Tag Archives: travel

Turkish Food: What a Delight!

One of the things that surprised me most about Turkey was how good the food is. I had expected it to be like Middle Eastern food, with maybe a hint of Greek, but I was blown away by the endless variety that presented itself. Outside of Turkey, Turkish food is represented by the ubiquitous doner kebab. Well, I didn’t have doner kebab once while I was in Turkey – there was simply too much else to try. Due to the widespread reach of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish food combines the best of Balkan, Middle Eastern, and Persian cuisine, and much more. They take great pride in the freshness of their ingredients, and menus are small but robust. As an added bonus – at least for the American or European tourist – Turkish food is cheap. The food costs about half as much as what I would expect to pay in the States.

With that said, here’s a gallery of my gastronomic tour through Turkey (I went to Istanbul and Cappadocia). Bon Appétit!


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Filed under food, Istanbul, travel, Turkey

Why You Should Never Go Down Unmarked Roads in Maine Without Four-Wheel Drive (in Pictures)

I’ll let these pictures tell the story of how we almost lost our rental car in the icy waters off the coast of Maine. To read the whole story, published in The Michigan Quarterly Review, click here.


We found ourselves horribly, helplessly stuck on a beautiful, unspoiled beach. Note to self: Camaros and sand do NOT mix.


We tried making a loop around the beach, but that just made us more stuck.


Ummm, is it just me, or is the tide coming in? (GULP)


A pick-up truck found us, but they couldn’t get us out either.


Rescue came not a moment too soon. Thank you, tow-truck guy!!!


Looking back at what might have been…

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Filed under humor, photography, travel

A Review of The Facebook TripAdvisor App

Warning: This app may give you a serious case of wanderlust.

So, I’ve been playing around with Facebook’s TripAdvisor app, since the Where I’ve Been app has been so unceremoniously discontinued.  (You can see a picture of the old app on my About page.) On the whole I like the new app.

I can see all the cities where I’ve been/ want to go:

1213 TripAdvisor app1

I can select only the cities where I’ve been:

1213 TripAdvisor app2 Been

Or only the cities where I want to go:

1213 TripAdvisor app3 Want

And my favorite cities.  Funnily enough, they’re all in the same corner of the world:

1213 TripAdvisor app4 Fave

Whereas the old app (Where I’ve Been) filled in the entire country if you’ve visited it, this map just pins specific cities.  This is good and bad.  It gives you a new perspective on your travels.  Before, I was more focused on going to new countries just so I could fill in more of my map.  Now I realize that I primarily want to see more cities in countries where I’ve already been — England, France, Italy, Spain, etc.  This app has severely increased my wanderlust!  It’s also forced me to think about all the cities and towns I’ve ever visited, which has been a nice trip down memory lane.

One thing I don’t like about these apps is that they tend to turn traveling into a game or competition. I can see where all my friends have been, and my first impulse is to see whether I’ve “beaten” their country count.

I also found a bug in the app.  It’s saying I’ve been to a place called Bangko, Indonesia – which I never was – and I can’t get it off my map!  It’s been bugging me, since it’s throwing my city and country count off.  Anyone know how to fix this?

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Filed under Europe, travel

The Cats of Istanbul: Haikus

In old Istanbul
At every alley and door
A cat lies waiting

From Hagia Sophia
To the ancient Grand Bazaar
Yellow eyes peer out

Cats of Istanbul
I long to carry you home
But customs says no


Filed under cats, humor, Istanbul, photography, travel, Turkey

Close Encounters of the Octopus Kind

I love octopuses – or is it octopi?  They’re so smart, I can’t bring myself to eat them.  I was snorkeling off the coast of San Pedro in Belize in very shallow water, when I spotted some movement – my first octopus sighting!  Quick as a whistle, it darted into a reef and changed color, turning white to blend in with the coral.

Can you spot the octopus?  It's that white thing in the center, with two little eyes peeking out.

Can you spot the octopus? It’s that white thing in the center, with two little eyes peeking out.

Then, much to my amazement, it latched on to a conch shell and started pulling it over itself, until only two beady eyes remained.

If you look very carefully, you'll see the eyes.

If you look very carefully, you’ll see the eyes.

Mr. Octopus is not pleased.  I think by this point he had pulled a second shell onto himself.

Mr. Octopus is not pleased. I think by this point he had pulled a second shell onto himself.

We stared at each other for a few minutes in a tense standoff, and then I let the octopus be.  I went back to my kayak – it took me about ten tries to climb over the side and get inside the damn thing!  Especially because the person I was with decided to take pictures instead of help me.

Why don't you put down the camera and help me?

Why don’t you put down the camera and help me?

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Filed under Belize, humor, travel, underwater

Genuine Fake Watches? Yes, Please!

The picture says it all.

Souvenir shop outside of Ephesus, Turkey

Bizarre souvenir shop outside of Ephesus, Turkey. At least they’re honest (sort of).

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Filed under Europe, humor, travel, Turkey

Travel Adventure #1: Playing Dead in Montmajour Abbey

Call me morbid, but I love old cemeteries.  They’re so peaceful, so spiritual, so, well, otherworldly.  I can spend hours looking at  tombstones and reading the inscriptions, thinking about how the people lived. 

My all-time favorite cemetery is the one I came across unexpectedly at Montmajour Abbey, a huge medieval monastery outside of Arles in France.  There aren’t any bodies there now – they were removed long ago.  When I first saw the large holes cut into the rocky outcrop outside the abbey, I didn’t know what they were.  Then I realized the holes were vaguely human-shaped, with angular cuts for the shoulders and head.  My thoughts went something like this:

“Oh my God, those are tombs cut into the rock.”

“Wow, they are hundreds of years old.”

“It’s strange that there’s nothing covering them.”

“Since there’s nothing covering them, I should probably get inside one right now!”

And that’s just what I did.  It’s not every day you get to lie inside someone’s tomb.  It wasn’t too comfy, but it was an otherworldly experience.

Playing dead in Montmajour Abbey necropolis

Playing dead in Montmajour Abbey necropolis

Montmajour Abbey necropolis

Montmajour Abbey necropolis

Water-filled tombs in Montmajour Abbey

More tombs in Montmajour Abbey

Picture 241

A view of all the tombs from the abbey’s tower.


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Filed under Europe, France, history, travel