Castles, Ruins and Prayer Calls

Mar 25, 2014

Yes, I'm back from my whirlwind vacation! I arrived home last night after 14 hours of flying. You would think I'd be exhausted, but I'm strangely productive and energetic today. Maybe I needed this vacation more than I thought!

After looking through my trip plans aka the last blog post I wrote, I am happy to say I was able to mark almost everything off my list of things to see. This is surprising since I usually only see a top attraction or two when I travel. I prefer to get a feel for the current culture of the city by wandering in the local shops and cafes, not to mention the people watching. Thankfully, my husband has a similar traveling style, or we'd have a problem!

We started our trip in Chicago and while I absolutely loved this city, it was freezing! I'm a southern girl and have never experienced that kind of frigid weather before. I thought I would never be able to feel my ears again. But, it is such an amazing city and would love to go back when it's much, much warmer.


We had dinner reservations that night at a restaurant named Alinea and it was like nothing I've ever experienced before. Each of the twelve courses was as entertaining as it was delicious.  Yes, twelve! They are very, very small portions though.

The first course was one scallop.

Oh, but was it a very dramatic scallop!

Forty possible garnishes for five pieces of duck.

Dessert as prepared by the chef at our table.

The next day it was time to leave for Germany!

Cinderella's castle was modeled after this one. Cinder-freaking-rella!

It's not Germany without a little beer...

or a lot of beer.

And then we were off to Greece!

We stayed at the Central Hotel for this rooftop bar alone. It's even more amazing at night.

We toured the Acropolis,

walked the marble streets,

and dined at the cutest cafes the Plaka area had to offer.

But, I could not visit Greece without going to at least one island.

Santorini was our next stop.

We only had one night here so we rented a car and were able to see everything we wanted to see in one day.

We had to meet back up with the couple we were traveling with in Istanbul. I wasn't too sure about this city at first. In the first hour I noticed political signs everywhere, heard about a protest that happened the day before, had our trunk searched and went through metal detectors at the hotel, and experienced a prayer call from the local mosques. There's a recording of the prayer call I made on Instagram if you aren't familiar with it. Once I got used to the differences I was able to relax and enjoy the city. Istanbul is so beautiful that it doesn't take long to fall in love with it.


We got to see the harem at the Sultan's palace.

The men were hoping for a re-enactment of the baths. No such luck. ;)

We had a guide in Istanbul to drive us and escort us to the sites. I would recommend hiring one because it is very difficult to navigate this city and I would probably have a heart attack trying to drive in this city because the cars come within inches of each other. We also got to do a few cool things most tourists don't experience since we had a guide.

We got to meet the owner of a famous baklava shop. He gave us tea and baklava samples on the house.

We also visited a store that makes handmade Turkish rugs.

We would have never found these places on our own so it was well worth having a guide to show us the city.

Our trip was amazing, but I'm so glad to be back home with my little boys! I hope you enjoyed the pics!


  1. Awesome photos! Sounds like a fabulous trip and I love your sense of humor, the bath of the concubines made me chuckle. :) I bet your boys are glad to have you back too.

  2. Loved reading about your trip! I love traveling, and I'm probably one of the only people who love looking at other people's photos! The restaurant in Chicago looks awesome! I haven't been to Germany or Turkey, but Greece was one of my favorites, especially Santorini. Glad you had an amazing time!