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Turkey: 3 sites beyond Istanbul worth visiting

Turkey is a beautiful country, but to those who haven’t been there before, I’ll tell you the secret: there’s a lot more to Turkey than Istanbul.

Outside the capital, there is an amazing amount to see and compared to busy Istanbul, it’s much calmer and relatively tourist-free.

The further east you go, the less European and the more Asian or Middle Eastern it starts to feel.

It’s a long bus ride from Istanbul to central Turkey, but the trip is well worth it!
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Finding Harley-Davidson police uniforms with a touch of 80’s awesomeness in Luxembourg

The motto of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the stubborn ‘Mir Wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn.’ We want to remain as we are.

They have certainly achieved this. Surrounded by the languages powerhouse countries of Germany and France, they maintain their Luxembourgish language even though there are only about 400,000 speakers worldwide. Stepping into Luxembourg city on a daytrip from Brussels was like stepping into another time. Exploring the cobblestone pedestrian streets, the massive ravine park and viewing the fairytale buildings made for an exciting day in this laid-back city.
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All you need is love… or wine, cheese and a good picnic spot

The Beatles said all you need is love. Well, they should take a lesson from the French. Yes, love is one option but good wine, decadent cheese and prime picnic spots are another way to go. France’s couples and singles really know how to live the good life. Whether they’re eating alone or in a rush (very rarely on-the-go), meals aren’t wasted on crappy food and when they drink something, they enjoy the hell out of it. Many times in France, my palate was blown away in ways I had never experienced in picnic locations straight from a postcard.
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The coolness of a giant, the warmth of the Northern Irish and the relief of a hot toddy

Northern Ireland is a beautiful place.  I think it incites fear in people who have never been there because of its recently violent history, but it is wonderful.  As evocative as the Republic of Ireland, but part of the United Kingdom, it’s a place I couldn’t leave as quickly as I thought I would.
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Drop your camera to find serendipity and your great blue heron

I love my camera. It’s just a basic point-and-shoot and I’d love to get a nicer, more professional one, but for now, I love what I have. It goes everywhere with me. Recently it came on a walk through Whatcom Falls Park with me. On my way to the park, I was driving past Bloedel Donovan Park, right on Lake Whatcom, and couldn’t help but pull over to take a photo (ok, more than one…) of the sunrise over the lake. Beautiful. I thought it’d be the highlight of my day since the color of the sky was getting more… well… Washington-y… cloudy but not rainy… overcast. It was just typical Washington weather that changes the light to make photos not quite as nice as those with the beautiful colors of sunrises and sunsets here, so I thought this was the end of my picture-taking day.
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