Monday, September 22, 2008

Istanbul to Mykonos

After a long flight to Istanbul, we finally had a chance to get over jet lag at the wonderful Istanbul Sheraton. What a hotel! We were not in Istanbul long enough. It's a huge city with all sorts of stuff to see. We saw the typical tourist "stuff:" Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque and the Bazaar. I was more intrigued with the secular nature of the Islamic State of Turkey. Some of the women are heavily scarfed and covered up, others are dressed as westerners. It's interesting to see how the two very different interpretations of Islam work well together.

From Istanbul we sailed to Izmir, the site of Ephesus where the Temple of Diana is located. We saw the ruins of the Agora which was much bigger than I thought it would be. I'm discovering that ancient history class I took as a freshman is coming in handy! Too bad it was 40 years ago!

Today we are in Mykonos, a Greek Island in the Aegean Sea. It's a bleak island with white washed houses and each house has the same architectural details. The beaches are pretty and the views of the Med and the Aegean are wonderful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the Road Again

We're in San Francisco waiting for the shuttle to take us to the airport. We board flight 900 to Frankfurt about 1 PM. Twelve hours later we board a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul. That flight is less than 3 hours. Nevertheless, it's going to be a long day "in the air."

I think we are packed. Yesterday we bought a few last minute items that we left at home, so I hope we all that we need. Our suitcases weigh in at 40 lbs/each, so we have "room to spare" (which is strange because they are packed to the hilt). In addition, if they weighed anymore we would not be able to move them!

When I get online next, I'll write. Watch this space.

Monday, September 15, 2008


This blog is called cruztalking because I get to talk on cruises every now and again. Starting on Friday, I'll be one of the cruztalkers on the NCL Jade that sails from Istanbul to Athens. I wonder who the other cruztalkers will be? We do not find out this information until we get on the ship.

To get ready for the cruise, I've been a faithful reader of the Jade Message Board at Cruise Critic. Through that message board, I've linked up with 65 other folks who are going to be on the cruise. We've organized a meet and greet party the second day of the cruise and we've also organized some shore excursions. It will be fun to see the people I've already met online!

I packed my suitcase today; the carry-on gets packed tomorrow. We are leaving a few days early in order to explore Istanbul before the cruise starts. I'm really excited about this trip as I've read about and seen pictures of Istanbul/Byzantium/Constantinople all of my life! We are also making stops at several wonders of the Ancient World as well as touching some wonderful Greek Islands. I hope to stay up to date with my postings.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Big Five

When you go on a safari in Africa, I’ve heard that you want to look for the “Big 5” animals of the Serengeti. In the Rockies, there is a similar “Big 5” list, but the animals are different. If you are lucky, you might see our Big 5 of Bear, Moose, Elk, Bison and Deer. Over the past few days, we’ve seen moose, elk, bison and deer. Today we saw a grizzly bear. I took 5 pictures of this fellow, and this is the best. I'm not getting any closer to a Grizz!

Right before we saw the bear, we were stopped by a huge herd of bison crossing the road. Again, something we have rarely seen in the Tetons. Yellowstone has a resident herd of about 2000 bison while the Teton herd is less than 500. I think we saw 100 of them.

Taking pictures of animals is not as easy as it sounds. You cannot ask them to pose for you. You have to be ready to “take what you get.” You have to be close enough to see them, yet far enough away in order to be safe. IF you have a super-sized lens, this is not a difficult task. My Canon SD800IS point and shoot camera does not have a big lens, so I only take pictures of animals I can see clearly. Therefore, I will probably never take great photos of bear or moose.