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Travel Blogues

With a long-standing passion for English literature and especially drama, I review plays, musicals and other cultural productions on www.reviewfromthehouse.com in my column Theatre-Seen.

Though I find the plays of Anton Chekhov very heavy going and depressing I have to acknowledge that he is regarded as one of the giants of Russian Literature, both as a playwright, but especially as a master of the short...

Our next stop in the Ukraine was Yalta.  This was interesting for many different reasons. Most people associate the name with the Yalta conference – February 1945 when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met to ratify the post-war division of Germany into 4 occupation zones. This took place at the Livadia Palace – which interested me primarily as the summer palace of the ill-fated Romanov family (Nicholas, Alexandra, the four daughters (Maria, Tatiana, Olga and Anastasia) and their...

The first of 4 ports we were to visit on the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine was Feodosiya or Theodosiya. The ancient Greek name for the Crimean Peninsula was Chersonesos Taurike – the Taurian Peninsula. The Taurians, whose origin is unknown, were an ethnic group inhabiting this area. They were first mentioned by Herodotus in his Histories, written in the 5th century BC, in the context of the war between the Greeks and the Persians.

This peninsula on the North coast of the Black Sea was conquered...

By day 3 on board the MV Aegean Odyssey I finally got my morning breakfast routine down to a fine art. The Lido deck “healthy breakfast” opens at 6 am – so I pull on my shorts and a top and head out of my cabin to the deck. I fill a bowl with creamy Greek yogurt, walnut pieces, and fruit, pour a cup of coffee, and take it back to my cabin to enjoy.  I add my almonds and Gojii berries to the yogurt and have the perfect breakfast.

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After a long morning excursion, taking in a viewpoint over the Bosphorus, the Sultan Suleyman Mosque, the Chora Museum and a final stop at Topkapi, we finally got to the port of Istanbul to board the MV Aegean Odyssey.  Once we arrived at the terminal the check in was really quick and in no time at all I found my cabin, complete with bottle of champagne cooling in an ice bucket, and a plate of sweet delicacies including chocolate covered strawberries....

After a day at sea, our first Black Sea port was Trabzon in Northern Turkey. This was the first day of excursions of the cruise. With the exception of a couple of optional excursions, all the rest are included as part of the educational component of the cruise.

The ship excursion in Trabzon was a visit to the Sumela Monastery, constructed – how I can’t imagine – high in the mountain cliffs about an hour’s drive from Trabzon. The story goes...

Our journey starts in Istanbul - well to be precise it started at LAX (Los Angeles) where we boarded the Turkish Airlines flight for Istanbul. I was last in Istanbul alias Constantinople once known as the fabled city of Byzantium, in October. We had an overnight stop in the Port of Istanbul during the course of my Aegean and Adriatic Dance Cruise Odyssey and did the must-do tourist sights - Topkapi, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, as well as a morning cruise north on...

    I'm off on the first leg of my travels. Not too exotic as I am heading down to the OC to spend a few days looking after the grand-children  before taking off for Istanbul.

Thanks to Westjet, I can fly direct from YVR to SNA (John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana). That has made a huge difference to my visits to the OC - not having to go...

Before I left I wanted to get the geography of Istanbul a little clearer in my mind. I found it interesting once on the Alumni tour, that several people had not heard of the Golden Horn and there also seemed to be confusion about the European and Asian parts of Istanbul.

The map of modern day Istanbul shows the geographic structure of the area that made it so important as...

These days almost every traveler seems to bring along a cell phone, EBook reader, a tablet or laptop computer or one of each.. On my last trip I counted that at one time i had 5 devices charging at the same time. So once I travel out of  North America, I need to  be sure I have the correct plugs and outlets for different parts of the world. Figuring this out can drive one crazy.  I have a couple of so-called universal plugs but checking them against the outlets shown for various countries and cruise ships convinced me that universal...

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