Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most popular tourist destinations and for good reason! Ancient cave homes from the Bronze Age, and palaces are still visible carved into rocks. Tall "fairy chimneys", or rock pinnacles formed from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago, and shaped from erosion reach up to the sky. Walking through this semi-arid landscape, I was reminded of the National Parks of Utah, but with an added sense of wonder of the people who at one point carved their homes into the high up rocks for defense and shelter. With hot sunny days, and cool nights, Cappadocia is a place of wonder that can be explored by people of all ability depending on how far off the beaten path you want to wander. Being a tourist destination there are also plenty of unique hotels, artisan shops, and fantastic restaurants to spend time when you aren't hiking through the valleys, or visiting the open air museums.
Bright blue and aqua water, fresh seafood and a laid back vibe makes the Turquoise Coast a peaceful place to kick back for a few days. Basing ourselves is the seaside town of Kaş, we took a few days to just relax, wander the quaint town, sip an Efes beer on the beach and enjoy wine on the rooftop as the sun went down over the Mediterranean Sea. Once we were feeling rested and ready to explore again we jumped on board a ferry headed to the Greek island Kastellorizo also known as Meis one of Greece's smallest and most distant islands visible from the Turkish coast. The highlight of this island was taking a small boat to Galazio Spilaio (Blue Cave), where once inside the sun rays coming in from the mouth of the cave, reflect off the water and illuminate the stalactites a bright blue color making it feel as if we had entered a scene from the movie Avatar. While so close to Turkey, Kastellorizo, feels like you have entered another country with it's brightly colored buildings, cobble stone streets and uniquely Greek wine. We spent the afternoon sipping wine on the rocks, diving off rocks, wandering through an old castle and enjoying grilled octopus, fresh fish and of course more wine at one of the local restaurants. Taking the ferry back late afternoon to our peaceful room in Kas at The Hideway Hotel, and returning to our rooftop terrace to watch the sun go down as we looked back across the sea to the island we had just spent the day on in Greece.
Malapascua, an island paradise in the Philippines for scuba diving, white sand beaches and friendly locals eager to share their laid back lifestyle and beautiful home.
It only took a few very long flights across the Pacific ocean, a four hour bus trip and a short taxi boat ride to get to paradise, but once in Malapascua the long journey was instantly justified with a smile that could not be wiped off my face and a lingering sense of peace. A small island in the Philippines north of Cebu, Malapascua is known for its scuba diving, but the above water attractions are just as stunning. Days begin with a sunrise boat trip to an outer reef, just as the sun is peaking over the horizon we jump into the ocean and slowly descend to see the famous Thresher shark, with its long fan like tail feeding on small cleaning fish. Emerging to the surface of the water the warm sun now shines brightly illuminating the clear blue and aqua water, some of the most stunning colors I have ever seen. Sipping hot coffee on the boat, it's only 7:30am and already I feel like everything I had hoped for has been surpassed. Back on the small island we call home for a few days, breakfast is a fresh mango smoothie and banana pancakes. Sunscreen is reapplied for some island hoping adventures, followed by reading in the hammock and an afternoon nap. A fresh seafood dinner eaten by candlelight with toes in the sand and we are off to meet new friends for karaoke and disco night where locals and tourists meet on the basketball court to drink rum and dance under the stars.