2015 in Review

Looking back at my photographs from 2015, the year was filled with fun, family, friends, and travel!  In the Spring, I drove to Amish country in northern Ohio from Cincinnati and had a wonderful day taking photographs of the lovely countryside!

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In August, my annual girls’ weekend at Put-in-Bay, Ohio was so much fun!  Last year we had a blast there and decided to return.

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My travel business “Travel Spirit Meetup” is growing with over 300 members and in September I took six people to the Mediterranean coast where we hiked along the Lycian Way trail and explored the cute villages.  Our second stop to Istanbul exceeded all expectations!  Turkish people are so friendly!

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The view from our hike along the Lycian Way near Fethiye, Turkey…

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I also spent an amazing week in Ireland and Scotland!  Edinburgh, Scotland‘s architecture and history can’t be beat!

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The ha’ penny bridge in Dublin, Ireland

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Ringing in the New Year, two girlfriends and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area.

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Continuing to work as a photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 36 photography assignments and wrote nine travel articles.  One of the assignments was for the ReelAbilities Film Festival and was excited to photograph Marlee Matlin, Nick Clooney, and his wife.

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Laurie Holden from the Walking Dead at King’s Island, Ohio…

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The Prohibition Party…

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The Urban Trials held at Yeatman’s Cove, Cincinnati…

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and the Thanksgiving Day 10k race…to name a few.

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I photographed a friend’s birthday party for one of her daughters through my photography business “Sherry Lachelle Photography“.

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My first outdoor wedding…

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Senior Portraits…

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Spending time with family was special!  For one of our family get-togethers, my husband and I took our son and his girlfriend to the Museum Center in Cincinnati and we spent an afternoon along the Ohio River.

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Our extended family Christmas:  My brother (2nd from left), his wife in front of him, my husband (next to me…but you can’t see his face), my brother’s ex-wife on the left and her husband behind her, her brother on the far right, my niece and nephew, and a high school exchange student from Norway.

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I prepared lots of recipes this year and enjoyed hiking, biking, trail jogging, yoga, and boating!  I attended lots of parties, big and small.

Some of my favorite books this year:  The Storyteller, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, A House in the Sky, I know why the Caged Bird Sings, The Goldfinch, Calling me Home, The House Girl, The Enchanted, The Nightingale, Little Bee, The Time Keeper, Secrets of a Charmed Life, and Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.

I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thank you so much for your support! xoxoxo

~Sherry

Colorful and Bustling Istanbul

Sights like this, a cat plumped down in the middle of a table of belts, enriched my visit to Istanbul and created such a fun and surprising atmosphere!

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When you pick apart a scene like this to understand why it seems foreign to someone from America, the things that stand out to me are: the cart (it’s unlike those from America), the way the man is dressed on the right, with a long apron, the man in the background carrying a box on his head, the cobblestones, and the foreign signs on the building across the street.

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Love this guy’s spirit!!

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Hagia Sophia Museum and Basilica Cistern

Dating back to the 6th Century, the Hagia Sophia Museum (Holy Wisdom) is one of the most impressive and important buildings in the world!  Hagia Sophia was converted from a church to a museum in 1935.  It was the largest church ever built until St Peter’s Basilica was constructed in Rome 1000 years later.  It is the most visited site in Turkey with over 3.5 million visitors in 2014!

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I visited the day after seeing the Blue Mosque and was surprised at how awe-inspiring the Hagia Sophia is in comparison!

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It literally leaves you speechless!

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That’s gold in the ceiling!

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It is so stunning and I loved taking photographs inside…the way people’s shadows made shapes on the floor.  Maybe you know what I mean, that some places you’re much more excited to be taking photographs in than others.

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Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace was the main residence of Ottoman Sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries.   Visiting the palace gives a fascinating glimpse into what their lives were like during this time frame.

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We arrived to the Palace early in the morning, so I was lucky to get a few photos without people in them…

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The Palace is huge, so there are lots of angles to take photos from…

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Topkapı is a series of pavilions, kitchens, barracks, audience chambers, kiosks and sleeping quarters built around a central enclosure.

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The view from the Palace was gorgeous!

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Made it to Istanbul! First on the list: Exploring the Blue Mosque

Arriving to the hustle and bustle of a large City like Istanbul from the a sleepy town near the Turquoise coast of Turkey definitely wakes you up!  I had a private shuttle arranged to pick us up at the Airport for a 90-minute transfer from the Sabiha Gökçen Airport to our hotel centrally located in Old City Istanbul.  After checking in, the first and only thing on the itinerary for that day was to go to the Blue Mosque.  There are small windows of opportunity when you can go inside (in between the calls to prayers, but you have to wait until 90 minutes past each call to prayer and there are five of them).  We followed a tram line (literally at times running within inches of your body) about fifteen minutes and this was our first view!

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Backing up to our arrival in Istanbul.  Our hotel, “Eurostars Hotel Old City” was perfect.  It was within walking distance of all of the major sites and tucked up a side street so it was nice to sit outside at one of the outdoor cafe tables, have a drink and people watch.  I’ve stayed at a Eurostars somewhere else in Europe and had a good experience there also.

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Here’s the view looking out from the lobby.  Whenever I would pet that cat he would be nice at first and then try to bite me.  Bad Kitty!

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Itinerary for Trip to Ireland, Scotland, and Turkey

Planning travel itineraries usually take many hours of research and when you’re taking a group of people with you, the details become even more important.  Initially, I was putting together a 9 day trip to Turkey in September for my travel meetup http://www.meetup.com/Travel-Spirit-Meetup-Group/, but then looking at airfare, I realized for just an additional few hundred dollars, I could fly to Dublin, Ireland and Edinburgh, Scotland.  With airfare being the biggest expenditure, hitting a couple of my bucket list spots made sense!

Four nights in Dublin and four in Edinburgh should give me ample time to explore the Cities and take a day trip or two.  Traveling solo, I’ll be able to take photographs and leisurely or quickly make my way through these amazing Cities.  I’ve found a couple of Airbnb accommodations in the City centers that range between $50 and $60 per night.  I’ll have my own bedroom in someone’s flat with access to their kitchen for making breakfast and perhaps a sandwich for dinner to save money.  Of course, I’ll dine out occasionally…probably every day for lunch.

Some of the places I intend to visit in Dublin are Howth Head and St. Stephen’s Green.

Additional spots within Dublin are Temple Bar, Grafton Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, O’Connell Street & bridge, Trinity College, Dawson Street, and Kilmainham Gaol (an old jail).

My flight from Dublin to Edinburgh through Ryan Air is $107 with the baggage fees.

In Edinburgh, I’ll walk the Royal Mile, visit the Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and climb up to see the view from Arthur’s Seat.

$170 will take me from Edinburgh to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey (near Fethiye) to a beautiful family owned Villa with a pristine swimming pool, and hiking along the Lycian Way trail to the towns of Oludeniz and Fethiye.  The weather should be perfect, in the 80’s!  I have four tour participants signed up and one gentleman who is very interested.

After spending four glorious days of soaking up the sun and regenerating our spirits, we’ll head to the exciting and bustling City of Istanbul.  Exploring main sites such as the Blue Mosque pictured below, the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Spice Market, and the Grand Bazaar, our senses will be filled with bright colors, aromatic scents, and the hauntingly beautiful call to prayer as it permeates the Streets!

My philosophy is…if you want something badly enough…you’ll find a way to make it happen!