Posts from Michelle

On Island Time

Our first vacation spot was on the island of Paros, Greece. We stayed in a cute beach house directly across the street from the beach. We arrived as the sun was setting, the air was full of salt and we were all looking forward to a long weekend of relaxation.

The first morning I was up relatively early with T and we enjoyed a light breakfast listening to the waves crashing and then we were off to the beach! The sand was a little rocky and the wind was whipping but being on the beach in the sunshine was a fresh feeling that I was in need of. I taught T how to make a dribble castle out of wet sand and she used her creativity and made a dribble Mosque instead of a typical castle. I spent days on the beach as a child making dribble castles so it was a proud moment passing on this skill.


Paros is a very small tourist island that felt very safe. We ventured into town where walking with your camera out and being amazed with the views was a common thing. Minus how small the island actually was I could totally live there being that it was a cute beach town with nice weather year round. We drove all the way around the island in less than two hours to give you an idea of how small it is.

I spent a lot of my time sitting on the porch, taking a nap in the sun, and enjoying the sea breeze. Mornings on our porch reminded me of home and having breakfast on my porch at the beach. On our last day we went to the beach, and for those who know me they will be proud to know, I got in the water up to my shoulders! I broke my rule of stopping where I can't see bottom. The temperature was warm in some spots and cooler in others, we made a game finding the warm spots. I felt safe(r) being that this water was in a cove and not a completely open body of water. Now I can say I have swam in the Aegean Sea!

For those who are wondering I did make it off the island by boat and no sickness!

Rough Seas, viewer discretion advised

I woke up at 5am this morning because I couldn't sleep. I was worried that someone was going to forget something or things weren't packed and ready to go for our very early, 6am, departure from Istanbul.

Then, on our way back to the airport, spirits high, we took the tram 1 to the metro, argued about taking our bags on the plane, baggage fees we should or should not have to pay and then finally to our gate. I get a little weak at the knees each time I check my pack holding everything I need for the next year, minus the irrepressible important things I keep in my purse such as passport, prescription medications, and tablet. I had an apple juice and some cashews before the flight and then finally landed in our seats, wheels up to Greece!

My stomach had been a little queasy the night before, another reason why I think I was up early, so I tried to rest on this flight. A bumpy start, the inflight food came relatively quick and I think they came back around to collect trash even faster. It wasn't a long flight and I hardly had time to finish chewing my food. By the time the plane was in decent and everyone had to be fastened in their seat I was wondering how I could escape to the bathroom. I had that ut-oh I need a bathroom now feeling. Finally on the ground and I thought they had landed us in the middle of the desert. We were let off the plane where 3 buses were waiting to take us to customs, still no sign and no chance for a bathroom, or shall I call it a water closet, break. Fully concentrated on the task at hand to keep everything inside me, passport was stamped and I didn't even get a,"welcome to Greece" rude, more importantly there was a bathroom directly ahead. Little did I know this was the first episode of many for the next few days.

We had to take 2 taxis to the docks for our ferry ride to the island of Paros, Greece. We had some time to kill before our departure so we had lunch at the docks. Still queasy, I passed on food and only had a glass or two of water along with a few more bathroom breaks.

Once we were standing in the mob of people waiting to board the boat I already felt sick and thought I had to run to the edge. On the boat and forced to put my pack separate from the rest of my group I took my seat, assigned and designed like an airplane, I grabbed a few barf bags and passed a few out to the more prone to motion sickness travelers. I'm not exactly sure how quickly the boat took off from the dock but my head was already in a bag. Realizing then I needed more bags and feeling sorry for the strangers seated next to me, I got up, grabbed more bags and continued to get sick standing in the luggage storage area. I will never forget the sweet mate who saw me and immediately asked, the best she could in English, how she could help. I motioned for a napkin for my face and a bag of ice. She grabbed more bags for me, explaining I should always keep one open, a napkin and a bag of ice. Each time I got sick I broke out in a hot sweat which the ice bag soothed. I had to stop at the bathroom before returning to my seat, still with a nauseous feeling. I tried falling asleep several times, each time waking with a horrible feeling, most cured by placing the ice bag on my neck and forehead. Boat ride from hell, a total of 5 bags were used.

I have never been sea sick before and although the conditions did not help the situation I believe my feelings today are the result of some bad food in Istanbul, perhaps the fish sandwich. It did feel good to walk on land, feel the salty sea air and see the Greek island views once the boat landed and although I no longer needed a barf bag my stomach was still not cured. This was literally a long,14 hour, travel day.

A comforting call home

I have made it a full 7 days with my new family and I feel like I am adjusting well. I was able to call home today and could hear the excitement in my moms voice. It was comforting hearing a familiar voice so far from home. This is the first time leaving my parents nest, as I lived at home during college and at their beach house for summers, and this is also the farthest I have been away from them. All of my past distant travels have been with my mom. She taught me well with street and travel smarts and I have felt very comfortable out and about so far, thanks mom!

We walked around the old city of Istanbul today and went to the Basilica Cistern Yerbatan Sarnici which is an underground water storage. I wasn't sure what to expect and especially wasn't expecting to feel like I was in an underground cave. The most exciting part of this event was the Medusa carving in one of the pillars in the far back corner. She was upside down so no one was able to look her directly in the eyes. It was the most crowded part of the exhibit, a lady used my shoulder as a hand rail going down the crowded stars, mostly because it was the only thing to really see. After making it out of the cave we had ice cream from a street vendor as our snack today and I was very happy about that (see daily photo).

UB Selfie

Street Market with Zoe

I am a big fan of street markets and was excited to visit the spice market here in Istanbul. It consisted of a few alleys that had both street vendors and shops that you could go in, tons of people crowded the walk way and stalls and we walked through very quickly. I think I heard a lady call to us and say, "let me help you spend your money maybe" but Theo heard "Yankee" which made it more funny and probable.

Before heading back to the hotel we had fish sandwiches from hibachi style food boats. I was hungry and ate the sandwich, bones and all, but I can't say I would not choose to eat one of those again.