“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” (Winnie-the-Pooh)
Currently traveling
  • Day150

    Piglet does brave things

    Yesterday in Jordan ⋅ ☀️ 90 °F

    Miles: 6.7 Steps: 16366
    Flights stairs: 19

    I stepped out of my comfort zone today in so many ways, and felt very brave and accomplished.

    First, I wandered the streets of Amman … alone. Jordan unexpectedly found she had a friend visiting Amman also (same one she saw in Budapest) so she met up with her which left me seeing the sites solo. It was actually very fun and I felt adventurous.

    I hit the Roman Theater and then did a 25 minute walk to the Citadel Hill. Both Roman ruins from when they occupied Amman centuries ago. Then I walked 35 minutes more through the streets of Amman to the Jordan Museum which was neat to see. And then walked back to the hotel all though the local markets. Not really an area with tourists, just locals. I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb. Ubers are dirt cheap here but chose to walk instead to see the surroundings more and get some miles in, since we haven’t really done much while poolside for the last few days.

    We’ve decided to break away from the buses and such and rent a car for our time in Jordan! It’s the way you get around here, so we’ll be on our own for the next 10 days. I drove for the first time in 5 months!! It felt very strange, but nice to be behind a wheel again.

    We drove about 90 minutes north towards Syria to the town of Jerash. Driving is CRAZY here - there aren’t any lines on the roads to show lanes - so there are as many lanes as cars that can fit across. Sometimes 2,3 and even 4. Everyone is in a huge hurry and everyone is honking at everyone. It is an exercise in CONSTANT defensive driving as you never know when cars are going to try to just squeeze by you. 🤞
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  • Day149

    Travel day

    August 17 in Jordan ⋅ ☀️ 90 °F

    Miles: 2.0 Steps: 4816
    Flights stairs: 6

    As we leave Europe and head into Asia/Africa, we have a bit of nervousness. Many parts of Europe felt a lot like home, or at least places we’d been in the US. Somewhat familiar and “normal”. We’ve slowly adjusted to the cultures around us. Eastern Europe much different than Western, but still nothing too extreme.

    Today we flew into Amman, Jordan. We’re officially in the Middle East … which is a little unsettling - everyone says we’re fine as long as we stay clear of the Syrian border … so we’ll stay clear of the Syrian border. 🥺 The city’s claim to fame is its the 3rd most ugly city in the world!!! 😳 And so far, from what we’ve seen, possibly.

    We arrived and did our normal routine in a new country … locate a SIM card so we have GPS and data, find a “trustworthy” ATM to get local currency, and figure out the transportation situation. A taxi from Amman airport is spendy … almost $70. So … I found a local express bus and we got on that instead. $3 each. It got us close to our hotel, and then we Uber’d the rest of the way for $3. Much more affordable.

    I book all of our accommodations online, sight unseen. I go off reviews, pictures, locations. So far we’ve done fairly well. We’ve had a few locations that weren’t the best, but overall, done okay. Pictures and descriptions can be deceiving tho.

    Today, when the Uber driver dropped us off at the hotel, we were scared. There was NOTHING that resembled a hotel. Nothing. GPS said it should be close, but all we saw was what appeared to be condemned or abandoned buildings. So we went to where it was telling us … and there was a small sign for our hotel. Right dead center in the … mess. 😳 long story short, the positive is that it was much nicer inside than out, but it’s still not good. Luckily it’s a private room, and we’re here just one night so making the best of it.

    When traveling without a car, the intent is always to get as close to the center of town as possible. It’s where the tourist attractions or sites usually are, and it just makes it easier getting around. Up till today, it’s worked like a charm. This time it appears the closer we got to the center of town, the more it resembled a chaotic, war zone. Should be VERY interesting heading out tomorrow to explore Amman.
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    Julie Burdette

    Be careful and have fun!

    Donna McGovert

    Culture shock for sure, but also a perspective check, huh?

    Christie Mitchell

    Definitely

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  • Day148

    Antalya, Turkey

    August 16 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    We’ve spent the last few days just hanging out by the pool and playing on the beach. Not much to post so just held off and doing one for the entire time we were here.

    Beautiful weather, great food, relaxing time. Couldn’t ask for more.Read more

    Donna McGovert

    Looks beautiful and relaxing!

    Donna McGovert

    Never seen a swing like that on a beach before! What kind of ship is out there? Looks like the Mayflower😂

    Christie Mitchell

    Looked like a pirate ship to us. 🏴‍☠️

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  • Day145

    Travel day

    August 13 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

    Miles: 2.0 Steps: 4522
    Flight stairs: 9

    Nothing exciting today - left Cappadocia early for a flight to Antalya, but first ended up back in Istanbul again!! Funny how airlines work. Antalya is on the southern coast of Turkey. We’re outside the city by about 30 min because I wasn’t using my head when I booked it. So, now we’ll just deal with it.

    We’re back to pools and beaches for a bit - cause why not when you’re in Turkey and it’s 85-90° with 75-80% humidity. We hit the pool when we got in today and it was very nice. Just a basic little hotel with food provided that we’re staying in - nothing fancy, but it’s nice.

    Went down to see the beach after dinner, but it was odd - completely private apparently and closed off for as far as we could see. Used only for restaurants at night, and can only access it if you’re eating there. Come the morning I guess we can get to it. ???
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    Julie Burdette

    That seems a bit too early 😕

    Christie Mitchell

    All of them in Europe and such have closed early - like 7:00-8:00. It’s a bummer

    Donna McGovert

    Ahhhh.. looks refreshing😜Cute little pool😍

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  • Day144

    Last day in Cappadocia

    August 12 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 88 °F

    Miles: 1.0 Steps: 2424
    Flights stairs: 3

    We had a lazy day today - slept in, sat on the terrace over looking the city, and continued to plan the last of our countries. Only left to hit the ATM and for dinner.

    We’ve found a restaurant we like here VERY much and have gone back 3 of our 4 nights. A waiter has adopted us and treated us like gold. Gave us free Turkish Pomegranate tea every night. (which by the way, is awesome). Tonight he suggested we order pottery kebabs, the food of Cappadocia - so we did. It comes flaming to the table. Basically just a really tender pot roast. At the end of dinner, he came over and sat down with us for about 20 min. Learned all about him and his life (Immigrant from Afghanistan). I was kind of shocked, but it was really nice talking and learning about his life and culture. He may have been possibly interested in dating Jordan. 😃

    We’ve felt very safe here in Göreme, but the roads are something else. The whole city is torn apart and cars are constantly just spinning their wheels in the gravel trying to get up the hills. It’s very interesting, and at times looks war torn.
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    Julie Burdette

    Do they get much rain?? What kind of seasons do they get. This is one of the most interesting places you've been to.

    Christie Mitchell

    It really is!! I wish I would have been more prepared - I could have done more. “Cappadocia’s is a dry climate, do not expect much humidity. Look for some winds in the spring and some fog in the late fall. Rain in the summer is a rarity but not uncommon in the fall and spring with a few snowfalls each winter. The hot air balloons fly up to 330 days per year!” Think high desert - very little rain, cool in the evenings and hit during the day. Quite cold in winter. Generally.

    Julie Burdette

    Wow!! That looks yummy!

    Christie Mitchell

    We got beef. Could have had chicken or lamb. A lot like a pot roast but smaller chunks. They rely on meat and root vegetables here, which makes sense. Limited beef - mostly raise sheep/goats/chickens.

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  • Day143

    Cappodocia!!

    August 11 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

    Miles: 2.0 Steps: 7450
    Flights stairs: 20

    Later in the evening we went on three hour ATV sunset tour of the different valleys. Jordan had never driven a 4-wheeler so had a blast. She had ridden on them, but was never old enough to drive.

    The tour was fantastic. We were in a group of about 15 with three guides who took us everywhere. When we would get to viewing spots, we would then see exactly how many ATV tours were going on .. there were hundreds of them!! But most of the time when we were driving, we felt very isolated or alone. Shows how big of an area this is.

    The day ended as it began. Us sitting on a hillside watching the sun do it’s thing … sunrise to sunset. Gorgeous day!
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    Michele Hole

    How do you know which one is yours?!

    Christie Mitchell

    One of the guides stayed with our “line” of ATV’s, we always stayed in the same order (so I was second from the front), and I had a bag hanging on mine. Wasn’t as hard as it might look.

    Michele Hole

    😎

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  • Day143

    Early morning

    August 11 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 61 °F

    I usually just post once a day, but going to need two for today! We got up at 4:30 this morning and hiked up to the viewpoint to watch the hot air balloons launch. It was SPECTACULAR!! I’ve seen hot air balloons in Oregon, but there were so many more here combined with the sunrise and the landscape … phenomenal!! This is what I came to Cappadocia for! Not to necessarily ride in one, but to see literally hundreds of them fill the sky together like this. I WILL ride in one, but it will have to wait for a few more countries. 😃Read more

    Julie Burdette

    Do they do this every day? Are they going up to give tourist rides? Incredible.

    Christie Mitchell

    EVERY DAY!! Unless the weather doesn’t allow it. Yep, each basket holds 25-30 people!! $150-300 a person depending on how far they go.

    Julie Burdette

    That's a lot of people in that balloon. Why don't you ride in one there? Seems like the perfect place.

    Christie Mitchell

    Most don’t go very high, just skim across the valley and drop you on the other side. Didn’t seem like the experience I was hoping for for that much money. We’re going to do it in Egypt.

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  • Day142

    Cappadocia, Turkey!

    August 10 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    Miles: 4.6 steps: 12046
    Flights stairs: 41

    Cappadocia is THE place in the world for hot air ballooning. Hundreds of them launch every morning at sunrise. We decided we got to sleep too late to get up early the first morning, but I ended up waking up on my own around 6:00, so went to our terrace to see if it was too late or if it gave me a view or not. Was happy to be able to still see a little more than 60 in the sky!! I was looking into the sun so pics were difficult, but it was quite the sight.

    Usually when we’re in cities we get around on our own - subways, trams, buses, Uber, taxis - but here in this village, that’s not so easy. We either have to walk or take a tour. So today we took a group tour - highlights of cappadocia. It was okay. They showed us a few of the limestone formations (fairy chimneys), went to Panorama Point, to Goreme open air museum, a carpet weaving demonstration, imagination valley (formations that look like animals), and a pottery demonstration. It was all every interesting.

    I had no idea we were in the hub of the ancient Christian world - where they first settled after being pushed out of the Rome. Pretty crazy the history here. They settled here because it was so easy to “make” housing - all you needed was a hammer and chisel, and you could carve yourself a home. There were churches everywhere - small cut outs that could only hold 10 people or so with beautiful paintings on the walls.

    After the tour we went for a walk up to “Sunset viewpoint” for the sunset. It was pretty beautiful. Then headed back home to call it a day!
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    Julie Burdette

    Spectacular shot! Looks like an amazing cutt.

    Julie Burdette

    wonder what I was trying to say.....

    Christie Mitchell

    I wondered as wel. 😂

    Michele Hole

    That is so cool!

     
  • Day141

    Exhausting but amazing travel day

    August 9 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 90 °F

    Miles: 1.5 Steps: 3533
    Flights stairs: 15

    We had a long travel day today, but it was all worth it once we got to our destination!!!

    Took an hour taxi to the Istanbul airport, flew 2 hours to Kayseri airport, and then boarded a group shuttle van for another 90 min ride. The last part was so bumpy and curvy - But we made it safe and sound to Cappadocia, Turkey!! It’s been a bucket list city for me for years, and can’t believe I’m actually finally here! It’s a village built in and amongst caves and what they call fairy chimneys.

    We didn’t get to see much yet as we got in around 6:00. Found dinner and that’s about it so far, but just wow!!! I feel like I’ve been transported to another dimension. It literally is magical.

    We’re staying in an actual cave in the side of the hill and it’s fantastic. Dinner may have been one of the best yet. Just chicken, rice, carrots and potatoes … but so much flavor in everything. Tried a Turkish dessert - Katmer - phyllo dough, pistachios and cream!! Seemed like it had honey on it as well. And then followed with a hot pomegranite tea. Soooo yummy.
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    Julie Burdette

    How amazing is that!!! I've never heard of this place. I imagine it's pretty cool in there?? is it artificially heated/cooled?

    Christie Mitchell

    Heated artificially in the winter, yes. Cooled just by being in the cave.

    Julie Burdette

    Beautiful terrace to eat.

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  • Day140

    Last day in Istanbul

    August 8 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 86 °F

    Miles: 5.0 Steps:13306
    Flights stairs: 10

    We headed over to the Asia side of Istanbul today!! Took a tram across the river and a funicular up the hill to wander a bit. It was so different on that side! Much less chaotic, more friendly, less sales pressure … much more enjoyable time wandering the streets.

    We tried to do some shopping - I’m not prepared to head into Egypt in a few weeks as i guess I can’t wear shorts anywhere. 😩 so I’m looking for capris, or long shorts or something and just can’t find anything. All the stores are obsessed with selling denim here, which is way too hot. May have to break down and buy a wrap around skirt to put over my shorts …

    We went to dinner and I finally was able to see a whirling dervish. And then we headed over to the Hagia Sophia mosque at night - wasn’t prepared. Women have to cover their heads, shoulders and knees. 🤷. So we made up an outfit for me so we didn’t have to go back to our hostel to change. We couldn’t enjoy any of the mosques for long, as they require you to take off your shoes. The stench is REALLY bad at the entrance, and then in the entire mosque. Hard to describe, but it definitely effected our enjoyment of the visit.

    So stray cats are EVERYWHERE in Istanbul. Like EVERYWHERE. They estimate there could be anywhere from 200,000 to a million! They don’t really consider them strays as much as “community owned”. There is food and water left out on every corner, as well as little “dog houses” - and they are the friendliest, least scared, healthiest looking cats I’ve seen.

    Apparently cats are protected by law here. They view them as living beings, not commodities. They have a blanket no kill, no capture, zero tolerance on abuse policy punishable with severe jail time.

    The Turkish have a long history with cats dating back centuries. Muhammed was the first to bless the cat and prohibit all abuse of it in 600 ad and ever since it has been revered by Islam. Kind of fascinating.
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    Lisa Pelletier

    Gyro meat! Yum.

    Christie Mitchell

    Yes but no. That kind of meat definitely, but they didn’t really make what I would consider a gyro with it — not like we got in Greece, which was much more like what I’ve had in the states.

    Donna McGovert

    Rrrrrr!!!😂

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