Suitcase and World: Where are we going next?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Where are we going next?

he voice at the other end of the phone line belonged to my friend Lei. We travelled together through Egypt and Jordan in early 2007 and we got along so well on that trip that we decided that we would continue to travel together when opportunities presented themselves.

Lei and I have the wanderlust bug in common - if we could, we would visit every country and city on the planet and in my case, both poles as well :-) I had been expecting to get this call from Lei but I have to admit, I wasn't quite ready for it. After all, it had been less than a month since my return from India, Nepal and Tibet - I was still working on posting up entries on my blog and she would be off to China and Thailand in just a few days.

I told her we would talk about it after she got back from her trip.....and we did. Lei made sure of that!

Independent of each other, we checked out tour trips that we were interested in going on. Lei found one that went to several eastern European countries and ended up in Istanbul, Turkey and I found one that went to several Balkan countries and ended up in Dubrovnik, Croatia. She really wanted to go to Turkey and I really wanted to go to Croatia so we decided to cut out the other countries, skip the tours and go on own!! So after a few emails, conversations and signs that Lei says pointed to our being fated to travel to Turkey and Croatia, that's where we're going next!!

Turkey. A country that has long been on my list of top 10 places to travel to so I'm thrilled that Lei wants to go there!! I can't wait to finally be in Istanbul to see the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace and to wander the narrow alleyways of the Grand Bazaar. I want to dine in a restaurant along the Bosphorus River. I want to wander among the ruins at Ephesus. I want to spend the day gazing at the surreal landscape at Cappadocia, ride in a hot air balloon, and then spend the night sleeping on a bed in a cave hotel.

Cappadocia, Turkey. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

I want to bask in the sun of the Aegean and the Mediterranean. I want to see the Whirling Dervishes perform and puff on sheehsa. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into kabobs, shwarmas and other Turkish food delights. I can't wait to experience as much of Turkey as I can take in!!

Croatia. I had never really given visiting Croatia much thought until my mother mentioned it to me. It didn't take but seeing a few pictures of Dubrovnik and Split to convince me that I wanted to go there. I think we're going to fall in love with Croatia. We're headed for the Central Dalmatian coast, from Split to Dubrovnik, an area which is dotted with quaint, picturesque towns such as Trogir and captivatingly beautiful islands like Korčula.

Trogir, Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Seaside towns with lots of history and lots of charm and the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea serving as a constant backdrop. How could you not fall in love with country that has all that and more to offer?

I can't wait to get going but before then, there's a LOT of planning to be done! More on that in another posting.