Madrid, Spain

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Another quick stop, but well worth it.  Madrid is vibrant, clean and apparently the people here never sleep. The Palacio De Tepa Hotel was beautiful and the location was ideal for walking around the city.  The Plaza Mayor (home to street performers, musicians, shops and restaurants), Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, Retiro Park, Royal Palace, La Puerta del Sol, the Gran Via, Puerta de Alcalá, Prado Museum were all an easy stroll from our front door.

Side note: Spaniards love ham. It’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it.  If you have an aversion to pork products this probably isn’t the city for you.

Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul, great city!

The largest city in Turkey, Istanbul has been the capital of four Empires and has become one of the most significant cities in history. Today the ancient and modern come together to form one of the most vibrant and intriguing places on earth.

Stayed at the Hotel Georges, a little hard to find (and not the easiest to get to) but well worth it. Perfect location – within walking distance to Galata Tower, Taksim Square,  and Istiklal Street. The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque), and Grand Bazaar are a must see. There’s so much history here that you could easily spend weeks exploring the city.  Sadly, I only had a few days — I’ll definitely be back.

Note: Make sure to eat the street food! Couldn’t get enough…

(If you love animals, make sure to check out this post: The Street Pets of Istanbul)

 

Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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Leopard Hills is a Private Game Reserve located within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. It was the perfect way to finish off our stay in South Africa — we were finally able to see a pack of Wild Dogs (endangered and fairly elusive) and a pair of Cheetah. A great ending to an amazing trip!

Leopard Hills

 

Why we travel…

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 “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”

Pico Iyer

How to keep monkeys from stealing your breakfast.

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Originally posted on This is my life....:

How to keep monkeys from stealing your breakfast.

Every lodge we visited while in Africa warned us about “the monkeys”.  Apparently their sole intent is to roam around causing havoc wherever they go.  We were warned (repeatedly) to always lock our doors — not because of any threat from humans but because of baboons.  It seems they love mischief and are notorious for sneaking into the rooms, raiding the mini bars, rummaging through luggage and generally making a mess of things.

The smaller Vervet monkeys don’t cause as much destruction but do enjoy a free meal and aren’t shy about jumping right onto your table and snatching goodies off your plate.  By accident, the staff at Sweni discovered that if they placed a large picture of a leopard on the buffet table the monkeys wouldn’t sneak over and steal the food.  Sounds crazy, but apparently it works…  I’m sure the monkeys…

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