While en-route to China we decided to layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey has always been one of those places on my “must see” list. The culture has always intrigued me. However, in the last 1.5 years, Turkey has had a lot going on politically. Things appeared calmer than they were this time last year so we worked it into our itinerary. We flew Turkish Airlines, which is a lovely airline, and landed in Istanbul at about 4:00 pm. By the time we made it through customs we had about 6 hours to explore the city. Knowing this time was VERY limited we made the most of it by heading to some of the famous sites and grabbing some yummy food.
Our first stop was Hagia Sophia. This beautiful and very old structure was quite an interesting sight. It began as a church and then was eventually turned into a mosque. Due to this, mosaics of Christ are positioned in roughly the same area as Islamic scriptures.
We decided to not enter the Blue Mosque as it was super crowded, but we did sit in the courtyard and take in the beauty of the architecture.
Our next stop was the waterfront. We followed the sidewalk along the Golden Horn and took in views of the Galata Tower in the distance. We ended up sitting in a square eating a fish sandwich (balık-ekmek) from this really cool looking boat. What great people watching. We then ended up at another restaurant by the water where we got some cold beers and watched the sunset over a local mosque. Talk about picturesque.
I was bummed because I forgot to try some Turkish ice cream (as per a friend’s suggestion). However, I felt I got a good sense of the city. I most certainly hope to go back and have a more comprehensive view of the city and Turkey in general.
Until Next Time,
Well, we made it to China in one piece…and with all our luggage! I have to say I am so thankful that our company did such a great job helping us get adjusted. I do not read or speak Chinese at all. Therefore, simple things like turning on the AC have been extremely difficult.
And take this bottle. What do you think this is?
If you guessed dish detergent you are correct! Why there is a baby on the dish detergent beats me.
It is really quite weird living on the 20th floor. I feel so high up and it is a little scary looking down from our balcony. However, the views are fantastic! I started a pair of toe- up socks last week to keep myself occupied. We have a lot of orientation sessions and bus rides to endure. I am using my favorite yarn Cascade Heritage Prints in Baltimore. My stripes won’t line up as nicely has my husband’s pair did, but I am not as picky as he is. I am still deciding on the heel method I am going to make as I would like to spice things up and try a heel I haven’t made. Check back to see what I decided on.
Until Next Time,
Oh Vermont, how quaint your state is. Considering the whole state is less populated than the city of San Franciso I didn’t know what to expect. The two days I was there I thoroughly enjoyed your green mountains, historic towns, and super friendly citizens.
Your state capital Montpelier has that small town charm mixed with years and years of history. I was a huge fan of old brick buildings. The state house was also pretty spectacular as well.
Not too far up the road, there was the Ben and Jerry’s factory. It was the best place to stop on a hot day. We all enjoyed visiting the flavor graveyard, checking out the cows, and most of all sampling the ice cream.
Our adventures also lead us to the Trapp Family Lodge (yes the place where the family from the Sound of Music lived), the gorgeous Shelburne Farms, and Bristol Falls for some cliff jumping. Coming from California, a state that was in a huge drought, Vermont was soooooo green. The grass looked like an emerald carpet.
Thank you to my dear friend J for showing us such a great time. She really convinced us that Vermont is a pretty amazing state to visit 😉.
Until Next Time,
So our move has begun. We will be road tripping across the USA to Martha’s Vineyard and then we will wiggle down the East Coast to Virginia. The whole trip should take us about 2.5 weeks. As of today we are in Nebraska. It has been so enjoyable watching the changing landscape while barreling east on I-80.
In the car, we have been listening to an audio book called Desperation by Stephen King. I have to say it is a little creepy to listen to on this particular trip. In the story, a psychopathic cop targets people on road trips as they travel down Highway 50 in Nevada. Thankfully, we didn’t take that route 😬.
I have also been knitting up a storm. I finished an Etsy order ( Toddler Hat made with Cascade Heritage Paints in Baltimore) and started some socks. I am knitting with Payton’s Kroy Sock yarn in Grey Brown Marl. Not my favorite yarn to knit with. I like a little more sheen and springiness to my sock yarn. I am curious to see if the softness level changes after a soak. I have two skeins to work with so I am making some pretty big socks.
Well only 1,400 more miles to go!
Until Next Time,
Quito is the highest official capital of the world nestled between the Andes and the Pichincha Volcano. The city lies in the Guayllabamba river basin and is surrounded by lush trees. Quito has a very urban feel, think lots of people, cars, and buildings.
My lovely friend took me to the Guyasamin Museum on my first day. Divided into two parts, the tour includes a viewing of his murals in the Capilla del Hombre as well as a tour of his home. It was super interesting to walk around his home as it contained TONS of religious artifacts and art from around the world. Guyasamin was a fantastic painter who created works with such raw emotion behind them.
Quito’s historic center is a UNESCO heritage site. I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the cobblestone sidewalks admiring the colorful architecture. We visited the Basilica and San Francisco Church. The churches in Quito did not disappoint. They all had exquisite sculptures and stain glass displays. We also took a stroll around the Independence Plaza. Here we found the Presidential Palace, Cathedral of Quito, and Archbishop’s Palace. The square was quite busy and made for great people watching.
We wandered down Calle La Ronda, which was the old bohemian district. It was election weekend so a lot of the shops and cafes were closed. However, we did find a shop selling Ecuadorian honey. It was quite fun taste testing honey with avocado and citrus flavors.
On my last day in Quito, I found a yarn store that sold Ecuadorian wool and alpaca 😍. I must say I controlled myself considering that the yarn was quite economical (5 100 gram skeins of alpaca blend for $30!). I love this dusty rose color and plan on making a cozy sweater.
All and all Quito is great to visit. It has a great balance of culture, architecture, and history.
Until Next Time,
As our boat careened through the dark waters of the river I knew I had made a great choice in electing to go to the Amazon Jungle. I spent 4 days in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve at Jamu Lodge. The scenery was amazing and it was nice to take a technology break.
Cuyabeno is not easy to get to from Quito. I took and overnight bus (7 hours) to a shuttle (2 hours) to a boat (1 hour). However, once you enter the reserve is is all worth it.
So what is there to do in the jungle? First off, look for amazing animals. We saw monkeys, snakes, birds, a sloth, Caimen, huge insects and spiders. We also go a chance to visit a local indigenous community and meet the shaman. My favorite part of the trip was the night hike though the jungle. It was a little scary, but unlike anything I have every done.
The jungle was an amazing sensory experience. At night it was almost too loud to sleep. I am accustomed to city noise yet, in the jungle between the monkeys, cicadas, and grasshoppers there were so many unknown sounds. I also had to adjust to the heat. Ugh it was so humid. My hair was rebelling by day 3. Thank goodness for scarves! Visually, there was almost too much to look at. The water glistened as the sun reflected off of it, the leaves were all shades of green, the orchids were vibrant, and there was almost always an animal to check out.
I also got time to finish my Slumber Party socks. They were such a quick project. We got free time each day and I hung out in the hammock area knitting away.
So if you are in Ecuador, I highly suggest a jungle trip. It is something you will remember forever.
So far my time here in Ecuador has been fabulous. I am so lucky to have a friend guiding me around to all of the sites. It also helps that she is fluent in Spanish as my Spanish is super rusty. We ventured up to Otovalo, which is a 2 hour bus ride from Quito. The bus ride was quite nice. We had comfy seats and lovely view of the Ecuadorian countryside.
We arrived in Otovalo around 11:30 am. Our goal was to head to the famous marketplace as well as Lake Cuicocha. First stop was the market. It was overwhelming! There were so many items to see such as local clothing, food, and beautiful handicrafts. And then I found yarn 😍
The colors were GORGEOUS! So many choice to choose from. There was only one problem…all of it was acrylic *sigh*. Don’t get me wrong I am no yarn snob. However, I kind of have a personal policy when traveling that if it isn’t unique then I don’t buy it. I travel with a backpack and it is only 50L. If I load up on every hank of yarn I will have way to much to carry. So I showed some restraint and just said no.
After a great almuerzo (lunch) of soup, baked chicken and rice, and blackberry juice, my friend and I headed for the lake. We took a 20 minute taxi ride to the park and were immediately glad we made the journey. The lake was a sight to see. It is a 2 mile crater lake smack in the middle of some mountains. You can hike along a trail that follows the perimeter of the lake. We walked about a 1/4 around before it started raining. The hike was lovely as you got to see the serene water as well as the vivid green countryside. Plus there were some ancient ruins along the way.
All and all this was a great day trip in the Andes. Next stop is the Amazon Jungle!
As always you can find me on IG @knitsbywhitsf and Ravelry as lilwhit