I’m not sure why I always seem to end up traveling on Wednesdays. It’s just one of those strange coincidences that seems to happen in life, but then, maybe I’m traveling on most of the other days too. I do tend to travel a lot, but since I write these columns on Wednesday’s – I always tend to notice that yes, I’m on the road again.
As you read this, I am no doubt in transit with my wife and daughter on the way to the land of fairy chimneys and hot air balloons – Cappadocia. A wonderland of rock cut churches, surreal landscapes, and more than a little Turkish hospitality and charm.
The last time we were here was in 2010 for our honeymoon and now, in just a few days, we will be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. We couldn’t think of a more magical way to celebrate than to come back to one of Turkey’s most captivating landscapes. When we were here last, we stayed in Goreme at a wonderful cave hotel, but this time, we decided to take things to the next level by heading to Taskonaklar in Uchisar, high above everything else. We were invited by one of the managing partners, Mr. Tolga Akarcali.
For the next several days we will be celebrating our two years of marriage with the best that Cappadocia has to offer – from breakfast terraces that overlook the plains of Cappadocia so that we are literally on a level with the balloons (at least for a while) to the finest dining in the area to actually waking up on our anniversary and heading up, up and away – we will also be bringing our 8 month old daughter and while she is still a little young to be getting high – we figure as long as we have her strapped in the backpack, she should be able to enjoy the ride too.
To say we are excited would be an understatement. Of course, the last week has been pretty fantastic too. My work at the hotel finished up and while my salary requirements seem to have been higher than the hotel was willing to pay, this actually came as a bit of a relief after a month of running things – my number was probably too low to begin with. And so, we head off to adventures for April and May before heading back to Morocco in June.
I’ve been invited to attend the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai at the end of the month which certainly seems like a good idea, but there is no time to get Hanane a visa so we need to figure out if she and Sophia will be alright on their own for a few extra days (since I’m heading to Italy from the 22 to the 29th of April.) Of course, expense is another concern because that means two separate vacations running concurrently – so we have to figure out how best to do that.
In the meantime, since we had a few days at the beginning of April, we decided to head to Bursa, on the other side of the Marmara Sea from Istanbul. The ferry ride to Yalova was rough, the bus from Yalova to Bursa was sort of hot and stinky – and unfortunately, the cable car to the top of Uludag and the Green Mosque (Yesil Camii) were closed for maintenance and we came on a Monday so all the museums were closed – but you know what? We had an incredible time anyway. We used the opportunity to scout out some hotels, visit the beautiful Ulu Camii (one of the five most important mosques in Islam) and of course eat some of the delicious Bursa food, do some shopping, and trek through the winding streets of ‘Green’ Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.
It’s during these days that Sophia has learned to crawl and so between having parent time and enjoying our travel time – there is never a dull moment. Life is good and while we don’t have a plan for May worked out yet – April looks like it is fully booked with travel, adventures and fun – of course, the hard part for me is to still find the time to work a minimum of a couple hours a day – which actually is much easier without having a hotel to run!
As you read this, we are probably already checking in at Taskonaklar! I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow!