Monthly Archives: May 2012

Anatalya

The end of our trip in Alanya was followed by a tour of Anatalya, which was a highlight for me.  Here are some pictures of what we experienced. Anatalya history that dates back to a time before Christ. There are still parts of the land that is still being escalated. After leaving the old roman town we went to a waterfall that was filled with natural wildlife and nature.  I’ll let the pictures speak for their self.

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Alanya under the moon

When most people talk about Alanya they are talking about the night life. I had an oportunity to get out and check the scene. The clubs are free and packed. The drinks compensate for the entry fee. Good music and lots of energy will keep your heart pumping. If you’re looking to party, this is the spot! Check out Robin hood, then the other clubs in the surrounding area. Some pictures were not loaded to protect the innocent 😎 but keep your eyes posted after I get the go ahead.

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Relaxing in Alanya

I tried the Turkish bath for the first time and it was pretty interesting. The pampering session was a two-hour spa experience where I was scrubbed on a hot marble slab, given a full body massage followed by a mud mask. Green tea, soft music under the low lights set the mood even to a higher tranquil setting, it was the most relaxing experience I have ever had. The hotel brought in an events coordinator where a number of sports were played. The grounds where clean, the rooms were well-kept and all the staff was friendly. I’d go back to Club Insula http://www.clubinsula.com/ just because of the professional service and staff.   Alanya is one of those places where you go to escape the daily routine and kick back to have fun. from what I was able to observe many families brought their kids there from all over Europe and Turkey.  There are so many hidden jewels in Turkey and I would suggest giving Alanya a shot if you’re looking for fantastic food, entertainment and relaxation. BRING ERUO WHEN TRAVELING ALONG THE COAST OF TURKEY  DURING PEAK SEASON ( June through September). I went right before the peak and they had just converted all the prices to Euro.

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Next trip !

I’m about to take a trip to Alanya this weekend and I’m excited because I’m taking my new Canon. I’ve been out shooting around town and I’m very happy with the results. My bags are packed and now its time to return to the beach. I uploaded some practice shots I took as I was learning to use the features. As my buddy and I were walking around  we slowly developed a crowd around us because we had cameras and people thought we were someone important……. All we kept hearing was take my picture! I took a bunch of random shots of people I don’t know becuase they wanted to be famous…..lol.  I hope you all have a great weekend and looking forward to hearing feedback from you soon.

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Paradise in Turkey

Shortly after arriving in Turkey I met some people who enjoyed taking weekend adventures. The buzz was going around that they found paradise on the western cost of Turkey. They promoted this place enough to catch my interest resulting in me booking a trip for Four days and three nights in a place called Bodrum.

For more info go here > ://www.bodrum.org <

Turkey offers some pretty irresistible and inexpensive mini vacations where all the accommodations are inclusive with air fare, food, drink and entertainment; the only thing we had to do was get to the airport. We took off on Turkish airlines where we were served some tasty snacks and wine free of charge. The landing was a tad rough but everyone was alive and ready for their feet to touch the ground.

We caught a cab that took us along the coast where breath taking views could be seen  at night with twinkling lights beating off the reflection of the water. The white Greek style buildings stood out in the darkness as if the town under the lights that highlighted the structures. We snaked our way through town until we reached our destination where we were met by hotel staff. The hotel sat along the beach off the Mediterranean and stood at the top of a hill where the guests were given a view of the skyline. At night the stars were bright and the lights were clear. You could hear music coming from cabanas on the beach and people were dressed to impress while they eagerly awaited the nightlife.

After checking in we hit the streets hard and watched the streets fill with people from all over Turkey and Europe. I met people from Germany, Swaziland, Italy, and other places. It was jam packed and people were still showing up to party. The clubs were at max capacity and the night was just beginning. The bouncers at the club were friendly but didn’t take any foolishness from anyone. After making friends with the bouncers my buddy was given a name tag and allowed to work the ropes………….(that’s a whole story within its self). The night was fun!

The next morning I went to breakfast while my friends were recuperating from their extended night out on the town. I was met by a large selection of Turkish breakfast treats begging for me to try them. All the traditional foods were on the menu to include a European mix in the flavor. Tables with umbrellas were set up outside so people could enjoy the warm weather. Guests woke up early to claim their spot by the pool where they bathed in the sun and worked on their tan.

After breakfast I thought it would be a good idea to check out the town and shoot some pictures. Knocking on my buddy’s room they were still in la-la land as the time rounded close to nine thirty. I let them sleep and took off into town. Getting around in Bodrum was easy and inexpensive, for around a dollar fifty you can ride into the center of town and experience shopping, food, sights and much more. After spending a few hours around town I decided to head back to check up on my friends. They were just waking up. Apparently I was the old man calling it a night around midnight and they partied until the sun came back up. Considering it was lunch time we decided to grab some food as they rehydrated and I tried everything on the buffet. After they finished they went back to sleep and I took a trip to the private beach owned by the hotel. The sight was amazing and I couldn’t believe my friends were missing it. The water was so clear you could see the bottom. I dove in and swam with the little fish under the pier. The water was warm and everyone was enjoying their self.

The weekend continued in this fashion as it made for a relaxing weekend in the sun, good food and entertainment. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with snacks in between. Spa treatments, Turkish baths, messages, professional photographers are available. I took full advantage of all the amenities offered on site which made me forget about anything that didn’t matter. Later we went downtown and visited a castle and scoped out what nightlife spots we wanted to return to later.

Our last night we decided that we would dress to impress, take in the show at the hotel (belly dancer) then check out Club Catamaran which was on a ship with a glass bottom boat. This is a pretty cool club, but very pricy. The entry fee was free since we made friends with the DJ, but to sit at a table would cost around two hundred dollars. We found some uncomfortable seats then decided to leave. The marina where the Catamaran is docked has many other night clubs where the cost is lower and you can have just as much fun while taking in the sights. The trip was great and when all said and done I was ready to take on the world again !

I’d suggest booking a trip to Bodrum if you’re looking for a great nightlife or even an intimate getaway for two. I’d like to go back, but this time I plan on taking someone special. Check out the pics and let me hear from you! See you on the next weekend getaway !

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Cappadocia pictures on the iPad

I thought it would be a good idea to try my hand at taking some pictures with my iPad while I was in the rock city. I did see a few people with their iPad, but don’t think it’s a  growing trend. The iPhone has a better camera and is easier to carry. Check these out and let me know what you think.

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Cappadocia

If you’re looking for a great place to tour while visiting Turkey look no further and book a trip to Cappadocia!  Every person I asked  where my next trip should be suggested a variety of places but there were a few common denominators that stood out. One of the places I kept hearing was Cappadocia, and after doing some research I decided to book a trip through a local tour agency. They told me the best time to visit this region was February through April, because of the off-peak season.  I was also told as the temperatures rose, the cost of hotels and number of people visiting this “wonder of the world” would rise as well. For those who enjoy taking photo’s, this is a good time because the rainy season has passed and the flowers will be in bloom.

The adventure began as we rode for three-hours from the southern region of Turkey to the rock city. The ride to was filled with small landscapes and beautiful changes in the terrain that displayed a variety of farmlands, nature, and mountainous scenery. As we rode people took plenty of pictures from their seat as our tour guide explained the importance of the historic landmarks. The first stop was in Nevşehir Province where we explored an underground city. This was an amazing experience considering this was a place where people looked for refuge and safety. The city that dated back to 18B.C was the home to thousand of Christian families that were in hiding at that time. Could you imagine living in without any electricity, plumbing or daylight? The ceiling was designed to vent  smoke  in a wat that kept them from being detected as meals where being prepared. The underground was engineered to keep the individuals under the radar and safe from harms way.  The guide went on to tell us how the caves housed thousands of people anywhere from days to years. When you visit this underground city you will notice it’s been outfitted with lights to help give guides direction and keep people from getting lost. I would suggest bringing along a flashlight, good shoes and clothes you don’t mind crawling around in.

After departing the underground city we visited a local restaurant where they had local cuisine filled with the best food you will ever get the opportunity to experience. We sat overlooking stone bird houses that is the home to hundreds of doves. After lunch we would ride for ten minutes then enjoy the sites at a variety of locations where we visited local shops, arts and craft venders and scenery that I had only seen in National Geographic’s books. Clay pottery is a very popular item in Turkey, especially in Cappadocia. We visited an onyx/ pottery shop that allowed tourist a chance to try their hand at crafting their own souvenir. As you visit the shops you will notice some impressive work of art that is created on site. The town was filled with many tour buses and people from all over the globe. Euro and Turkish lira is accepted at most locations in Cappadocia.

Our next stop was a carpet shop where we were taught how the materials, dye’s and carpets are crafted from cradle to grave. As you walk onto the property you’ll notice large vats of water prepared for the dying  the wool and other fabrics used for carpets. If you’re in the market for a handmade silk carpet, you will notice women of all skill levels working on the masterpieces while being surrounded by all the material they need on hand. You will get to see how the silk is extracted from the cocoon and turned into string that is used for the carpets. As the lady’s are working they give the lady’s of the tour a chance at trying their skills in weaving a carpet. This very lengthy process also educates the tour on why the carpets are priced the way they are. I saw carpets that were entered into competitions valued at 30K. As we entered the back of the work shop we were served refreshments as the shop keeper displayed a variety of carpets that were for sell. The craftsmanship and elegant design are very impressive. If you’re in the market to purchase a carpet, they can arrange the shipping so you don’t have to worry about carrying them around.

After leaving the carpet shop we arrived at what I would consider a highlight of the trip, our hotel. Everything in Cappadocia was built out of stone or in the structure of a cave  somehow, it was like living in the Flintstone era. The hotel was a cave hotel with five-star accommodations. Walking onto the property everything was made out of stone accented with marble and other botanical eye-catching sights. We were served wine, tea, coffee as complementary refreshments as our bags were delivered to our rooms. Each room is unique, but all have basic features. As I opened the door I noticed the spa tub with 360 degree jets, fully stocked wet bar, lights running through the granite counters and comfortable beds. The rooms range in size and I was very happy with my room.

Later that night we had a great diner then prepared for the night-time festivities. The hospitality of the town locals is great and they make sure you time in Cappadocia is memorable. We took a trip into town where we entered another cave that showcased local entertainment. Fresh beverages and food was brought to our table as we watched folk dances, and other acts from the entertainers. Audience members were highly encouraged to participate as the night grew. The cave was filled with sounds of people having a great time as the air was filled with the essence of fresh food, wine and fun. The grand finale was closed out by a belly dancer that drew in participation where men and women would try to mimic the snake-like motions of the dancer which was entertaining in itself. The night drew to a close and photos of the night were made available as we walked to out shuttle.

The next day we had a Turkish breakfast filled with fresh fruit, local honey, nuts, and other delicious treats. As the sun was up we could hear goats and other wildlife waking up as well. Hot air balloons filled the sky where outdoor tours began for other tourist. There are many activities that you can take advantage of  on your visit to the rock city. Below are some pictures from my trip. Fell free to comment or ask any questions. See you on the next weekend get away.

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Surpise Kids !

Being a father is one of the true blessings that God gives us throughout life. As a father I have always tried to do my best to provide for my kids as well as give them experiences that create positive memories for life. Anything from home projects, planting flowers, fishing, camping, road trips and more are the things I do to keep things interesting around the house. I have two girls, and a boy that are the most awesome kids you would every meet. I have my kids full time during the summers and holiday’s and try to fit the most into maximizing their experience during that time.

One summer I thought I’d do something special. In doing some research I made a visit to the local travel agent for some assistance and ideas on our next family adventure. I didn’t want to do Disney World because we had already been there; I wanted to keep it within a price range that wouldn’t break the bank. I wanted to be near a beach because during the school year they don’t travel much and there’s not a beach close by where they live. We had been to Myrtle Beach quite a few times as well as clear water beach in Florida once, and even though my kids would have loved the idea of going there I wanted to try something new. After a long conversation with the agent she helped me find the best trip that would create a memory of a lifetime.

Meanwhile, my kids were in Texas with their mother going to school and getting ready for the summer. I decided to call her to inform her of my plans and she became excited for them. She held onto the information not letting it leak out so it would be a great surprise for all of them. She made sure they would have the correct attire for the trip. I called and spoke with the kids throughout the week and give my oldest hints of us taking a trip somewhere. She tried hard to pry it out of me, but I never gave in.

After I booked the trip I took three envelops and placed their tickets in each with their name on it. I made sure the itinerary and all the information was in each envelop so they would be excited once they opened their surprise.  Soon the day came for them to arrive and I picked them up from the airport and we were on our way back to my house. It was an hour and a half drive where my kids tried to trick me into telling them where I was going to take them. I kept changing the subject to avoid giving it away, but my oldest was to smart and kept digging. As I drove we finally arrived at our house and I asked them to put their clothes away as I prepared food from them.

The travel agency did a great job of providing information and even gave me a video of our destination. I made sure all that information was secure from my little investigators just in case they decided to go into my room.  After dinner was done we sat down in the living room, when I decided to put the DVD into the player to let them know where we were going. I told them that the surprise was on the video. As I pressed play they began watching the video and after they realized the location my oldest had a smile on her face that could light up the room. “WE’RE GOING TO THE BAHAMAS!”  They got excited to hear that they were going on their first cruise which was a place they could only have dreamed of in the past.  After all the excitement slowed down I handed them their tickets and they got excited again.

As a father it has always been a dream to be able to travel to new places with my kids and show them the world. My heart was pumping so hard with excitement that I wanted to cry. The memories that were created from that moment are priceless.  We later set voyage on a trip filled with great food, a ton of fun and loads of memories.

I already have plans in motion for our next adventure, See ya next time.

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BIG EMMA’S

After I arrived in Germany I felt like a kid in a candy store when it came to having a place to travel and things to do. The eight pounds I gained in the short span of time can be attributed to the great tasting beers and awesome food they have available. I couldn’t complain about the cost to portion size because the places I ate always seemed to make sure you walked in and crawled out from all the food they piled on your plate. Here is an experience I had at Big Emma’s. Great food, great company and great beers!

Big Emma’s was the name I kept hearing as the weekend drew close and people were making decisions on where they wanted to go grab a bite eat. When someone says their hungry and wants to grab a bite to eat you would think, maybe a burger and fries, or in this case a beer and a brat right. Not at BIG EMMA’S……… I thought it would be a good idea to do some homework and check this place out first and all I could find online was “go with an appetite.”

This was a first time experience for three of the people I went with and for the fourth person (the veteran) this was the first time he was going to take the challenge. I decided that I would order lite since I wasn’t sure what we were going to get do later in the night, so for starters the rookies and I ordered a small salad, small cheese burgers and a pint of beer. The vet looked at the waitress and told her to “bring it!” as he nodded his head and confidence in his eyes.  She must have known what he was talking about because she wrote something down on her pad and walked away.

We were the first group of people to arrive so I really didn’t know what to expect. As I waited the waitress brought our salads to the table and the veteran looked at us and said in a laughing tone “is that it, because it’s about to go down for me.” Still unsure what he was talking about we began eating our salads. Shortly after a slab of hog battered and sautéed with a rich and flavorful looking red gravy was delivered to the veteran. “Now that what I’m talking about” he  blurted out in a loud voice and with big smile” He turned his head to the side as he peered at us and said “fellas, this is the schnitzel you can’t forget.”  This thing was huge and hanging off the plate, and next to it rested some tasty steaming hot home fries seasoned to perfection.  Gazing at his plate he stared this thing down as if he was putting together a strategy of attack, and he began the assault.

Minutes later three pints of beer showed up and the waitress told the veteran that his was on the way. “ I hope your thirsty” was mumbled as she walked away. He was able to catch her before she could get to far and he told her once again……. “Bring-IT.”

Two waitresses carried a huge three liter glass of beer to the table that took up as much space as his schnitzel. Phase two of the assault started and almost two hours later the schnitzel, fries and over three quarters of the beer was gone. Even with all the food the vet took in, he was no match for the sweet nectar that came from the massive beer glass. Standing victorious at the end was the vet and his glass. He did manage to stand up and announced to the entire restaurant that he did it and they all applauded him as if he won the war. This was a good time out with friends. The car ride back to our room was just as interesting as the entire trip. Check out the pics of our small burgers and let me know what you think. If you’re in Germany check out BIG EMMA’s.

http://www.big-emma.com/restaurant.html

Please leave your comments below.

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