My, my, my, how things have changed! We have decided that Western Europe is merely a hop, skip, and a jump away, and have removed most of it from our trip. I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes, but we're not going to make it to Madrid. On the up side, Sloane is going to travel with us on our 'Europe' portion of our trip. I put Europe in quotes because we're mostly hitting up the spots on the east side of Europe. We begin our travels in Frankfurt, Germany. We found that Frankfurt was the best option for our arrival due to flight patterns and price. We'll spend about 4 days in Germany, possibly making a pit stop in Munich. Then we make our way to Venice, Italy. We'll spend a day or two there before taking a ferry to Pula, Croatia. We have about 2 weeks in Croatia to explore. The area around Pula is supposed to be amazing, with crystal water beaches. I've been doing some research and, apparently, Croatia is known for it's caves. As of yet, I've found some amazing caves in the Dalmatia area, but I'm going to try to find some notable caves in the northern part of Croatia. As of right now we are not planning to head too far south in Croatia, because we've heard from some locals that we may not be as safe, or feel as welcome. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a series of lakes and waterfalls that we must get to! Look it up, and you'll see why. Next, we find our way to Greece. Sloane said the one place she hasn't gotten to visit that she really wanted to visit was Greece, so that's where we're going. I'm thinking The Cyclades. Not necessarily Santorini style, but more of the less frequented islands. I've been looking at Ios and Milos, and there are some others. I've told Sloane to do her research. As long as there's hiking, swimming, and good food, I'll be good.
After our two weeks in Greece we'll take a ferry to Kusadasi, Turkey. Nearby is one of the most notable ancient ruins of all time, Ephesus. Once we've gotten our fill of the ruin and primitive plumbing, we'll head over to Pamukkale. It's a mineral spring that has made the mountainside look like a white fluffy cloud. It looks spectacular. And I hear the baths have healing qualities. Nearby is the ruin of Aphrodisias. Apparently, the more they keep digging, the more archaeologists are convinced it may be the actual cradle of civilization, as opposed to Mesopotamia. Then, we make our way to Istanbul, to visit Bazaars, see the mosques, and eat the food!
I mentioned two weeks here, a few days there, but really we have from July 29th-ish through August 17th-ish to explore as much or as little of Croatia, Greece, and Turkey as we wish. Sloane will stay with us until she has to leave, and our Europe departure date will most likely depend on our safari date in Tanzania. I'm pretty excited. We'll be exploring places I've never been and revisiting a few that I get to explore even more! We're glad Sloane is going to travel with us. She'll be a fun addition to our trip! Who else wants to meet us somewhere?