At the end of each month I am going to send out a summary of the highlights of the month. I will tell you about any travel bargains I’ve found and update you on our plans for upcoming trips and activities. Here is the summary for October 2017.
Milestone After Milestone!
As predicted last month, October has been really busy on the travel front. I’ve not had as much time as usual to work on my blog. It has also been a month with a few internet free days, and many other days with limited or slow internet. Ah, the joys of travel!
We’ve ticked off a few milestones this month. First it was six months since we have left home, then a week or so later later we passed the half way point on our trip. The biggest milestone of all though is today, 1st November. It’s my one year blogiversary!
So what have we been up to this month? October started with our last couple of days in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We were still hanging out with our friends Tavia and Rob, and enjoyed a day trip out to some nearby islands to soak up some sun. It was just too cold for us to swim, but many others jumed in the sparkling Croatian waters. Our final day in Croatia was spent walking around the town on top of those famous walls, then Tavia and I joined a walking tour in the evening to discover the ghosts of Dubrovnik’s past.
It was exciting to be getting on a plane again. We hadn’t flown anywhere since late in May. It was especially exciting since we were heading to one of our favourite countries, Turkey! We were here last year and loved it, so had to come back and spend some more time here. It was not a disappointment this time either. We spent eight days in Istanbul, moving accommodation each day. (The full story of this craziness will be in my Turkey travel diary post, so keep your eyes peeled!) There was time to get out and explore, and becasue we were staying in different areas, we got to see a lot more of the city than we would have otherwise. I finally got to eat a fish sandwich under the Galata Bridge, and boy was it good! I’m a bit funny about fish, so while I just HAD to try this local specialty, I wasn’t sure I would like it.
After Istanbul we made our way down to the south of Turkey to Bodrum. This coastal town reminded us a lot of the Greek Islands, with white-washed buildings and blue highlights all around. We stayed in some lovely apartments with great views over the bay. We happily wandered around the town, just enjoying the warmth. I finally gave in to SImon’s nagging about fishing, and we spent a day out on the sea pulling up fish to our heart’s content. There were lots of fish, and it kept us busy, but we were surprised that they were so small and it was still okay to keep them.
Next we moved on to Antalya. Here we were staying a bit out of the city centre in the Lara area – which has the best beach around. We were staying in a Holiday Inn, and while this was not on the seafront, they had a deal with one of the beach clubs for free use of their part of the beach. We made our way to the beach for a quick dip – and ended up staying there most of the day. It was just the right temperature for lounging in the sun reading a good book. I even ventured into the water once or twice without completely freezing.
As the sun was going down we visited Sandland, another strange attraction near our accommodation we would not have visited if we weren’t staying nearby. It’s basically a display of huge sandcastles. They’ve been there for a couple of years though, so they must be made with something a little extra in the sand to keep them from blowing away. We purposely got there at sunset because when the sun goes down lights of all colours come on to light up the sculptures.
The next morning we were up bright and early to get on the first of two flights we had that day. We arrived in Amman, Jordan at mid-afternoon. Unfortunately my backpack hadn’t made the same journey. This was a first for us. All the trips we have done in the past, we have not had any luggage go missing before. I wasn’t too stressed though, there was nothing exceptionally valuable in my pack. I even had a spare set of underwear in my carry-on for exactly this purpose. Just because I had even been complaining that I was sick of all my clothes and would love to buy new ones! So on arrival at our hotel, I read through the terms and conditions of our travel insurance so I knew what the deal was. I had to wait 24 hours before I could claim, but my pack turned up just in the nick of time.
Our first stop outside of Amman was the Dead Sea, with a quick stop at Mt Nebo on the way. This is the hill that Moses stood on and first saw the promised land. Swimming in the extremely salty water of the Dead Sea was a really bizarre experience. I felt like a cork bobbing around. There was no way to sink, and in fact it was harder to try to have my legs hanging downwards than it was to sit back and float. We of course also covered ourselves in the mud, but can’t say it had any miracle effects on me.
Wadi Musa is the home of Petra, and I was particulalry excited about visiting the famous rock carvings. Our plan was to go in early to avoid the crowds. We spent about six hours being awed by the views, the carvings and the Roman ruins before a few hours of rest in the afternoon. After dinner we went back to Petra to do the night visit ,returning back to our hotel around 11pm. We were up again at 5am for day two, and by the time we made our way back, we had walked about 47km in 30 hours! Boy were my legs worn out. But it was worth every second! If you plan to visit Petra, my two most important recommendations are to go early to avoid the crowds, and to do some of the “other” hikes. The Treasury and other main monuments are cool to see, but when up high the views are breathtaking and there are so many other hidden monuments that are interesting too.
Next stop was Wadi Rum, where we spent two days out in the desert with the Bedouin people. The first day we had a jeep tour throughthe whole area. Again, the scenery is just stunning. I don’t know how many times I said “wow!” We spent the night camping, although the tents were a bit better set up than the last one I slept in earlier this year. In the morning we boarded our camels, and made the 12km journey back into the town where we met our taxi driver to take us into Aqaba.
We had a full day of snorkeling planned for the next day, but we both woke up almost unable to move. Sure the camel ride had been a little uncomfortable, but I hadn’t considered that almost every muscle in my back would be comlaining about it. So unfortunately our one day in Aqaba was spent “in”, enjoying the view over the Gulf of Aqaba from our balcony.
Our last major stop in Jordan was a two day stay at the Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana Nature Reserve. Here we spent our time hiking, interacting with the Bedouin people, star gazing, and, well, more hiking! The lodge itself is completely self sufficient, which means only a small amount of solar electricity. The rooms and the public areas of the lodge were lit only by candles and all the food was vegetarian as they have no refrigeration.. There was one powerboard at reception available for charging electrical devices such as camera batteries. While there was wifi in the lobby, it was so slow it was almost impossible to use.
The last day of October saw us on another flight, this time to Dubai. It’s been eighteen months since our last visit, and I am looking forward to getting out and about in the next couple of days.
We will be spending the next week or so here in Dubai. Our eldest daughter Bailey is flying over to meet up with us for a few days to celebrate her 21st birthday (which was actually in September). I have a few things in mind to keep us busy during her visit, including a day trip over to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. We will be staying with my cousin Emma and her family for most of the time, so will enjoy catching up with them again.
I will also be madly working on the plans for the next three countries – Oman, India and Sri Lanka. All three are new to us, and India is one I have wanted to go to for a long time now. Unfortunately due to spending so much time in Europe, our time in India is going to be a lot more limited than I had hoped, so I am currently thinking about only visiting the south of the country, an area I know nothing about. If you have any recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments, I need all the help I can get!
In case you missed them, here are my October blog posts:
September 2017 Summary
Skopje Public Transport
How to Earn Qantas Points – Without Getting on a Plane
Travel Diaries – Albania
Six Months of Travel – Curious Facts & What I have Learnt
Travel Diaries – Montenegro
Don’t forget to follow along on social media where you will see some content that does not make it onto my blog.
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/josiewanders
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/josiewanders
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/josiewanders
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/josiewanders
My first win must surely be making it to the one year mark! Yay! It has gone quickly. I can’t believe it was a whole year ago that I hit publish on my first post. The learning curve has been huge, but there is still so much more to learn. I think the second year is going to be even more challenging.
Remember how last month I was so excited because my blog traffic had increased dramatically? Well it was too good to be true! I discovered an issue with my blog and views were sometimes being doubled up. So this month I fixed it, and my traffic has gone back to around about what it has been for the last few months!
There has been some good news though! I have made my first official money from blogging. Woohoo! A Booking.com booking from a stranger was finally completed wthout it being cancelled. I made a whole €3.38. Of course I am yet to receive the money, but hey, it’s now owed to me, so that’s a start.
I also finally gave in and added some Google Ads on my site. I have tried to make them the least intrusive I could, so I hope that’s how they are appearing to you as a reader. The way Google works is to put ads in that are relevent to the reader, so if you feel inclined, a click on these ads would go a long way towards helping me out at Google’s expense. For the whole of October I have made a paltry $2.97 so this is definitely not a get rich quick scheme!
And finally an offer for anyone booking a holiday soon. Do you want a few more dollars for another cocktail by the pool? If you use the this link to book your accommodation, you and I will both get $15AUD discount from our next bookings.
Until next month, take care.