Cappadocia is a magical place. We discovered the lovely Monastery of St. Nicholas while exploring Mustafapaşa, a town that is often missed by tourists visiting Cappadocia. It used to be known as Sinasos, its Greek name, prior to 1924. We hope to come back to hike this fascinating valley of fairy chimneys!
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While staying in Kaş we decided to take a boat day trip to see Kekova and the lovely turquoise coast line on the way. We did the rounds on the harbor, checking prices and itineraries. The majority of the boats charged 60 TL ($22) for an eight hour trip including lunch and multiple swim stops.
Kekova is a small uninhabited island which is opposite ancient Simena (now Kaleköy) and near Teimioussa (now Üçağiz). Kekova is now a protected area, so the boats can’t stop there; however, they go by the island so that you can see the partially sunken ruins of the ancient town called Dolchiste. It used to be the residential part of ancient Simena. It was destroyed by terrible earthquakes in the second century, and later rebuilt by the Byzantines. Dolchiste was later abandoned due to invasions by the Arabs.
The Kekova region is very popular with the yachts and cruise boats. Ancient archaeological sites, sparkling blue water, tranquility, beautiful nature, sunshine….it’s no wonder many stay here for weeks at a time, in one of the nearby bays of the charming fishing villages of Kaleköy or Üçağiz.
Kaleköy (ancient Simena) is very picturesque. The new cafes, pensions,and shops mingle with the ancient and medieval ruins, and somehow it works! The history of ancient Simena goes back to the 4th century B.C. It was once a small fishing village, and later was settled by the Knights of Rhodes, who built the castle.
We headed back to Kaš, after stopping to swim again. It was a wonderful day! We highly recommend the boat trip to Kekova!
Finally, it was time to head back to Kaş.
This fascinating monastery is nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. It is located in the Altındere National Park, and is surrounded by lush, green coastal mountains. Don’t miss it if you go to the Black Sea region of Turkey!
On Saturday, we left our son at summer camp for a week. We drove along the coast to take our first ever vacation without kids since Nate was born. We headed for Kaş, a beautiful sea side town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. We stopped along the way at this delightful restaurant for gozleme (crepe-style pancakes with filling) and Turkish tea.
We had been to Kaş for a weekend in May, and fell in love with it immediately. Lush green hills, spectacular bays dotted with islands, the sparkling clear Mediterranean to swim in, yachts, outdoor restaurants….what’s not to love?
In case you get too tired from all the relaxing….
After six months of traveling, 30+ homes/beds, our nomadic family have a new home! We have settled in Antalya, Turkey, on the Mediterranean Coast. We love it here!
I have been in love with Turkey since my first visit more than 20 years ago. I was traveling with my best friend from college (a ten month backpacking low budget trip around the world) when we discovered Turkey without planning it ahead of time. As we met other young college-aged travelers, and they heard that we were heading for Europe and Greece, many said, “Are you going to Turkey?? You gotta go to Turkey!!” Being the Americans we are, Turkey wasn’t on our radar. Turkey is the vacation hotspot for Europeans, Russians, and many other nationalities. We decided to see for ourselves what everyone was raving about. So we took a boat over from Greece to Turkey. I was hooked immediately!
Anyone who has traveled to Turkey needs no explanation of why I fell in love with this country. For those of you who haven’t yet been here, it’s the friendly, welcoming people; the delicious food, the abundance of fascinating archeological sites: the miles of beautiful beaches, the fascinating city of Istanbul straddling two continents, the culture, the sunshine…I could go on and on! There are even amazing archeological sites on beautiful beaches, where you can enjoy great food with friends.
We decided to move to Antalya after coming to visit in February 2014. We discovered that it has an international airport, with direct flights to many cities in Europe and the Middle East. Istanbul is just a one hour flight away. Antalya is the main city in Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. Did you know that it’s one of the top five travel destination in the world??!! More than 10 million people visit here every year!! Most go to the numerous all inclusive resorts along the beautiful Mediterranean coast. 300 hundred sunny days a year sounds pretty good to those coming from cooler, European climates!
Antalya’s old city of Kaleici is super charming. It’s small, and easy to navigate. There are, of course, all the touristy shops selling carpets, Turkish delight, spices, souvenirs, and trinkets.
You can get lost in the windy streets full of restored houses from the Ottoman days. However, as long as you head downward, you’ll end up at the lovely port. Going on a boat ride ride is a must-do. Be sure to negotiate the price of the boat ride! Prices go down as a boat is about to pull away. Children are free.
There are many historical sights from Antalya’s multi-layered past.
There are many wonderful day trips you can go on. I’ll be writing more about them in the future. Here are some of our favorites:
Come see why more than 10 million people come here for vacation every year!
We recently spent a week at Bamboo Banks, which is a 40 acre farm in the jungle, at the foot of the Nilgiris in the Mudumulai Game Reserve. Bamboo Banks is owned by our long time family friends, the Kothavala family. Siasp and Zarine Kothavala started Bamboo Banks forty years ago. Siasp now runs the guest house with the help of his son, Zerasp, and daughter, Shahanaz. I’ve been going there since I was a kid for family vacations, and the place is full of happy memories for me.
The drive to Bamboo Banks takes about six to eight hours from Bangalore, depending on traffic. The drive through the countryside is full of interesting sights.
Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is also a declared Tiger Reserve. It’s in the Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, and shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. The Wildlife Sanctuary is home to endangered species including the Royal Bengal tiger and Indian leopard.
Mudumalai National Park is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
Bamboo Banks is a magical place, with lush greenery that is beautifully landscaped. Zarine Kothavala was passionate about gardening, and you will see her beautiful touch throughout the property. There’s a donkey and his three horses that roam the property, munching away and keeping the lawns nicely trimmed.
There are also two emus, several turkeys, pea hens and ducks that wander about the property!
You can also watch the monkeys play in the trees and around the pond.
One morning we awoke to monkeys scampering on the roof of our cottage! Another night I watched spotted deer eating the grass just outside the bedroom window. We often heard animals calling in the night.
Guests are warned to stay in their cottages after dark, as animal do come on the property. There’s an electric fence; however, there have been a couple of occasions when elephants have come on the property. Recently one came to eat up Shahanaz’ vegetable garden! Ask Zeras to show you photos on his phone of the…interesting…evidence left behind by an elephant in front of the main house.
Zerasp took us on two different jeep rides on the property, one in the day, and another in the evening.
We saw saw spotted deer, wild boar and a peacock.
When we went again in the evening, we saw more deer, wild boar, and a stunning sunset from the tree house (marchan).
Guests can also purchase a jeep jungle tour in the early morning or in the evening, just before dusk, when the animals come out to feed. Two different sets of guests were lucky enough to spot a tiger while we were there!
One day Shahanaz took us to see the nearby town of Masinagudi and the surrounding countryside.
We also stopped to see a local temple.
Another evening Shahanaz took us to the Elephant Camp in Mudumulai to see the elephants getting fed just before dusk. Wild boar also flock down to see what scraps they can find. On the way back we saw a bison along the road!
Bamboo Banks is a place to relax and unwind. There’s a lovely pool with out door seating, hammocks and a swing. There’s also a trampoline. Adults can relax while the kids happily expend their energy!
One afternoon the donkey and his three horses arrived to have their lunch by the pool.
There’s also a kids’ play area with swings, a merry-go-round, teeter-totter, trampoline, and slide.
There are also ATVs to ride around the property.
The food was amazing! Guests are always served multiple dishes at each meal, with a wide variety of Indian and European food. We will be working on losing the extra weight for weeks to come!!
We spent seven wonderful, relaxing days there. It was hard to say good-bye. Thank you to Siasp, Zerasp, and Shahanaz for yet another amazing visit to Bamboo Banks. We are already looking forward to our next visit! See the link below to book your stay!
During this season of travel we had a wonderful opportunity to visit friends who recently moved to Dubai. While looking for flights from Prague to India, we noted that many went through Dubai…in fact it was only $200 from Prague to Dubai! So we took the opportunity to visit our friends Mike and Catherine and their boys for a weekend. They live outside of the city, not far from the beach.
I never thought I’d watch our son play with friends in the waters of the Persian Gulf!!
The next day our friends took us to see a camel race track!
Catherine told us they once were invited to see a race. She had expected to watch the race from the stands; however, she was surprised to discover that the race was watched while in a car speeding alongside the camels, yelling encouragement to your favored camel (go, Orange!!)…amongst other speeding cars full of people cheering for their camels! Wish we could have experienced that!!
Next, they took us to the desert. I mean, the real desert, with enormous sand dunes. We got there by four wheel driving…slipping, sliding, and bumping our way over the dunes to “their dune”. It felt just like driving across snow. There were no tracks, no parking lot, just follow the old race track and then veer off until we found this place…
The kids had a blast jumping off the dunes, running, climbing, and digging in the sand. It was so soft, like baby powder!!
Then there was a great sunset to top off a really great day as we headed home…
A big thank you to our friends for a wonderful couple of days!
I grew up in Southern California, other than four years of my childhood that were spent in India. We were blessed to spend five days here visiting friends and family in early November. We stayed at first with a friend who lives in Capistrano Beach, near Dana Point and San Clemente.
One afternoon, Nate took the scooter to the park nearby. No words are necessary; enjoy the photos essay!
A few days later we went to Oceanside to meet up with a friend.
We had lunch next to the pier while we caught up, then had a walk down the pier. Yes, this was November 3rd!
It was wonderful to be in this lovely area, soak in the sunshine, and to catch up with old friends!