Greetings from Turkey!!

Hello World,

I realize the Hilary JUST posted something, but I’ve been neglecting my duties as co-blogger, but as you will hopefully see, I have some pretty good excuses for not blogging.

Now, where did I leave you guys last?  Oh right! Asia!

After my quick sojourn over to Asia, I returned back to the hostel and decided to take a quick trip over to the Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets.  I have to say after the Souqs of Marrakesh, I was a little disappointed with the markets in Istanbul. Because I wasn’t in the mood for leather, knock-off handbags or jewellery, I was  a little out of my market (if you pardon the pun), but none the less it was pretty exciting to explore this marketplace that’s been there for hundreds of years.

The following day was filled with visiting most of the touristic sites in Sultanamet, the old city district of the city with my new Ozzy friend Chris. First stop was visiting the Ayasofia, probably the most famous of the sites in the city. Dating back from the 500’s AD this cathedral turned mosque turned museum, was one impressive site!! With six minarets, this building stands out from the rest of Istanbul despite being surrounded by mosques on all sides.

Ayasofia

After the Ayasofia was the Cisterns of Istanbul.  I have to say this was hands down my favourite place in Istanbul. This underground facility was used to collect water for the different cities that have stood where Istanbul is today. Before going to the cistern, I had no idea what it looked like nor what I was getting myself into, and to be honest that made it 10 times better. Therefore, I’ve made the executive decision, not to post my pictures from the cistern to maintain the element of surprise for you budding travellers.

Once we were back above ground again, Chris and I headed to the archaeology museum which was pretty cool! The museum is filled with TONS of crazy artifacts from the Babylonia, Egypt, Roman and Greek empires.  All and all a pretty cool experience.

Now after all our touring, both Chris and I were pretty tired. We split up and found ways to beat the heat. Chris decided to watch the finale of the Tour de France and watch his fellow countryman win the race, while I decided to nap.  That evening we met up with two German girls, Evi and Michaela and we became fast friends. The girls told us that they were heading to the Black Sea to check out a small fishing village that was supposed to have an amazing beach, something which Istanbul sadly lacks. After they extended the invitation to join, both Chris and I happily accepted.

The next morning, the four of us made our way (slowly) to Kilyos, about 2 hours north of Istanbul.  WHAT a day. That’s all I really have to say. It was so nice to get out of the city and avoid the hussle and bussle.  It was a great day, and so far is one of my favourite memories of the place.

Chris and Michaela

After my day on the beach, I sadly had to say goodbye to Istanbul, and head towards Echeabat, southwest of Istanbul.  The city is famous for being close Gallipoli a fairly, major battlefield during WWI. My time in Echaebat was split between snorkling over a sunken WWI transport ship and touring the battlefields. Snorkelling was an awesome experience!  After touring the sunken ship, we could explore the reefs for relics from WWI. After about 10 minutes of hunting, I was able to find a British bullet from one of the initial sieges. After showing it off to my fellow snorkelers, I tossed it back into the ocean for other treasure hunters to find. Overall my time in Echaebat was very informative. While Canadians played a very very limited (aka almost none besides Newfoundlanders) it was still an eyeopening experience.

Snorkelling!

My time in Gallipoli was fairly short, but I’ve made my way to Selcuk further south in Turkey and tomorrow I will tour the ancient ruins of Ephesus (google for some cool photos)

Well, I realize this post is a fairly monsterous one so I will leave it hear.  I meet up with Hilary next Wednesday and I CANNOT wait to see her! As much fun as it is to always be making friends, I’m excited for beaching and lounging with my bud.

Later days

G.

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Au Revoır Parıs and Selam Istanbul!

Time for another update from the road! 

Last time I left you guys, I had just spent a pretty productive day marching around Paris. That night ended up being a bit more of a chill evening as both myself and the Aussie girls I had been traveling around with were exhausted.  To treat ourselves for such a productive day, we decided that we would sample some of the French cusine in the area.  We chose a restraunt called Marmite, not to far from the hostel and i had a delicious lamb dish that I would definitely recommend for anyone visiting Paris!  (num num)

Kirra and Cate on the Streets of Paris

The next day, the girls and I decided to split up as they wanted to check out the Louvre and I wanted to see the Musee D’Orsay.  Wow! what a museum! Some of the most beautiful works of art i have ever seen. What was really cool was the museum was hosting a Van Gogh exhibit so I got check some of his most famous works including his self-portrait.

After the art museum, I decided to wander about for a bit before I tried heading to the catacombs of Paris, where some of the bodies from the French revolution are buried. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the catacombs, they had already closed the line for the day. To cheer myself up, I decided to buy myself some Macarons, these cute colourful cookie-esque desserts that have become quite a fad around the world.  I ended trying three different flavours, including lavender, salted-caramel (apparently very French) and Mojito (not particularly French but still delicious).  

Macarons!

That evening, I reunited with Cate and Kirra and we made a delicious pasta dish that was the envy of all the other backpackers in the hostel. Unfortunately that I night I also learned the terrible news that I would  have to get up at 3:45 am to take a shuttle to the airport because my flight left before the metro started in the morning.

Note to all travelling friends, cheaper flights don’t always work out to be cheaper if you have to pay 37 euro to get the airport 😦

Yesterday was spent, sleeping on planes and in airports. After arriving at Charles de Gaulle, I boarded my flight destined for Warsaw. Unfortunately for me, my flight was delayed by a few hours. My orginal intention was to leave the Warsaw airport and check out the city, but I neded up only having and 1 and a half hours until my next flight, and I still needed to clear through EU customs.

Arriving in Istanbul was completely amazing.  The metro/street car ride through the city to get to my hostel, was jaw-droppingly beautiful.  The thing that comes across instantly about the city is that it is OLD. And by Old I mean 700 years older than Senor Jesus Christo.

I got to my hostel, no problem and ended up making some new friends at the hostel’s rooftop patio and bar. So far today, I hopped on a commuter ferry and headed over to the Asian side of Istanbul.  While less touristy than, the region my hostel is in, it’s still nice to be able to say that I’ve been to Asia. 

 

Well, that’s about it for now, I’m planning on hitting up the huge market this afternoon, in search of some new treasures! I’ll give you an update as soon as I can!

Later days! 

G

Paris Round 1

NOTE TO HILARY (and everyone else) Before you chastise me for my lack of pictures on the post, the computer I’m using doesn’t seem to like my Camera so I will upload them EVENTUALLY
ALSO this computer doesn’t seem to like wordpress so I can’t actually SEE what i’m writing, so I apologize if there are typos

Now that clerical issue is over with, Greetings From Paris!
While I’ve only been here for less than 48 hours, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much in this bustling city! But before I get into too much detail about what I’ve gotten up to today, let me recount my travels from Canada to Europe:

Monday afternoon, I got myself and Frank (my backpack) to the greyhound bus terminal just in time to catch my direct bus to the airport in Montreal. After chilling for a few hours in at the Trudeau airport, I squeezed my way into the “cozy” Air Transat seat and promptly fell asleep. Lucky for me, my flight was overnight, so I slept for almost all of the trip.

Arriving in Paris was a pretty easy procedure EXCEPT when I almost walked away with the wrong backpack. Apparently, another traveller on the plane had the same model of backpack as me. I quickly realized that the backpack I was holding wasn’t mine and dropped it back off on the belt and waited for Frank to arrive.

Getting to Paris was a simple train ride into the city and then a quick walk to my hostel. Upon arrival, I dropped of Frank and headed to explore. My hostel, Le Village, is located in Montmatre, the district of Paris home to the Moulin Rouge and the famed catherdral Sacre Couer.

After exploring the district for a bit, I headed back to the hostel to check out my room. Upon opening the door to my room, I met two delightful Australian girls from Adelaide. Kate and Kirra have been living in the UK working ata pub near London. After we introduced ourselves we became quick friends and went out to explore more of Montmatre.

Our evening was spent drinking wine, swapping stories and quoting from our mutual favourite show, Summer Heights High. The next morning was a bit of an early one as we all had planned to go on a walking tour of Paris. The tour was lots of fun and we ended up seeing lots of the popular sites here in Paris and learning some interesting facts.

Not to Hilary: Definitely check out the walking tour whwen you get here!

And that’s about it! Tomorrow I’m hoping to check some other sites here in Paris, but my time in this city is almost done! I depart early Friday morning for Istanbul and I’m not lying when I say I’m SUPER excited!!