Summer Recap and Upcoming Itinerary: Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia

Summer seemed to have flown by so quickly. I will miss the seemingly never-ending daylight and the almost always perfect temperature (one of the perks of living in San Francisco).

Summer means road trips, road trips that often involve climbing, hiking, and camping. This summer has been no exception.

Here are the highlights of our summer:

Bodie Ghost Town – We’d wanted to visit Bodie ever since we knew of its existence. This gold-rush era ghost town is tucked away in the middle of sage-dotted mountainsides on the Eastern Sierras. Its beautifully preserved collection of red/brown wooden structures stand in contrast against the harsh alpine environment.

Climbing in Bugaboos Pronvincal Park – So remote, so gorgeous. Known mostly among alpine climbers, this provincial park in Canada’s British Colombia offers tons alpine routes among one of the most beautiful landscapes we’d ever seen. Getting there was no picnic but the rewards were so worth it.

Glacier National Park, Montana – On our way to Bugaboos, we drove through this National Park. This park is pretty awesome. Our expectation was high but what we found surpassed our expectations. Some of the our favorite hikes in Glacier National Park include Grinnell Glacier Trail and Hidden Lake.

Storm over Mono Lake
Storm over Mono Lake

Mono Lake – Sunset in Mono Lake never disappoints. Learning about the ecology of the lake and its mysterious tufas from the daily ranger-led talk (FREE) is highly recommended.

Quebec’s Eastern Township – who would’ve thought that Quebec’s countryside can be this charming? From barn-dotted landscapes, cute B&B’s, and gourmet restaurants, driving through Quebec’s Eastern Township was one of the best road trips I’ve ever taken.

Ontario’s Cottage Country – Getting to know the wilderness that is Ontario meant canoeing in Algonquin Park, kayaking in Georgia Bay, and spending your nights at a lake-side resort in Muskoka, the cottage country district. This is how Ontarians relax and I totally can get behind this lifestyle.

Fall is here

Fall is my favorite season of the year. In many countries this is the shoulder season where crowds are thinner and prices are lower. During this time of the year I try to squeeze in an international travel to places I can’t afford otherwise. This year is no different.

I’m leaving for Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia in less than a week!

My itinerary includes:

Turkey

Cappadocia from a hot air balloon ride
Cappadocia from a hot air balloon ride by MrHicks46

Istanbul – Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and more. On top of these usual tourist attractions, I’m also planning to check out Kadıköy – the Asian side of Istanbul, catch a sunset from Galata Bridge, experience a Turkish hammam (hopefully no one will try to drown me this time), and eat a meal in one of the meyhane – a traditional bar/restaurant, in Beyoğlu.

Cappadocia – can you go to Cappadocia, known for its landscape of houses carved into chimney like formations and not get on a hot air balloon? It’s hella pricey but I hope it’s worth it. (It is).

Mardin and Savur – This region’s proximity to Syria and Iran means a blend of Asia/Middle Eastern cultures that I’d like to experience. It also means that I’m a little bit anxious about visiting the region. I hope that whatever’s going in Syria will not affect this border region much.

Kars and Ani – As I make my way overland to Georgia, I’ll be spending some days in Kars. It makes a perfect base to visit the ruins of Ani, a ghost city that at its heyday had a population of 100.000 people and was an Armenian capital.

Georgia

Svaneti by a.hanmer
Svaneti by a.hanmer

VardziaVardzia is known for its massive remain of a cave city. It requires a short detour from the Turkey-Georgia border and Tbilisi (Georgia’s capital). If by this time I’m not yet oversaturated with caves/cave cities from my time in Cappadocia, I’d love to check out Vardzia.

Svaneti – There are 3 main regions to visit Georgia’s Great Caucasus: Svaneti, Kazhbegi, and Tusheti. At the moment, I’m drawn towards Svaneti because it seems to strike that fine balance between ease of getting there (not the easiest among the 3, but not the hardest either) and remoteness (pretty remote). These mountainous regions offer trekking opportunities among mighty peaks and Svan traditional villages.

For those who are interested, I found this site that has a list of treks one can do in Svaneti.

Armenia

Armenia by Retlaw Snellac
Armenia by Retlaw Snellac

Known for its monasteries and forts, as well as its horrible past – I jumped on an opportunity to visit this country when I realised how easy and established the Tblisi – Yerevan route is.

Yerevan (capital) – So far my plan for Armenia is to go to Yerevan and use it as a base while I take day trips to visit the surrounding monasteries and sites.


I’m leaving in a few days and I’m filled with that pre-departure high, a mixture of excitement and (mostly) anxiety. I have no idea how I’m going to concentrate to get all the work I need to finish before I leave. Eeeek!

I hope you come along on this journey. I’ll be sharing pics and stories through my usual channels: Facebook and Gplus.

I have a feeling this will be my most adventurous solo trip just yet.

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19 Replies to “Summer Recap and Upcoming Itinerary: Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia”

  1. I have enjoyed following your summer adventures and looking forward to a fun-filled Fall trip. This sounds like a dream itinerary especially the Cappadocia part. I don't know or have read any blog posts on Georgia and Armenia so I'm very curious of these two countries. Wishing you safe travels, Jill. Looking forward to the posts and pictures.
    My recent post A Step Back In Time at the Roman Baths England

    1. Honestly I have this list of countries that allow Indonesian passport holders to enter without a visa, and I'm just going down that list 🙂 (I'm not that picky) – that and having them border Turkey, a country I've always wanted to visit, seals the deal.

  2. I'm excited for you! Turkey was one of the most interesting places I've traveled and top on the list of places I'd like to go back to and see more of. My favorite was a little hiking village, called Ayder in the mountains above the Black Sea.
    Have fun!!
    My recent post Family Fun in Seattle

  3. What a great itinerary you have coming up. I know what you mean about the combo of excitement and anxiety. That's one of the bonuses of taking a trip like this. You feel so accomplished once you conquer that anxiety. I am looking so forward to reading about your adventures.

  4. Your trip sounds incredible! I will be reading along with interest – especially for Turkey for this trip, but Georgia and Armenia could become new contenders for the next one…

  5. Georgian food is spectacular, by the way. I could go on and on about it, but just don't miss it. It has all the fancy spices of the middle east, but was cut off from everything, being way up in the mountains, and developed all its own dishes that have nothing to do with anything around it. So good. SO GOOD.

  6. This will be definitely your most adventurous solo trip; it has been for me. After returning from Georgia and Armenia, I thought that this trip makes South America easy. My biggest challenge was the fact that I couldn't read the script. I didn't mind not being able to speak the language, but I suppose not being able to read the signs made me feel almost blind.
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  7. Jill, this Storm over Mono Lake photo is so powerful! Very dramatic colors.
    Enjoy you trip and take more pics in Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia. I haven’t been to any of these countries… Can’t wait for your updates.

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