Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Croatia: Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik


We drove further south, to Split on the Dalmatian coast.  Split (pronounced spleet) is one of the older cities in the region, dating from the 4th century.  The architecture was wonderful.  Only a few streets are large enough to allow cars; most streets were just for pedestrians, so it was very quiet.  We stayed in a tiny sobe apartment off  the alley below (the first window on the ground level was ours).


Monday, July 28, 2014

Collection: Doors

Waterville, Washington

We saw (and passed through) a lot of interesting doors in our travels; here are some of the best:

Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay

Friday, July 25, 2014

One year gone, One year back

It’s been a whole year--367 days since we flew home from London. We're having a hard time wrapping our heads around that.  I have to tell you--it’s been such a hard year.

Returning knocked us for much more of a loop than we expected. Part of that was just the disorientation of staying in one place, and having more than 6 sets of clothes to choose from. In fact, David pulled out 6 or so sets, and has been wearing just those, with the rest in storage. Everything looked different—the grocery store, the excess of fortune and luck we live in here.  Different things were important to us. We struggled to find a way back in, like trying to jump into an already turning jump rope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Plitvice, Croatia


We flew from Istanbul to Zagreb, the capitol of Croatia.  We rented a small car there, and were very happy to be in charge of our transportation again—it had been four months since we last drove, in Australia (if you don't count the scooter we rented in Hoi An, Vietnam for a day).  We drove into the city and bought a sim for our phone, which was much easier than we feared, and then bought ingredients for a picnic lunch, which surprisingly, was harder than we hoped.  While the man at the phone store spoke English, the women behind the deli counter at the grocery did not.  As we traveled further into Central Europe (which many Westerners refer mistakenly to as Eastern Europe), we became more accustomed to English being somewhat uncommon.  It was not a bad surprise, and we got along fine with gestures and smiles, but it was the first time since leaving South America that we’d encountered a business where English wasn't spoken.  We ate our picnic lunch at a scenic spot on our way south, towards Plitvice (Plit-veet-say) Lakes National Park, in the middle of the country.  It wasn't a place that had been on our list to see, but we read about it in one of our travel books, and we had time so we thought we'd add it to our itinerary.  We're so glad we did.

20130606_162223_SGP4_2013-06-06 16.22.23

Monday, July 21, 2014

Europe Map Overview & Postcard: Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

An overview of our final leg of the trip, from Croatia to London, through Central Europe:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meals of Europe

With some exceptions, we managed to eat reasonably healthy meals until we reached Central Europe.  The amount of fat in dishes there was significantly higher than we had become accustomed to, and it was very seductive.  How do you say “no” to cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped sausages?  We also were able to cook for ourselves sometimes in Croatia, Poland, Vienna and Scotland, but more often than not we found the sweet siren call of western food to be too much to resist. Also, there was quite a bit of good ice cream in Europe, and excellent beer.  We were in deep trouble. These meals are from: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Scotland and England.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cats Around The World

Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We didn’t see as many cats around the world as dogs, but we saw plenty, and many were quite photogenic.  We were certainly missing the indoor cats in many areas, but it was interesting to see where outdoor cats were common, and where they were rare.  We don’t remember seeing a single cat in Australia, for example.  Occasionally, like the cat in Petra, they are interested in us, but for the most part they were more interested in their own agenda, where that was a nap or…mostly it was a nap.

Estancia, outside Puerto Natales, Chile.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Meals of Egypt, Jordan and Turkey

After three weeks of mostly plain fare in Madagascar, Middle Eastern cuisine was a refreshing and welcome surprise.  These meals consistently ranked among the best of our trip.  Fresh tomato and cucumber salads were plentiful; yogurt as a sauce for rice was new to us, but an immediate favorite.  Desert was often watermelon or pineapple, which was a perfect finish.  Alongside Vietnamese food, it was some of the healthiest fare we had around the world.  Our pictures don’t do these dishes justice, in part because, visual presentation was not a priority—flavor was.

The slideshow version:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


20130531_185553_SGP4_2013-05-31 18.55.53

One of the things Lana really wanted to do while in Turkey, was to see the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia and take a hot air balloon ride there.  It was a Bucket List Thing.  And so, after a few days in Istanbul, we took a short flight from Istanbul to Kayceri, which is roughly in the center of Turkey, and then caught a shuttle to Göreme, where we’d be staying.  The drive took us through beautiful countryside, past snow-capped ski resorts.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



This was one of our first sights, after stepping off the metro tram that we took from Ataturk airport into Istanbul.  It was a great introduction to an incredible city.  We were staying on the Western or European side of the city where the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace are. There was so much to see on that side that we never crossed the Bosphorus to the Eastern or Asian half of the city, or the Golden Horn to the middle/northern portion.  Although we happened to be there just as the Taksim Gezi Park protests were happening across the Golden Horn from us, the first (and only) indication we had of it were concerned questions from family and friends back home, asking if we were ok.  We had to Google for why we might not be.  The only danger we really faced was from the wonderful food.