Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tapas hopping in Madrid

Our first day out in Madrid was awesome!

After arriving by train from Granada, our friend, MariaD came to pick us up from the Atocha train station. She has kindly offered us to stay with her while we were in Madrid which we gladly accepted.

In the evening, our Madrileño friend, Jaime and Anuska took us Tapas-hopping in Madrid. This was super fun and amazingly yummy.

We are so grateful because without them it would have been pretty difficult to decide what to eat and where!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

12 days in Morocco

So having wrapped up our 12 days in Morocco, here is the itinerary of our trip.

We flew into Casablanca from Istanbul, spent two days exploring the city. We then caught the train to Marrakesh. The train ride was about 4 hours - clean train, even for 2nd class.

Marrakesh was a lot more touristy and had a lot of things to do. Big Medina, lots of restaurants....

After three days in Marrakesh, we took another train to Fes. This was a long train ride - approx. 8 hours.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Moroccan wedding

As we were checking into our riad in Tangier, we were told that there will be a wedding outside the riad this afternoon. Oh great!

The owner apologized and said "it will be noisy, lots of people, music..."
We said "oh, it's no problem at all"
Owner "..and cow killing and some blood, you want to see? :) "

Blue City, Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen - Blue City in Morocco......
Our original itinerary didn't include Chefchaouen but we were glad we stopped by this little town on our way to Tangier (Thanks Aric!). Chefchaouen is kind of half way between Fes and Tangier. There is no train station so we caught the CTM bus from Fes - it's only about 200km north of Fes but took us 5 hours (the bus takes numerous stops and really long toilet breaks). As soon as we arrived in the Medina, we were so excited! It is such a pretty place - everything painted in blue, even the plant pots outside people's houses.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My favorite shop in Chefchaouen - La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin

There are lots of cute souvenir shops in Morocco. Unfortunately, traveling around the world with a backpack means I can't buy much stuff. It can be VERY frustrating at instead I get lots of joy out of buying consumable goods - for example, when I run out of Shampoo or conditioner, I get very excited because it means I can buy a new shampoo from a new country which I have never tried before. Fun. I've already tried shampoo from Thailand, India and Turkey. Olive oil conditioner from Greece. Moroccan Argan oil from Marrakesh (I go through shampoos very quickly!).

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Photos from Fes, Morocco

Fes Tanneries
Our third stop in Morocco was Fes. It's the third largest city in Morocco, apparently. It also has a large Medina but not as big as Marrakesh and personally I liked it better!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Casablanca to Marrakesh by train

Where's Frody?

So we took the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh - Train goes every two hours so we just showed up and bought the tickets, easy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our first time on the continent of Africa

From Istanbul, we flew into Casablanca in Morocco. This was our first time visiting the African continent. We took the train from the airport to Casa Voyageurs. The train goes every one hour and costs 40 MAD each ("Second Class" which was quite acceptable). We then took the "Petit taxi" and probably got ripped off because we paid 50 MAD....(from the hotel to the train station on our way out of Casablanca, we hailed a cab on the street and it was only 16 MAD)... lame. oh well.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Having fun @ Turkish Air Lounge

We arrived back in Istanbul around 10:30pm (from Athens) and we had a flight out of Istanbul at 10am the next morning so we decided to spend the night at the Turkish Airline's lounge to save on a night's accommodation!

Photos from Athens, Greece

Friday, May 16, 2014

A shaky start to our Athens visit

Moving from Santorini to Athens, we had (as usual) the choice of the faster, more expensive routes (fly or express boat) or the slower, more economical way.
Farewell Santorini..
..hello, Athens!

This is the tale of our 8-hour ferry ride to Athens, and how we got lost on our way to our accommodation..

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photos from Santorini, Greece

I've taken a LOT of photos in Santorini... probably a few hundred. Though 30% were cat photos...10% food....  Anyways, Santorini is a beautiful island and very photogenic.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blue Star Ferry to Santorini island

After a quick & fun stay at Kos island, we headed off to Santorini island in Greece. Not sure if there are other ferry companies operating between Kos and Santorini but we decided to go with the Blue Star Ferry which seemed to be the most popular one. Plus with our Eurail Pass, we received 30% off, yay!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Photos from Kos, Greece

Our first stop in Greece: Kos. Beautiful island... we rented bicycles and cycled around the island! Fun, but sore butt afterwards.....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bodrum to Kos - trippin' on the ferry

It was time for us to leave Turkey (we'll be back!), and head over to Greece. Specifically, to Kos island.
Our ferry

The main reason we picked Bodrum as a destination in Turkey was the proximity to Kos, and the availability of a ferry journey between the two ports.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A day trip to Bodrum TOWN

Bodrum is a port town in south western Aegean Region of Turkey, about 12 hours (or about 780km) south of Istanbul. We will be taking the ferry from here to Kos Island tomorrow, yay!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cats in Istanbul..

Cats are everywhere in Turkey - in the parks, restaurants, cafes, bus ticket offices, mosques, churches, shops, banks..... I think this is one of the reasons why I am enjoying Turkey so much.
And most of them are really friendly.... you call them and they come to you..unlike my cat, Kiki in Japan.

A small park near our apartment in Sisli, lots of friendly cats!!!!