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Old 09-10-2015, 11:59 AM   #2241
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I guess this one counts...just booked the family to visit the in-laws in Odessa Ukraine this Christmas.
I haven't been there in almost ten years. Despite the more westward lurch that country has taken in the last 18 months, it seems even harder to get from here to there than two years ago.

Despite Ukraine's "war" with Russia there are only 2 flights from Odessa to the west each day vs about ten to Moscow or other Russian cities .

It's one of those "you can't get there from here" deals. The flights out of Odessa by either Austrian (to VIE) or Turkish (to IST) require an overnight stay. So that means a bus/train to Kyiv, followed by an outrageously long day to FRA, then MIA, then the 3 hour drive home. I don't want to think about it...

It will be an adventure, hopefully a safe one.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:42 PM   #2242
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Oh, nun, I LOVED Odessa when we drove through Ukraine in 2013!

We came in from Romania to Moldova and into Ukraine that way, so no idea the flights were so complicated, though we did have three teammates leave from there back to the UK and two fly in from Italy.

The big market/park area with all the various peddlers, performers, and families just enjoying the evening was especially wonderful. We had a fantastic meal at a restaurant near there, whose name escapes me, but was the recommendation of a Ukrainian wife of a friend.

Ah, please share pictures, I do so miss that pretty city and the nice, nice folks we met there.
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Old 09-10-2015, 01:06 PM   #2243
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We've enjoyed some awesome whale watching off the coast there.
I am blessed to be surrounded by spectacular cetacean life in both of my places - orcas and humpbacks in BC, and the grays in Baja. Reminds me, I need to post my most recent orca video here - the folks on the MMM forums have been enjoying it for several days.
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:06 PM   #2244
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Oh, nun, I LOVED Odessa when we drove through Ukraine in 2013!
If you had to live in the Soviet Union, as my wife did, it was one of the better parts. It has a certain charm, but it was pretty rough around the edges when I last saw it, and I doubt it has improved now. This is really one of those "family responsibility" visits we all have to do. I will be sharing a two room apartment with four other people and sleeping on the floor, most likely. One highlight will be my MILs home cooking (real meat!) as opposed to her daughter's adopted vegetarian ways. Still it will be interesting seeing what progress has been made and visiting the "prevost"- flea/market.
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:43 PM   #2245
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I am blessed to be surrounded by spectacular cetacean life in both of my places - orcas and humpbacks in BC, and the grays in Baja. Reminds me, I need to post my most recent orca video here - the folks on the MMM forums have been enjoying it for several days.
Blue whales, sperm whales, tons of other ocean life and even bioluminescence, all in the Gulf of California, well off the main shore (there were islands) but probably in the vicinity of La Paz.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:52 PM   #2246
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Nun, I hate to say it, but your accommodations will probably be better than ours! We stayed at the Hotel Zhirka (no idea if that is spelled right, my Cyrillic is abysmal) and it was basically a hooker hotel. My DH got on the elevator one day with a portly older gentleman and his, ahem, date, who was wearing a negligee and high heels. Only.

But the people in the area were very friendly, and the nice security guard watched our bus for a few dollars a day. And told us it was fine to park on the sidewalk, since there wasn't street parking for a 23 foot bus!

Please do share photos, and tell me all about your meals!
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:45 AM   #2247
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Heading for Italy next Wednesday. Milan to Sicily for a month.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:31 AM   #2248
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My best friend and I are in the middle of planning a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras next year.
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:21 PM   #2249
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Blue whales, sperm whales, tons of other ocean life and even bioluminescence, all in the Gulf of California, well off the main shore (there were islands) but probably in the vicinity of La Paz.
This sounds incredible. My Baja whale watching has been done beachside, cool beverage in hand. Grey whales occasionally come within a few hundred yards of the shore - compared to other whale species, grays don't mind shallow waters.

The jumping antics of mobula Rays is fun to watch too.
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Old 09-11-2015, 02:02 PM   #2250
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Heading back to Las Vegas in a few weeks now that schools are going back in session and the summer vacation season is over. About 3 days and 1400 miles each way. I may stop by the Grand Canyon again on the way there since it "may not" be wise for me to stop by any "high places" on the way back.

Unlike last time , I hope to bring back a lot of Ben Franklin souvenirs.
Leaving early next week and now plan to extend this trip to Reno, Carson City and Tahoe. That's going to add another ~500 miles each way.
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:04 PM   #2251
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Getting ready to pull the trigger on my first European river cruise next year.

I've read so many reports, reviews, and anecdotes about these that I finally decided it's worth trying. Looks like the Danube for a week, but not committed yet. Prices will be going up soon, so it's now or never.
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Old 09-14-2015, 03:00 AM   #2252
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We are currently travelling in Greece. We have been in Athens, drove around the Pelopponese for eight days,and are now in the islands for three weeks.

So very glad we came. Airfare was a bargain, accommodation prices are low, there are not as many tourists (foreign and Greek) and the Greek people are do welcoming. And the weather has been perfect.
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:45 AM   #2253
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We just returned from our Baltic cruise. We hit 8 cities in 7 countries and loved them all. St. Petersburg's architecture and the Hermitage Museum were absolutely incredible. The cruise is the most cost effective way to travel Scandinavia as prices for food and drink are simply out of sight. The people are very tall, blonde and beautiful.
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Old 09-14-2015, 04:54 AM   #2254
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Getting ready to pull the trigger on my first European river cruise next year.

I've read so many reports, reviews, and anecdotes about these that I finally decided it's worth trying. Looks like the Danube for a week, but not committed yet. Prices will be going up soon, so it's now or never.
We have looked into European river cruises, and they're just so expensive--2x that of an ocean cruise for a Viking river cruise. Tauck Cruises are twice the price of Viking. For the same money spent, I could take two trips to Europe on my own.

We just returned from a Baltic cruise thru Scandinavia, and we saw so much. I'm afraid we'd be bored traveling so slow throughout the rivers of Europe.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:16 AM   #2255
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Okay, colour me intrigued.

Just booked my flight down to Baja for what will be my first extended stay post-ER. I am going for close to 2 months (all of November and most of December), with my wife joining me for a month of that.

I hope to go back in late Winter and spend a good chunk of the Spring there - and come back when the PNW rains are waning. Giddy up.
LOL, while we will be in the Sea of Cortes in November on an Un-Cruise trip. We have kayaked Loreto- La Paz several times, but hey we may get a little rest while on a small ship.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:54 AM   #2256
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Three buddies and I just got back from 3-days in the Eastern Sierra's on an epic (for me at least) bike climbing trip. We stayed in Big Pine and day #1 road up White Mountain Rd. to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, day #2 road from Lone Pine to Horseshoe Meadows and Day #3 from Big Pine to Glacier Lodge. The scenery was amazing!!

The motto for the trip was "Push. Spin. Ride on. Eat. Sleep, Repeat"
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:56 AM   #2257
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Heading for Italy next Wednesday. Milan to Sicily for a month.
Where are you headed in Sicily - I have a travel love affair going with Sicily.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:34 AM   #2258
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Going to Sicily too next week.

Flying into Catania, will be going to the Aeolian Islands for the first time.

Taormina had heavy rains last week. Mud slides and the funivia is out of commission.

Hoping for clear weather at end of September, early October ...
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:03 AM   #2259
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Mud slides in/around Taormina is kind of scary given it's position and verticality.
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:30 AM   #2260
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Supposedly things are open.

Heard there was some damage along the coast at Giardini Naxos below. But supposedly businesses are open down there.

I can still cancel but I'd rather spend a couple of nights in Taormina than Catania before going to Salina, though it turns out there are better transport options to Milazzo from the airport than Taormina.
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