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Travel the World

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S: Greece & Turkey 2011

FC: Greece & Turkey 2011

1: Monastiraki Square Our first night in Athens.

2: We stayed at the Sofitel hotel near the airport and took the train into the city. Great hotel and location! First stop: Souvlaki as seen on Bizarre foods with Andrew Zimmern.

4: The square is at the base of the Acropolis with views of the Parthenon. We loved the flea market there. Great antiques and souvenirs.

5: Sofitel Hotel Athens, Greece The hotel had the BEST shower! We would have liked to stay longer but had an early flight to Santorini.

6: To Santorini on Aegean Air! We arrived really early but were greeted by a man from Anny Studios ready to take us to Perissa beach. We napped on the beach until we could check in. So peaceful.

8: Anny Studios-Perissa Beach-Santorini

9: The volcanic black sand was something I had never seen before. It was paradise...... Anny Studios was just a few steps away. We laid on sunbeds and got served grilled feta cheese and wine. No need to ever leave..... except for a couple 4-wheeler excursions around the island and to Kalmari*. | *Where we saw a Dr. Saign doppelganger!

12: After a relaxing massage on the beach.

14: Belvedere Suites in Firostefani. A ten minute walk on the ridge of the cliff into Thira. We had a private balcony overlooking the caldera. Dustin was able to watch the NBA finals at 4:00 am at the front desk.

16: The view from the trail to Thira was incredible, overlooking much of the island............. the town of Oia, Thira, the southern tip and the Caldera. Groups of donkeys carried tourists up the hill. The little town was adorable. So many shops in the cobblestone alleyways. We ate at Mammas House, a fabulous little place with more feta cheese......

19: Left- Caldera views from our hotel balcony. Pool cabana. The front of our room. Greek toothpaste. | Right- Octopus hanging in a restaurant front. Our hotel room and hotel corridor. Feta!! The crazy fog floating in.

22: The famous Santorini sunset.

23: To Mykonos... | ...Via the Flying Cat IV

24: Kouros Hotel

25: The Kouros hotel in Mykonos was one of our favorites. We got upgraded to a room with a private balcony. Mykonos Town is very charming . We had some of the best authentic Greek food, (once we found the place after getting lost in the maze of narrow streets!). We partied in town and on the Ivy with Dan and Elise's family. Great times!

26: We rode an atv again to get around.It is impossible to follow a map of Mykonos so we took a few "scenic" routes. Only 50cc atvs are allowed on the island.........On the way back from a remote beach ours came to a dead stop on a steep hill. A short panic attack and some nudging forward and we were on our way. We made it to the world famous Paradise beach where cruisers and some nude locals were sunbathing

30: Back to Athens Athen's Gate hotel at the base of the Acropolis

31: We were able to walk to all of the sites in Athens. We went to the Acropolis and Parthenon., the flea market in Monastiraki, the new Acropolis museum, the central market and the Parliament. We got to the parliament just in time to see the changing of the gaurd at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Just a couple of weeks after we had been there, violent protests broke out. | Half cookie- half chocolate dipped Magnum mmm! | View from our hotel.

33: The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Its construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece.

36: Fish spa in Athens- Tiny fish from Singapore give pedicures by nibbling on dead skin.

37: Istanbul, Turkey

38: Topkapi Palace- In Istanbul, Turkey. The official and primary residence of Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years (1465-1856) . A guard watches over an 82 carat diamond on display that was once traded to the sultans in exchange for 3 wooden spoons. From the palace you can see the Asian side of Istanbul.

40: Hagia Sophia A former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic church The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.

43: Blue Mosque It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. The mosque was to be built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, facing the Hagia Sophia (at that time the most venerated mosque in Istanbul) Tey gave us fabric to cover our shoulders and legs.

46: Fresh honeycomb | Spice Bazaar est. 1660 Everything in Istanbul was such an incredible experience because it was unlike anyting we had seen or done. | I got a bunch of awesome teas and spices including saffron. | Spice Bazaar est. 1660 Everything in Istanbul was an incredible experience, unlike anything we have seen or done before. The spice bazaar (Egyptian bazaar) was one of our favorite things, along with the Cemberlitas hammam. where we .experienced a traditional turkish bath in a bath house established in 1584.

48: The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Saray - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnc - "Sunken Cistern"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey. The cistern, located 500 feet southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

49: Grand Bazaar est. 1461 One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

50: We took the train to the Levni hotel in the old Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. I was afraid we wouldn't make it off the train because of all the people crowded around us. We decided to relax after our travels by visiting the Cemberlitas Hammam. Dustin and I were separated at the front into the Men's and Women's sections. First I | We found some great food throughout Turkey, but a little stand in the middle of the Grand Bazaar was particularly good. We sat in these little dining sets that were everywhere. Just Dustin's size! We haggled there to get some great souvenirs. T-shirts, tea sets, pashminas............ Dustin tried to purchase the turban that a merchant was wearing. The man said he was a sultan and did not want to sell the one off of his head so we passed! | layed on a warm metal slab until a topless Turkish woman came and bathed me with the washcloth I got up front.. Crazy......but something everyone should try! I sat in the jacuzzi and finished up with a massage and mud mask. Dustin had a similar experience. The majority of Istanbul is muslim. The call to prayer from different mosques can be heard through out the city..

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