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Cady Luck Leedy’s Tuesday Travel Tips: #3

Do Not Travel Like a Hobo

You Do Not Have to Travel Like a Hobo

Tip #3: You Have to Know How to Hold ‘Em and Know How to Fold ‘Em!

Traveling in the summer months is easier to pack for. Clothes weigh less and are not bulky. I make outfits that mix and match. For any trip over two weeks;  seven tops and five slacks. Interchangeable. Period. This combo makes thirty five different outfits! For trips under two weeks; five tops and four slacks. Add a lightweight sweater that goes with anything, or a light-weight wrap.  Remember you can’t enter most religious sites wearing shorts, or having  bare shoulders. You’ll need a cover-up and appropriate clothing. I always have just two main color schemes, light and dark.  My choice is black and tan.  I choose tops than can go with all the slacks.  My slacks are capri length or long. This makes a very big wardrobe and believe me it so much easier to deal with.  To dress something up add a scarf! If I have a washer and dryer available on an extended trip I go with the 7/4 rule. Don’t be bogged down taking tons of clothes! You will tire of lugging them around, and will not wear most of them!

Sacs from Eagle Creek

Sacs from Eagle Creek

The next best thing to soap is  Compression Sacs from Eagle Creek, the kind that don’t need a vacuum to suck out the air. Put your clothes  in it, and then roll the sack like you are rolling out a pie. The air escapes and it is flat as a pancake. A miracle!  You will be amazed how much you can get into these sacs! The sacs come in three sizes.  Small, medium and large.  I take one large Compression Sac empty, to use for dirty laundry. I can  separate the dirty from the clean stuff so I always know what is what. They are extremely durable and I have been known to mail home my dirty laundry in these sacs, when I bought too many goodies on vacation. (You’ ll still need to find a box to mail them in, but it will be a small one!)  Also, if you go to a laundromat in Europe it is easier and less noticeable to carry your laundry to and fro in these sacs. Mark one for clean and one for dirty, so you can bring back clean clothes in a clean sac.  Put dirty clothes in marked dirty sac, roll it up, squeeze out the air and place  sacs in Veggie Borsa and off you go to wash!   Scented laundry sheets are a real winner. Place them in the dirty clothes sac and in your suitcase and everything will smell heavenly!

Smart-Compression Sac

Smart-Compression Sac

Evelopes

Envelopes

The other must have is the Eagle Creek Envelopes and it’s matching bags.  These come in different shapes and sizes, the items shown here are the ones I use.  One for pants, one for tops, one for underwear and one for toiletries.  I love it because it keeps my clothes sorted and I don’t have to pull  everything out of my suitcase to find something.  Also, if I am staying in one spot for a long time I take the envelopes out and put them in the dresser drawers. Easy! It is amazing how your clothes stay freshly pressed in these envelopes too.

How to do the Shoes

How to do the Shoes

For shoes, your new best friend, will be the plastic sleeves that the newspaper comes in.  Perfect for shoes, slide the shoe in and pack them. Keeps everything clean. I wear my heaviest shoes on the airplane and pack another pair in Papa Borsa’s front pouch, which is easy to get to. I take three pair of shoes total. One pair of black sandals, for dressier occasions without extensive walking. Also, two pair of walking shoes. We tend to walk a lot, so comfortable shoes is a must. One tan pair, one black. Again they will go with all my outfits. Do not take white tennis shoes! You will stand out in the crowd as the loud, touristy American! They make all sorts of colored, fancy or not, walking shoes and they are stylish anywhere, so you will blend in. I also bring a small roll of duct tape in a bright color to make a fashion statement. Ha Ha! Place a strip on the back of your ankles before you leave home and you will never get a blister, no matter how far you walk!

Small plastic bags in assorted sizes come in most handy for makeup, lotions or hairspray that may leak.  Place all toiletries in a plastic bag before it is put in the toiletry bag.  Bring only what is necessary and in small plastic travel containers. A small bar of soap and detergent is handy to wash out underclothes in my room. I also bring a small nylon stretchy clothes line.

I never take a hair dryer, too bulky, no matter the size. Most hotels, and B&B’s offer one to use. If not, I go with my “whatever” hairdo! I am on vacation!

Stuff to carry in your purse at all times:

A Tide to Go pen. You want to get at a possible stain before it has time to set. Ever been to a bathroom to discover no toilet paper?  Carry Handywipes  and a No Rinse Hand Sanitizer.  Carry a very small umbrella. If you have it with you, you will never need it.  Enjoy your next vacation!

 

Cady Luck Leedy’s Tuesday Travel Tips: #2

Tip # 2. It is very important to carry the right bag! This is a little story about bags, one of the most important parts of traveling!

The Borse Family

The Borse Family, Papa, Mama and Baby Borsa

There once were several Borse (Italian word for bags) that lived in  “The End” cottage. They were very excited to be going on vacation! Papa Borsa was big, blue, and handsome, with lots of pockets.  His favorite feature was a big pouch for an extra pair of shoes right on his front that was easily accessible. He could carry a newspaper, an umbrella, and all kinds of goodies in his side pouch. He also had a heart sleeve, a place he held dear, that carried the Mrs’s  lipstick and chapstick and anything small that would make the Mrs look good at all times. All the small items are easy to get to without opening the main bag.

How to do the Shoes

How to Do the Shoes

That’s why Mama Borsa fell in love with him at first sight. She knew he was the brains of the family and carried the computer, the Ipad, and IPhone and all their connectors, so he was always ready to compute. His big belly was ready for anything! Be sure to wrap the shoes in the plastic bags the newspaper comes in! You can never have enough plastic bags and newspaper bags are some of my favorites! Those bags are so handy! Papa Borsa was so thoughtful, with a plastic sturdy bottom on the outside, so he wouldn’t bring dirt into the cottage. He came from Lug and had lots of brothers and sisters in bright cheerful colors!

Mama Borsa was an organizer, she wasn’t too big or too small, but just right. She had lots of pockets and zips and came with several straps, so was very adjustable to all kinds of situations.  Since she was in charge of the purse strings she had a small change purse for credit cards, money and identity cards that clipped to her innards and could never be dropped or left on tables to be lost. She came from the family of Baggallini’s.  They were a family of zippy, deep pockets, and closures known for their endurance and strength.  She was called Odessy by her family, but just Mama at home.

Papa and Mama Borsa, had many children, but they decided for every trip,  that Veggie Borsa, should be one of the children to go. He was adopted from the check-out aisle at the market and was the baby and liked to carry lots of things with him all the time, because he was very stretchy.  Mama had to keep an eye on him when shopping, if he left her side.  He would be found with all kinds of gifts and goodies, and since he was so flexible he would stretch and stretch until he filled up. Mama and Papa were always surprised that he could carry so much and still not be too heavy to carry home.  Papa Borsa was so proud of him! Especially when they went to market.   With Baby Veggie Borsa along you didn’t need to pay for Papersacks Borsa to carry the groceries home.  Baby Borsa was glad to help and never dropped or broke one thing! Even wet he never let the family down. He was a real bagger!  After a big day when he was ready for his nap, he would fold up so tiny and could be tucked in almost anywhere! And he slept!

This year, the cousins Pacsafe and Secrid, were going on vacation too. Pacsafe was always so secretive!

One of the Pacsafe Cousins With Sacrid

One of the Pacsafe Cousins With Secrid

He had a very strong, wire-coiled exterior and strap that could not be cut through and tough locking straps so you could lock him to a chair or a post! Nothing was going to phase Pacsafe! No one would get away with him! Secrid was a small little fellow that always traveled with Pacsafe. When you saw one, you saw the other! He carried the credit cards and his strong aluminum shell prevented the theft of credit card numbers when no one was paying attention. But Secrid always paid attention! They were very happy to be joining the trip this year!

The Borse Family looked forward to the big plane ride. There was a big overhead bin where they all could cuddle.  Papa hoped he would meet a briefcase to discuss the world in general.  Mama hoped to delve into all the fashion and food of the world, with her new bag friends.  And Baby Veggie thought he might be the only one along for the ride. Pacsafe hoped someone would try to steal him on vacation, so he could show his muscles, and Secrid was itching to go shopping and zip his cards through the machines! After meeting up with all their friends, they finished their snacks and settled in for a nice long flight! See you on vacation! Enjoy!

PS  The Papa Borsa Bag sits easily on my small luggage and over the pull-out handle. Nothing to carry. My Mama Borsa Bag is a cross-over bag so it frees up my hands. Nothing to worry about leaving somewhere. I take Baby Borsa whenever I am out shopping or just going to the corner for baguettes!

 

Cady Luck Leedy’s Tuesday Travel Tips

Tip # 1 

The Knee Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone. The Thigh Bone is Connected to a Headache.

Bellagio,Italy

Bellagio, Italy

I really want to talk about luggage here. See all the steps?  What if you had to go from a) the bottom of that tiny stoned stairway to  b) the top where your lodging is? Would you want  to drag a large overgrown bear with you? Or better yet, could you carry that bear over your shoulders?  Now let’s also throw in, it’s hot outside, you are tired and you are not even sure if this is the right stairway to heaven.  Get the picture?  Less is more. You can’t take it all with you. Italy, France, Turkey, Germany, (you fill in the blank) like any other place has stores.  AND carrying too much will give you a headache to  boot.

So you say you will rent a car?  Well you still have to get from the airline terminal to the rental car agency.  Sometimes in order to get there this will include stairs, tiny narrow escalators, long tunnels with more stairs at the end, or a combination of all of them.  How much does that suitcase weigh?  What about the Borse, how heavy are they?  (See the next post about the Borse family)  Some of the most beautiful villages in Italy are all uphill.  Even downhill feels uphill to me.  Be prepared to pull or carry. Light.

Varenna, Italy

Varenna, Italy

Once after landing at the Florence, Italy airport I made my way to the car rental area and found myself in line behind a group of two men and three women, who were traveling together.  Now I could sense this was going to be trouble from the get-go because the women were telling the men, in detail, what to do.   One gentleman filled out all the paperwork, as instructed by the ladies and when the agent thought they were through and handing over the papers, the women decided the other gent should be added as a driver as well. Back to the beginning. I stood in line for over an hour and the line behind me got longer and longer.
“Hellooooo, my knee was saying. Why are we standing still for such a long time?”   When it was my turn it took ten minutes and out the door I went.  Note:  Make all your car reservations at home and it will save you time and trouble.  When I got outside I found my car parked right behind The Group and watched in awe as they tried to get fifteen pieces of luggage into a mid-sized sedan.  Big luggage. They tried every which way under the sun, again at the direction of the ladies, and finally decided that the two large cases would have to go in the back seat of the car and the three women would sit on top of them.  Bent over.  Noses touching the seat in front of them.  Those poor men!  I hoped they didn’t have to go very far!  How would they be when they arrived at their destination?  I did not want to know.

I like to take the train most of the time.  The trains that are “Mind the Gap” are easily accessible, just step from a platform over a small open space and you are easily on. Prince Charming is never around when you need him.  Some trains in Italy are small.  The trains in Italy may look like this:  1. Narrow entrance to get on and off .  2.  Three or more giant steps that you must be prepared to hoist your luggage to and then yourself.  For me it is luggage first than me.  3. Trains are on time (well Italian time) so you have to get a move on when the train comes to a halt. 4.  Be prepared for the entrance to be crammed with people who do not want to move to a seat.  Picture this. I was taking a train from the Zurich Airport by way of the local train. I had to take a train to get to another train. The train stopped, the door opened and all I saw were faces and piled high luggage.  I quickly assessed the situation. The train was ready to depart  so up went my case and I scrambled on behind it. Nobody moved. We were eyeball to eyeball with my suitcase squeezed between us. I couldn’t even turn around to face the door and just hoped my fanny would not get caught in it when it closed.  I looked up and read the sign. Do not lean on the door.  Luckily, I only had one stop to go before we all poured out.

Menaggio, Italy

Menaggio, Italy

Sometimes after you reach your destination in paradise there are stairs just waiting to greet you.  So you have a room booked on the first floor?  Well that will be the second floor in Europe. Most hotels do not have an elevator or if they do it is tiny,  not room enough for you AND a large suitcase.   You must be able to carry your luggage up the stairs. By the time you get there heavy luggage will make your knees weak, your legs screaming, your back aching, and give you a killer headache.  You will need a drink!  Or two, but won’t want to walk back down those stairs!

So what kind of luggage do I travel with? One on wheels, durable, but light weight.  It measures 16X23 inches and has an easy to recognize name tag

My new best friend

My new best friend

and strong pull out handle to slip on Papa Borsa because he doesn’t like to be carried.  Remember that your luggage does not like cobblestones, so it must have a durable handle that can lift it to carry and will not break easily.  My favorite accessory is the luggage scale.  Don’t leave home without it. You don’t want to get to the airport upon departure to have the smiling attendant say your ticket is now @$$%%^^^%#$$$$ because it is overweight.  You will be directed to another line to take stuff out or re-arrange it. Re-arrange it to what?  Use that scale beforehand and know how much the suitcase weighs.  Practice walking with your suitcase full. Go up and down your stairs at home carrying it.  Can you do it?  Remember the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone and the thigh bone is connected to the back bone.  All the way to your head.  Save yourself a headache.  Travel light. Now let’s get down the stairs!  How about these?

Stairs in B&B, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Stairs in B&B, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Next….. what do I pack and how do I pack it?

The Begijnhof of Brugge, Belgium

The Meadow Woods of the Begijhof

The Meadow Woods of the Begijnhof

Before 1240 a community of pious women settled in an area of south  Brugge in a low- lying meadow or vineyard. These lay women called Beguines, spent their lives in piety and service without taking the vows that a nun would. Due to war and military fatalities there were more women than men in the medieval low lying countries. The order of Beguines offered women (often single or widowed) a dignified place to live and work.  When the order died out many towns took over the begijnhofs for subsidized housing. Believe me when I say you could be so lucky to live in one of the small subsidized cottages of the Begijnhof of Brugge. Today we are strolling from the town square through the curved portals of buildings delving further and further into the neighborhoods of Brugge. 

Walk Past the Little Market on the Way to the Begijhof

Walk Past the Little Market on the Way to the Begijnhof

I Loved These Trees Along our Walk!

I Loved These Trees Along our Walk!

Beautiful Pots of Hostas Along the Way!

Beautiful Pots of Hostas at the Pink House!

Tiny Statuaries Everywhere Along Our Path

Tiny Statuaries Everywhere Along Our Path

Statuaries in Tiny Courtyards

Headless Statuaries in Tiny Courtyards Along the Way

We get further from the town center! I feel like I’m in the country!

Picturesque Church in Brugge, Belgium

Walking Along Canal to Begijnhof in Brugge, Belgium

A Stroll to Reach the Begijnhof, Brugge, Belgium

A Neigborhood Stroll to Reach the Begijnhof, Brugge, Belgium

We pass over the three-arched stone bridge, the Wijngaard Bridge,  to the main gated entrance. Here is a large beautiful meadow and a complex of thirty white stoned gothic buildings dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries, built around a central yard.

An Image of the Holy Elizabeth of Hungary, Patron Saint of the Beguinages

An Image of the Holy Elizabeth of Hungary, Patron Saint of the Beguinages

The Gardens in Begijnhof

The Gardens in Begijnhof

Garden Courtyards of the Begijnhof

Garden Courtyards of the Begijnhof

Beautiful Artwork for Meditation and Prayer in the Begijnhof

Beautiful Artwork for Meditation and Prayer in the Begijnhof

The Retirement Homes in Begijnhof

The Retirement Homes in Begijnhof

Aren’t these just the cutest places to live?

The Houses of Begijnhof

The Houses of Begijnhof

Just follow the garden paths!

Beautiful Gardens to See, Begijnhof

Beautiful Gardens to See, Begijnhof

A Woman Calls to Us From Her Rooftop Sanctuary, Begijnhof, Brugge

A Woman Calls to Us From Her Rooftop Sanctuary, Begijnhof, Brugge

Notice the sweet little heart above her head? Another memorable day in Brugge! I hope you enjoyed our walk through the Begijnhof!

Another Church Along Our Walk in Brugge

Our Final Church Along Our Walk Home in Brugge

The Boat Tour of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, Istanbul, Turkey

On the Boat Tour, Istanbul, Turkey

On the Boat Tour, Istanbul, Turkey

We are out on the boat tour on the third part of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn Tours! It is a beautiful day to sit in the sun and enjoy the ride!  Take your sun lotion! I named the spots that I knew and the rest of the time I was gabbing with my new Australian friends! It is a good way to see all the old and new in Istanbul, eyeing the beautiful homes and palaces along the shore. They certainly love their yachts! Enjoy!

The Start of the Tour at the Docks, Istanbul, Turkey

The Start of the Tour at the Docks, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Restaurant Lined The Galata Bridge, Isanbul, Turkey

Restaurant Lined Galata Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

The Cruise Ships Have Landed!, Istanbul, Turkey

The Cruise Ships Have Landed!, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Ciragan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Ciragan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Beautiful Homes Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

Beautiful Homes Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

More Yachts, Istanbul, Turkey

More Yachts, Istanbul, Turkey

The Yachts Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

The Yachts Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

The Ducks, Istanbul, Turkey

The Ducks, Istanbul, Turkey

Private Yachts are All Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

More Boats are All Along the Shore, Istanbul, Turkey

Rumeli Castles (1452), Istanbul, Turkey

Rumeli Castles (1452), Istanbul, Turkey

Baylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Baylerbeyi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Kuleli Military School, Istanbul, Turkey

Kuleli Military School, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Ciragan Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

 Istanbul, Turkey

Kiz Kulesi, Istanbul, Turkey

Kiz Kulesi, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Part 2,  of the “My Best Tip of Istanbul, Turkey” post continues. We are walking  from Pierre Loti Hill down through the Eyüp Cemetery to the boat docked at the pier, that will take us around the Golden Horn. Our tour guide from the Blue Brothers Tours tells us interesting facts and stories about the cemetery and the grave markers.  This is what I learned.

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery is the most sacred cemetery in Istanbul. The mosque was erected by Mehmet the Conqueror, over the tomb of Halid bin Zeyd Ebu Eyyüp, known as Sultan Eyüp, the standard bearer for the prophet Mohammed, also the last survivor of his inner circle of trusted friends.  Sultan Eyüp, while serving as a commander of the Arab forces during the siege of 688 to 659 was killed and buried on the outskirts of Istanbul. One of the conditions of peace, after the Arab siege, was that the tomb of Eyüp be preserved. A little village of tombs blossomed on the site by those seeking Sultan Eyüp’s intervention in the hereafter, and it is still considered a privilege to be buried in the nearby cemeteries. Today it costs more than $50,000 to be buried here. To most people in Turkey that is equivalent to buying a home.

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The tombstones reveal a lot about the people buried beneath them. The older grave markers, those before 1829, are long narrow markers with tops shaped like a turban for the men. The turban represents a pasha; a high ranking person of the Ottoman Empire or a prominent military man, or the turban of a Dervish order. The green painted turbans represent the burial of an Imam. After 1929, the fez shaped hat replaced the pasha turban on the grave markers. The tombstones shaped like a sword represent a soldier.

The Turbans, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Turbans, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Imam, The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Soldier Marker, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Soldier, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The older tombstone markings were written in Arabic. After WWI, when the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states, and following the Turkish War of Independence, (1919-1922) Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, established the Republic of Turkey, with himself as its first president. The Arabic language was out and the Turkish language was designated the official language. This caused a great deal of confusion in Turkey because for several generations the older people spoke Arabic while the children learned Turkish in schools.

For women, the top of the grave marker can be a tiara, noting a princess, or a head-dress represented by flowers, most often the rose. The number of roses depicts how many children the woman had and the opened rose means the child was still living at the time of her death and if the rose is closed, a child has preceded her in death.

A Woman's Marker, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

A Woman’s Marker, Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

At one spot in the cemetery are two markers for two women separated my an empty hole between them. The guide tells the story of two wives of one man. Muslims are allowed four wives. Well in this situation there was the older wife and the much younger wife and all the headaches that could possibly be created between the two women. One day the women decided to end the bickering and their unhappiness by killing the husband. The two women were hung for their crime, and buried in the cemetery plots that their husband had provided for them. However, since it is shameful in Muslim culture to be killed by a woman, the husband was not allowed to be buried there, hence the hole.

Two Women, No Man, Eyüp Cemetery, Isatnbul, Turkey

Two Women, No Man, Eyüp Cemetery, Isatnbul, Turkey

 Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Also, it is popular to have written messages from the deceased placed on the tombstone. Here are some that have been translated.

Stopping his ears with his fingers Judge Mehmut died off from the beautiful world, leaving his wife’s cackling and his mother in law’s gabbing.

O passers by spare me your prayers, but please don’t steal my tombstone.

I could have died as well without a doctor than with that quack that my friends set upon me.

Enjoy!  We are now approaching the boat! Stay tuned for more!

My Best Travel Tip for Istanbul, Turkey

Pierre Loti

Pierre Loti

On arrival at Hotel Sultania, we were offered a choice of tours to review. We usually prefer to explore on our own, but one tour looked so interesting and the price VERY reasonable, so we decided to do it. I am glad we did, it was one of the best tours we have ever been on!  It was the Bosphorus and Golden Horn Boat Tour. But, it was so much more than that!

The 4 hour guided tour, for 20 euros each, included two hours on a boat touring the Bosphorus, to see the palaces along the shore, and the two hour, “Golden Horn Tour”, which included the historical heart of the city and the the Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul harbors.   In addition, there was a stop at Pierre Loti. The tour also includes picking you up and dropping you off at your hotel at the end of the tour. This is really good because I have been on tours where the tour ended and we had no idea where we were, and had to take a cab back to our hotel. A real bummer!  This tour was excellent!

Since Hotel Sultania is located on a pedestrian-only street we walked one street over with the guide, who came to get us, and realized the bus was waiting for us on the corner. Since it was Ramadan, our guide announced, we would be doing the tour backwards, going to Pierre Loti first. I didn’t know what Pierre Loti was, I thought possibly it was the name of the boat docking area, so I just settled in talking to two Australian women and enjoying the scenery along the way when……….

Following a 15 minute ride we stopped and got off the bus at a funicular on the side of a steep hill overlooking the water. The guide paid our funicular fee and we started up the hill in small glass lifts that offered a beautiful view of the Sea of Marmara on one side and a cemetery on the other. I thought, “Where in the world are we going?”

The View from Pierre Loti

The View from Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

Up the Hill to the Shops at Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

Up the Hill to the Shops at Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

The Restaurant at Pierre Lodi, Istanbul, Turkey

The Pierre Loti Restaurant, Istanbul, Turkey

The Steps up to the Shops at Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

The Steps up to the Shops at Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

At the top was a cluster of shops and tables of the Pierre Loti Restaurant (sadly not serving meals because of Ramadan), but the waiters offered soft drinks to us as we admired one of the most beautiful views in Istanbul! We sat at red-checked draped tables under the trees and enjoyed the views with several guests. This is a very popular spot in the city for tourists and the locals.

A View from Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

Another View from Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

Another View from Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

Another View from Pierre Loti, Istanbul, Turkey

As we looked out over the Bosphorus, we observed through the view finder on our cameras, a boat making it’s way to the boat dock well below and away from our magnificent perch on the hill.

The Tour Boat at the Dock, Istanbul, Turkey

The Tour Boat in the Distance at the Dock, Istanbul, Turkey

Up Close and Personal, The Tour Boat

Up Close and Personal, The Tour Boat

I seem to remember making a comment that would come back to haunt me, “Well at least we don’t have to walk all the way to the boat.” Soon our guide called us together and told the first story. He would reveal the story of Pierre Loti. Oh, I love stories! I was captivated!

Pierre Loti, a pseudonym for Julien Viand, was a French novelist and naval officer, who wrote books about exotic spots he visited during his naval career and throughout his lifetime. His noted first works were tales of his love affairs; love, death and despair. Other books were travel guides presenting beautiful tales of Islamic life in countries before the exploitation of tourists.

In 1879, he wrote his first book, Aziyadé. It was a story of a love affair between a 27 year-old man with a “Circassian”, harem girl of 18. Many believe this was semi-autobiographical, based on a diary Loti kept during the fall and winter of 1876. Here is the Turkish interpretation of the story as told by our guide.

While Loti was serving in the military in Istanbul, he met and fell in love with a beautiful Circassian woman. They would meet secretly on this hill high above the city. Her family would not approve of her marrying a non-muslim and they were both in turmoil over this.  Aziyadé suggested they run away together and go to France, where he could marry her. The only problem; he had not been quite honest with her, because he was already married and his wife was in France!  After a few months and several meetings in their secret meeting place he did leave, without her. When she believed he was never coming back she married the person her family had chosen for her.

He did come back several years later and was distraught that she had married!  Really, men! Their liaison started up once again, up on the hill. Eventually, her husband suspected something was up and when he found out about her affair with Loti, he killed her. Short and not sweet. Pierre Loti wore a gold ring with her name, etched on the inside, for the rest of his life.  The hill is now a popular overlook of the city, with a restaurant and more shops up the hill, but we are headed down the cobbled path along the edges of the Eyüp Mosque and Cemetery.

The Eyüp Cemetery, istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Fauna at Eyüp Mosque and Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Flora at Eyüp Mosque and Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, istanbul, Turkey

The Eyüp Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey

Yes, I said that right, we’re walking to the boat! The next story better be another good one! It’s about the cemetery and who are buried there!  We’ re off!

Follow me, won’t you, as we explore on the rest of the tour?  Enjoy!

For the Bosphorus Tours; Short and Full see:

Blue Brothers Travel Agency

For reservation please contact your travel agency or hotel concierge.

Alemdar Mah. Alaykosku Cad No 17 D Cagaloglu, Istanbul, Turkey

Tel: 90 (0212) 528 73 74

Can I Really Leave Venice Without Getting in a Gondola?

My Ride is Here!

My Ride is Here!

Everyday SB and I  walked along the sidewalk to the large area of gondolas moored in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. There was always a snaking line of excited tourists waiting for the black shiny boats, cameras ready, clicking away, while the gondolier decided who would ride in what boat. I studied the approach to the gondola like an eagle. Walk down the wide, but short, steps to the gondola. Safe. Take the hand of the sidewalk gondolier. Safe. Place one foot in the gondola and take a little leap. Scary. Release hand of sidewalk gondolier. Scary. Walk carefully to the spot you want to sit in. Most scary. Sit. Next person!

I am not good in rowboats or kayaks. I tip them over. I fall out. I can’t get back in when I do fall out. I have been known to get my feet stuck in the mud and not be able to move after falling out of a kayak in shallow water.  An eighty something woman came to assist me for God’s sake! But, I want to ride in one of those gondolas! I have studied them daily for over a week. I can do this! But, let’s do it at night after 6pm when the crowds are gone and no one can see my anxiety or if I actually fall into the canal!

My evening arrives.

I walk down the steps. Good so far! I take the hand of the gondolier as SB tells him how long a ride we want. Good so far! I clutch the camera and leap. Oh, I didn’t fall!!!!!! Terrific! I walk gingerly to my seat and take a deep breath. I am over joyed! I settle in to enjoy and experience the view from the gondola! Won’t you join me at gondola level?

On Our Way!

On Our Way!

Smooth Ride Past the Eateries!

Smooth Ride Past the Eateries!

Swoosh, Swoosh, Slide

Swoosh, Swoosh, Slide

Oh, how I loved riding in that gondola! At the corners of buildings there was shouting from other gondoliers so we wouldn’t all get to the same spot at once. I could look up at the windows of the casa and imagine mama in her black crepe dress and rolled down stockings, sitting down in the candlelit dining room to a dinner of pasta de mer, wine, and bread.  Of course, she was waiting on and fussing over her son, because he still lived with her at 40.

The Softest of Color Everywhere!

Is Mama up There?

How About Here?

How About Here?

We rounded the bend and made the pass through the Grande Canal and I marveled at the muted, soft colors that kissed the buildings goodnight and tucked them in as the sun began to sink. I was relaxed and thought this possibly one of the most romantic trysts.

Out into the Grand Canal!

Out into the Grand Canal!

Duck Tails in a Row

Duck Tails in a Row

So Much Color!

So Much Color!

The Fancy Gardens at Canal Level!

The Fancy Gardens at Canal Level!

The Courthouse!

The Courthouse!

The Vaporatto Bringing Tourists to Venice

The Vaporatto Taking Tourists to Venice

And then it was time to get out of the boat. The gondolier pulled up to a different set of stairs. Why weren’t we at the place we started from; the nice easy low steps? I looked at the sidewalk gondolier and he looked at me. Oh dear, he didn’t look very sturdy! I stood up and walked to the end of the gondola. Good. I placed one foot on the steep step and one hand in the gondolier’s outstretched one. Good. The gondola slipped away from the docking area and I was doing the splits, one leg on land, the other in the boat! Oh, Oh, Oooooooh!!!!!!  The boat gondolier was frantically trying to get the boat back to the dock. Oh, Ooooooh, Oh! SB was trying to shove my fanny up to the landing.  Ooooooh, Oh, Oh! The sidewalk gondolier was holding on to me for dear life! Oooooooooh! Suddenly, another body grabbed my free arm and whipped me to the pavement! Oh, I could have cried!  I tried not to get hysterical! I laughed trying not to cause more of a scene than I already had.  Another gondolier saw my predicament and had rushed to rescue me. I had no idea where he came from. He wasn’t there when we docked. “You can swim right? No problem!” he laughed.  “Yes, no problem,” I repeated.

So ended my adventure on the canals of Venice, I thought.

On the last evening of our stay the concierge, at Locanda Orseolo, asked if we would mind sharing a boat taxi with another couple, who were leaving the next morning as we were. We didn’t have any problem with that and the next morning there was the couple we had seen several times in the breakfast room. I had watched them in disbelief, when  they checked in with eight suitcases, the bigs ones overstuffed and held together with packing tape, and wondered just where they were traveling to and for how long. Now I watched as their luggage was hoisted down into a speed boat docked at the tiny half door, at the back of the hotel. Did we have to get in the boat that way too? Oh my God! Can I duck down, bend, AND step into the boat? All at the same time? Without falling in the drink? Could the other couple do this? They looked eighty five and frail! Oh my God! Rose looked at me and I knew she was thinking the same thing. “We can do this Rose, I’ll go first,” I tried to look confident. I bent down with one hand holding the top of the door frame and took the hand of the captain and just at that time a wave came along and the boat practically leveled out with the base of that door! Oh my God, I did it! I’m in the boat! “You can do it, Rose, come on!” She too made it. The men jumped on like sailors. The women were relieved to be sitting down.

The Last Door! OH MY GOD!

The Last Door! OH MY GOD!

As we approached the airport dock, my stomach began to do little flips. I just kept talking. Ok, this is going to be Ok, I kept telling myself. And it was. When I stepped to put my foot on the dock, again the wave leveled off the boat with the dock and voila I was on terra firma! No Problem! Thank you and Hail Mary!  We’re off to Istanbul!

PS, For a look into the world of Venice in the past, In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, is a great read. You’ll glimpse the life of a prostitute and her midget pimp. Now that will make you look at these canals in a new light!

Hi, I’m C-A-D-Y and I have I-T-I-S

Mariahilfer Strasse Neighborhood

Mariahilfer Strasse Neighborhood

 

That would be arthr I-T-I-S. ( as in swelling of the arths or joints) You who follow me regularly know I have been hobbled (well I am always hobbled, but more so recently) especially the past few months due to increased travels and increased walking, so with the trip to AIT (Austria, Italy, and Turkey) coming up I sought the advice of my physician.  I am on the strongest medication, she told me. Next step corrective shoes. Corrective shoes? I already wear supportive, un-flattering, old fashioned, old lady shoes and have for some time. I was ten days out from my trip and had no time for new shoes. This trip was one of the most extensive and varied yet of our travels and included several flights, connecting flights, train trips, bus trips, boat trips, LOTS of walking, exploring, and new experiences. Shoes?  I would just have to suck it up! 

I came home with Pharyng I-T-I-S.   A sore throat, headache to beat all headaches, earache, cough, cough, cough, and complete lethargy. And over 3,000 pictures! So today I begin the tale of what we did in between the I-T-I-S’s. It was one of the best trips abroad!  And so we begin!

This week the list for the Best Airlines was released. # 5 on that list was Turkish Airlines.  There was no American airline in the top 20. We have never flown on Turkish Airlines, but booked it because the price was very reasonable and got us to our destination  with the fewest stops. I was immediately impressed upon boarding to be met my a chef (big hat and chef’s attire and all) and to get to my seat which had a pillow, blanket, earphones, and slippers already placed in my seat. Did I mention our seats were not changed one time in the six months prior to departure and we actually boarded on schedule? When we were all seated (and we were in regular folks seating) we received a travel kit (which I can use over and over it was so nice) with earplugs, sleeping mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm and knee high socks.  Right after they served the Turkish Delight candy and the hot wash cloths they passed out the food menu and the drinks menu. Need I say more?  I will. There were a bazillion channels for music, movies, news, kids shows and learning. There were plugs for all your electronic devices. And the seats were big enough for your fanny. Following a smooth ride, very tasty meals, lots of entertainment and excellent service we landed in Istanbul on time and ready to transfer to another Turkish Airlines plane to take us to Vienna. It was one of the best airline experiences to date!  Please, keep them in mind when booking your flights. You won’t be disappointed. 

Twenty four hours later (including time changes and connecting flight times) we landed in Vienna around 8pm. Tired and ready for bed we entered Das Tyrol, a small boutique-spa hotel located in a residential area on Mariahilfer Strasse just barely outside the old town’s RingStrasse.

Mariahilfer Strasse Neighborhood

Mariahilfer Strasse Neighborhood

The fresh invigorating spa fragrance as we entered the hotel quickly helped to rejuvenate us. What a relaxed feeling! Soon we had checked in, got a lay out of the land, ( including the spa area, breakfast area and lounge), and then  took the tiny two people elevator to the Donald Duck floor. What a great room we had! We collapsed into bed and were asleep within minutes! 

The next morning we were up early to the large buffet breakfast and then out the door to walk to the Old Town. The hotel’s location was perfect. Situated in the middle of a hill, at  the top was the train station and metro station (inside a huge mall with great shopping and eateries) and at the bottom of the hill the tram that circled historic Vienna. We decided to do a Vienna City Walk that SB had mapped out for us before we left home. This way we we could get an idea where the major museums were in the area, before we decided which ones to go in. So we walked down the hill, turned right and crossed the street to the Opera House and Gardens.

On the Way to Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austria

On the Way to Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austria

Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austria

Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austria

Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austri

Ringstrasse, Vienna, Austria

Here there were many men dressed as Mozart encouraging you to buy tickets to a concert, every few feet.

Opera House, Vienna, Austria

Opera House, Vienna, Austria

Opera House, Vienna, Austria

Opera House, Vienna, Austria

We walked on pass them through the gates and then backtracked past the Opera Museum and  the Albertinaplatz and the Monument Against War and Fascism.

Mozart's Garden, Vienna, Austria

Mozart’s Garden, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Historic District, Vienna, Austria

Monument Against War and Fascism, Vienna, Austria

Monument Against War and Fascism, Vienna, Austria

Finally we came to corner where the red tour buses were parked and decided we would see another part of the city from the bus on another day. Here also was the Cafe Tirolerhof, a classic Viennese cafe with chandeliers, marble tables, smoke stained upholstered booths and waiters in tuxes.  It’s was like stepping into an old movie and it was my first chance to taste the famous Viennese coffee.

Cafe Tirolerhof, Vienna, Austria

Cafe Tirolerhof, Vienna, Austria

Cafe Tirolerhof, Vienna, Austria

Cafe Tirolerhof, Vienna, Austria

 Refreshed and relaxed we ventured on passing the Kaisergruft, a church filled with the crypts of Austria’s emperors, empresses and other Habsburg royalty, buried in pewter coffins. Check that for a come back to.

Kaisergruft, Vienna, Austria

Kaisergruft, Vienna, Austria

We make our way to Kärntner Strasse, a pedestrian only grand walkway, the same road that the Crusaders marched down as they left St Stephen’s Cathedral for the Holy Land in the 12th century. The street was bumper to bumper people, so many in fact that I could not see  anything but the back of the head in front of me. What I thought would be a lovely old cobbled street was now a pedestrian mob of shoppers slowly moving along the shops of Gucci and Prada! There were people everywhere! It was Saturday I realized and the shops would be closed on Sunday so the shopping was a must!

Karntner Strasse, Vienna, Austria

Karntner Strasse, Vienna, Austria

I couldn’t wait to reach St Stephen’s hoping the crowd would thin out. Reaching the cathedral we have also entered the center of Vienna.

The church, built from 1300 to 1450, has a 450-ft tower and a colorful roof and is Austria’s national church. During WWII the stained glass window behind the high altar was dismantled and packed away. The pulpit was encased in a shell of brick. When the Nazi’s were fleeing at the end of the war an order was given to destroy the church upon leaving. Gratefully, the order was ignored, but the church did catch fire during Allied bombings and the wooden roof collapsed on the stone vaults of the ceiling. After the war each region of Austria contributed to the rebuilding of St Stephen’s, replacing the bell, the entrance portal, the windows, the pews and the floor. Today there is scaffolding where they are continuing to restore. Leaving the church I want to get off the main drag and away from the crowds. We find Dorotheergasse and a small grouping of tables outside Reinthaler’s Beisl where we sit and taste our first gulasch meal and apfelstrudel for dessert. The street is quiet and it is nice to sit and watch the world go by. We’ll stop here for now, but return soon to continue our walk. Enjoy!

 

You Have to Know How to Hold Em’ and Know When To Fold Em’

Since we are prepping for the travel season I thought it was a good time to take a re-look at PACKING! The Compression Sacs from Eagle Creek are MUST HAVES! I went to do a demo today to post for you how easy they are and how much you can get in them. However, HUBBY has taken all of my SACS on a business trip!!!!!! What? Trust me they are that good, you will have to hide them or they will disappear! I’m going to AAA tomorrow to get more! Happy traveling!

The Travel Lady In Her Shoes

Traveling in the summer months is easier to pack for. Clothes weigh less and are not bulky. For any trip over seven days I take seven outfits that mix and match. Seven tops and seven slacks. And two lightweight sweaters that go with anything. Interchangeable. Period. This makes a very big wardrobe and believe me it so much easier to deal with.  To dress something up add a scarf!

Sacs from Eagle CreekSacs from Eagle Creek

The next best thing to soap is  Compression Sacs from Eagle Creek, the kind that don’t need a vacuum to suck out the air. Put your clothes  in it, and then roll the sack like you are rolling out a pie. The air escapes and it is flat as a pancake. A miracle!  You will be amazed how much you can get into these sacs! The sacs come in three sizes.  Small, medium and large.  I take…

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