A short visit creates warm memories at Hagia Sofia in Trabzon, Turkey's city on the Black Sea.
Huge bowls of molten cheese, homemade bread slathered with butter and honey, and a side of graffiti dating back to the 1200's -it's just an ordinary morning in Trabzon! My visit may have been short on time but it was long in experiences. I visited one of the most intriguing buildings in the country - Hagia Sofia Trabzon -and of course I just had to start with a meal in the sunny courtyard next door. Is there any better way to get acquainted with a city than by enjoying a great meal ?
A large city on Turkey's Black Sea coast, Trabzon once occupied a pivotal spot on the ancient Silk Road before morphing into a modern day melting pot of cultures. It's long been a gateway destination to Iran and the Caucasus and has significant geo-political importance. But for my part I was simply eager to get to know the county beyond Istanbul and expand on my knowledge of Turkish history and cuisine. And for that, Trabzon was the perfect host.
Updated in 2022! Amongst the hustle and bustle of Istanbul's Sultanahmet, there is an oasis of art. Ebru painting is incredible!
Istanbul's Sultanhamet neighbourhood is no stranger to old buildings. It's home to the Hagia Sophia, which dates back to 537 AD, and Topkapi Palace, built in 1459. By comparison, Caferağa Medresesi is the new kid on the block. Built in 1559, it's a mere 456 years young!
But in its relatively short life, it's had many incarnations. The word medresseh refers to an educational institution and, since 1989, Caferağa Medresesi has been a centre of learning for traditional Turkish handicrafts, such as ceramics, mosaics, calligraphy - and ebru painting, which we were fortunate enough to try. It was incredible, so much so that we now think that everyone should try ebru painting in Istanbul, at least once!
Sometimes a chain hotel is the best idea. This is why we loved the Holiday Inn in Singapore.
Singapore is home to some of the most gorgeous and unique hotel properties in the world. They offer stunning views, amazing roof top cocktail bars, and the chicest of design. So why on earth did we opt for the Holiday Inn Express on Orchard Road?
In short? We didn't think we'd be in any hotel long enough to appreciate any special features. Arriving late at night from Bangkok, we'd literally be in the room just long enough to sleep before heading out to explore early the next morning. We needed something that was centrally located, close to public transit, clean, safe, convenient, and EASY. It didn't exactly scream hip Singapore style, but it included free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and rang in at around $150 - not our greatest deal ever, but still a respectable bargain for the city.
You've hit the travelling mother-load at Mother Land Inn 2
Have you ever been so happy to see a place that you nearly cried? In truth, it wouldn't have mattered what Mother Land Inn 2 looked like, or how friendly the staff were, or how comfortable the rooms were. We rolled into Yangon after the worst travel experience of our lives, 20 hours of pure misery on the overnight train from Bagan. It was a bone jarring, flesh bruising, filth accumulating experience and MLI2 appeared to us like a mirage, then an oasis.
Have a layover in Singapore? Here's what you can do.
Singapore is one of many layovers on our round the world trip. We have just under 24 hours here - and we're not the only ones. Singapore is one of the most popular layovers in the world. With its compact layout and an airport that serves as a hub for endless international destinations, Singapore offers short term visitors a lot of city in just a little time.
This Bangkok dinner cruise was definitely memorable, to say the least.
What do you get when you combine a karaoke session that includes Country Roads and Gangnam Style, a buffet laden with spaghetti bolognese, and a little bit of line dancing to Achy Breaky Heart? Why, a night out in Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, of course! We were happy to partner once again with Viator for their Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River tour.
We never thought Bangkok would be a rest and relaxation destination.
Our round the world, points based trip officially includes one main stop (Sydney) and two stopovers of our choice (we picked Brussels and Bangkok) and endless layovers and side trips. Considering that Bangkok is one of our official stopovers, it's about time we finally made it back to see the city! Our first stop here hardly counts, as we essentially did nothing more than transfer from one airport to another and spend the night in a hotel. Now that we're here for a few days, we're looking forward to seeing the city by foot, bike, and boat and (of course!) stuffing ourselves with pad Thai.
Yangon is a city of gold and an amazing travel destination.
Most travelers to Myanmar make Yangon their first stop, not their last, but we've been bucking the norm for a lot of our trip. With more and moretransportation options opening up in other cities, we were able to make the most of our limited time and not double back on our tracks. Yangon has plenty to offer visitors and, while you could easily spend a week or more exploring the city at a leisurely pace, it is compact enough to see a lot of the major sites in two days, which is exactly what we plan to do!
"Warmly welcome and take care of tourist" - this is the train ride of a lifetime! Read all about our experience on the overnight train from Bagan to Yangon in Myanmar.
Less than 12 hours after enjoying the BEST travel experience of our lives, we were off to catch the overnight train from Bagan to Yangon. An overnight train seemed to an efficient and economical way to get across the country without losing a precious day of sightseeing to transit and we were excited to try something new.
Our expectations for the train were very modest. We had done considerable research, learning a lot from The Man in Seat 61 and Lesley Leep Phoography We had watched Anthony Bourdain’s Burmese train trip on the Parts Unknown series and had taken to heart a passage from Lonely Planet, in which a local resident advises that the train is “not as bad as you think, not as good as you hope”.
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