Sweating it out in the Temples

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Hanging out in the heat with our friends Ronald and Esme who we first met in Ko Chang. Our paths kept crossing all the way to Phnom Penh

While Cambodia’s relatively recent past is dark and grim, its ancient history provides an inspiring counterpoint. Over one thousand years ago, the Khmer empire was at the apex of its power and it controlled much of what is now Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. All that now remains are the incredible temples of Angkor, and even in the hottest season they are crawling with tourists – including us.

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We Stay in Pamukkale

pamukkale (3)An iconic image that appears in all the travel magazines for Turkey is the white terraces of Pamukkale, or the “cotton castle” in Turkish. Over the ages, hot water springs have deposited calcium carbonate down the hillside, thus creating pools in which people have bathed for thousands of years. In fact, at the top of Pamukkale lie the Greco-Roman and Byzantine ruins of the city of Hierapolis; beginning in the 2nd century BC, the Romans used the hot springs as a spa as the waters were believed to cure all sorts of ailments. Clearly the Romans knew a good thing when they had it! Continue reading

Do De Canese!

Rhodes (1)We can’t come to Greece and not visit at least one island. Can we? Of course not. So, from Athens we jumped on a small plane and headed for the island of Rhodes, which is one of the Dodecanese islands (the furthest east group of Greek islands). We had contemplated taking a boat but when we learned that it would be an 18 hour ferry trip (and did we mention that Eva gets motion sick?), and would be almost twice the price, it was a no brainer. Continue reading

Ah, Provence!

Class is in session...

Class is in session…

From Toulouse we made our way east towards the walled city of Carcasonne – a UNESCO World Heritage site. We have played the board game, Carcasonne, so the kids were familiar with the name, but I don’t think they ever quite anticipated how truly magical it is. Walking along the walls and ramparts was absolutely wonderful, but as many others before us have pointed out, the central part of the city is completely overrun with tourist shops selling all manner of things. The kids were highly critical of this, but when I asked them what should otherwise be there, no simple answer was put forward. We talked about the need for a city such as that to generate revenue in order to maintain itself and there was subsequently general agreement that perhaps capitalizing on the tourist trade might be the only viable option.

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Phys Ed: once around the castle.

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Drama: re-enacting scenes from Monty Python.

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Cruising South in France

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The blue slate tiles of Trélazé.

The beauty of France is that everywhere we go, we find interesting buildings and sites. Case in point is the little town of Trélazé, just outside of Angers, we stumbled upon when looking for a place to stay. Not a town that would otherwise have drawn our interest, we were intrigued to learn that it was famous for its blue slate. Extensively used throughout the region, it could be seen on the roofs, paths and in the garden walls of the houses and chateaus for which the Loire Valley is famous. Continue reading