It has been quite a long time since our last blog. We apologize for our silence. Unreliable internet coupled with non-stop travelling, and let’s be honest, plain laziness, has kept us from posting updates.
We left Spain mid-November and travelled through Morocco for two weeks. During our first few days in Morocco, we relished the novelty of the very first African country we’ve ever visited. The next few days following that culture shock set in, which really made us dislike some of our experiences with the people in Marrakesh (particularly the aggressive tourist touts). Our second week however, more than made up for our negative experiences, and I am happy to report that we have fallen in love with the country and have even made friends with a nice Moroccan family. We hope to return in the next five years to do some trekking in the Mid and High Atlas Mountains. Looking back, Morocco gave us the richest experiences in such a short amount of time. We travelled through such diverse landscapes. From lush green agricultural land, through mountains and gorges, across deserts and large cities. Our modes of transportation also varied. We travelled via ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar, in Grand and Petit Taxis, by train between Moroccan cities, by bus across the High Atlas Mountains, horse carriage rides in Marrakesh and Fez, 4×4 across gorges and the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs, camels through the desert, horse rides, and donkey rides. We plan to blog more of this in the next few weeks, sharing our different experiences as a family.
On the first week of December we flew out of Morocco to Barcelona for a week of much-needed rest. Our last week backpacking through Morocco was a non-stop thrilling adventure of early mornings, dropping into our beds exhausted from a full day of travelling and touring. In Barcelona we caught our breaths, slept in, and took nice long walks in the afternoons and evenings to enjoy the colours of the city’s festive Christmas lights.
From Barcelona we flew to Rome, Italy for our Christmas Holidays. For 19 days we soaked up the Christmas Spirit, toured several historical places, and learned an incredible amount about the Ancient Roman Empire.
We arrived in Fethiye, Turkey a few days ago. We hope to settle down for a couple of months to rest from our continual travelling, and also catch up on our homeschooling and blogging. We want to take this time to digest all that we have seen and experienced and document our time together to look back on for when our memories start to fade.
Throughout our journey, I can’t help but marvel at how extraordinary family travel truly is. Travelling with young ones opens so many doors to connections with people. We have noticed that especially in Morocco and Turkey, people tend to be quite protective and affectionate towards our children. Children have a tendency to be disarming and endearing to strangers. Everywhere we go, seeing a biracial family with 4 young children in their matching red jackets turns heads, and questions quickly follow about who we are and where we come from. Inevitably, we are constantly asked if all four children are ours. What a gift our children have been! They cause us to take the time to enjoy the simple things and see the beauty of the world from their eyes.
For those of you who worried about our health and safety travelling as a family with little ones, we want to put your hearts at rest. These past couple of months have strengthened our travel legs by walking long, and (most of the time) relaxing distances. Our physical stamina has increased as we’ve enjoyed the new sights and surroundings around us. Being outdoors, walking, and eating fresh local foods have made us healthier. Besides allergies to cats and cigarette smoke, we have not had a day of suffering the flu, which unfortunately was too often the case when we lived in Edmonton. We have not experienced any theft or encounters with pickpockets, which was my biggest concern for Barcelona and Rome. I would even venture far enough to say that travelling with little ones keeps us safer, as people tend to want to help us when they see our children. In our experience as a travelling family, we have crossed borders painlessly because of the universally shared values of family.
So far, Turkey has been a sweet balm of rest and relaxation. The people here are friendly, kind, thoughtful and chivalrous. The food is fresh, and the view of the Aegean Sea is breathtaking. This nomadic life is better than what we imagined! 2010 has been an incredible year of travel and adventure for us. We have a feeling though that 2011 will be better. Home keeps changing, but as long as we’re together, we’re at home in the world.
Wishing you all a wonderful new year ahead!