Turkey is such an amazing country! We started off in Istanbul visiting the Ayasofia and Blue Mosque which has the most incredible architecture. On our first morning we were woken at 4:30am by a prayer call from a mosque echoing around the city.
Next stop was Gallipoli. It's hard to believe the fighting that went on in such a beautiful setting. After this we stayed in Canakkale and visited Troy which was really only the foundations left so one had to use their imagination to see where the city would've been. The town, however, had the wooden horse used in the movie.... that was the closest I'll ever get to Brad Pitt!
Selcuk was our base for the next few days and we went to Ephesus which is an ancient Roman city and Pamukkale. Pamukkale is a series of fountains made of calcium so they were bright white with natural spring water flowing down them. The water appeared pale blue.
We caught an overnight bus to Cappadocia which was an interesting experience. The bus conductors supply the passengers with water, tea, coffee and cakes. The service was great. In Cappodocia there are houses and churches carved into the volcanic rocks these are called Fairy Chimneys.
Mt Nemrut is a large mountain with huge statues and a tomb on top. Over the centuries earthquakes have caused the heads to fall off. We visited the mountain and watched the sun rise.
In Olympos we relaxed by the beach and explored the ancient ruins which have become overgrown by trees. Then we boarded a gulet which is a traditional Turkish sail boat for a 4 day cruise to Fethiye. We were able to dive off the boat and swim in the clear turquoise coloured water. Highlights of the cruise were Butterfly Valley and going paragliding over Oludeniz.
Location: Val d'Isere, France
I decided to give skiing a go again so 8 of us headed to Val d'Isere, France for a week of snow, cheese, wine. Val d'Isere is one of the highest resorts so it still had lots of snow despite being late in the season. Our chalet we were staying in was beautiful and the chalet host was an amazing chef. Everynight we were treated to canapes, entree, main, dessert and then a cheese board. The cheese in France was to die for! The first day was really warm with an endless sky. The following days we had lots of snow so it was really nice to ski in.
I made it through 3 days unscathed then came the big stack where I sprained my knee. I spent the rest of the trip with a swollen knee, a massive knee brace and luckily only one day with crutches. Anway, I kept myself entertained with dvds and nice restaurants. One particularly memorable meal was Raclette... this consisted of a plate of assorted meats and potato with a large wedge of cheese being heated at the side of the table. Once the cheese was heated it was scraped off with a paddle and added to the meat and potatoes. Delish!
Location: Greek Islands, Greece
Mike and I flew to Athens for a quick visit of it's Ancient sites. The heat in Athens was searing and I had to stop and sit in the shade to recuperate regularly. I've become soft spending time in rainy Ireland.
A day later we boarded a ferry very early in the morning to Mykonos where we spent 6 days lying on the beach and drinking cocktails. The beaches don't have sand instead they have large pebbles and the water was crystal clear. Super Paradise Beach has several day club/bars on it, by 4pm the music started cranking and every podium in sight was taken by bikini clad dancers. It was really cheesy! We also hired a car and drove around the island exploring different beaches. Mykonos is a party island but we were there to relax and it's tiring spending all day lying on the beach!
We spent the next 6 days in Santorini which is the top of a volcano. It is a very beautiful place with black pebbly beaches. Again we relaxed on the beach sipping on cocktails. The island was covered in white churches with dark blue domes which made a fantastic contrast with the blue sky. We went on a tour which took us sailing around to the other smaller islands that make up Santorini, went swimming in a hot spring, climbed crater of volcano and then watch the sunset at Oi which was stunning.
The food was excellent but one can only handle so many greek salads. We also ate Gyros which are like a kebab but they put chips in it... greasy but tasty.