My friend, Gainesville aritst Ellie Blair, and I head off for a two week trip to Turkey with Gate 1 Travel on Tuesday, and I have begun to check off the list of the many things I need to do before we depart. All U.S. citizens must apply for an e-Visa at least 24 hours prior to departure at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. It’s a simple online process and costs $20, but you want to make sure that the information you enter matches your passport for name, place of birth, etc.
I looked up weather in Istanbul for our visit window, the last week in February and the first in March, and it looks like it will be cold and rainy, so I went out and bought myself a couple of pairs of comfortable walking shoes (one suede and one leather) that I can spray with a non CFC waterproofing agent. I’m packing lots of warm socks (nothing is worse than cold, wet feet) and layers of thin thermal undergarments, sweaters, a vest, scarf, gloves, wool beret, and an all purpose black leather jacket. I’ll also bring along a small umbrella and a rain poncho, both of which will fit easily in the bag I can carry with me (and can be whipped out if the skies open up). Many of the hotels we will be staying in have pools, so I’m packing a bathing suit in the hopes that the pools are heated and/or have a hot tub.
Another thing to remember before you travel is to notify the banks whose credit/debit cards you will be using. Apparently, Turkey is a ‘blocked’ country, so we will need pin numbers for every transaction on both debit and credit cards. I like to check what sort of fee the cards levy per transaction (as low as 0 for Discover, 1% for my credit union card, and 3% for most large banks). I’ll take several because one never knows which cards will be accepted.
Also, it’s a good idea to check what sort of adapter you will need to plug in your electronics. This info is easily available by entering the question in your search bar. Large hotels may provide adapters for guests (I’ll let you know).
As Ellie and I are both artists, one of the hard packing decisions is what art supplies to bring. She and I have traveled to Ireland, Alaska, Spain, Brussels, and France on painting trips in the past, and we tend to paint, generally in oils, whenever we have the chance. Because this is a bus trip, and we will be in a different city every night, I’m opting for a small watercolor set as the lightest and most portable media I can bring. Some pastels may sneak in at the last minute, but I don’t want to hassle with the difficulty level of packing wet oils in my suitcase every night.
For this trip, I have decided to begin a travel blog to record my adventures for a number of reasons. First, I find it enormously useful to hear about other travelers’ experiences because there is so much to learn from their experiences. Also, this will be my way of recording a verbal and photographic record of each trip. I always come home with lots of photos, but I don’t do anything with them, so when friends ask, ‘Tell me what you did on your trip to _ or where you ate, I don’t have any way to access that info because I haven’t recorded it. This blog is an attempt to rectify that problem. How did I accomplish this with only two days to go before we leave?
First, I queried friends who are bloggers and kept hearing that WordPress is the is the latest website creation and blogging software. The Internet is a marvelous tool. I came across this website http://websitesetupguide.com/basic/start.htm that walks you through the steps needed to set up a website and/or blog. It recommends hosting through FatCow, but I went to GoDaddy.com, because I already had a domain name that I had purchased earlier (with the intention to create a website but not the follow through to do it). I signed up for a WordPress/hosting package for $3.99/month. Lots of different offers are advertized (domain and hosting for $1/month, but apparently that doesn’t include the WordPress suite, which is the one I wanted.
I wish I could say it was completely intuitive interface, but several hours later and with the help of my 17 year old son (Thanks, honey!), I managed to come up with something that will allow me to start the process of archiving both photographs and descriptions of the places I visit. It’s enough to get started.
One of the