Hiking the Lycian Way Trail beginning in the Ghost Village of Kayakoy

I plan trips and take people around the world through my site at “Travel Spirit Meetup” and for the eight night Turkey trip in mid-September, six people joined me for four nights on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey and four nights in Istanbul.  One of the adventures I was really looking forward to was hiking a small portion of the Lycian Way trail along Turkey’s turquoise coast.  Everyone arrived from the States and settled into our accommodations at Villa Rhapsody the first day, and after a delicious poolside breakfast the following morning, we walked 10 minutes from our Villa to the ghost village of Kayakoy and began exploring.

The village was deserted by the Greek Orthodox that inhabited the village during the 1923 forced exchange between Turkey and Greece.  Our goal was to take the trail head that leads from the village and hike seven kilometers to the town of Oludeniz.  During my research at home before the trip I found a great website with information about the hike, and read other information, but we still experienced some difficulty finding the trail head.  Another couple armed with a map were also a bit lost.  The trail is marked with red and yellow paint stripes on rocks along the way.  One of our groups’ members took off ahead of us exploring the ghost village and once we’d found the trail head, we shouted for him to no avail, and another member went off looking for him, which added another 10-15 minutes wait.  We weren’t able to find him and with the knowledge that he would be able to make his way back to the Villa if necessary, decided to begin our hike.

There are a number of ways to enter the ghost village, one of which requires a fee of 5 Lira ($1.65) and of course that’s the entrance we found.

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The ghost village was amazing!  The sunlight illuminated the windows of the decaying buildings.

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Naked in the Airport!

Upon arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam from Vientiane, Laos, it seemed I had entered an alien land!  A city of concrete…jumbled wires…a sea of motor scooters blind to the traffic lights…mass chaos with purpose…face masks creating a barrier from the dusty city…an assault on the senses with smells and colors.  Pure insanity!!

The seven of us, on this tour through GAP Adventures, were instructed on how to cross the street.  To walk–not run–to keep walking–that the drivers would go around us.  I felt like a duck on a shooting range.  Luckily, I have a spiritual grounding and realize that there are some things I have very little control over.

After being separated from the group while shopping that evening, there was a moment of sheer panic!  I didn’t know the name of our hotel.  The Tour Guide had given the information to everyone–when I was in the restroom–so I didn’t receive it.  But I found my way to the meetup spot…whew!!

I made arrangements to spend the night on a boat on Halong Bay in the China Sea and said my “goodbyes” to the group!

At $68 for the entire excursion–it was a small price for such serenity and beauty!

I went kayaking…

 

Had a nice glass of vino!

Although I had a six hour layover in Nagoya, Japan‘s airport, on my way home to Cincinnati, I had plenty to keep myself occupied with there.  It was a destination onto itself, with over 60 shops and restaurants and a spa!

Upon arrival at the airport, I met a girl named Andrea who had been teaching English in Hanoi for four months and was so fearful of crossing the street that she decided to move back home to Canada.

We went to the Spa together.  The women had their own hot tub, cold dip, sauna, and steam room area with a view of planes landing and taking off.  We didn’t have our bathing suits, but the other women were naked so…when in Rome.  It makes for a great story…”Naked in the Airport”!

This is Andrea and I at the Airport in Japan.

I returned home on Christmas Eve.  I hope you had fun following my adventure!

Hiking Machu Picchu

Hiking Machu Picchu is one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences and I enjoyed every moment of the three and 1/2 day, 27 mile hike!  I was traveling with 10 other fellow adventurers on a G Adventures trip in May of 2009.  We had visited the absolutely breathtaking Lake Titicaca  and were on an all day public bus ride to the beautiful and vibrant town of Cusco, which is located about thirty minutes by train to the start of the Inca Trail hike.  Typically, we traveled by private van, but this trip was an exception.

The road to Cusco from Lake Titicaca is very curvy and mountainous.  Unfortunately for the other passengers, I had intestinal problems.  The bus was swaying from side to side along the twisting roads and the restroom was small, dark, and void of toilet paper.   I couldn’t avoid the imagined glares from passengers as I had to utilize the facilities a few times that day!

For the previous two weeks, we had gradually risen in elevation within Peru, which is a good thing when you’re going to hike the Inca Trail.  Altitude sickness can strike young, old, fit or not…so if you can acclimatize…all the better!

Cusco reminded me of Europe.  Cobblestones, narrow streets and history everywhere!

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Indiana Jones…where are you?

Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan

One of the highlights for me while traveling through Egypt and Jordan with GAP Adventures in 2009, was sleeping in the desert with the Bedouin people.  Upon arrival to the camping area in the desert, we dropped our gear and made our way to the main dining tent for dinner.

We shared the tent with a group of Dutch people on pilgrimage.  They were the subdued, quiet ones on the other side.  We were the loud, fun-loving group on our side.  I actually spoke to one of the women to try to get the groups to mingle, but to no avail.  After a delicious meal, a few traditionally dressed Arab musicians entered the tent and one of the men began dancing and beckoned us to join him.   Feeling like a gypsy, I rose and began dancing, feeling breathless, having been seduced by the aromatic incense wafting through the air combined with the rhythmic melody.  Others began to join us and soon we had a party going!  I was having such a good time…I didn’t get any photos!  (the above photos I found online…but they are of the same or very similar camping spot)

The following day we took a jeep ride through the desert and I asked if I could drive.  The Bedouin driver “Mohammad” agreed to allow me and kept telling me what a good driver I was as I careened over sand dunes.  I wonder if the 4 passengers sitting in the open bed of the truck felt the same way after being jostled and bounced around…possibly fearing for their lives!

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The “Siq” … Petra, Jordan

I love this photo I took of the “Siq”, which is the mile long walk before arriving to the area called Petra, where all of the carved buildings are.  You are surrounded by towering walls of stone on either side as you walk.

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We hiked for two days throughout Petra…it was amazing!  Walking to the main entrance of Petra, I met a couple of 25ish men.  I discovered that one of them made his living taking people for rides within Petra on a donkey.  After a few minutes, he began flirting with me and wanted to take me to his “cave” on a date.  I told him I was married…but that didn’t faze him.  Throughout the day, I would see him and he would wave.

He gave me the tip of walking down a few steps for the photo shown below…so you don’t see the throngs of people!  These buildings carved into stone were simply unbelievably beautiful!  They were massive!

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan…(Raiders of the Lost Ark filmed here)

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A fellow traveler took this photo of me carefully crossing a very narrow ledge while hiking in Petra…whew!

Petra Cliff - Sherry

Beautiful Children of Jordan

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Children have such an exuberance for life…an openness…that I wish more adults could keep!

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Another unique experience we had was going to a Turkish bath while in Jordan.  The steam room resembled a cave and we were instructed to sit in the steam for 20 minutes…to then exit and be doused with cold water by a squat, muscled man in swim trunks…repeating this process three times…then to lay on a cold marble slab while he scrubs you with a mitt (ouch…that hurt)…pours cool water on you…slathers oil all over…massages roughly for five minutes and you’re done!!

Here is a group shot of us at the “Dead Sea“…the mud from the sea detoxifies your skin and makes it baby soft!  And you really do float in the Dead Sea!

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I hope you enjoyed  the trip!

Do we really want to see the sunset?

The 18 days I traveled through Egypt and Jordan with GAP Adventures in 2009, were filled with adventure, excitement and wonder.

Our group of 14 people from across the globe, typically traveled by private van, but we did take a night train from Cairo to Aswan.  Here is a map of our route…

This photo is of the back of the Citadel, which was originally built during the 12th Century to be a fortification…a wall surrounding Cairo, but was never completed.  It is now a preserved historic site, with mosques and museums.

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We wandered through the Khan Al Khalili bazaar.   It was an endless maze of sidewalks filled with little shops, selling clothing, jewelry, anything you could think of.  It was so colorful and intriguing!

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There had been a bombing one month prior to my arrival…a French girl died and others were wounded.  Of course my family thought it would be too dangerous to visit…

Our hotel at Mt. Sinai was very nice and the pool looked inviting…but it was too cold to swim.   I think the scenery was so simply stark and beautiful!

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I was so happy to be able to climb to the top of Mt. Sinai.  For those of you who don’t remember the significance of this area.  According to the Bible, it is where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

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It took about 3 hours to reach the top and it was timed so that we could see the sunset.  The temperature change was amazing.  By the time we reached the summit, it was freezing.   We waited about 15-20 minutes to witness the sunset…with my teeth chattering uncontrollably…I’m asking…do we really want to see the sunset??  It was pretty…but we then ran down the mountain, partially in the dark, in about 30 minutes.

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 I loved this Greek Orthodox Chapel at the top.

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The following photo is St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was built in the 6th century and is the oldest continuously functioning Christian monastery in existence. It is built on the site of the original burning bush.

Cats were everywhere!

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Our last stop was  Nuweiba, Egypt before boarding the ferry to cross the Gulf of Aquaba to Jordan…this was the beach area where our hotel was located…it was eerily deserted!

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This little girl was selling jewelry on the beach…but only five people were on the entire beach!  We couldn’t speak to each other, but you don’t always need words to communicate.  I took her hands and swung her around and around…and we laughed!

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Next we’ll explore Indiana Jones’ territory…

More “Hubbly Bubbly” please!

Riding a camel in Egypt should be on everyone’s bucket list!  Although it was a unique experience, once is enough.  Having ridden on a donkey and an elephant, I discovered a camel is more awkward and uncomfortable.

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Your Egyptian experience is also not complete (in my opinion) unless you partake in smoking some “Shisha” aka “Hookah” aka “Hubbly Bubbly“!  A few of us…the restless rebels…would stay up past bedtime…drink Turkish Coffee and smoke the flavored tobacco!

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We spent one night sleeping on a felucca sailboat on the Nile River.  After dividing into two groups of about 7 each, we boarded separate boats for our adventure.  It was quite obvious they split us according to age.  The other boat held the 25-34 age group and our boat was the 35-65 age group.  What’s interesting to me, is that the “restless rebels”, as I mentioned earlier, consisted of the older age group.

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A separate boat called the “service” boat was available for mealtimes and use of the bathroom.  The “restless rebels”…stayed up after the others went to bed and were talking on top of the service boat when it became noticeably windier.  Out in the distance a huge black mass was approaching quickly…

when we queried the workers, they said it was a sandstorm.  The sense of danger and exhiliration resulted in an immediate rush and feeling of…aliveness!  We were engulfed in sand for a few minutes.  I still remember the sand pelting my skin, leaving a tingly feeling.

We rode donkeys to the Valley of the Kings and if you wanted your donkey to go faster you would say “hopa hopa”.

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My donkey liked to go fast…just like me…and every time someone else would say hopa hopa – my donkey would run.

I raced one of the guys and almost fell off.

The Karnak Temple is located in Luxor, Egypt.  The entire complex which spans 1 mile x 2 miles, was built over a period of 1300 years, beginning in the 16th century BC, and is the largest ancient religious site in the world.  The last three photos are a portion of it…

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Next installment tomorrow!

The Twilight Zone

I’d like to tell you a story about my adventures Wednesday evening.  I had plans to go out with a girlfriend and spend the night at her house, since she lives only 15 minutes from my work…versus a 50 minute drive from my house to work.  I’m on the phone with another girlfriend (so I was distracted) and I’ve only been to her house once before.  I received a text from my friend that she left the garage open, and to just come in.  I park on the street, gather all of my things, and

walk up to the garage.  I’m thinking…this is a little wierd…but I pull the single car garage door up–step in—and pull it back down.  I look to my right and there is a man standing there smoking a cigarette with a look on his face that spoke volumes–WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE.  I asked, “Is Cindy here?”  “No, I don’t know a Cindy!”  “Is this 4466?”  He replies, “Yes”, still looking at me like I had three eyes!  My mind is racing, trying to make sense of this.  I then asked, “Is this _____ Street?”  With relief in his voice, he replies, “No, that’s around the bend.  The street changes names and you just need to go back around the corner.”  After meekly apologizing, I promptly swung his garage door back up, stepped out…walked back to my car…threw everything back in and drove away.  The story doesn’t end here.

Needless to say, I was a little flustered.  So, instead of looking for 4466, I’m thinking it’s 4406.  I find the house, gather all of my things and as I’m walking up to the house, I think, Screw the garage…I’m going in through the front door!  I open the door and to my dismay, there is a man standing on a step stool with his back to me, hammering something into the wall and there are two dogs racing towards the door, barking ferociously.  Is this the twilight zone?  I shut the door and am trying to decide if I should knock and explain what happened…as I notice his silhouette at the window peering out.  Turning around, I retrace my steps, throw everything into the back seat and drive off, wondering if he’s trying to get my license plate number.  Oh my god…what a trip!  The third time was a charm…I made it to her house!

 To change the subject…

Since everyone liked my last black and white photos, I have more—do you think they look better without color?

Venice - 2010

The ceiling of a museum in Paris

a doorway in Portugal

A restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky

Kings Island, Ohio

A Tree

Procter & Gamble Towers in Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Another odd thing, I now have 303 followers and 33 facebook friends for my blog and the numbers, 3, 33, etc. have meaning to me!  I know…hocus pocus!

Face Your Fears…Skydive!

Back in 2008, I convinced my son to skydive with me at the Warren County Airport in Ohio.  I was nervous…but he was really nervous!  I wanted to be an example to him of someone that wants to experience life and face fears!  I believe the second photo is of me landing and my son is already on the ground.

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It was a great experience…my favorite part was the free fall.  I kept my eyes closed while my instructor (who was attached to my back) inched us out of the plane and once out…opened my eyes and loved it!  You’ll see in the video that my son, who is 6’9″ tall, is attached to a guy that is about 5’7″!  Just click on the following link…then provide your name (you can make one up if you want) and zip code.

via Skydive Video.

To be In The Moment…Zipline!

 

Another fun day with my son…Ziplining at Camp Kern, just north of Cincinnati.  We’ve been one other time in Mexico about 7 years ago.  I’m admitting it…I was scared…but one of my big beliefs is to “face your fears”!  I took Justin skydiving a few years ago and for some reason this makes me a little more nervous.  The only injury of the day was before we even got outside…Justin hit his head hard on this doorway of the Ozone Zipline building.  The autumn colors were stunning and the other five participants were fun.  We went on seven lines…each one getting longer, faster and higher…up to 175 ft. high and 45 mph.  Because I was one of the lightest in weight, I had to do the “cannonball” to ensure I went fast enough on the longest lines to reach the end.  I can’t say I was ever totally relaxed…but I was in the moment. It’s nice to feel proud of yourself for doing something that pushes you…I guess that’s called empowerment!

 

 

 

 

 

Justin always went in circles…unintentionally…and one of the guides asked if he came out of the womb backwards!

 

 

 

Color coordinated gear…

 

 

 

This is the cannonball!

 

 

 

 

Sending peace, love and joy!

~Sherry~

 

p.s.  I have a phone interview with a travel company…so send good thoughts!

 

 

Solo Cruise with Carnival

In 2007, when I still had brown hair, I went on my 3rd cruise, but my first solo cruise for a week and visited Belize, Roatan Island, Honduras, Grand Cayman Island and Cozumel, Mexico.  I booked it last minute (about two weeks in advance), so instead of paying double…it only cost a third more for the single supplement.  I met a group of guys/girls from New Mexico, a lady from somewhere…can’t remember where now…and a college student and her parents.  I ended up hanging with the college student a lot of the time.

This is a photo of them…

I’ve always fit in with younger people…they have lots of energy like me.  It was fun fixing her up with guys…there was a cute Brazilian guy that I introduced her to.  I was married at the time, so only “looking” allowed for me.  One night after a few drinks I got the idea for us to push each other on a luggage rack through the hallways at 2am…followed by turning the signs around on people’s doors…if they had it positioned to say, “Do Not Disturb”, we switched it to “Please Clean My Room” and vice versa…I know…pretty immature…but it was fun! Continue reading