Friday, October 25, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a city we've been meaning to visit for years. It straddles two continents and is one of the most multicultural cities on the planet, but it also has an incredibly rich history.  Neither of us had been there before, so we weren't entirely sure what to expect. I thought it might seem exotic and intimidating, but instead it was somehow both unique and familiar. The old part of the city looks like a typical town in southern Europe -- and then you turn a corner and see the slender minarets of the nearest mosque piercing the sky. Church bells ring on the hour, and then you hear the Muslim call to prayer -- often a real person singing, rather then the taped version we've heard in so many other places. It's one of the only places I've been where you see women who look like Swedish underwear models sitting on a train next to women in niqabs, and no one blinks an eye at the contrast.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Munich, Germany (Oktoberfest)

On a trip like this, you get to check a lot of things off your bucket list. For me, one of those time was to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I've always loved Oktoberfest celebrations, even when I was a kid. I liked the festive autumn atmosphere, and the German music and food, and when I got older, it was a fun place to enjoy a giant glass of beer as well. Oktoberfest celebrations are popular in the US as they are all over the world, but I wanted to see the original one myself.

And so we went to Munich in the middle of Oktoberfest. I had an idea of what to expect because Doug spent a night at Munich's Oktoberfest about 15 years ago, but the reality of it is so much bigger than I could ever have imagined. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Venice, Italy

Venice is one of those special places on the planet that is iconic. Nearly everyone has heard of Venice and has a mental image of what it looks like, with palazzi surrounded by canals and sleek blacks gondolas pared by men in striped shirts with straw hats. And the thing is, that's basically what it looks like. It's one of those rare tourism experiences that meets your expectations almost completely.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rome, Italy (part 2)

As I mentioned in the previous post, we spent  most of our time in Rome just hanging out and enjoying. We went to our favorite restaurants (like Taverna La Scala below) and also discovered some new ones.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rome, Italy (part 1)

Rome is a city we've spent a lot of time in over the last almost-two-decades. It was a city Doug spent a month in when he was 19; he fell in love with it then, and I was utterly enchanted by it the first time we visited together. Rome is a sort of enigma -- it's not the cleanest or most beautiful city in the world, nor is it set in a stunning location. It can be noisy and chaotic, and hotter than hell in the summertime, but it always has an indefinable sort of charm.

And of course, there's all the incredible Roman ruins everywhere.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bucharest, Romania

Short post here! From Mfuwe, Zambia, we flew to Lusaka, where we spent the night before catching a flight to London early the next morning. The flight was ten hours long, but it went very smoothly, and we made it to our hotel at London Heathrow with no difficulty.  And of course, our arrival in London meant that we've now visited seven continents in 2013.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

South Luangwa (part 2)

In the previous post, I wrote about the house we stayed in and shared some pictures of many of the animals we saw. Here are even more pictures from our week in South Luangwa.