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Growing Up Bilingual – and More

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | January 26, 2013 | 16 Comments

Some multilingual parents prefer to bring up their children with only one language because “scientists say it’s too much for little brains to take.” Really? Then my brain must have taken some battering. I was born in Paris of a French mother so of course spoke French with her. My father was Turkish and that’s…

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A Day at the Races: Dogsledding, Megève Style

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | January 20, 2013 | 4 Comments
Megeve dogsledding

It’s bitter cold and white and dreadfully early morning in the Alps above Megève. Only the sound of crunching snow breaks the mountains’ silence and I’m watching my breath curl. I don’t like the cold and winter and never was a typical Canadian. Suddenly in the distance a dog barks, then several, until the baying…

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My Best Blog Posts of 2012 – and a bit earlier

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | January 11, 2013 | 10 Comments

Lash of Lash World Tour has launched a fun project called Travel Bloggers’ Best Dozen asking us to reflect on the past year and pull out the posts that meant the most to us. I was nominated to take part by my friend Alexandra Kovacova of Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler and I’ll begin in style…

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Goree Island, Senegal: A Highly Touted History

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | January 4, 2013 | 10 Comments

I’m not accustomed to being yelled at. Not by someone trying to sell me a service. Nor am I used to being called rich, stupid and foreign all in the same breath. It was bound to happen one day, my being foreign and all… It was on Gorée Island, just after I stepped off the ferry…

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Seyssel: The Last Day of the Year in a Small French Town

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | December 31, 2012 | 10 Comments

New Year’s Eve in France is a serious business: mostly it’s about food, the kind of food you don’t buy every day, like lobster and crayfish and 20-year-old Comté cheese and fruits confits, those lovely sugar-coated fruits that crunch crisply when you bite into them. In the evening, families will gather to ring in 2013,…

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My 2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | December 25, 2012 | 8 Comments

Those who know me personally may be surprised by this post: I don’t often get personal. I was trained as a journalist and spent a lifetime taking myself ‘out’ of a story. Now, as a travel blogger, I have to train myself to get back ‘into’ the story. And it doesn’t come naturally. Then I…

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Learning History by Eating: the Lower East Side Food Tour

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | December 23, 2012 | 8 Comments

New York City makes me fat. I visit about once a year and I rarely go home without gaining more weight than I can afford: bagels, pastrami, hot dogs, tacos, cupcakes… anything and everything I can’t get in the French countryside. Yes, I know we eat sublimely here but it’s not about eating well. It’s…

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Cheap New York – When You’re Close to Broke

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | December 17, 2012 | 10 Comments

‘Tis the season to be jolly and surely New York City is among the jolliest. I love this time of year and its Christmas spirit and crisp air and bright lights. Through a series of mishaps I ended up here with a small stash of cash (emphasis on small) and a credit card that wouldn’t deliver.…

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Santiago de Compostela: My One-Hour Camino

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | November 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

While I can’t claim to have walked the Camino, I can certainly confirm I have walked on the Camino. For an entire hour. I wonder whether I should have walked at all… I was a tourist, not a traveler, a sightseer, not a participant, a voyeuse in a way, or to put it more kindly,…

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The Forgotten Churches of Voskopoje

By Leyla Giray Alyanak | October 24, 2012 | 5 Comments

The Albanian village of Voskopoje harbors hidden treasure: remnants of extraordinary ecclesiastic art, murals and frescoes which unexpectedly survive in a handful of ancient mountain churches. It is a miracle they’re still standing, having been battered by just about everything: war, erosion, abandon, graffiti. Many of the walls are gone, the ceilings crumbling, paint flaking…

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