My birthday turned out to be lovely. John's second cousin, David, has a great wife that I like and two young teens that get along well with our kids - considering there is a language barrier. They took us to a beautiful spot in the Alps (Slovenian side) - kind of like a fairy tale : Far, far away, there is a ring of snow-capped mountains, and in that ring there is a very old castle, and below that castle there is a deep blue lake, and on that lake there is a tiny green island, and on that island there is a pretty little chapel, and in that chapel there is a magical bell. Ring the bell and true love will come forever.
A view of Koper below
April 10, 2012
We plan on driving to the capital Ljubljana to visit for the day and then set off for Bled a little further north to stay the night. I was really excited that both our families will be travelling together and we will be using our new car. We have a good breakfast and pack our cars. We decide the boys will travel in David's car and the girls with travel in our new Slovenian car. We all set off with David leading the way and Carolyn following. About ten minutes into our drive, David gets a call on the cell, a few words are exchanged in Slovenian and then David turns to me and says, . . .
April 9, 2012
When we left Canada and set off on our World Tour, we did not know where we would end up when April 9th, Carolyn's birthday came along. We knew we would be somewhere in Europe but we didn't know which town or city. As it turns out we celebrated Carolyn's birthday with family in Slovenia. By the third week of our visit my cousin David and his wife Ingrid invited us to stay at their home for a week and we gratefully accepted. They have two children, Iris and Tedej and David's parents Franko and Orietta also live on the second floor of their home. They live in . . .
During our visit in Slovenia we decided the most economical way to travel during our European leg of our trip is to buy a car. Yes buying an inexpensive pre-owned (used) car is a better option than taking the train or renting a car. There are a few factors that helped us reach this decision: We are a family of four, it wouldn't be justifiable if you are travelling alone or as a couple. The length of time of our Euorpean leg (about six weeks), if we were travelling . . .
We are here in Koper for about two weeks before deciding on our next destination. During our time with my Uncle we had a good mix of spending time with family (translation: eating) and visiting various small towns in the area. My Uncle is a great host. The days varied from leaving in the morning and driving to a neighbouring small town (Piran, Portoroz, Isola) to relaxing at his home and just enjoying being in one place.
Piran is a beautiful small town on the Adriatic coast. Slovenia has a very small coastline and this tiny town is a gem. The centre is situated on a point jutting out into the Adriatic Sea. All the homes are crowded together, where the red tiled roofs almost touch each other. The walkways are . . .
We finally arrive in Slovenia, the country where my Dad was born, and I manage to contact my Uncle Flavio (Zio Flavio) two days before our arrival in the capital Ljubljana. After a gruelling 24 hour train ride from Sophia to Ljubljana (complete with a 6 hour wait in Belgrade) we are met with my Uncle's warm hugs and smiles. We is wearing a cap with the Maple Leaf and his car is proudly displaying the Canadian flag! We immediately start speaking in Italian, which is our only common language. The region of Slovenia that my family originates from is bilingual. They all speak . . .
We sleep in a cave during our first night in Cappadocia . Yes, many hotels in the area have converted old cave dwellings into hotels for guests to sleep in. A quick and delicious breakfast and then we are off again visiting the northern regions of Cappadocia. We are fortunate to have the same guide, Effe, for the leg of our tour and we begin by visiting a nearby site where monks once lived but is now abandoned. Again our day was filled with a lot of information and site-seeing . . .
Now we hop on a night bus and head east to the interior of Turkey to an area called Cappadocia. Cappadocia is located in the centre of Turkey and it gets a lot colder as we move west. Again the bus ride was as comfortable as it gets and Birch and Allegra sleep effortlessly. That is the beauty of being young, you can sleep under varying conditions, for me, I survived!
Wow, Cappadocia is absolutely gorgeous, it consists of many giant stone formations that have been carved out over time. We go to . . .
After a refreshing sleep in a hotel room, the tour guide picks us up along with another family and we head to Pamukkale which is only a couple of hours away. This town also has a huge well preserved amphitheatre and many Greek ruins. Along with all this archeological beauty, there are many natural hot springs that have been running through the area which explains why it was once another large Greek centre. These hot springs contain calcium carbonate which eventually get deposited along the rock creating white hillsides and pools. As we approach . . .
On this leg of our trip we book a five day tour through local travel company near our hotel. Our time is limited so three popular towns to visit are suggested: Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia. The tour involves getting from town to town with tour buses that are pre-booked and travel through the night. The concept is that while travelling through the night we could sleep on the bus and when the bus arrives in the early morning we could freshen up and then be ready to visit each town. It is a good idea if sleep comes easily while travelling along and constantly being woken up for rest stops. Regardless we are happy with our choices which allow us to see a little more of Turkey (a large country to begin with for European standards). We leave Istanbul at . . .