Page 2 of Mediterranean Dreams Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Azerbaijan » Seki August 25th 2019

We left Baku for the Village of Lahij. On the way we visited the Juma Mosque in Shamakhy. It was built in 743 and severely damaged in the earthquakes of 1859 and 1902. During the Armenian genocide in 1918, the mosque was then set in fire by Armenian nationalists. The Mosque, Juma meaning Friday (the Muslim holy day), was extensively reconstructed between 2010-2013. It was very beautiful- simple compared to Turkish standards, however I feel as the dome, crystal chandeliers and turquoise-tiled mihrab were beautifully placed amongst the sandstone your eyes really gazed to these items to give the Mosque a ‘less is more' feel. We then ventured onto our next stop, a small village in Shamakhy, to take a look at traditional yoghurt and butter making at a local house. The matron of the house ... read more
Juma Mosque, Shamakhy
Juma Mosque, Shamakhy
Butter making at Shamakhy

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku August 22nd 2019

We flew to Heyder Aliyev Airport, Baku from Izmir. The airport, very modern and grand, is located a short 30 minutes from the city centre. After we (finally) located our pick up service we got driven to our hotel where we oddly changed to another hotel. On the plus side it was just around the corner from Fountain Square, which is more like a series of squares and several boulevards coming off the main fountain square. The architecture really surprised (and impressed) us. Having been to several former soviet states we were expecting more soviet-style grey apartment blocks. Instead we were greeted with beautiful sandstone Parisian-style buildings with terraces. We wandered around fountain square and the old city , Icherisheher, taking photos. As we were coming back with Intrepid we didn’t go into some of the ... read more
The Caspian sea
Carpet Museum
Hello Baku

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Cesme August 16th 2019

Back in Çeşme, the immigration process was slightly swifter and facilities much better. We found our new hotel, a Boutique (Butik) hotel in the back streets of the main shopping street. The charming couple that run the hotel were very keen to teach us some Turkish and found the language translation apps very useful in welcoming their guests. We had dinner in the main area of town, and a quick wander around. The next day we took a taxi to the nearby village of Alaçatı. Alaçatı is a picturesque village (that now seems to exist solely for tourism) about 9km away from Çeşme. Think white-washed houses with vivid blue doors and window sills, blooming pink Bougainville flowers and ample opportunities to take that perfect photo. It was a lovely walk around town – a little busy ... read more
Bougainville of Alaçatı
Çesme castle

Europe » Greece » North Aegean » Chios August 14th 2019

We arrived in Çeşme in the evening and walked to our hotel (thanks to some locals giving us directions) for the evening. Lucky I only booked the hotel for one night as the only thing it had going for it was the view! We then went to buy our ferry tickets to Chios the next day, had a stroll around the Çeşme market street and relaxed on our balcony with some beers watching the world go by down by the the marina. The next day we caught a ferry from Çeşme to the Greek island of Chios. Despite being a short distance (8km and 15 mins) the immigration process on either end (the Greek side being worse) made it much much longer. The ferry itself was large and efficient. In Chios, our hotel was very near ... read more
Port of Chios
Church of Mesta

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Bursa August 11th 2019

We left our beloved Istanbul and took the ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Bursa. In just under two hours we were at the Mudanya port, about 30km from Bursa. We couldn't work out the buses so we took a taxi to our boutique hotel. I had been to Bursa in 2006 with Intrepid on my first trip to Turkey - from what I remember Bursa is a historical city that was on the silk road. Today, Bursa is famous for its silk. Seljuk-style mosques and the famous Iskender Kebap (which many restaurants renamed it the Bursa Iskender). When I planned our trip, I neglected to check the public holidays – Kurban Bayramı (eid-al-adha in the Arabic speaking world) fell on the day we were due to leave Bursa for Çeşme. Usually, there is a ... read more
Covered gold Bazzar
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul August 9th 2019

We arrived into the new Istanbul Airport (one word HUGE) late Monday evening from Seoul. We were swiftly picked up by our pre-arranged pick up service by a nice young man in flash BMW and taken to our hotel in the old city. We love staying around the Sirkeci/Fatih area of Istanbul – close enough the Sultanahmet and all of the old city attractions, and only a short walk over the Galata bridge to the shopping/hip district of Beyoğlu. My 6th visit to Turkey, and Bill's 5th. This city will never grow old for us – indeed this country sparks something special for us. Early the next morning (which is a great time as not too many people are out) we walked up the winding street dodging trams and cars to Sultanahmet. As we've done the ... read more
Istiklal Caddesi
Süleymaniye Mosque

Asia » South Korea » Seoul August 5th 2019

The Gwanjung markets is an undercover clothes by day/food by night market. The Netflix series ‘street food', the Seoul episode, focused on this market and one proprietor in particular. We had a snack of kimchi + meat dumplings there, washed down with a cold Cass beer, before heading off to another stall to have Toppoki (rice cakes with chilli pepper sauce) and Gimbap, a Korean type of nori roll filled with beatle leaf, rice and vegetables. While we were eating, we noticed photos of British chef Gordon Ramsay , and as we left, the owner insisted on feeding us more gimbap like she did to Gordon! Afterward, we stopped by a really nice craft brew pub near our hotel which was blasting K pop videos! The next day, we headed off early to wander around the ... read more
Gwanjang market
Photo of Gordon Ramsay wating at Gwanjang market
Bukchon Hanok villiage

Asia » South Korea » DMZ August 2nd 2019

Trip 2019 has gotten off to a great start. Bill and I arrived to Seoul on a warm, humid evening. After a swift immigration and baggage collection we boarded a KAL Limousine bus to our hotel in downtowan Seoul (Jung-gu). We wandered around neigbouring Myeongdong distrct to familiarise ourselves and search for something to eat. Myeongdong was everything I expected – dazzling lights, a plethora of shops (in particular K-beauty cosmetic shops) and a bustling street food scene. We finally settled for authentic Korean crispy chicken and beer, the air conditioned restaurant a respite from the opressive humidity. An early start for our tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom the next day. Earlier in the week, I had received an email from the original tour I had booked a ... read more
3rd inflitration tunnel
Panoramic view of North Korea
On the way to the Dora observatory

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 17th 2018

We arrived in Bangkok just after midday. We visited my aunty Dhum and her family who live in the outer suburbs of Bangkok. So we got there and saw her and uncle Menk, then all mu cousins On, Pa, Lek and Phong who came with his wife. Then there are the grandkids – 2 of whom are grown up teenagers (Firm and Fair) and Arm who is around 10. And that's just one branch of the family tree! We had lunch there and after a short visit Lueng dropped us off at the Mercure hotel in the centre of Bangkok – Siam square. As we always book and executive room, there is an included happy hour at 5-7pm. I went for a swim on the rooftop pool, then we went to happy hour to take advantage ... read more
MBK shopping centre
Khao San rd

Asia » Thailand » North-East Thailand » Nakhon Ratchasima January 13th 2018

After the sess pit that was Pattaya we drove south near the Cambodian-Thai border to Trat. Along the way, we stopped at the seaside town of Rayong for the best seafood lunch we've ever had in Thailand. Yummy fish and huge prawns in the Tom Yum soup. Rayong is popular with Thai tourists and much much quieter than Pattaya. We then got to Trat and boarded the barge to the Island of Koh Chang. Luckily our mini van was the second last car to get on! A short 30 min whizz across the ocean we were at Koh Chang. This is only the second time I've been on a Thai island ( the first was Koh Samui when I was 15). A different look to say, the picturesque Phi Phi island down south. No limestone casts ... read more
Koh Chang
Koh Chang White Sand beach
A Chang beer in Koh Chang

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