I recently had the opportunity to visit Israel for work and was fortunate to have 1 day off before flying back to the US. It has been a goal of mine to visit Israel and spend some time at the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, our plans to visit the Dead Sea changed last minute and we were scheduled to visit Jerusalem instead. The rest of my team would be visiting the Dead Sea the day after I left.  :(  I was pretty bummed. Don’t get me wrong, Jerusalem is very interesting and a very special place to visit, but there are loads of tourists and it’s hard to see the area peacefully.

I’ll spare the text and just share some photos I snapped along the way. (I must make a point of telling you that I purposefully did not get people in my shots, though they were EVERYWHERE!)

Last, but not least, here’s a look back at our time in Turkey on THE trip.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012) 

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

 Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Haiga Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Istanbul, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

 Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Pamukkale National Park, Pamukkale, Turkey (April 2012)

Mediterranean Sea, Oludeniz, Turkey (May 2012)

Mediterranean Sea, Oludeniz, Turkey (May 2012)

Mediterranean Sea, Oludeniz, Turkey (May 2012)

Mediterranean Sea, Oludeniz, Turkey (May 2012)

Myself (+Tan, -Make-up) & Blake, Turkey (May 2012)

Here’s a look back at India on THE trip.

Paharganj, New Delhi, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (April 2012)

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012) 

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012)

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012)

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012)

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012)

Palolem, Goa, India (April 2012)

Here’s a look back at our time in Vietnam on THE trip.

Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi, Vietnam (March 2012)

Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (March 2012)

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (March 2012)

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (March 2012)

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam (March 2012)

Vietnam (March 2012)

White Sand Dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Red Canyon, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Red Canyon, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Red Sand Dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fairy Stream, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fairy Stream, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fairy Stream, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fairy Stream, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fairy Stream, Mui Ne, Vietnam (March 2012)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Fine Arts Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (March 2012)

I’m really missing THE trip so I’ve decided to compile a few of my favorite photos. Here’s a look back on Thailand.

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

 Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

 Hua Lamphung Railway Station, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok, Thailand (January 2012)

Old Town, Koh Lanta, Thailand (January 2012)

Old Town, Koh Lanta, Thailand (January 2012) 

Old Town, Koh Lanta, Thailand (January 2012)

Klong Kong Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand (February 2012) 

Klong Kong Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand (February 2012) 

Baan Koh Jum, Thailand (February 2012)

Baan Koh Jum, Thailand (February 2012)

 Koh Jum, Thailand (February 2012)

Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

 Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Railay, Thailand (February 2012) Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Pranangnai Cave, Railay, Thailand (February 2012) 

Pranangnai Cave, Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Pranangnai Cave, Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Pranangnai Cave, Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Pranangnai Cave, Railay, Thailand (February 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

 Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand (March 2012)

If you follow me on instagram, chances are you’ve seen most of these photos, BUT for those of you who don’t here’s a small collection of a few things I picked up along the way on THE trip:

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Blanket – Pai, Thailand

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Red & white polka dot skirt – Bangkok, Thailand

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Necklace – Hanoi, Vietnam

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Pink jeans – Hanoi, Vietnam

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Sunnies – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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Red Rug – Istanbul, Turkey

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Turquoise Rug – Istanbul, Turkey

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Shoes – Pai, Thailand
Green Bangles – Palolem, Goa, India
Jeans – Istanbul, Turkey
Striped Top – Bangkok, Thailand

I realized it’s been 2 weeks since my last blog! YIKES!! Maybe my absence with my writing is PTD (Post Trip Depression) or RWE (Real World Excitement). I’ll claim the positive, RWE.

Ok, one last entry for Turkey then you get all things America!

We planned Pamukkale to be our last stop before flying back to The States via Istanbul. After touring Pamukkale National Park the 2nd day, we revised our plans. Blake and I realized we were only a 4-5 hour bus rude from the
Mediterranean Coast so we purchased bus tickets departing the next morning.

The bus ride from Pamukkale to Oludeniz was just as spectacular as the ride from Istanbul to Pamukkale. A comfortable ride with a rest stop half way through. The best part, though, was the scenic views! The ride took us through the foothills and over a mountain pass to the city of Fethiye. From Fethiye we caught a shuttle bus to the small resort town, Oludeniz. Fortunate for us, we arrived pretty much on the opening weekend – meaning very few people and better prices for hotels; actually half of the hotels and restaurants weren’t even open yet.

Blake and I were shocked at how beautiful the water was! It was crystal clear and turquoise – like I’ve never seen before! In contrast to every other beach we had visited, this beach was not sand, but rocks. Initially a turnoff, we quickly realized it was great for sunbathing as we (and our belongings) didn’t end up covered in sand.

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We also learned that Oludeniz is the spot to go paragliding. At one specific time we counted 27 paragliders in the sky!

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The last day we spent in Oludeniz before catching the overnight bus ride back to Istanbul we decided to go on a boat tour on the Volkan 4. For about $13 a piece we toured through the Mediterranean waters, stopping at 5 different locations: The Blue Cave, Butterfly Valley, Camel Beach, Cold Water Spring, & St. Nicholas Island. The boat departed at 10:45 am and returned at 5:30 pm. The trip also included lunch on the boat.

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The first stop was The Blue Cave. With a slight hesitation from everyone on board someone finally jumped into the icy cold waters. Soon enough everyone was in and swimming into the cave. The initial shock of the temperature soon subsided and amazement took over. We were swimming in the Mediterranean!! Sure the waters would be warmer and more enjoyable in July or August, but we were having a blast!

One of my favorite stops was the Cold Water Spring. The rumor is if you sit in the small cove, where the water is substantially colder than the rest of the water, for 5 minutes you will add 5 years to your life. I was not passing this up. I jumped in, again shocking my system with the cold water temps, and swam to the small cove partially surrounded by rocks and shrubs. Swimming into it I could literally feel the water get cooler (I didn’t even think it was possible, but it was), sat for about 5 minutes, then headed back to the boat to warm up with a cup of tea.

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Oludeniz was the perfect way to wrap up THE Trip. Fun in the sun, drinks on the beach, and with no better travel partner than the person I love.

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