Coastline at Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

One last walk around Bukhara, and then the train to Samarkand

It was quite hot on Monday with a high of 29C (84F). So although we didn't do too much, we decided to walk into the more modern section of town outside the tourist area. There's not really a lot to see. I think on an overall basis, we enjoyed Khiva more than Bukhara. 

Our train was departing at 4:06pm, and the train station is quite far from the central area, so we had to be back at the guest house by 2:00pm.

Second ferris wheel ride this month!

After a late breakfast on Sunday, we walked over to a big park where Ruth was looking for an old mausoleum that she had read about. Along the way, we came across an amusement park with a ferris wheel.

We always like a ride in a ferris wheel, especially when the price is reasonable! 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Surprised by the number of tourists here

Uzbekistan is having a bit of a heat wave for the next couple of days. Highs around 29C (84F) with hazy skies. Not really that humid, but it's definitely hot if you're in the sun. Supposed to be back to normal highs of 19C (66F) by Tuesday.

We set off to explore the city of Bukhara.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Long ride through the desert to Bukhara

We haven't done much in the way of planning for this "stan" countries trip. We had no idea until the last minute that we would be crossing the Turkmenistan border at Dashoguz, so our recent stay in Khiva was also last minute.

But it turned out great, and we met a wonderful local family. And if we had crossed a border further east, we would have skipped Khiva entirely because it's so remote and it would have involved backtracking. 

Last day in Khiva, Uzbekistan

On Thursday, our last day in Khiva, we returned to the old city to see some of the things we hadn't seen the day before. There's a reason that your entrance pass is good for two days... there is a lot to see.

Once again, a decent enough day with some sunshine and a little cooler high of 19C (66F).

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The old city of Itchan Kala, Uzbekistan

On Wednesday, we set off to explore the old walled city of Itchan Kala. There are more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, most built in the 1700's, although the original Juma Mosque with its 112 wooden columns is one of the oldest structures.

A little cloudy and overcast, but still with a pleasant high of about 20C (68F).

Friday, October 27, 2023

First day in Uzbekistan

It's Tuesday, and we are in the small city of Khiva, population about 90,000. The attraction here is Itchan Kala, the inner walled old city that has been in existence for about 1,500 years.

Itchan Kala was the first Uzbekistan attraction protected on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Welcome to Uzbekistan, country #62 - crazy border crossing!

Most of the group departed Ashgabat in the wee hours of the morning at like 3:00am for their flight back to Istanbul. From there, they were headed to a variety of destinations, with some simply going back home to work, while others were continuing travel.

Ruth and I were the only ones planning on crossing the Turkmenistan land border, and we made arrangements with Johnny's tour operator here, Ahmet, to get us to the border.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ashgabat at night... like Las Vegas, but without tourists!

One of the guys hired our bus to take us around to some of the other sights that weren't officially included in our tour. We had about three hours to waste, and let me tell you, it's not that difficult to waste three hours in Ashgabat.

In fact, Ruth and I could easily have spent three more days in Ashgabat alone. So much to see and do!

Flight back to Ashgabat, and the Akhal-Teke horses

Had a good sleep in Turkmenbashi, and then a short drive to Turkmenbashi Airport (KRW) where we hopped on a one hour domestic flight from KRW to Ashgabat (ASB).

On the way to the airport, we drove by a huge oil refinery. The refinery reports that its products are exported to Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Japan. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The most beautiful place you've never heard of

One of the things that attracted us to Turkmenistan is the Yangykala Canyon. It is so little known, that even most people in Turkmenistan do not know of its existence.

Totally beautiful. And totally remote. We had to take an overnight train to the city of Turkmenbashi on the coast of the Caspian Sea, and then drive three hours inland through the desert!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Busy travel day - Turkmenistan night train!

We woke up at our group campsite near the fiery crater at about 7:00am Friday morning. Not the best sleep because some of the drivers were up late (probably drinking vodka) and they weren't very quiet about it. Oh well. It seems I must be a light sleeper because Ruth slept right through it, and only a couple of other people mentioned it. 

Lots of time to nap in the vehicle on the long ride back to Ashgabat.

The Gates of Hell

After our city tour on Thursday morning, we got on the highway heading north from Ashgabat. There are twenty of us in the group, so we had six 4WD SUV style vehicles taking us out into the desert.

While the roads in the city are well maintained, many of the main highways outside the city are not. If the locals need to go to another city in Turkmenistan, they will usually fly or take the train. But we were headed to a destination not served by rail or flight... The Gates of Hell.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Ashgabat city tour...amazing!

A lot going on, and not nearly enough time or internet access available to tell you all about it. But I am going to squeeze in a quick blog post about the Ashgabat city tour we did on Thursday morning. 

The rest of the group arrived overnight and so we saw them all as they made their way to breakfast that was served in the hotel between 8:00am and 10:00am. We had a departure time of 10:30am set so that they could at least squeeze in a couple of hours sleep because most of them arrived from Istanbul on a flight that landed here at 3:30am.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Welcome to Turkmenistan, country #61

We had to get up at 4:15am in order to walk to the airport bus stop for its 5:00am departure. We had said goodbye to Cheryl the night before so we didn't have to wake her. We packed our bags and headed out the door.

A twenty minute walk in the rain got us to the bus stop where the bus was already loading. We paid our 149 lira ($7.25 CAD, $5.34) and with very little traffic at that hour we made it to Istanbul Airport (IST) in an hour and ten minutes. Much better than the two and a half hours it took when we arrived!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Busy day touring Istanbul

We had made arrangements to meet up with Lauren, one of the girls who we will be touring Turkmenistan with. She was staying on the opposite side of the Bosphorus Straight, so Ruth and I hopped on the ferry at about 9:30am to do the 20 minute ride to the other side.

Much better weather today, with a high around 19C (66F).

Arrived in Istanbul!

It was chilly when we stepped outside our accommodation near Paris airport. Only 4C (39F)! Good thing we didn't have to wait long for our bus to the terminal.

Made our way through the terminals to our departure gate without much of a problem. Our Air France flight from Paris to Istanbul was supposed to depart at 11:20am.

Exploring Nature's Playground: Hiking and Fishing in Perfect Harmony

 Nature's playground offers a perfect harmony of hiking and fishing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors. Hiking trails take you on a journey through breathtaking landscapes, where you can witness the wonders of nature up close. But the adventure doesn't end with hiking alone. Fishing adds an extra layer of excitement and tranquility to our outdoor experience.

In this perfect harmony of hiking and fishing, you explore nature's wonders and embrace the serenity and peace it offers. It is a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Heading back to the airport!

Made our way to our Airbnb located near Paris airport. Had to buy tickets for the local bus at a cost of €2.10 ($3 CAD, $2.20 USD) each, and of course bought 4 tickets because we also need the return journey this morning. We could have walked it, but there is one section with too much traffic and it's not pedestrian friendly.

Less than a ten minute bus ride and we were getting off in the village of Roissy en France. This is the same village we stayed at in the hotel back at the end of August, so we already knew our way around.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Arrived in Paris!

A little tired, but we are here! It's almost 2:00pm here and it's a bright sunny day. Not sure what the temperature is, but it looks very nice outside. We're still at the airport as I write this because we can't get into our Airbnb for another hour, and it's only a short bus ride away.

Everything went smoothly.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

And... we're off!

Writing this from Halifax Airport where we've got an all afternoon wait for our WestJet flight to Toronto.

There are only two overseas flights that go from Halifax, one goes to London, and the other one goes to Frankfurt. Everything else is stuck routing through either Montreal or Toronto. So in our case, we are flying Halifax to Toronto, then Toronto to Paris CDG.

Friday, October 13, 2023

This area is nice in the fall

Lindsey had the day off Thursday, so the three of us took Chester the dog for a walk to Little River Falls. Bit of a cloudy day, and we even had some showers during our hike but nothing too wet. Temperature has cooled off to a high of about 14C (58F).

But first, we made a stop at Luckett's Winery...

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Fun afternoon out at the Bay of Fundy

Kirsten is one of our regular readers, and she lives with her husband Jeff here in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy at Margaretsville. They invited us to spend some time with them yesterday afternoon.

The Bay of Fundy is world famous because the highest tides in the world occur here. The tide was about 22' yesterday, but some areas can have a difference of up to 50' between high tide and low tide.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The Pumpkin People of Kentville

Here in the Annapolis Valley, the fall harvest is in full swing, and it will be like this leading up to the end of the month and Halloween. All of the towns do something special to take part, and the town of Kentville is well known for it's Pumpkin People displays.

So yesterday we went for a drive to see them!

Monday, October 9, 2023

Vacation is almost over!

Well, our six week vacation back to Canada is almost over. This coming Saturday we will return to our normal life of travel.

We are really excited about the next few months. Actually, the next few weeks! What a crazy start it is going to be! 

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Fall Harvest

The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia has Atlantic Canada's richest agricultural land. Combined with the climate, it makes for the perfect place to grow apples, pears, grapes, and many other fruits and veggies.

Our daughter Lindsey's house backs onto a huge apple orchard. Yesterday, Ruth and I went for a walk to see the stuff that is ready for fall harvest...

Saturday, October 7, 2023

I had never fired a handgun... until now.

Being from Canada, where firearms are not as common as they are in the U.S., we never had as much opportunity to be involved with guns. And I've never had any ambition to be a hunter, so I've never needed to own a gun for that reason. I have fired a rifle quite a few times though, and I find target practice to be fun.

But I had never fired a handgun, and always wanted to.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Day trip into Halifax with granddaughter Sadie

We're a little off schedule with our regular early morning blog postings. But we're spending time visiting, so we'll post when we can!

Yesterday, we took Chester for a nice long walk in the morning. We did about 6.5 kms (4 miles).

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Made it to Nova Scotia!

Well, we are now here at our daughter Lindsey's place in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley with her husband Justin, and our grandkids Cameron and Sadie. And of course Chester the dog.

We were up at 5:30am Tuesday morning in order to get to the Ottawa Airport for our 8:30am flight.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Catching up on the last two days...

Long time friend Jeff came over bright and early at 8:00am Sunday morning to give us a ride to Ruth's brother's place in Stittsville, where he and his girlfriend Brenda live on the western outskirts of Ottawa.

We're going to hang out with them for two nights and then he'll give us a ride to Ottawa airport early Tuesday morning for our flight to Halifax.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

September Expenses - not quite on budget!

Well, we had great plans on having an inexpensive month in September, until I came up with this idea of getting rid of the big camera and buying a smartphone that would replace it. 

Which is exactly what we ended up doing. So our stated budget of $1,605 CAD for the month ended up being $3,134 CAD ($2,308 USD), mostly due to the cost of the phone.