A DELIGHTFUL DETOUR
Making a few stops on the way home to Canada
If you had told me ten years ago that I’d have travelled halfway across the world to live for almost a year and have had the opportunity to visit some amazing countries, I would not have believed you. But this is exactly what happened when my husband Vern and I made the decision to live and work in Saudi Arabia. Well, Vern worked. I came along for the adventure and to support him, of course.
We did some travelling during our time in Saudi Arabia, which was quite incredible. We visited Bahrain, Croatia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. When Vern’s work contract ended and we were ready to return to Canada, we decided to take some time for more travelling on our way home.
Our first destination was Jordan. We stayed at the Caravan Hotel in the capital city of Amman, which was run by a lovely Jordanian family. Taleb, the owner and father, helped us with our travel plans. He took the time to sit down with us and suggest an itinerary for our three-day stay. His oldest son, Abed, was our chauffeur for the time we were there.
Abed took us to see the ancient Roman ruins in the city of Jerash. The temples, amphitheatres and colonnaded streets were fascinating. We also visited the Citadel, another historic site with a fantastic view of Amman.
Petra was our next stop in Jordan. This famous world wonder is the country’s greatest tourist attraction. The highlight for me was walking through the Siq—a long, narrow walkway surrounded by colourful sandstone cliffs—that opens up to reveal the magnificent view of the Treasury, a temple carved into the stone. One day was definitely not long enough to explore all that Petra has to offer.
On our last day in Jordan, we visited Mount Nebo and the Jordan River. Last but not least, we made a stop at the Dead Sea. We spent so much time walking and seeing so many amazing things that it was nice to take a few hours to relax and experience the buoyancy of this very salty sea.
Our next destination was Santorini, Greece. A few years ago, I had come across a picture of some beautiful white stone buildings with vibrant, bluedomed roofs surrounded by other white stone buildings looking out onto a gorgeous body of water surrounded by volcanic islands. At the time, I had no idea where this picture was taken, but
I knew that I would love to go there one day. It turns out, this picture was taken in the town of Oia (pronounced Eee-yaa), on the Greek Island of Santorini. And, it fit into our travel plans, which was very exciting for me.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous while we were in Oia. We spent most of our time walking the cobblestone streets and stairs, relaxing on a patio or by a pool while taking in the glorious views. It was quite breathtaking.
On our last day in Oia, we decided to take a catamaran tour of the island. This is a very good way to meet people. And sometimes this is when you realize how small the world really can be. My husband and I met a lady from Australia on the tour. It turns out that her daughter lived in Moose Jaw, Sask., for a year as part of a student exchange program. It’s really neat that someone who lives so far away would know of a little Canadian Prairie town in a province we used to call home.
Our last stop before heading back to Canada was Slovenia. We flew into the capital city of Ljubljana and spent a few days touring around before heading to Nova Lipa, a small village in the southern part of the country. This is where my father-in-law grew up and where his brother Loiz and sister-inlaw Fanika still live today.
I’ve been very lucky to have visited Slovenia a few times now. It gets more and more beautiful every time I return. It’s hard to capture the beauty of this country in a picture, with its rolling green hills, majestic mountains and quaint villages.
Loiz and Fanika have a self-sustaining farm. They have their own cattle, chickens and pigs, and have enough farmland to grow food for their livestock and for themselves. They also have their own vineyard. Apart from seeing family, my favourite thing to do while staying in Nova Lipa is helping out with the grape harvest. Enough grapes are picked, crushed and made into wine, as well as juice, to last the year.
By the time our week in Slovenia ended, I was ready to get back home. I’m so thankful for the people I’ve met, the great places I’ve seen and the opportunity to share my adventures with family and friends. ■