• November 7, 2008 /  Vacation Oct 2008

    I’ve been asked frequently what my favorite parts of the trip were and the kind of things I really enjoyed.  So I thought I’d share the answer to this to anyone who is still looking at this blog.

    The thing I enjoyed the most applies to all locations and it was being able to go to another country where things are very different and experience the culture there and their lifestyle.  I found it really interesting visiting Greece and Turkey where many things are much more relaxed.  For example, hardly anyone wears seatbelts.  Only a small percentage of motorcyclists wear helmets.  Many kids are not strapped into a child seat but are walking about the car or even standing on the middle console in between the two front seats.  These were real eye opener type things, especially seeing a child standing up in between the two front seats.  That was just frightening at the thought of how he would have been a little projectile being sent through the windshield had they been in a collision.  But I guess nobody thinks of those things over there and it made me wonder if we have become too anal in our society.  We need helmets when skiing, snowboarding, biking, skating etc.  Nobody would argue the benefits in the event of an accident….but have we gone overboard?  I don’t know this answer….but it made me think…..

    What did I dislike about the trip?  I really only disliked one thing.  The smoking.  I personally do not like cigarette smoke so the fact that just about everyone there smokes and that they smoke everywhere was really a disturbance.  For this, it’s nice to be back home.  

    The following is a summary of my thoughts for each place we visited:

    GREECE

    Athens – was a typical city with lots of congestion.  But the surrounding mountains added an incredible view for the backdrop of the city.  The homes, being concrete and of different architecture was really nice to see.  The ruins where the Parthanon and Acropolis were, was incredible.  The subway system was easy to use.  

    Santorini – was very different than I was expecting.  The tourist areas are nice but when you venture into the towns to see how the island ‘really’ is, it’s pretty run down.  It felt a lot like rural Mexico.  Lots of brown, dry land.  Low income living.  The view of the volcano and the sunsets were amazing.  Over-all though I was not overly impressed.

    TURKEY

    Istanbul – was a very congested city and the visit by a member of parliament made the congestion twice as worse than it should have been.   Unfortunately, the amount of time it took to get around made it difficult to see everything we had hoped to.  The old mosques and castle were really a sight to see.  I would like to return to see more of the vast history.  

    Ayvalik – while our stay was short, I quickly obtained a real liking for this place.  I’m not a city person at all and this was like our cottage country.  Peaceful, by the sea and the old structures here were very interesting.

    Izmir – really didn’t see this city except for the bus terminal.  Unfortunately, we don’t want to recount the “Tea Nazi” experience :)

    Bodrum – was a VERY nice place that fits into what I really like.  Summer homes that serve as vacation spots that equates to our cottage country.  Peaceful, by the sea and very scenic.  The small towns were very interesting with their architecture and layouts.  The small town restaurant that Deniz and I enjoyed dinner at was amazing.  The peacefulness was really nice to experience in our schedule as the first part was quite hectic.  

    Paris – turned out to be a little longer of a stay than originally planned but we spent most of that extra time at the airport.  So, we really still only had the one afternoon/evening of sight seeing.  The architecture of Paris was really amazing.  What was not so enjoyable was the people there.  Especially around the tourist areas and airport the people there were not only unfriendly….they were rude!  If you didn’t speak French, you didn’t receive good service or assistance.  Was really nice to see and visit but I have no desire to return.

    London – was just a short overnight stay on our way back home.  Was really freaky to see the traffic travelling opposite to what we’re used to.  And it seemed the passenger was always driving!  But I found the people there to be exceptionally friendly and helpful.  I would really like to return here to properly visit the UK.  London was also very beautiful from the air.  It’s a very green city.  I also noticed that unlike most cities that are sectioned off in squares from above, London was very curvy.  The land from above was like looking at someones stamped concrete patio.  Curvy shapes.

    What interests me most about a place are things that make the location unique and the history.  So, the ruins top my interest in Greece and Turkey.  What I don’t care for are the real ‘tourist’ areas since they are very common from place to place.  And you don’t really get to see what a particular place is REALLY like unless you venture out away from all the flash and jazz.  

    Well…those are my thoughts for now….