return, ravines and rugged up

My last visit to Turkey was on New Year’s Eve in the year 2000. I’d decided to give up alcohol for a month, was pestered to buy an overpriced carpet, and narrowly avoided a bomb going off in Taksim by a few hours; literally by not liking the vibe, and asking the taxi to return to Sultanahmet to see in the New Year. So I had mixed feelings about returning. image I will focus on Cappadocia and Pamukkale in this post, and let photos do a lot of the talking as it was just so breathtakingly beautiful, and we had photographer’s lighting in both, stunning at dusk when mountains and limestone turned pink and orange as you watched. image image image image The treks around Cappadocia were empty in off season, we experienced pure silence, and the call to prayer inside a ravine, both experiences hauntingly memorable. The vivid blue against the white of the cliffs and edges of the gorge, combined with glistening silver birches, small streams filled with freezing water from snow capped mountains and intriguing pigeon caves cut out of the rock face was a visual feast. Goreme in the midst of the mountains was a perfect base for our three days and we discovered pide was a rather delicious lunch option, after the best breakfast table view in a while. image image image image After a visit to Ephesus which I will cover in my next blog, we took a local train through pretty countryside to Denizli and then a little Dolmus minibus up to the village near Pamukkale. The sheer scale of the limestone cliffs and deposits blew me away, almost over the mountain as it was a breezy evening. I also had not realised that the ancient city of Hierapolis was directly behind it on the plateau and hill, oh wow. Although you can’t actually sit in the springs anymore, you can dip your feet in, and as 2 degrees and Turkish breakfasts for a week don’t lend themselves to bikinis I was more than happy. The sunset light hitting the white lime deposits gave everything a milky and in some cases glittering pink glow; magical. Turkey had completely won me over.


RTW wanderlust 4

Another adventure awaits.

Will this be “a last chance to see” some of the world’s most amazing natural spectacles?

I truly hope that despite the political swing to the right we have not run out of time.

The journey starts by following whales along the spectacular West Coast of Australia.

It includes driving across the legendary Nullarbor, swimming with whale sharks and floating above the world heritage listed Ningaloo reef marine park.

The All Aussie adventure starts next week.




The best ‘almost’ Uruguayan experiences ever…

Topical this week methinks…⚽️⚽️⚽️


A Uruguayan comedy of errors…

We’d been planning for months to visit the coast north of Montevideo, it’s supposed to be a pretty stretch, and many of the beach houses are designed by some of the best SA architects, so we thought combo of design in the open air, and a quiet one night beach escape would be perfect.

Firstly I have to say that given the volcanic eruption in Chile, and the closure of the airport on Monday/Tuesday, it could very well have been a trip that never was, as flying was an option, so we at least got close, and the decision to go with my favourite ‘Buquebus’ was a good one…they even gave free taxi rides to the terminal for everyone who had to switch to ferry from air…and extra ‘buquemillas’ that’s buque miles if you’re a member of the club..(next photo is of the big buque we took to…

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Magical Melbourne

I am still considering how to approach my last ever travel page entry, week 52.

So until I’m ready, here is a post about home and what I missed (in no order whatsoever in case I offend all the wombats out there)…

  • secret bars
  • rooftop bars
  • gum trees
  • family
  • friends
  • cats
  • my stuff
  • my little Carlton house
  • my kitchen
  • sitting on the deck
  • BBQ
  • Uncle Dan’s
  • The weekend Age
  • rosellas & cockatoos
  • laneways
  • food
  • wine
  • coffee
  • Hutong
  • Nova
  • Fitzroy
  • Smith St
  • Gertrude St
  • Rathdowne St
  • Brunswick St
  • Flinders Lane
  • Ponyfish island
  • festivals
  • wineries
  • bush
  • Wilson’s Prom
  • Redhill
  • wombats

What I didn’t, but am forgiving of for now…

  • graffiti of the non artistic kind
  • traffic
  • public transport
  • rain
  • politics
  • the airport
  • taxis
  • prices

As I’m out in the burbs with the in-laws at the moment it took me a few days to venture into town.

A few changes abound, a couple of new pop up places, a Gap in Borders, a Mary in Georges, an expensive thing the public transport system appears to be taking the ‘myki’ out of us with, and stunning bright afternoon light on the skyline from the Yarra; it feels good to be home.

Photos on facebook of Melbourne – one year on:


I’ll be adding more once back in the house & Carlton/Fitzroy next weekend.

The great book “swap” 2

It is time for an update, I know I’ve left some out, but this is the rough latest list, and I make no excuses for starting off with three books generally set in countries I was travelling through, or about to arrive in…this time I’m going to attempt a mini review as well…initial thought was a haiku approach, but damn, there are beaches to get to tomorrow, and we only have a few weeks left before we return to reality, so I’ve settled for max 3 lines…

A Cook’s Tour – in search of the perfect meal – Anthony Bourdain

  • Salivating, not just due to my random crush on Bourdain, he gives you a taste of the food, place, people; yes it helps having watched numerous ‘without reservations’, but the book is still stand-alone delicious, puns now over, foodie word heaven.

The Quiet American – Graham Greene

  • The ‘Shantaram’ of Vietnam, I found it a slow and quiet read, and I’m a Greene fan, just didn’t live up to Brighton Rock for me, just how I felt, maybe the less than subtle introduction to Saigon’s sex tourism in the backpacker zone twisted the tale?

In the Empire of Dreams – Dianne Highbridge

  • A quaffer read that was a little more, short stories, expats in Tokyo, cultural anomalies, celebrations, evocative, relatively well written, found the swap a week before flying into Narita, so freely and perfectly set the scene before arrival.

The Museum of Innocence – Orhan Pamuk

  • A tome to divide in two; obsession and collection. I personally preferred the latter, and the social history lesson of Istanbul in the 70s, there are truly stunning moments, combined with stretches of studious monotony, if you get to the other side you’ll think.

The Ancestors’ tale – Richard Dawkins

  • A guest entry from Loc, who has been wittering about separated lizards, aye-aye’s eyes and the beaver’s tail for weeks now,  judging by how much he remembers and can regurgitate as an advanced species after 10 tiger beers, it’s worth the commitment.

Golden Fox – Wilbur Smith

  • Picture him, 6ft and more of gorgeous hunk, add an evil left wing twist, the usual Courtney family bonds, baby, beauty and resources; you have another mildly addictive Wilbur tale, this time set in a much closer time zone.

Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

  • See I’ve always seen this as a point of no return, when out; that extra wafer thin mint that sends you over the edge, the last shot you really shouldn’t have ordered, but you need to expand, apply it to the bigger picture, thoughtful book, still prefer blink.

13 reasons why – Jay Asher

  • Technically smart, topically needed, as page turning as a Dan Brown and so so much better written, aimed at young adults, should be read by all, did you smile at them? no?…well you  know what that could just be their tipping point, so re-act.

Sound of Thunder – yet another Courtney saga

  • Second guest appearance, not even finished, so hot off the reading press, has the usual rollicking Courtney dramas, nice guy is bad, good guy is evil, but funnily enough, not as exciting as the others is the word straight from the other reviewer’s mouth…yet.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carre

  • Back to me, another one of those lucky swaps, love Le Carre, however Philistine this sounds, suffice to say I am so far completely befuddled, occasionally bored, know more about propping up caravans than spies, and can’t wait for the home run (or film?)

And so I leave you with the latest best location to read, if you can’t be on La Vela pier, a hammock does rather well, next instalment I hope will be my Dad’s latest picks for me as I’m back in Rome home soon!!!! And for those that missed the first instalment: