The village of Nokovë, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Nokovë, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Not every day you come across a pile of human bones!

Well, the title might give the impression that we had interesting day. And that assumption would indeed be correct!

Starting yesterday, we're in for some cloud and drizzle lasting until Saturday night. And then the long term forecast for all of next week is supposed to be beautiful. So that's something to look forward to.

In the meantime, we don't let a little bit of rain stop us from getting outside. So we set off to explore the local area by foot, without any kind of a plan.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Sometimes, everything just comes together

What a great day we had. It started off good, and just continued to get better. And it ended up fantastic!

Wednesday was moving day, and we had the car packed up and ready to go by the 11:00am check out time. We weren't driving a long distance, a total of about 65 kms (40 miles), but there were a couple of stops we wanted to make along the way and it was almost all on secondary roads so it's pretty slow going.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nice day trip up Albania's Riviera Coast

When we drove south from Vlorë to Sarandë  a week ago, we knew there were a lot of things to see along the way. In fact if we were in our motorhome it would probably take us two weeks or more to travel that section of coastline! And we simply didn't have time to stop on see everything on that drive, so we planned a day trip back up that way on Tuesday.

And we still didn't see everything that there is to see, so we'll have to stop back in this area when we do actually return with our motorhome. Besides, we keep finding great boondocking spots that would be worth a return visit.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Another day in Saranda

Well the skies cleared up a bit and I never did end up getting our tax return done. I'm pretty good about procrastinating on that kind of thing. With regards to taxes, I use the old procrastinator's motto, which is "Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?" I've got another ten tomorrows left until the April 30th deadline in Canada, and it's not really all that complicated so I have lots of time. As with most years, I'll likely leave it until the last minute! Especially since we have to pay. If we were getting a refund, you can bet I would have filed long ago.

We ended up going out after lunch, just to go for a walk and pick up a few things.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The ruins at the ancient city of Butrint

Butrint is the amazing ancient city ruins site that you have probably never heard of. We are the first to admit that we had never heard of it either, until we started researching what we were going to do with our time here in Albania. Butrint is located in southern Albania near the border of Greece, and across from the Greek island of Corfu.

The original settlement of a Greek colony dates back to approximately 800 BC. Then in 44 AD, Julius Caesar himself visited Butrint and by 48 AD had declared Butrint a Roman colonial city.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

More exploring around Saranda, Albania

It was yet another dull grey day on Saturday, but with no wind to speak of, and a pleasant high of about 18C (65F). But it never did rain, at least not until late evening and by that point it didn't matter.

We set off towards the Greek border with intention of eventually making our way to the Butrint National Park  and the ancient city of Butrint which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

But when we got there, we didn't go in!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Good news, bad news, and a dull grey day in Saranda, Albania

Well, lets get the bad news out of the way first. 

The entire province of Ontario just extended a four week stay at home order to six weeks, and instituted border controls between the provinces. This will last until May 20th, but it should not surprise anyone if it's extended. So to remove any doubt, the estate auction at Ruth's father's house originally planned for May 30th has been rescheduled to August 21st. 

So, we now have no real reason to come back to Canada until August and have put off any intention of doing so until then. Hopefully some sort of normalcy will have returned to Ontario by August, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Well that was stupid!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day here in Saranda, Albania, but still a bit cool with a forecast high of 17C (63F). Not quite shorts and t-shirt weather, but it's getting close!

Our first day in town, we like to walk around and get to know the city. So we set off mid morning to see what there is to see.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Himara Castle and the Albanian Riviera

The coast south of the Llogara Pass to the Greek border is known as the Albanian Riviera. It's not very well known outside of Albania, but we think that's starting to change. There's a lot of new construction going on at some of the smaller beach towns along the way, and some new communities are being purposely built.

And no wonder. The scenery is spectacular, and the water is clear and a beautiful shade of blue.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

One month in Albania

Can you believe that we have now been in Albania for a full month? We arrived on March 15th in the capital city of Tirana. We're allowed to stay in Albania for three months, so with one month down already, three months might not be enough! That's okay... we definitely plan on returning with our new motorhome at some point in time.

We've been trying to spend a week at a time at each place we stay. That normally gives us enough time to explore the area with day trips, and when you book a weekly rental through Airbnb you normally get a discount of some kind.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wow, what a drive!

I had been really looking forward to yesterday's road trip! My research said that highway SH8 in southwestern Albania is one of the world's great scenic coastal drives, and sure enough, it didn't disappoint.

Our next destination is Sarandë, and we head there tomorrow (Wednesday). And we have to take the SH8 to get there. But there are quite a few things to see along the way, so I figured we would do a day trip to around the half way point, and then come back. Then the actual drive itself tomorrow. Then another day trip from Sarandë will take us back the other way for some more exploring. So it's actually going to take three trips on this beautiful highway to see all the things we want to see!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Good news out of Albania yesterday

Yesterday was Sunday, and we had a nice relaxing day.

You could sure tell it was a Sunday in our area. Quite a few more people were out enjoying the patio restaurants and walking and cycling on the various paths that line the waterfront. Traffic was also bumper to bumper at times on the road in front. I can't imagine what it would be like during the summer season.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Kaninë Castle and a walk on the waterfront

Overlooking the city of Vlorë is the remains of Kaninë Castle. While the city is at sea level, the castle is in the mountains just behind the city at an altitude of 380 meters (1,250').

We had thought about walking up there from our apartment. It's only 6 kms (3.7 miles) one way. But it looked like there might be some hiking to do once we got up there, so we decided to drive.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

We are always on the lookout for a great free campsite!

We don't mind traveling the way we are. Renting a car and staying in various Airbnb accommodation works okay for us. But we would rather be in a motorhome! And so we are always in the "motorhome" frame of mind even when we aren't traveling in one!

And because of that, we're always on the lookout for great free campsites. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

A walk around downtown Vlorë, Albania

Beautiful sunny day yesterday here in Vlorë, Albania, but a bit chilly with a high of only 14C (57F). Still, if you were in the sun it was quite pleasant. A warming trend is in the forecast though, with the sunshine maintaining a presence. We'll take it!

Yesterday, our first day in Vlorë, we went for a walk into the downtown section. There is a grocery chain here in Albania called Conad, and they do some of their own store brand gluten free products, including bread. But not all Conad stores stock all the products, so we wanted to see what selection they had at the Conad store here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Moving day. We are now at the beach city of Vlorë, Albania

We had to be out of our cottage in Berat by 10:00am, and it was exactly 10:00am when we drove the car out of the parking garage.

It was the first rainy, overcast day we've had for a while, although the rain was mostly over by the time we started driving. It's not a long distance from Berat to Vlorë... only about 87 kms (54 miles), but a lot of it was on a slow going road that went through several villages so it took about an hour and forty five minutes. And we weren't in a rush anyhow... our new apartment had a check in time of 1:00pm.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Finally finished at the dentist, and today is moving day!

We've been here in Berat for two weeks now, and we've really enjoyed our stay. In fact, we could easily stay longer! But, we have decided to move on. We are likely to return with our new motorhome one day, and there are still some things we didn't see, so we have a reason to come back.

Yesterday, I had my 4th and final dentist appointment! The job is complete now, and everything seems fine. And how much did it cost?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Great day exploring in and around Albania's Osum Canyon

We were back to beautiful blue sky weather yesterday. A great day to return to the Osum Canyon so that we could see some of the views from above. There were a few other things we wanted to see as well. It was lots of fun doing our river rafting trip yesterday, but it didn't give us the opportunity to stop and take photos along the way.

It's not that far from Berat to the start of the canyon at the town of Çorovoda... only about 50 kms (30 miles). But it's a twisty curvy road that goes through several villages, so it takes about an hour and a half.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Fantastic day river rafting in the spectacular Osum Canyon

We had seen pictures of Albania's Osum Canyon online, and it looked really cool. There are several viewpoints along the road, and we were looking forward to heading down there for day trip. There are also a few other things in the area we were also wanting to see.

Then we read that the only way to see the best parts of the canyon is river rafting! Coincidentally, April and May are the best time of year to do the river rafting in Albania, so we looked into it a little further.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Dentist update, and a walk around Berat

So, I went to my third dental appointment yesterday at noon. I was probably only in the chair for a half an hour or so. He was hoping to be able to finish the job yesterday, but one of the products he used has to set for a minimum of 24 hours, so I now have a fourth appointment, this final one is for Tuesday at noon.

I still can't believe the whole thing is only costing 5,000 lek. ($60 CAD, $48 USD, €40). He has a price list up on the wall, and of course it's all in Albanian, but the cheapest item on the list is 500 lek... 1/10th of what I am paying for my procedure.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Our travel medical insurance and other things

We had a time change here in Albania a week ago, and for some reason we just haven't been able to adjust. We're normally up between 6:30am and 7:00am every morning, but it was almost 8:00am when we got up Friday morning. Not sure what's going on... might have to start setting the alarm!

I wanted to tell you about our new travel medical insurance. 

For many years, we were self insured. In other words, if we needed to see a doctor, we would have to pay out of pocket. I know, most of you would be horrified. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Unfortunately, we didn't get too far!

In case you missed yesterday's late in the day post, you can read it here...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/04/dentist-update-and-berat-ethnographic.html

Thursday was another beautiful day, so we hopped in the car and did a short trip up into the mountains. Unfortunately, we didn't get too far!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dentist update, and the Berat Ethnographic Museum

We published our March expense report earlier today. If you want to have a look, you can view it here... March Expense Report

You may have noticed that there was no expense for the visit to the dentist that I mentioned the other day. Well that's because it hasn't cost us anything ...yet! However, it's an interesting story...

March Expenses

After three very expensive months in a row, March's total doesn't seem that bad. It was still $3,665 CAD ($2,910 USD), which is higher than we'd like, but considering we started the month in Lushoto, Tanzania, and ended it in Berat, Albania we actually did pretty good.

And almost $1,700 was related to travel itself, so just under $2,000 for everything else. A little over budget, but not bad and you'll see why when you read the details below...

The Traveller’s 3-Step Guide To Keeping Busy On Any Adventure

So you’ve planned your next big trip. You’ve put together a jam-packed schedule filled with adventure and excitement, new sights to see and dazzling detours to explore, so staying busy should be easy, right? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

They say there’s never a dull moment, and though travel is an experience like no other, between those once-in-a-lifetime highlights you’ll remember for the rest of your life, you may occasionally find yourself faced with a little unexpected downtime on the road.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Well that was lucky!

When we flew from Dar es Salaam to Rome, we were forced by Qatar Airways to purchase a flight out of Albania. It's a long story, which you can read here, but essentially it meant that we were out of pocket €120 ($177 CAD, $141 USD) for nothing.

I've registered a formal complaint with Qatar Airways, because I think the manager in charge at the check in desk (not a Qatar Airways employee) was wrong both in his interpretation of the rules, and the way they handled the situation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Staying in Berat another week

Our host lady Susana doesn't speak any English, so we do most of the communicating of anything important through her son using WhatsApp. 

So when I made the dentist appointment for 11:30am yesterday morning, I let him know because although he had given me the dentist's name and number, I didn't know where the office was. He said "oh, my mother will take you there".

And so that's what happened.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Off to the dentist!

The other day, I noticed a problem with a dental bridge that I have had in mouth since 2009. It was done in Chetumal, Mexico. So it's lasted 12 problem free years, which is better than I would have expected.

But something has happened with one of the anchor teeth. It's not causing me any pain, but I know there is something not right. So I contacted our host here at the Airbnb to see if he could recommend someone here in Berat to have a look at it.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

More great views around Berat, Albania

As was forecast, we woke up to another beautiful blue sky day. And the temperature is also rising as they said it would with an expected high of 18C (65F). That's near perfect hiking weather in our minds so we packed a lunch and set off across the river and up a hill with a different view.

The hill across the river is actually higher than the one that the castle is on.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Beautiful day to visit a castle with a view

Berat Castle isn't really a castle as such. It's more of a fortress... a walled village on top of a hill, and many people still live within the fortress. There's quite a bit to see, and at one time there were over 20 churches up there. There are also quite a few guest houses. Most of the buildings inside the fort were built in the 13th century, although there is evidence of occupation that goes back to 200 BC.

We were surprised that they actually charge a 300 lek ($3.60 CAD. $2.85 USD) per person entrance fee, but it's only applicable if you drive up and enter through the main gate. I had read that if you walk up using a path that the locals use to get from the castle to the city and back, then it's totally free. Of course we were going to hike up anyhow, so that's the route we took!

Friday, March 26, 2021

A beautiful day in Berat, Albania

We had two busy days in a row, so we didn't have anything strenuous planned on Thursday. We relaxed for the morning, and then went for a walk around town.

Our cottage is located right in the center of town, and there are a lot of walks we can do right from town so the rental car might end up parked the entire time we're here. It doesn't seem to make sense to pay for a car rental when the vehicle is just parked, but there is some logic to what we're doing.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Castles, hiking, and gorgeous scenery. What more could you want?

Wednesday was a travel day as we made our way south from Tirana to the city of Berat. It's only about 100 kms (60 miles) if you take the fastest route, but even the fastest route is still about an hour and forty minutes.

But we had some things we wanted to see and do along the way, plus we wanted to take a more scenic route on some less traveled roads.

Great Ocean Road: A fascinating road trip in the world

Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous road trips in the world. The route of 243 kilometres will captivate you with the culmination, of course, of the 12 Apostles. There may be only 8 left to date, but they are just as impressive. Along the way, you will enjoy the Pacific Ocean and surfers trying to tame the huge waves. Also, in the area, you can do activities such as cycling, water sports, horseback riding and a helicopter flight over the area of ​​12 Apostles.

The road trip to Great Ocean Road is unique because the variety of nature is so huge that you can see rainforests, ocean surfers, wildlife and waterfalls all the way to its end. The choices in activities are tremendous and cover all tastes. You can go hiking, mountain biking and see museums or cultural heritage sites. You also can see ostriches, koalas and kangaroos and taste nice seafood and good wine in some of its depots. Great Ocean Road is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne city centre.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Day trip to the coastal city of Durres, Albania

We woke up to blue sky and sunshine on Tuesday morning, and that kind of weather is supposed to stay with us for a while now here in Albania!

So we hopped in the car, put our sunglasses on, and headed for the nearby coastal city of Durres.

Durres is Albania's second largest city next to Tirana. Tirana is 500,000, and Durres is about 175,000. But because it's located only 35 kms (22 miles) away, it's pretty built up the whole drive.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Despite some issues, we still really like the city of Tirana, Albania

The rain finally stopped after lunch yesterday, but it was around 2:30pm before we felt it was clearing enough to risk going for a walk. We planned a route that would take us along the small Lana River that flows through the city.

Our maps.me app showed that there were walking paths on both sides of the river. And in the downtown core, we knew that was the case. But when we arrived at the section of the river that is closest to our apartment, it was disappointing.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Traffic circle entertainment

It was a rain day yesterday, and we only left the apartment to go downstairs to the grocery store that is located next door.

Fortunately, we have an unlimited supply of internet... and some entertainment right from our balcony. This area has some road construction going on, and when you couple that with the fact that there aren't very many parking spots it makes for some pretty chaotic traffic. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

I guess it just doesn't bother most people

Saturday's forecast was for overcast and scattered showers. That's supposed to be the way it is through to Monday now. But then clearing and warming up through the week.

It's so nice having an unlimited supply of internet. So we spent yesterday morning researching where we want to go from here. There's a lot we want to see in this area, and the area north of here, but those parts of the country are going to be better in a couple of weeks time, so we are going to head south and stay away from the mountains until mid April when the hiking will be better there.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Our first day trip in Albania

While we are itching to get up into the mountains to do some hiking, there is still too much snow up there. The temperatures are definitely trending upwards though, and we'll get there eventually. In the meantime, we are sticking closer to the coast.

The capital city of Tirana where we are currently staying is located only 35 kms (22 miles) from the coast. And it is even closer to the start of the mountains. It's such a great location. The only issue we are noticing is traffic getting in and out of the city itself.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Could we live here?

Thursday was pretty much a day of rest, although we did get out to pick up a few more supplies. Now that we are back to making most of our own meals, there are a lot of kitchen preparation items that we need to keep with us.

And I need a haircut, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get one. We walked by two different barber shops yesterday, but one was more of a salon, and the other already had someone in the chair with a couple of people waiting.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Like Vancouver. But far cheaper, and with nicer weather

We were supposed to check out of our central Tirana apartment at 10:00am, but when I sent our host a message to confirm, he said we could stay until 11:00am. Which was nice, because we couldn't check into our new place on the outskirts until after 3:00pm.

At 11:00am, we locked all of our things into the car and headed off to do some more exploring. There is a beautiful big park located only a kilometer or so south, so we set off to check it out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The city of Tirana, and first impressions of Albania

Albania's population is about 2.8 million people, and about 500,000 of them live here in the capital city of Tirana. The country itself is only slightly larger than the state of Vermont!

Yesterday was our first day in Albania, and if the first day is any indication, we are going to LOVE Albania! Now of course it's only been one day, but so far it comes across as a mixture between Turkey and Romania, and we loved both of those countries.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Arrived in Albania... country #41 for us!

When we left you off in yesterday's blog post we had arrived in Doha, Qatar for a two and a half hour layover.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about our luggage. We are traveling with a small backpack each, and a carry on size suitcase each. When we checked in for our original flight in Dar es Salaam, they told us they were marking our checked bags to include the flight to Tirana on a different carrier. I didn't think that was possible, and that we would have to pick them up in Rome, but they insisted it would work.

Monday, March 15, 2021

The plan is coming together, but not without some hiccups...

Writing this from FCO (Rome) Airport in Italy. It is now Monday afternoon at around 2:00pm local time. We are here waiting for our connecting flight to Tirana, Albania later this afternoon.

When we left our apartment in Dar es Salaam, we had to be out by 11:00am, but our flight wasn't until 9:30pm. So we just went to the airport and hung out. We took an Uber taxi from the house, and we couldn't believe how cheap it was. For the 12 km (7.5 mile) trip, it cost 10,500 shillings ($5.65 CAD, $4.50 USD). I thought they made a mistake, but our host had told us it was the cheapest way.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I'm not normally a negative person

But today, we are quite happy to be negative!

On Saturday, a mere 28 hours after being tested, we received an email and a text message from the National Public Health Laboratory here in Tanzania. 

We are NEGATIVE.

The very official looking certificate was dated March 13th so we are well within the 96 hour window given by our airline for compliance with their rules.

So... we are definitely off to Albania!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

So now we wait

Yesterday was Covid PCR test day. 

We are flying to Albania on Sunday evening, and although the country itself does not require any sort of testing as a requirement for entry, we are flying with Qatar Airways and they require a negative Covid PCR test certificate that has been done within 96 hours of boarding the plane.

So we made appointments to have the tests done at the nearby Muhumbili University Hospital. You book the day, but not the time. They said they take samples between 8am and 5pm, and we wanted to show up right at 8am.

Friday, March 12, 2021

It's better to keep your expectations low so that you're not disappointed

The problem with spending six days in Dar es Salaam is that it's about four days too many! There's really not a lot worth seeing, and of course it's so hot that it's not really enjoyable just to go out and wander around. Which is too bad, because there are interesting things to see just watching people get on with their daily lives.

So, we force ourselves to go out and get some exercise. On Thursday, we walked over to the Botanical Gardens. Ruth had read that it wasn't anything special, and that it would have been better after rainy season. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Visit to the hospital

We woke up yesterday morning with no power in our little apartment. So far, in our experience in Tanzania, the power goes out regularly, so we didn't think anything of it. After an hour or so, I went outside and noticed that the air conditioning was running in the apartment next to us!

So I sent a message to our host, and he was on it right away. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Back in civilization!

Our main reason for being here in Dar es Salaam so early is that we are flying with Qatar Airways this coming Sunday, and the airline themselves require a negative PCR test done within 96 hours prior to boarding your flight. There's not a lot of accurate detailed information available online regarding where to get the test, or how much it costs. So we wanted to get here with lots of time to spare in order to figure things out.

The government has a website to register for booking your test, but all it does is list the different centers that take the samples. The samples are then sent to the main government laboratory for analysis, and your results are posted online within 24 hours. Or at least that's the way things are supposed to work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

You never know what to expect on a travel day

I've said it before... travel days are always interesting. It's probably the reason I never sleep very well the night before a travel day, You just never know what's going to happen or what's going to go wrong. And sometimes (it does happen occasionally!) we are surprised when everything goes according to plan!

We were up early because we had prearranged with our taxi guy in Tanga to pick us up at 7:00am. Sure enough, he arrived at about 6:50am, so the day was off to a good start.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

We are off to the big city

We are up early this Monday morning because our taxi guy is picking us up at 7:00am!

On Sunday, we walked into town to what we thought was where we could buy tickets for today's bus ride. But it turns out that sometime in the last four months that particular bus company moved, and I could not find any current information online. But, we asked some questions and found that we had to head another kilometer to a different bus line.

Once we get into our new motorhome, what's the plan?

Of course it's too soon to make any firm plans, and whatever we end up doing will depend totally on what time of year it is. We know that we will have maximum three months in Albania, so that brings us up to June 15th or so. With any luck at all, hopefully we will be allowed into Germany by then so that we can pick up our new motorhome.

If that happens at that time, our plan is to head north!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The highlights of Tanga

Despite the heat, we figured we had better get out and see the highlights of the city. We thought about riding the bikes over to the beach area, but while it's a slight downhill the whole way there, it would be a slight uphill the whole way back! 

So we decided to walk the 7 kms (4.3 miles) one way, find somewhere to have a meal, and then take a taxi back.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Biding our time

We came to Tanzania specifically to hike Kilimanjaro, and we honestly figured we could take up the balance of two months here without much problem. And that is certainly doable... if you have lots of money to spend.

But doing Tanzania on a tight budget is not that enjoyable. Now that we have our flights to Albania booked for March 14th, we feel like we are just biding our time until we can get out of here.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Paying for our new motorhome

Sometimes the logistics of making a big purchase in a far away country can be a little overwhelming. 

I remember when we bought our truck and camper in Australia how we jumped through hoops trying to follow all the right procedures. After all, we were physically in Mexico at the time... and we were buying an Australian vehicle by paying a Swiss bank from our Canadian bank. 

And, we didn't want to get taken advantage of by the big banks in Canada. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Well, there's that mess sorted out... for now...

Unimpressed with KLM. 

I was double checking our flight times and I went into "manage bookings" on the KLM website yesterday morning. I happened to notice that the first leg of our flights from Dar es Salaam to Amsterdam was showing as "Cancelled". 

Hmph. I hadn't received any email from KLM telling me they had cancelled my flights. I wonder when I would have found out if I hadn't been checking for something else.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Travel days are always interesting

We were up at 6:30am Monday morning.

There are no "scheduled" buses that run between Lushoto and Tanga. We had asked around a few days earlier, and it seems that beginning at 7:00am or so, they depart every ten minutes "or so". Considering it's a distance of 168 kms (104 miles), we thought that was an awfully lot of buses, but it turned out to be accurate based on our experience.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

February Expenses

Well, February was another expensive month, but we knew that it would be. And, it's all related to our Kilimanjaro climb at the beginning of the month. Otherwise, it was actually not bad!

Ruth's "bucket list item" has now been completed, and until we go see the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba (one of my bucket list items) we are done with that kind of extravagant discretionary spending. 

Beautiful views in all directions

Before we get into our beautiful hike yesterday, we need to tell you some good news!

I had mentioned a few days ago that Ruth's laptop wouldn't start up. Other than hearing the fan run, there was no screen, no nothing. She's been trying to start it up every couple of days just in the hopes that something might happen, but with no luck. 

Until yesterday morning.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A guy died on Kilimanjaro this week

Just happened to notice this come up in my news feed. 

A bit of an odd story. This guy was a fairly famous adventurer in his home country of Poland. He kayaked across the Atlantic Ocean three different times, the last one when he was 71 years old.

So now, here he was at 74 years old climbing Kilimanjaro. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Getting our new motorhome ready

Of course we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won't actually get to use our new motorhome for another couple of months (or more!), but that doesn't mean there aren't things going on in the background getting it ready for us.

While it's been sitting on the lot in Germany waiting for us since it arrived there in late November, we are now close enough to being able to use it that we don't want to leave things to the last minute. So we have authorized the dealership to go ahead with getting it ready for us.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The children are hilarious

Wednesday morning, we set out towards another viewpoint. The rain they had been calling for was now just clouds with the odd sunny break. Not the best conditions to go to an overlook, but we needed some exercise!

It's so easy to walk in this area. The dirt roads hardly have any vehicles on them, and when there is a vehicle, it's a motorcycle. Motorcycles are used as basic public transportation in Tanzania... you just hop on the back, and the driver takes you where ever you want to go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Organizing our next stop

While we've thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the hiking here in Lushoto area, two weeks is enough.

Our accommodation had been overall good, although a bit quirky. It's a very old house, and it needs a lot of work. There are quite a few critters living in the house along with us! And the "staff", while very friendly and helpful when we have questions, don't really seem to actually do very much. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Usambara Mountains - Do you need a guide?

We normally like to travel and explore on our own. But that's just us, and we realize that it seems like many (most?) people prefer to hire a guide. Here in Tanzania, it is definitely more common for visitors to hire a guide where ever they go. 

When I was doing research regarding hiking in the Usambara Mountains area where we are right now, most references were regarding guided trips. And sure, if you're going to do 3 to 5 day excursions, then it's probably best to have someone organize it for you.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Official change of plans

In December, we had booked our flight out of Tanzania for March 21st, with a destination of Dusseldorf, Germany. We had some faint hope of possibly being able to pick up our new motorhome at that time. Now, with only four weeks to go before our scheduled flight, we highly doubt that the entrance restrictions to Germany will be lifted by that time.

Our flight with KLM was fully flexible, with no change fees. So the only extra would be whatever the fare difference was to fly somewhere else. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

We got a little wet, but it's only water

We've had a good first week of weather since we arrived here in Lushoto on February 13th. Unfortunately, the second week isn't looking quite so good.

We had done a reasonable 12 km walk on Friday, and we would have taken Saturday as an off day, but with them calling for some rain on Sunday, and in fact every day for the next week, we figured we had better get out and do another decent walk before getting shut in due to rain.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Every time we turn a corner there is another beautiful view

"Do you know that you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world?"

That's the question I want to ask some of the people we bump into. Maybe they do know... for the most part, they are all smiling and happy!

The other day we met a young couple from Finland. He said they had been pretty much all over Tanzania, but they returned to Lushoto because it's the best place they found.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Both of our meals were delicious!

We've been scheduling our activities here so that every second day we go for a nice hike. The off days, we still get out, but just for a wander around town and to find something to eat.

We tried a new restaurant yesterday, and it's the best one yet. There are two other ones in town that get good reviews, but from what I've read they are both western style restaurants and with western style prices. One is actually a pizza joint... Momma Mia's! And it definitely caters to the visitors... most locals wouldn't be able to afford the place.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

We got caught... but we still had a good day!

We tried to get an earlier start on Wednesday and managed to get out of the house by about 9:30am. The real heat of the day seems to peak at about 2:00pm, so we were trying to get home before then. 

We were headed towards another trail that I had found on my maps.me app and it had mentioned both a cave and a viewpoint. Uphill every step of the way, but it was a fairly gradual incline until right at the end when there was a short steep section.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

If you are going to travel during these times

I've said it before... if you are going to travel during these times, you need to be flexible. Fortunately, we are totally flexible!

We have tickets to fly from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania through Amsterdam to Dusseldorf, Germany on March 21st. The plan when we booked them back in December was to pick up our new motorhome towards the end of March.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Beautiful scenery, and laptop problems!

Ruth turned on her laptop yesterday morning, and the screen was doing funny things. So she shut it down again and restarted it. Except this time, nothing happened. On closer inspection, you can hear the fan come on and off... but nothing happens on the screen. This laptop doesn't have an easily removable battery, other wise I would try taking out the battery and resetting things.

We have tried everything that we know how to do, but nothing changes. I'm afraid we won't be able to get it repaired until we make it to Europe. I'm sure there is somewhere in the big city of Dar es Salaam, but we weren't planning on being there until the end of our Tanzania trip anyhow.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Our first walk around the area. There is lots to see!

Our accommodation here had advertised free WiFi, but it turns out that's not entirely true. Yes, there is a WiFi signal in the house, but it's coming from a cellular router. Because there is no telephone line infrastructure, everything is done via cellular, including household internet. So our internet here is limited by the size of the bundle purchased. 

It's relatively cheap though, and I did offer to contribute to a larger package that will last us for our time here. So we should have no problem staying in touch with you.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Where we are staying for the next two weeks

Yesterday's post was a little late, so if you missed it you can read it here first...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/02/long-day-to-get-to-usambara-mountains.html

So, the taxi was bringing us along this dirt track that was not much wider than a walking path. I had seen pictures of the property, so I kind of knew what to expect, but from the looks of this path I wasn't sure we were heading in the right direction!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Long day to get to the Usambara Mountains

Unlike Turkey, Tanzania is not an easy country to navigate. 

Unless of course you pay the big dollars and get a tour company to do everything for you, which is the way most people visit Tanzania. Trying to do it on your own can be frustrating and is often more expensive than it should be anyhow.

So on Friday, we had gone downtown with our friend Justin to buy bus tickets from Arusha to Lushoto in the Usambara Mountains.

Friday, February 12, 2021

What's up next?

We've just been relaxing the past few days since our return from the top of Kilimanjaro. The weather here in Arusha hasn't been great. Rain on and off, and hard at times. So we've been doing some computer work and getting caught up on things from our almost a week away. And, we've been doing some planning to figure out what we're going to do next!

We are so close to Serengeti National Park. Just about any tourist who comes to Arusha is here because it's the set off point for safaris in the Serengeti. But apparently we are not "just anybody"...

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 6 - The final descent

Wow. We are a little overwhelmed by all the comments on yesterday's post. Thank you all so much.

You would think we would have slept like a rock on our final night after the marathon of hiking we had done the day before. And I think we did sleep well... until one of the nearby camps started making noise at about 3:30am.

We had wanted to get up early... but not that early! We still had an 11 km (6.8 mile) downhill hike to get to the exit gate where a van and a nice lunch would be waiting for us. But we still managed to toss and turn a bit until we finally got up around 6:00am.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 5 - Barafu Camp to the Uhuru Peak Summit 19,350' altitude

We were woken up at 11:30pm and fed a hot drink of ginger tea to warm us up a bit for our planned six hour hike in the darkness up to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro... Uhuru Peak, located at 5,895 meters (19,350 feet) altitude.

Why are we hiking in the dark? It's a common question, and there are actually a few reasons.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 4 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp 15,330' altitude

This is day 4 of our Mt. Kilimanjaro hike, and if you're just checking in with us now you may have missed day 1, day 2, and day 3. You really should read them first!

Because of the upcoming bad weather, it was going to be a long day. We were going to skip right by our originally planned stop at Karanga Camp, and continue on up the mountain to the Barafu Camp where we would spend the night at 4,673 meters (15,330 feet).

First thing we had to do was conquer Barranco Wall.

Kilimanjaro Day 3 - Shira Cave Camp to Barranco Camp 13,050' altitude

We were up at 6:30am again. A fairly big day ahead of us as we were going to hike up to Lava Tower at 4,630 meters (15,190 feet) in time for lunch, and then back down the other side to Barranco Camp at 3,976 meters (13,050 feet) over a total distance of 9.7 kms (6.0 miles). 

They made us a packed lunch, and we got going at about 8:10am.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Kilimanjaro Day 2 - Machame Camp to Shira Cave Camp 12,300' altitude

The guys got us up at 6:30am and we did some washing up and had a good breakfast. There was always hot water for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, and lots of fruit and millet porridge every day. I ate my fill, but I have to say that I would be happy to never see a bowl of millet porridge again. My mother used to make it when we were kids, and I didn't enjoy it then either! Then there would be some eggs and sausage and some kind of casava bread. The cook was well aware of Ruth's gluten free diet.

By 8:20am, we set off for a 5 km (3 mile) hike that would bring us up another 878 meters (3,000') in altitude.

21 Weirdest Ways To Make Money

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Sell Jellyfish

It is unlikely for you to find someone who has a pet jellyfish as they certainly are not the cuddliest. However, there is a market for jellyfish, and they are quite costly. In fact, the cheapest one there runs around $330, including a small tank and some food good for three months.

Kilimanjaro Day 1 - Machame Gate to Machame Camp 9,300' altitude

Day 1 started at 7:00am in Arusha. We then had a two hour drive from Arusha to Moshi, and we stopped at several places to pick up either people or gear. There is a lot of logistics involved with getting two people to the top of Africa... and we had a total of 11 people helping us get there!

We had our two guides, Kobby and Shalali, our cook Martin, and eight porters carrying the gear and supplies needed for seven days and six nights on the mountain!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Ready for Kilimanjaro!

By the time most of you read this we will be well into our first day of hiking the highest mountain in Africa!

I am drinking a nice Kilimanjaro beer this evening as I write this. It will be the last one I have for a week! 

I want to tell you a little bit about the mountain and the route we are taking...

January Expenses - Ouch

Back in December when we were trying to figure out where to go next, the Tanzania option had one big negative. It would be the most expensive option.

And so while we knew that in advance, it's still difficult for a couple of normally frugal travelers to watch the numbers add up! But, it's only money, and you can't take it with you. Not really much point in having it if you don't spend it. Within reason, of course.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Mt. Meru hike... what did it cost? And other stuff...

We've spent the last two days recuperating from the Mt. Meru hike, and preparing ourselves for our upcoming Kilimanjaro hike that leaves on Tuesday February 2nd. 

In fact on Friday, we never even left the apartment! 

Our host Justin has a local girl Janet (24, we think) come in to cook and clean and she looks after our laundry as well. It's pretty inexpensive to have this all done for us when you get the local prices, so we give her a 10,000 shilling ($5.50 CAD, $4.30 USD) tip every now and again which pretty much doubles her daily wage.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Mt. Meru Hike... the animals

The last day of our 4 day 3 night hike up Mt. Meru was really great. Our park ranger Dominic agreed to take us on a route that went through an area where we would see a waterfall and a high chance of seeing some of the animals that call Arusha National Park home.

We were woken up at 6:30am at Mariakamba Hut. Had a good sleep and felt much better! Ready for the 6.8 km (4.2 mile) hike down to the entrance gate with a short detour to a waterfall along the way.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Mt. Meru Tanzania Hike day 3... that was tough!

If you haven't already, you really should read day 1 and day 2 of this hike!

Before we get into the summit hike itself, I wanted to explain a little bit about Mt. Meru. It's a dormant volcano that had half of its cone somehow collapse 8,000 years ago. So the remaining part of the cone is what we were climbing. You make your way up and along the ridge of the cone itself, with the 2,000 meter (6,600 feet) sheer cliff walls on one side, and a steep volcanic slope on the other side.

Mt. Meru hike day two... the next level!

If you missed day one, you will want to start reading here...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2021/01/mt-meru-tanzania-hike-day-one.html

Because of our late start on day one, we had not arrived at Mariakamba Hut until about 6:30pm Monday evening. The first day hike had not been that strenuous and we were feeling pretty good. We had done about 9 kms (5.5 miles) uphill, rising in altitude 915 meters (3,000').

Our ranger Dominic had set a fairly slow pace and we weren't doing much more than 2 km/h. They really stress that you need to go slowly for proper acclimatisation, and a higher chance of success of achieving the summit. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mt. Meru, Tanzania hike... day one

I'm going to post each day of our four days away as a separate post. But I will try to post twice a day to get us caught up, so try to remember to check back so you don't miss anything! 

Lots of photos for you. Don't forget that you can click on the photo to make it full screen!

So, day one started with us being picked up at our apartment by the safari vehicle from our tour operator at Rwalinda Tours. They arrived with two of our porters, and our head guide.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Ready for our Mt. Meru trek!

By the time most of you read this, we will be well on our way through the first day of our 4 day, 3 night trek up Africa's 5th highest and Tanzania's 2nd highest mountain, Mt. Meru.

Our guide and our chef were over at the apartment on Sunday going over some things with us. They are very detailed, and want to make sure you are prepared. I get the impression that they have come across people who have definitely not been prepared.

Nice hike on the outskirts of Arusha. Beautiful scenery!

We met one of our porters yesterday. Abdallah is 24 years old and wants to work his way up to being a guide. He has taken the guide courses at the local college and is now beginning actual training. He is also learning Chinese because there are a growing number of Chinese tourists coming to Tanzania and there are no guides who can speak Chinese. 

Justin set things up so that Abdallah would spend the day with us doing a hike to a waterfall about 10 kms (6 miles) away from our apartment.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Exploring Arusha, and seeing how the other half lives

We hung around the apartment in the morning, and then at lunch time we had made plans to meet our new friends Ryan and Marti at an Indian curry restaurant in the central area. 

It was about a 3 km (1.8 mile) walk from the apartment to the center of Arusha so we set off at 12 noon for our 12:30pm lunch.

Friday, January 22, 2021

It was a long, interesting day!

I believe that every day here in Tanzania will be an interesting day. There is so much going on, everywhere we look!

We will be doing our four night Mt. Meru hike starting on Monday, and our seven night Mt. Kilimanjaro hike starting on February 2. So Justin said we had better get our gear set up for the two hikes. For that, we had to do the 80 km (50 mile) drive from Arusha to Moshi.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

First day in Tanzania

Our plane had arrived at just before 10:00am, so despite the fact that we were pretty tired, we still had the whole day ahead of us. Our contact Justin drove us and our new friends Marti and Ryan into the big city of Arusha (pop 500,000). Arusha is typically the main start off point for anybody doing Serengeti safaris.

We stopped at the big Mt. Meru Hotel where we dropped off Marti and Ryan and exchanged contact info. We hope to see them again on Friday. They will be climbing Kilimanjaro a week or so before us, so we are excited to see how they make out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Made it to Tanzania!

The last blog post ended with us sitting in Istanbul (SAW) airport waiting for our Qatar Airways to Doha, Qatar.

We boarded on time and the plane was maybe one third full. We have to say, what a great way to travel. Qatar Airways has been voted Airline of the Year five different times. Essentially, they are an award winning airline! So combine that standard with the fact that the plane was only a third full, and you get some pretty good customer service!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sitting in Istanbul Airport

Writing this note from the boarding gate for our second flight of the day, going from Istanbul, Turkey to Doha, Qatar.

We were up at 5am this morning and by 6am we were on our way to the airport.

Our flight didn't leave until 10:25am, but we were told to get there early because of Covid etc, etc... then of course we sat around and waited for almost two hours for the bag drop to open!

And the airport wasn't at all busy. In fact, the exact opposite. There were four flights leaving all day!


We got there early, and had to sit around only to find out that the WiFi wasn't working. They only have one machine where you have to scan your boarding card to get access, and it was located outside the gate area. Ridiculous in this day and age.

Anyhow, the flight was almost full. I saw maybe six or eight empty seats. Everybody was really good about mask wearing, unlike our easyJet flight from the UK back in October. The only thing we both still find funny (odd? stupid?) are the people who want to rip off their seatbelt and jam themselves into the aisle as soon as the plan lands. Doesn't make any sense to us at all, but obviously we are in the minority.

Other than that, it was an uneventful one hour flight to Istanbul's SAW airport.

We had lots of time to waste before our 5:55pm flight to Doha, Qatar. But we couldn't go past passport control because the bag drop wouldn't open until almost 3:00pm! Oh well.

We finally got that done, and went to go through passport control. Of course our visas expired eight or nine days ago, and sure enough we got sent to immigration. We explained the story, and produced the letter from the doctor but that made no difference at all. He siad the only thing that would matter is if you were held up due to Covid!

Then he said "the fine will be 1,034 lira ($177 CAD, $139 USD) each". Yikes!

But he then explained we don't have to pay it now. In fact, we would only have to pay it if we come back within three months and then it would apply towards residency. Very strange, and we didn't quite get it. His English wasn't the best and he was trying to explain it through Google Translate.

But either way, it doesn't cost us anything right now, and if there are repercussions of any kind we will deal with them the next time we return to Turkey, possibly two years from now.

So we were cleared through passport control and on to the waiting area where we are now.

There are a few more international departures from this airport, but not many.

Here's an airport selfie for you!

Gotta go... we will update you again from Doha, Qatar!

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Nice price drop on the Fire HD 10.

And in Canada...



Monday, January 18, 2021

Drive from Antalya to Fethiye, and an encounter with the Turkish police.

We were a little late leaving yesterday. Had the car all packed up and ready to go by 11:00am, but our Airbnb host was a little late coming to get the key, and then we stood and had a nice chat with him for a while before leaving. But, we knew there would be very little traffic, it was only a 200 km (124 mile) drive, and we couldn't check in to our apartment in Fethiye until after 4:00pm.

Again, weekends are on lockdown for the Turkish people, but foreign tourists are exempt. We figured being on the highway there might be stop checks.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Time to move on, and the plan for the next few days

Well, it's moving day today! And we definitely feel like it's time to move on. We've been in this apartment in Antalya for exactly one month! It was almost starting to feel like our apartment.

Yesterday was our final eye doctor appointment, and everything is the way it should be so we are cleared to travel. Of course we still have eye drops to take for the next month or so.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

There are so many neat things to see in the world!

And we saw another one of them yesterday.

We had read about the constantly burning fires at Mount Chimaera. And they are located on the Lycian Way hiking route, so we made a plan to do the hour and a half drive down to that section of the trail where we could access the fires area from below. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

It wasn't in the plan to visit any ruins... so it was a nice bonus!

In the morning, we went downtown to pick up our new glasses. Yes, we can do 90% of what we want to do without glasses. But we knew going into this eye surgery that the final results were not going to be perfect.

For me (Kevin), my left eye is pretty much perfect. But while my right eye has perfect near vision (it's actually amazing!), the distance vision is not yet. And it never will be, except that my brain hasn't quite caught on to that. And until it does, I am better to wear glasses for driving.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

We finally made it to Old Town, Antalya

Most visitors to Antalya probably make it to Old Town on their very first day in the city. We've been here for almost a month, and we finally made it there yesterday! But we know, we're not normal.

It's hard to believe we've spent a full month here. Of course most of that is because of our eye surgery, but it's also because there's a lot to see, and it's a nice city... as far as cities go.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hair cuts and a visit with friends

That's definitely the longest I've gone without a haircut for quite a while. The last time it was cut was the week before we left Canada, so over three months ago.

Ruth and I met when she cut my hair. And over the next 30 years, she was the only one who cut my hair! When we are traveling in a motorhome, she has her hair cutting gear with her. But otherwise, it's not so easy. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Out for some more exploring

Yesterday was a bit of a dreary day, but it never did rain, and it most certainly didn't snow. The temperature went up to about 19C (66F), but there was no sunshine at all. There was also no wind at all.

We drove east through the city of Antalya and headed to the city of Side (pronounced See-deh).

There are two parts to Side... one is the beach resort area, and the other is the remains of the ancient city of Side.

Monday, January 11, 2021

It occurred to me that we are going to be 60 soon

An interesting thing happened the other day.

I looked in the mirror, and actually saw myself.

I didn't say anything to Ruth, but the funny thing was, a few hours later Ruth said she had the same experience!

Of course it was because we were no longer wearing glasses, and the person we saw in the mirror was actually in focus. Those of you who wear glasses may never experience seeing your face clearly without having those glasses on.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

There is no Covid in Tanzania!

Tanzania's president has thanked a visiting Chinese minister for not wearing a mask, claiming it proves there's no coronavirus in the country.

From a BBC news article issued yesterday.

Yeah, okay.

So apparently it's going to be an interesting visit for us to Tanzania, one of the few countries in the world where life at this time goes on pretty much "normally". 

I've been following the stories of a few other travelers who are either in Tanzania or have been there over the past six months. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The largest cave in Turkey... and we were the only ones there!

Ruth packed us a lunch, and we set off heading due north out of the city towards a cave that I had read about. One of the things that attracted me to this particular cave was that one of the reviews said "you will be the only ones there except for the cows"!

How could Turkey's largest cave get so few visitors? From looking at the map, I assumed it was because of the 3.8 km (2.4 mile) uphill hike to get there. We were overdue for some exercise, so we were looking forward to the hike.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Beach walk - Antalya

We had planned on driving about an hour and a half south to Mount Chimaera, but we were late getting going, and it was market day so we had to get some fruits and veggies at some point. We decided to put off the Mount Chimarea visit and go do our groceries and then just go down to the big beach here in Antalya and go for a walk.

Besides, it was a hazy day, so there likely wouldn't have been much scenery to admire at Mount Chimaera. It was pleasant though, and it got warmer than they had forecast.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Waterfalls around Antalya, Turkey

It was looking like another decent day yesterday with a forecast high of 20C (68F) and cloudy with sunny breaks. So we set off to do some more exploring.

There are several waterfalls in the area of Antalya, so we planned a route to include two of the more popular ones. The first one is within the city limits, but not the downtown area. It's called Upper Duden Waterfalls. We had been to the Lower Duden Waterfalls a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Eye surgery... all the details

On Monday afternoon we went back for a follow up appointment regarding our eye surgery. Bottom line, everything is proceeding exactly the way it should be. But there is more to it, so for anybody considering the same thing, here are ALL the details...

What we had done is called Refractive Lens Exchange.

It's exactly the same surgery as cataract surgery, with one difference. We didn't have cataracts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Finally... out for some more exploring!

The weekend lockdown was over, and it was a half decent day from a weather perspective. So we were itching to get out and do some exploring. It's all fine and good to get this eyesight thing done, but between that and the lockdowns and the weather, we haven't had a chance to do nearly as much exploring in this area as we wanted to. 

So on Monday morning, we hopped in the car and drove up into the mountains behind Antalya.

Monday, January 4, 2021

An easier way to keep track of our spending

Ruth and I keep track of every penny we spend. We were doing that even when we had "normal" lives. We found that it was easier to see where frivolous spending was going, and where we could cut back. And doing it daily meant that we could easily see if we were overspending, and when it was time to cut back.

In the old days, it was a simple piece of paper... adding everything up by hand. Then it the late 1990's we got a computer and that made things a little easier. As time went on, I made myself an Excel spreadsheet that keeps annual track of our spending.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Strange to go out for a walk during lockdown

On Saturday, we contacted our Airbnb host here in Antalya and once again extended our stay. Because of our eye surgery and the weekend lockdowns, we haven't had a chance to explore the area nearly as much as we wanted to. So rather than moving on just for the sake of moving on, we decided to stay put.

We thought about getting another place further east of here, and driving back for our eye doctor appointments, but we are really happy with the apartment. It's got a comfortable bed, and fast, consistent WiFi... and it's only 125 lira ($21.50 CAD, $16.85 USD) per night. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

And yesterday at dinner time, a new season began!

When we were traveling in our motorhome and it was just the two of us, playing Backgammon while having a drink at happy hour became a regular thing. And then at dinner time we would play a couple of games of Yahtzee while eating dinner.

But when you travel as light as we normally do, it's not easy to travel with a Backgammon board! However, it's very easy to bring along five dice to play Yahtzee.

Friday, January 1, 2021

December Expenses - Yikes! And 2020 financial review...

Well at first glance, it looks like we had a really expensive month. In fact, our most expensive month ever.

We spent a total of $8,847 CAD ($6,943 USD).

However, a more detailed look reveals that it wasn't too bad. A big chunk of that expense was to have our eye surgery done. And we consider that an investment, not an expense. (I will talk a little more about that another day.) So we could remove $6,097 CAD ($4,785 USD) right there.