Fact or Fiction: Is Greece Still in Recession?5+ Years of Recession
So, what does a country that’s been through a +5-year recession look like? Not so good. My time in Greece last month took me from the northern city of Thessaloniki to the western coast and back to Athens, and it became commonplace to see store fronts that looked like they had been closed for years. Block after block of dusty, closed up shop windows – it’s not a pretty site.
Graffiti, on the other hand, is an interesting thing. It’s normally thought of as an activity for hooligans, gangs or punk kids. In Thessaloniki, even more so than Athens and other cities throughout Greece, there was a definite political, yet very artistic quality to a lot of the graffiti around town. 


It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In Thessaloniki, public works of art can be found throughout the city in the form of sculptures, murals and installations. Not bad for a city covered in graffiti and shops that have been closed for who-knows-how-long. The majority or works worth visiting are dotted along the boardwalk-like shore, the “paralia” in Greek. My personal favorite was an installation of umbrellas. Beautiful during they day; simply spectacular at night when lit up. I included a photo in the top left corner of the collage above.

A value destination? 
Many travel magazines recommend traveling to Greece because of the number of offers out there in order to stimulate the economy through tourism. Now my experience may have been somewhat different since this was as a last minute trip, but I found the hotels to be hit or miss.
In Athens, there were some definite gems out there, boutique hotels with good reviews and prices around and under $150, though they seemed few and far between. Even pricey hotels at $350 per night and up had plenty of negative reviews. One thing Athens had plenty of were bland, boring hotels. They all seemed fine, with positive reviews in the categories that matter – cleanliness, location, friendliness – but they must have opened at a time when people wanted hotels where you know what you’re getting no matter where in the world you may go. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Marriott effect.”
On the other hand, in a small town near Mount Olympus, I stayed in an inn called To Palio Litochoro (“The Old Litochoro” in Greek) and had an amazing night stay for less than $100. The husband-wife team who run the property were charming, sweet and made many of the offerings at breakfast from scratch themselves – a Brooklyn-ite’s dream come true!

Fact or Fiction: Is Greece Still in Recession?

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5+ Years of RecessionGraffiti in the City of Thessaloniki in Greece via KatieGoes.com

So, what does a country that’s been through a +5-year recession look like? Not so good. My time in Greece last month took me from the northern city of Thessaloniki to the western coast and back to Athens, and it became commonplace to see store fronts that looked like they had been closed for years. Block after block of dusty, closed up shop windows – it’s not a pretty site.

Graffiti, on the other hand, is an interesting thing. It’s normally thought of as an activity for hooligans, gangs or punk kids. In Thessaloniki, even more so than Athens and other cities throughout Greece, there was a definite political, yet very artistic quality to a lot of the graffiti around town.

Thessaloniki's Stunning Street Art via KatieGoes.com

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In Thessaloniki, public works of art can be found throughout the city in the form of sculptures, murals and installations. Not bad for a city covered in graffiti and shops that have been closed for who-knows-how-long. The majority or works worth visiting are dotted along the boardwalk-like shore, the “paralia” in Greek. My personal favorite was an installation of umbrellas. Beautiful during they day; simply spectacular at night when lit up. I included a photo in the top left corner of the collage above.

A value destination? Hotels in Litochoro and Patras Greece via KatieGoes.com

Many travel magazines recommend traveling to Greece because of the number of offers out there in order to stimulate the economy through tourism. Now my experience may have been somewhat different since this was as a last minute trip, but I found the hotels to be hit or miss.

In Athens, there were some definite gems out there, boutique hotels with good reviews and prices around and under $150, though they seemed few and far between. Even pricey hotels at $350 per night and up had plenty of negative reviews. One thing Athens had plenty of were bland, boring hotels. They all seemed fine, with positive reviews in the categories that matter – cleanliness, location, friendliness – but they must have opened at a time when people wanted hotels where you know what you’re getting no matter where in the world you may go. I’ve heard it referred to as the “Marriott effect.”

On the other hand, in a small town near Mount Olympus, I stayed in an inn called To Palio Litochoro (“The Old Litochoro” in Greek) and had an amazing night stay for less than $100. The husband-wife team who run the property were charming, sweet and made many of the offerings at breakfast from scratch themselves – a Brooklyn-ite’s dream come true!


Reviews 300x250

Fact or Fiction: TurkeyIt’s already been two weeks since I was in Turkey and I’m still digesting everything I did, saw and experienced. It’ll take a little longer to put together a post-trip guide, but there are a few things I wanted to share now while they are still fresh in my mind.

  Beehive Houses in Harran, Turkey

Is it safe?
Many people thought I was crazy for wanting to visit to Turkey. Concerns ranged from the ignorant (“Aren’t you worried about going to a Muslim country?”) to the informed (“ISIS has a strong presence along Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq”).
In deciding whether or not to actually book the trip, I spent a lot of time researching potential tour companies, picked four that I felt were reputable and emailed each of them to ask for additional information. As it worked out, I only received one response. It was from Jodie at Turkish Heritage Travel, and we continued to correspond on a near daily basis until I finally left for Turkey.
While in Turkey, I can tell you that at no point did I feel any danger, and we were on a tour through the southeastern region not too far from the border. In fact, on a clear day you could see Syria from some of the places we visited.
If you are considering a trip to this region, I highly recommend joining a tour or hiring a guide. When you go this far east, English speakers were few and far between. Everyone we met was kind, gracious and hospitable, but I just don’t know how I would have managed without a local to lead the way. The decision is of course ultimately up to you. If you are really nervous given all the news coming out of the area at the moment, maybe this isn’t the best itinerary for you. The most important thing is to talk to the local guides and tour companies before booking anything. They can give you an idea of what the situation is like on the ground. 

  Each cultural group within Turkey has it’s own unique design and color scheme

Yes, it’s a Diverse, Muslim Country
The international community often uses Turkey as an example of a moderate, democratic, Muslim country and a model for other countries in the region. Like any democracy, Turkey has it’s share of problems for sure, but walk around any number of cities and you’ll see people from all walks of life, dressed in all styles.
In Istanbul, it won’t come as a surprise, but the same was true in Cappadocia and Nemrut. I spent the run up to my trip wondering and worrying if I had appropriate pants and loose, comfortable clothing. In reality, I probably worried more than necessary.
So what should you wear when traveling to Turkey? As a woman, wearing a maxi dress or skirt and capri or full length pants are perfectly appropriate. On top, as long as your shoulders are covered you are fine – short and long sleeved shirts are all perfectly acceptable. What about the guys? Honestly, it didn’t seem to matter. My best advice would be to avoid any overly flashy logos and brands, just so you’re not drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

  The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Seeing burkas en Masse
This was my first time in a Muslim country. I understood that there would likely be many women wearing burkas. In fact, I have seen them from time to time here in New York. However, the sheer number of women wearing burkas was not something I was prepared to see before arriving.
The funniest part was that not one, but two tour guides I was with both made comments implying that most of the women wearing the burkas were actually either Saudi visitors or Syrian refugees. That somehow real Turkish women can feel free to express themselves with their clothing – whether it is Western style clothing or beautiful and colorful headscarves.
Seeing women walk around in burkas with nothing but their eyes visible while their husbands are in shorts and t-shirts – many of which were too small to fit over their round stomachs – ignited an anger in me that I never knew was there.
We could all probably benefit from dressing more modestly and practicing a bit more humility. Don’t worry, the irony that this is coming from someone who writes what is essentially a vanity blog has not been lost on me. Seeing all these women walking around in burkas, I got a very clear message that I should feel ashamed of myself and that just does not sit right with me and my admittedly Western values.

I’d rather not end on a sour note like that, especially because Turkey was one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve had to date. Instead, my final thoughts: Turkish people proved to be some of the most charming and hospitable people I’ve ever met and a country that is home to some of the world’s oldest and most important history!

Fact or Fiction: Turkey

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It’s already been two weeks since I was in Turkey and I’m still digesting everything I did, saw and experienced. It’ll take a little longer to put together a post-trip guide, but there are a few things I wanted to share now while they are still fresh in my mind.

Beehive Houses in Harran, Turkey Beehive Houses in Harran, Turkey

Is it safe?

Many people thought I was crazy for wanting to visit to Turkey. Concerns ranged from the ignorant (“Aren’t you worried about going to a Muslim country?”) to the informed (“ISIS has a strong presence along Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq”).

In deciding whether or not to actually book the trip, I spent a lot of time researching potential tour companies, picked four that I felt were reputable and emailed each of them to ask for additional information. As it worked out, I only received one response. It was from Jodie at Turkish Heritage Travel, and we continued to correspond on a near daily basis until I finally left for Turkey.

While in Turkey, I can tell you that at no point did I feel any danger, and we were on a tour through the southeastern region not too far from the border. In fact, on a clear day you could see Syria from some of the places we visited.

If you are considering a trip to this region, I highly recommend joining a tour or hiring a guide. When you go this far east, English speakers were few and far between. Everyone we met was kind, gracious and hospitable, but I just don’t know how I would have managed without a local to lead the way. The decision is of course ultimately up to you. If you are really nervous given all the news coming out of the area at the moment, maybe this isn’t the best itinerary for you. The most important thing is to talk to the local guides and tour companies before booking anything. They can give you an idea of what the situation is like on the ground.

Each cultural group within Turkey has it's own unique design and color scheme Each cultural group within Turkey has it’s own unique design and color scheme

Yes, it’s a Diverse, Muslim Country

The international community often uses Turkey as an example of a moderate, democratic, Muslim country and a model for other countries in the region. Like any democracy, Turkey has it’s share of problems for sure, but walk around any number of cities and you’ll see people from all walks of life, dressed in all styles.

In Istanbul, it won’t come as a surprise, but the same was true in Cappadocia and Nemrut. I spent the run up to my trip wondering and worrying if I had appropriate pants and loose, comfortable clothing. In reality, I probably worried more than necessary.

So what should you wear when traveling to Turkey? As a woman, wearing a maxi dress or skirt and capri or full length pants are perfectly appropriate. On top, as long as your shoulders are covered you are fine – short and long sleeved shirts are all perfectly acceptable. What about the guys? Honestly, it didn’t seem to matter. My best advice would be to avoid any overly flashy logos and brands, just so you’re not drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Seeing burkas en Masse

This was my first time in a Muslim country. I understood that there would likely be many women wearing burkas. In fact, I have seen them from time to time here in New York. However, the sheer number of women wearing burkas was not something I was prepared to see before arriving.

The funniest part was that not one, but two tour guides I was with both made comments implying that most of the women wearing the burkas were actually either Saudi visitors or Syrian refugees. That somehow real Turkish women can feel free to express themselves with their clothing – whether it is Western style clothing or beautiful and colorful headscarves.

Seeing women walk around in burkas with nothing but their eyes visible while their husbands are in shorts and t-shirts – many of which were too small to fit over their round stomachs – ignited an anger in me that I never knew was there.

We could all probably benefit from dressing more modestly and practicing a bit more humility. Don’t worry, the irony that this is coming from someone who writes what is essentially a vanity blog has not been lost on me. Seeing all these women walking around in burkas, I got a very clear message that I should feel ashamed of myself and that just does not sit right with me and my admittedly Western values.

I’d rather not end on a sour note like that, especially because Turkey was one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve had to date. Instead, my final thoughts: Turkish people proved to be some of the most charming and hospitable people I’ve ever met and a country that is home to some of the world’s oldest and most important history!

Lessons in Trip PlanningLast month, I took my first two week vacation through Turkey and Greece, which I discussed in a post earlier last month. Just as anything done for the first time, I made some mistakes; learned a few lessons. You might find these mistakes useful next time you are planning your own trip:

The best cure for jet lag is to get out and go
Our first full day in turkey was a travel day that involved landing in istanbul, a 3 hour layover before catching a flight to Kayseri and finally a 1 hour drive to Cappadocia. Under normal circumstances, I would have let myself sleep in a bit because well why wouldn’t I?? Instead, the next day was chock full: sunrise hot air balloon ride followed by a full day tour of the area. I went to sleep early that night, but it definitely forced me to get on local time better than I could have done on my own.

Schedule time to unwind and relax
One of the big draws about a trip like this was the chance to be completely immersed in ancient history, a topic that really fascinates me. Both countries have so much to offer on this subject that it became a real struggle to say enough and just relax. By the time I got to Athens, the last stop, my brain was fried, my feet were dragging and all I could think of was heading to the closest beach. I learned the value of down time, especially on these longer trips.

Big cities deserve time
Upon arriving in Istanbul, I told myself that we’d get up early since we only had 2 days. Who was I kidding? While the first day was spent on a day tour, which forced me to get out early, it didn’t leave time for much else that day once it was done. The second day was the first chance I got to sleep in and damn it I recall needed it! While there was enough time to see all the main sites, there were things left undone because we had an unexpectedly long unexpected stop. Giving yourself that third, unplanned day factors in those unexpected stops that make a trip memorable.

Don’t take family for granted
It had been right years since the last time I saw my family in Greece. I kept telling myself that to go for a week wasn’t worth it and I didn’t know if I could take two weeks off (said like a typical American, I know!). On this trip, I barely spent a day with each part of my family, but every second was well worth it. Obviously, I wish I could have had more time, but there are no words to describe how grateful I am to have had any time at all with them. My only regret is having waited so long to go back.

Lessons in Trip Planning

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Last month, I took my first two week vacation through Turkey and Greece, which I discussed in a post earlier last month. Just as anything done for the first time, I made some mistakes; learned a few lessons. You might find these mistakes useful next time you are planning your own trip:

Lessons in Trip Planning at KatieGoes.com

The best cure for jet lag is to get out and go

Our first full day in turkey was a travel day that involved landing in istanbul, a 3 hour layover before catching a flight to Kayseri and finally a 1 hour drive to Cappadocia. Under normal circumstances, I would have let myself sleep in a bit because well why wouldn’t I?? Instead, the next day was chock full: sunrise hot air balloon ride followed by a full day tour of the area. I went to sleep early that night, but it definitely forced me to get on local time better than I could have done on my own.

Schedule time to unwind and relax

One of the big draws about a trip like this was the chance to be completely immersed in ancient history, a topic that really fascinates me. Both countries have so much to offer on this subject that it became a real struggle to say enough and just relax. By the time I got to Athens, the last stop, my brain was fried, my feet were dragging and all I could think of was heading to the closest beach. I learned the value of down time, especially on these longer trips.

Big cities deserve time

Upon arriving in Istanbul, I told myself that we’d get up early since we only had 2 days. Who was I kidding? While the first day was spent on a day tour, which forced me to get out early, it didn’t leave time for much else that day once it was done. The second day was the first chance I got to sleep in and damn it I recall needed it! While there was enough time to see all the main sites, there were things left undone because we had an unexpectedly long unexpected stop. Giving yourself that third, unplanned day factors in those unexpected stops that make a trip memorable.

Don’t take family for granted

It had been right years since the last time I saw my family in Greece. I kept telling myself that to go for a week wasn’t worth it and I didn’t know if I could take two weeks off (said like a typical American, I know!). On this trip, I barely spent a day with each part of my family, but every second was well worth it. Obviously, I wish I could have had more time, but there are no words to describe how grateful I am to have had any time at all with them. My only regret is having waited so long to go back.

Meet Christina: Proving Work & Travel Can Go Hand In HandEvery time I log onto Facebook, Christina, a friend from high school, is posting pictures of her latest hike, trip, activity or new city. Finally, I decided to ask her how the heck she manage to do so much traveling. Does she ever work? What I learned was that Christina is living the life: a 20-something with a job that moves her all over the country every few years plus any number of leisure trips to boot! Continue reading to find out more.

What do you do for a living?
I am a bilingual, travel speech-language pathologist. For my first 3 years out of graduate school I worked in the school systems with children from prek-high school. For the last year I have been working with the geriatric population in skilled nursing facilities. My old cronies are an absolute riot!

It looks like you’ve relocated a few times with your work. Where have you lived and for how long in each place?
I lived in Los Angeles, CA for a school year, Monterey CA for a school year, Houston TX for 2 years, and now Denver for 3 months. Alaska is on the horizon!

Do you ever feel “home sick” for any of your past cities?
Not quite, mostly because I have made great friends in each city- thus a lovely free hotel in each city that I can return to for a visit 

Any tips for making a new city feel like home?
Dive right in! Use the latest technologies to your advantage. Yelp the best restaurants, google the best hiking trails, and pick up local papers for all the hot, trendy things to do around town and upcoming events and festivals. Use that handy cell phone gps to help you learn your new hood!

How do you go about making new friends?
I LOVE the website/app MeetUp.com. You create your profile and search for activity groups nearby. There is something for everyone. You can join kickball groups, trivia night groups, bingo/beer night groups, or even stitch n bitch groups if you want to knit a sweater and gossip with some new friends. It’s a great way to network in a new city, and maybe even get into new hobbies you haven’t tried before. Stand up paddle boarding, anyone?

Where have you traveled to so far this year? Do you have a favorite?
I have had a particularly busy year traveling which included 13 countries and 27 cities In Europe and a much slower vacation in Jamaica. Israel this year was also a life changing experience in which I was baptized for a second time in the River Jordan. Choosing a favorite is very difficult, as every place has its unique charms, but Croatia is certainly a hidden gem. (shhh!)

I noticed that you’ve traveled with a tour operator. How did that experience differ from a DIY trip (like a road trip for example)?
I thoroughly enjoyed all of my travel experiences in which a tour guide was involved. I felt these tours were more educational, and I walked away with a greater respect and understanding for the locations I visited. Additionally, the tours with a guide often have a very thorough itinerary and regardless of how much I could try, I am certain I would not be able to pack in as much on my own without being overwhelmingly stressed. Everyone should try it at least once!

 
I don’t know about you, but travel speech-language pathologist is looking like a very appealing career change!

Meet Christina: Proving Work & Travel Can Go Hand In Hand

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Every time I log onto Facebook, Christina, a friend from high school, is posting pictures of her latest hike, trip, activity or new city. Finally, I decided to ask her how the heck she manage to do so much traveling. Does she ever work? What I learned was that Christina is living the life: a 20-something with a job that moves her all over the country every few years plus any number of leisure trips to boot! Continue reading to find out more.

Meet Christina: Proving Travel & Work Can Go Hand in Hand via KatieGoes.com

What do you do for a living?

I am a bilingual, travel speech-language pathologist. For my first 3 years out of graduate school I worked in the school systems with children from prek-high school. For the last year I have been working with the geriatric population in skilled nursing facilities. My old cronies are an absolute riot!

It looks like you’ve relocated a few times with your work. Where have you lived and for how long in each place?

I lived in Los Angeles, CA for a school year, Monterey CA for a school year, Houston TX for 2 years, and now Denver for 3 months. Alaska is on the horizon!

Do you ever feel “home sick” for any of your past cities?

Not quite, mostly because I have made great friends in each city- thus a lovely free hotel in each city that I can return to for a visit :)

Any tips for making a new city feel like home?

Dive right in! Use the latest technologies to your advantage. Yelp the best restaurants, google the best hiking trails, and pick up local papers for all the hot, trendy things to do around town and upcoming events and festivals. Use that handy cell phone gps to help you learn your new hood!

How do you go about making new friends?

I LOVE the website/app MeetUp.com. You create your profile and search for activity groups nearby. There is something for everyone. You can join kickball groups, trivia night groups, bingo/beer night groups, or even stitch n bitch groups if you want to knit a sweater and gossip with some new friends. It’s a great way to network in a new city, and maybe even get into new hobbies you haven’t tried before. Stand up paddle boarding, anyone?

Where have you traveled to so far this year? Do you have a favorite?

I have had a particularly busy year traveling which included 13 countries and 27 cities In Europe and a much slower vacation in Jamaica. Israel this year was also a life changing experience in which I was baptized for a second time in the River Jordan. Choosing a favorite is very difficult, as every place has its unique charms, but Croatia is certainly a hidden gem. (shhh!)

I noticed that you’ve traveled with a tour operator. How did that experience differ from a DIY trip (like a road trip for example)?

I thoroughly enjoyed all of my travel experiences in which a tour guide was involved. I felt these tours were more educational, and I walked away with a greater respect and understanding for the locations I visited. Additionally, the tours with a guide often have a very thorough itinerary and regardless of how much I could try, I am certain I would not be able to pack in as much on my own without being overwhelmingly stressed. Everyone should try it at least once!

 

I don’t know about you, but travel speech-language pathologist is looking like a very appealing career change!

Fall Weekend Getaway: Newport, Rhode IslandColorful foliage and apple picking in New England are staples of fall in New England. If you’re looking for a laid back weekend trip, I highly recommend a couple of days in Newport, Rhode Island – the playground of America’s wealthiest Gilded Age families. I remember visiting them once with my parents as a kid and then decided to go back again recently. While the photos below are from a late-winter visit, fall would be a much more picturesque time to tour this historic neighborhood. To plan your visit, head over to the Preservation Society’s Newport Mansions website where you can read up on each mansion and purchase tickets.
  The Breakers

  Marble House

  Chinese Tea House at Marble House

  The Elms

Fall Weekend Getaway: Newport, Rhode Island

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Colorful foliage and apple picking in New England are staples of fall in New England. If you’re looking for a laid back weekend trip, I highly recommend a couple of days in Newport, Rhode Island – the playground of America’s wealthiest Gilded Age families. I remember visiting them once with my parents as a kid and then decided to go back again recently. While the photos below are from a late-winter visit, fall would be a much more picturesque time to tour this historic neighborhood. To plan your visit, head over to the Preservation Society’s Newport Mansions website where you can read up on each mansion and purchase tickets.

The Breakers Mansion in Newport Rhode Island via KatieGoes.com The Breakers

Marble House Mansion in Newport Rhode Island via KatieGoes.com Marble House

Chinese Tea House at the Marble House Mansion in Newport Rhode Island via KatieGoes.com Chinese Tea House at Marble House

The Elms Mansion in Newport Rhode Island via KatieGoes.com The Elms


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Following My Roots & Then Some  A preview of my upcoming trip. Photo from 4feet2mouths.com.
As I sit here writing, I’m finalizing an upcoming trip to Turkey and Greece. It’s one I’ve been dreaming of taking for a number of years. Much like my trip to Copenhagen almost two years ago, I can’t fully explain its appeal. I know my family in Greece, but most of what I’ll be seeing will be new to me, so I’ll have no familial connection to these areas, nor in Turkey.
I’ll begin in Turkey, where my grandmother was actually born (Buyuk Dere in Istanbul to be exact) and also where she met my grandfather, while he was working at the Inci Bakery after he moved to Istanbul to find a job. From what I’ve heard, though, it is a completely different city today than it was back then. We’ll also be venturing outside the city to visit some of the ancient sites in the country, but I’ll wait until I am there to share photos before divulging into the geek-dom of the history of the sites to be seen!
Then, it will be on to Greece for a bit of a road trip! From Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, down to Athens. Along the way there will be a bit of hiking around Mount Olympus National Park and around Meteora, where monasteries are perched at the top of sandstone rock pillars. Then, there will be an all too brief stop in the village where I spent most summers as a child. Most of my history-fix will be concentrated in Delphi and then Athens for the usual suspects.
There will be lots of posts to come after I get back, but if you can’t wait until then just follow me on Twitter and Instagram where I’ll be trying to post whenever possible. So get excited and stay tuned!

Following My Roots & Then Some

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A preview of my upcoming trip. Photo from 4feet2mouths.com. A preview of my upcoming trip. Photo from 4feet2mouths.com.

As I sit here writing, I’m finalizing an upcoming trip to Turkey and Greece. It’s one I’ve been dreaming of taking for a number of years. Much like my trip to Copenhagen almost two years ago, I can’t fully explain its appeal. I know my family in Greece, but most of what I’ll be seeing will be new to me, so I’ll have no familial connection to these areas, nor in Turkey.

I’ll begin in Turkey, where my grandmother was actually born (Buyuk Dere in Istanbul to be exact) and also where she met my grandfather, while he was working at the Inci Bakery after he moved to Istanbul to find a job. From what I’ve heard, though, it is a completely different city today than it was back then. We’ll also be venturing outside the city to visit some of the ancient sites in the country, but I’ll wait until I am there to share photos before divulging into the geek-dom of the history of the sites to be seen!

Then, it will be on to Greece for a bit of a road trip! From Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, down to Athens. Along the way there will be a bit of hiking around Mount Olympus National Park and around Meteora, where monasteries are perched at the top of sandstone rock pillars. Then, there will be an all too brief stop in the village where I spent most summers as a child. Most of my history-fix will be concentrated in Delphi and then Athens for the usual suspects.

There will be lots of posts to come after I get back, but if you can’t wait until then just follow me on Twitter and Instagram where I’ll be trying to post whenever possible. So get excited and stay tuned!

Link Round-Up: Animal KingdomThe second monthly newsletter is going out tomorrow, so if you want to find out the latest travel tips make sure you sign up (to the right or click here) today!
Over the last week or two, I’ve been seeing a lot of news relating to the wellfare of animals. Even if animal rights is not a topic you are passionate about, it’s easy to feel compassion for the world’s furry friends. Hopefully after reading these articles, they’ll give you something to think about when making decisions during your own travels.

Seaworld has admitted that Blackfish has hurt ticket sales during the second quarter of the year.
Elephants go through a heart-breaking process known as “the Crush” before giving rides to tourists.
Over 100,000 elephants have been killed by hunters and poachers in Africa over the  last three years.
Zambia has lifted a ban on safari hunting after it caused financial problems for the country.

Link Round-Up: Animal Kingdom

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The second monthly newsletter is going out tomorrow, so if you want to find out the latest travel tips make sure you sign up (to the right or click here) today!

Over the last week or two, I’ve been seeing a lot of news relating to the wellfare of animals. Even if animal rights is not a topic you are passionate about, it’s easy to feel compassion for the world’s furry friends. Hopefully after reading these articles, they’ll give you something to think about when making decisions during your own travels.

Like Round Up: Animal Kingdom via KatieGoes.com

Seaworld has admitted that Blackfish has hurt ticket sales during the second quarter of the year.

Elephants go through a heart-breaking process known as “the Crush” before giving rides to tourists.

Over 100,000 elephants have been killed by hunters and poachers in Africa over the  last three years.

Zambia has lifted a ban on safari hunting after it caused financial problems for the country.

Meet Ashley: A Lifestyle Re-Boot in ColoradoAfter graduating from college at American University, my friend Ashley started her big girl life in Pennsylvania. A few years later, plus a boyfriend who always wanted to move to Colorado, and she now finds herself a new resident of America’s nature state (Colorado, in case that was not clear) as of this past June.
I thought it would be fun to check in with her and see how the Rocky Mountain State is treating her:
  Ashley Hiking in the Great Outdoors

How has Colorado surprised you when compared to Pennsylvania?
Colorado is incredible. Western Pennsylvania has nice mountains, trails and natural areas but nothing in comparison to what I’ve seen so far out West. There is nothing better than leaving work and having snowcapped mountains to stare at the entire drive home (yes, there is still snow covering the tops of most). 
The one thing that surprised me is how in-shape people are. Everyone is so active! In fact, Fort Collins is one of the most active cities in America. Also, the lack of humidity has been a very nice surprise!

How has your lifestyle changed since moving to one of the most healthy and outdoor-loving states?
When we first moved here, we saw a dog with literally every person/couple. So, what did we do? We went an adopted a puppy! She keeps us really active and motivated to explore new trails and parks. I was active back home but I now find myself taking my activities outdoors as opposed to at home or at the gym. I’ve also found myself trying new things like paddleboarding!

You are a PiYo and beach body instructor. How are you incorporating your active lifestyle into your bootcamps?
My bootcamps are program-based, so it’s something that participants can do at-home with the DVD program and nutritional plan or at a gym. Each day, I post motivational things, nutritional tips, fitness tips, healthy habits so that they can break bad habits, learn new ones and adapt a more active lifestyle once the bootcamp is done. As more folks from Fort Collins join, I’m going to host some workouts in the mountains, at parks, etc.

Do you have a favorite hiking trail, yet?
They are all so incredible. My favorite area to hike right now is the Poudre Canyon. The views are amazing and the Cache la Poudre River flows right through the mountain, so there’s a nice place to cool off or go rafting right there!

Are there any essential items you take with you on every hike?
Water and some snacks. My boyfriend always carries his Leatherman on him. Of course, treats and a water dish for the pup.

Stay up to date with all of Ashley’s fitness tips at www.AshleyWilhelm.com.

 
P.S. If you aren’t signed up for the newsletter, you’re only getting half the conversation! The next issue is coming next week, so sign up!

Meet Ashley: A Lifestyle Re-Boot in Colorado

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After graduating from college at American University, my friend Ashley started her big girl life in Pennsylvania. A few years later, plus a boyfriend who always wanted to move to Colorado, and she now finds herself a new resident of America’s nature state (Colorado, in case that was not clear) as of this past June.

I thought it would be fun to check in with her and see how the Rocky Mountain State is treating her:

Ashley Hiking in the Great Outdoors Ashley Hiking in the Great Outdoors

How has Colorado surprised you when compared to Pennsylvania?

Colorado is incredible. Western Pennsylvania has nice mountains, trails and natural areas but nothing in comparison to what I’ve seen so far out West. There is nothing better than leaving work and having snowcapped mountains to stare at the entire drive home (yes, there is still snow covering the tops of most).

The one thing that surprised me is how in-shape people are. Everyone is so active! In fact, Fort Collins is one of the most active cities in America. Also, the lack of humidity has been a very nice surprise!

How has your lifestyle changed since moving to one of the most healthy and outdoor-loving states?

When we first moved here, we saw a dog with literally every person/couple. So, what did we do? We went an adopted a puppy! She keeps us really active and motivated to explore new trails and parks. I was active back home but I now find myself taking my activities outdoors as opposed to at home or at the gym. I’ve also found myself trying new things like paddleboarding!

You are a PiYo and beach body instructor. How are you incorporating your active lifestyle into your bootcamps?

My bootcamps are program-based, so it’s something that participants can do at-home with the DVD program and nutritional plan or at a gym. Each day, I post motivational things, nutritional tips, fitness tips, healthy habits so that they can break bad habits, learn new ones and adapt a more active lifestyle once the bootcamp is done. As more folks from Fort Collins join, I’m going to host some workouts in the mountains, at parks, etc.

Do you have a favorite hiking trail, yet?

They are all so incredible. My favorite area to hike right now is the Poudre Canyon. The views are amazing and the Cache la Poudre River flows right through the mountain, so there’s a nice place to cool off or go rafting right there!

Are there any essential items you take with you on every hike?

Water and some snacks. My boyfriend always carries his Leatherman on him. Of course, treats and a water dish for the pup.

Stay up to date with all of Ashley’s fitness tips at www.AshleyWilhelm.com.

 

P.S. If you aren’t signed up for the newsletter, you’re only getting half the conversation! The next issue is coming next week, so sign up!
Creating Personalized SouvenirsAt the end of every trip, we all go home to a memory card filled with hundreds and hundred of photos. What do you do with all those snaps? They probably get transferred from memory card to hard drive never to be seen again. Or how about those museum ticket stubs? Road maps? If you’re anything like me, then they probably get tossed in a bag and shoved into the back of your closet.
The best I’ve been able to come up with so far as been (a rather pathetic attempt at) a gallery wall in my room. Side note – I fell in love with this headboard and decided to buy it even though I knew it was too big. Ignore that, focus on the pictures 


Ticket Stub Pillow
  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562658/

Map Magnets
  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562648/

Souvenir Penny Bracelet
  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562641/

Road Trip Shadow Boxes
  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562631/

 
Follow Katie Papadopoulos – Katie Goes’s board Arts, Crafts & DIY on Pinterest                   

Creating Personalized Souvenirs

image

At the end of every trip, we all go home to a memory card filled with hundreds and hundred of photos. What do you do with all those snaps? They probably get transferred from memory card to hard drive never to be seen again. Or how about those museum ticket stubs? Road maps? If you’re anything like me, then they probably get tossed in a bag and shoved into the back of your closet.

The best I’ve been able to come up with so far as been (a rather pathetic attempt at) a gallery wall in my room. Side note – I fell in love with this headboard and decided to buy it even though I knew it was too big. Ignore that, focus on the pictures :)

My attempt at creating a gallery wall for displaying photos

Ticket Stub Pillow

Create a souvenir pillow by printing a ticket stub onto fabric (at Kinko's) http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562658/

Map Magnets

Turn your old vacation maps into magnets for a great souvenir http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562648/

Souvenir Penny Bracelet

Create a souvenir penny bracelet out of all those pennies you get on vacation http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562641/

Road Trip Shadow Boxes

Upcycle old maps from your favorite vacation or destination into a shadow box souvenir http://www.pinterest.com/pin/203154633166562631/

 

Follow Katie Papadopoulos – Katie Goes’s board Arts, Crafts & DIY on Pinterest                  

Historic Hotels Gives a Place its Face
The architecture of a destination is one of those few characteristics that really defines a place, especially for visitors. Describing a colonial building will differ significantly from a victorian. As will the iconic pyramids of ancient Egypt versus pyramids of the Mayan Empire. As a child, architecture was one of the features that captured my attention when I first started traveling.
Today, one of the best ways to really experience a destination’s architectural style is to stay at a historic hotel. These historic buildings go through extensive renovations to bring them up to today’s standards while still maintaining their original charm. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

The Omni Shoreham Hotel has been a favorite of presidents, dignitaries and world travelers since the 1930s. The hotel was home to the legendary Blue Room, the swankiest nightclub of its time. A favorite gathering spot for John and Jackie Kennedy, the club was also the site of Liza Minnelli’s first public performance.

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Tucson, AZ

In 1948, Hacienda Del Sol was converted into a guest ranch that immediately attracted the Silver Screen’s most notable stars, among them John Wayne and Clark Gable. Legend has it that Hacienda’s Casita Grande was the favorite hideaway of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

El Castillo, Valle Hermoso, Córdoba, Argentina

El Castillo was built in 1870, as a farmhouse for the “Las Playas” estancia in the town of Valle Hermoso, Province of Córdoba, Argentina. Today, El Castillo is a family owned, eco-sustainable 5-star hotel and training center, built following a 3-year refurbishment of a 19th-century castle. 

Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi, Italy

Located in a 13th-century monastery, which once was home to Cistercians monks and Cappuccini friars, the Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi is perched on a cliff top high above sea level with spectacular views of Amalfi and the Mediterranean Coast and only steps away from the historic city center and the harbor of Amalfi.

 

Historic Hotels Gives a Place its Face

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Historic Hotels Collage via KatieGoes.com

The architecture of a destination is one of those few characteristics that really defines a place, especially for visitors. Describing a colonial building will differ significantly from a victorian. As will the iconic pyramids of ancient Egypt versus pyramids of the Mayan Empire. As a child, architecture was one of the features that captured my attention when I first started traveling.

Today, one of the best ways to really experience a destination’s architectural style is to stay at a historic hotel. These historic buildings go through extensive renovations to bring them up to today’s standards while still maintaining their original charm. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC one of the Historic Hotels of America

The Omni Shoreham Hotel has been a favorite of presidents, dignitaries and world travelers since the 1930s. The hotel was home to the legendary Blue Room, the swankiest nightclub of its time. A favorite gathering spot for John and Jackie Kennedy, the club was also the site of Liza Minnelli’s first public performance.

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Tucson, AZ Hacienda del Sol Guests Ranch in Arizona

In 1948, Hacienda Del Sol was converted into a guest ranch that immediately attracted the Silver Screen’s most notable stars, among them John Wayne and Clark Gable. Legend has it that Hacienda’s Casita Grande was the favorite hideaway of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

El Castillo, Valle Hermoso, Córdoba, Argentina

El Castillo Valle Hermoso Historic Hotel in Argentina

El Castillo was built in 1870, as a farmhouse for the “Las Playas” estancia in the town of Valle Hermoso, Province of Córdoba, Argentina. Today, El Castillo is a family owned, eco-sustainable 5-star hotel and training center, built following a 3-year refurbishment of a 19th-century castle. 

Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi, Italy

Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi in Italy

Located in a 13th-century monastery, which once was home to Cistercians monks and Cappuccini friars, the Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi is perched on a cliff top high above sea level with spectacular views of Amalfi and the Mediterranean Coast and only steps away from the historic city center and the harbor of Amalfi.