawn to a close. We had a wonderful time … both on the cruise and with family in Turkey. Now, to get settled and plan for our next trip.
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  • Day53

    Travel Day 2 … Onward to COS

    May 10 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    We’ve checked out of the Marriott and are on our way home … should be pulling into the driveway by 2:30p if all goes as scheduled.

    Normally, we walk the underground pedestrian path from the hotel to the terminal. But the path is carpeted and the wheels on one of the bags have gone askew and aren’t rolling well. So, the subway it was today.

    More later ...
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  • Day52

    Welcome to Houston

    May 9 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

    Day 1 of our travels back to the US is now completed. We’ve checked in and settled into our room at the Marriott IAH … connected to George Bush Intercontinental Airport via a subway. Easy peasy.

    TK33 from IST to IAH was uneventful. We had a five minute delay leaving the gate at IST, but were on the ground at IAH 15-20 minutes early. It’s nice to see that the service in the business class cabin is back to its pre-pandemic levels. Mui, as he often does, slept between the two meal services … I watched a couple of movies, did a bit of journaling and reading, and tried to nap to no avail. No matter, the flight went by fast.

    Immigration was easy. IAH has biometric recognition at the Global Entry kiosks, so we were through in no time at all. Unlike in December, when our bags took forever to come onto the luggage carousel, this time we were lugging our bags out within minutes of arriving at baggage claim. A couple of escalators down and right onto a subway car. Perfect timing.

    The plan is to stay up at least until 9:00p to minimize the effects of jet lag after losing 9 hours in the span of a 12-hour flight. Our flight home tomorrow is not until noon, so we should get a good night’s rest.
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  • Day52

    Whiling Away Time @ IST

    May 9 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

    An uneventful flight from ADB to IST.

    The aircraft pushed back on time at 8:50a … in the air seconds after 9:00a … breakfast on our trays by 9:09a … pilot announced descent into IST at 9:27a … rolling down the arrival runway at IST 9:49a … deplaned at the domestic terminal around 10:05a. Then, a long walk to the immigration checkpoint for international passengers … followed by a few minutes to get through the security checkpoint to enter the international terminal.

    Thus, formalities completed, we’re now ensconced in the THY business class lounge, whiling away the time until our long haul flight at 2:10p. Delicious food; beverages plentiful and varied. The lounge definitely lives up to all the hype.

    Fingers crossed for an on time departure and smooth flight to Houston, Texas.

    More later …
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  • Day52

    At ADB

    May 9 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Mui had arranged for a taxi to pick us up from Mom’s at 6:30a. But we were ready by 6:00a, so he walked over to the corner to see if the cab could pick us up early. The driver was, in fact, ready. We bid mom farewell — until next year. Loaded up the bags. And were on our way to Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) by 6:15a. Forty five minutes later, we were through the security checkpoint at the entrance to the domestic terminal.

    In recent years, whenever we use United miles for THY tickets, we run into problems at the check-in counter. Namely, the reservation in the system shows no luggage allowance. That requires the agent to call someone who has the authority to fix things in the computer so that the bags can be checked. It took about 20-30 minutes, but finally, the deed was done. The rest of the formalities were easy peasy as, at this hour, ADB is fairly quiet.

    We’re now ensconced at Gate 241. Our “winged chariot” has yet to arrive. Time to relax.

    More later …
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  • Day52

    Heading Home

    May 9 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    Today is the first of our two travel days to get home … have to overnight in Houston, Texas due to flight schedules.

    Mui did a “bit of shopping,” so we’re going back with an extra bag. One of these years we’ll learn to pack light 😊.

    More later …
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  • Day51

    Happy Mom’s Day

    May 8 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    We went to Sakız Restoran for a late lunch today … to celebrate Mother’s Day … and to enjoy a farewell dinner with the family since we leave tomorrow to return to the USA.

    As is always the case, the food was delicious … the service was excellent. For once, instead of filling our tummies with mezes (Turkish tapas) only, we ordered just enough small plates to share so that we could enjoy grilled sea bass as well.

    Now, our bags are packed … just one still open for last minute items. The cab has been ordered for 6:30a tomorrow morning. The alarm is set for o’dark hundred.

    And, oh yes, we took the COVID-19 test that is required to re-enter the USA. Since most of the labs are closed because it is Sunday, we used the proctored eMed antigen test kits from the comfort of the condo. We’re NEGATIVE!
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    Traveler

    travel safe

    5/8/22Reply
    Two to Travel

    🙏🏻

    5/8/22Reply
    Sonia Gelman

    Safe travels and I will talk to you when you arrive about other tours.

    5/8/22Reply
    Two to Travel

    🙏🏻…sounds like a plan.

    5/8/22Reply
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  • Day50

    Urla: Food-Art-Food

    May 7 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 63 °F

    A beautiful spring day — a bit breezy; but with blue skies and sunshine to mitigate the chill.

    To make the most of it, we began our day early with a 40-minute drive to Urla, a town in the Province of İzmir.

    First up, a delicious breakfast at Léone, a patisserie and boulangerie in the town center. Delicious food … beautiful presentation … excellent service. So glad we arrived early as within minutes of being seated, there was not a single table left empty.

    Next, we drove the short distance to Arkas Sanat Urla, an art museum that was founded by the Arkas Family to feature their collection of art … paintings, sculptures, carpets, tapestries, and more … some from Turkey, others from abroad.

    What a wonderful museum … bright and airy … housed in a custom-built building on the family estate. No admission … which is flabbergasting, but is in line with the family’s “… passion for reaching art to large masses and contributing to Izmir’s cultural life, …”

    Then, we drove down to the Urla waterfront to check out what is billed as a maritime archaeology museum. Not much there … a couple of old boats … a scale model of a fishing village. There’s a lot of work to be done before I’d call this place a museum.

    Finally, we wrapped up with beverages and sweet treats at Fırın Vourla, a café/restaurant on the Urla waterfront. Despite the breeze, we found a secluded table on the terrace so that we could enjoy the beautiful day as we ate our treats.

    What a great way to spend one of only two days we have left with family on this short visit to Turkey,
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    Traveler

    Beautiful city. Can't wait to see these this month

    5/7/22Reply
     
  • Day49

    İzmir Tradition: Lokma Dökmek

    May 6 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

    Lokma is a pastry made with leavened dough. The dough is shaped either like a ball or a doughnut and deep fried. Then, it is soaked in simple syrup just long enough to coat the exterior. It is often garnished with cinnamon before serving.

    The name lokma literally translates as a bite or a morsel. When shaped like a ball, they are just that … a bite-sized sweet treat.

    It is possible to find a “lokmacı” (lokma maker) where one can enjoy this sweet treat. But that’s not how we came to be eating lokma today.

    You see, there is a tradition in Turkey called “lokma dökmek.” The literal translation is “dropping lokma” … from dropping bits of the dough into boiling hot oil to fry it. This is done by the family of a deceased person to honor his/her memory. Large quantities are made on the street, often in front of mosques, and the fresh, still-warm lokma is distributed to neighbors and passersby. It’s not uncommon for people to queue up to receive a plate and recite a prayer for the soul of the deceased after they eat the lokma. Though traditionally this is done forty days after someone has passed, it might also be done on the anniversary of the death of the deceased.

    The lokma that was “dropped” today was at the request of the young man who owns the neighborhood bakkal (mini market) … in honor of the anniversary of his mother’s death
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    Traveler

    I love it when you share the traditions of your other home

    5/6/22Reply
     
  • Day49

    Murals Around İzmir

    May 6 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

    Longtime readers all know of my love of murals. The medium doesn't matter ... paint, tile, mosaic. So, of course, when I came across a few as we wandered around the city yesterday and today, I had to photograph them.Read more

    Traveler

    I thought of you as we wandered around Silverton, Oregon, taking pictures of the almost 30 murals around the town. Every time I take a mural photo, I think of you and dealing with cars in front of the murals, getting the angle just right and all the details..."how would Erin do this one". Beautiful mural photos this time as always.

    5/6/22Reply
    Two to Travel

    😊

    5/6/22Reply
    Traveler

    a favorite. love the organic forms

    5/6/22Reply