Corinne Vail

Corinne Vail is a world traveler, local food lover, writer, photographer, speaker, and teacher. Looking for the quirky and unusual as well as the best food around the world, she has traveled all her life. She’s lived in Turkey, England, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands and visited over 90 countries with her family. Learn more about Corinne and Reflections Enroute on the About page.

Invading Rhodes…Just Like the Knights Templar Did Before Us

Invading Rhodes Knights Templar

Just 53 miles from Marmaris, Turkey, lays the largest of the Dodecanese Island, Rhodes.  Crawling with tourists, mostly from cruise ships, Rhodes is famous for its rich medieval history.  As you pull into port you are faced immediately with the formidable fortress walls built by the Knights Templar and Hospitaller (the Order of St. John, now known as the Sovereign Order of Malta). Loving a great walled city, we headed over for a weekend trip looking for all the fantastic things to do in Rhodes. One of the best Greek islands to explore, Rhodes was long fought over. A wise, albeit greedy Genovese adventurer wanted Rhodes all to himself, so he convinced the Knights Templar that the Turkish infidels had …

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Conquering the Chimera of Olympos

In southern Turkey, just a little off the beaten path, a gas seaps from the ground and as it hits the air, bursts into flame (well, really it’s a continual flame, but that’s not quite as impressive, now is it?). Because of this unusual phenomenon, there have been many myths and stories that have grown up around the Chimera.  One story is about a young brash prince who commits a serious infarction.  The king decides to teach him a lesson, and sends him to do battle with the fire-eating beast to prove his worthiness.  Apparently he does succeed, since he makes it back down the mountain in one piece.  After going there, I can see how he was successful, but can also …

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Romeo and Juliet…in Aspendos

    The Aspendos Opera Festival Do you crave opera?  I don’t.  I really have to be in the right mind for it.  I don’t hate it, but I certainly don’t love it.  However, I’ve been to a number of operas over the course of my life, and I have to tell you, one thing about opera -no matter which one- it is always memorable.  My last foray into the arena of what I would always call a “truly cultural” activity, was in Aspendos, in a renovated Roman theatre built originally about 2 A.D. The Aspendos Opera Festival is held in late June every year, and hosts opera companies from all over Turkey as well as a few international ones.  …

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Freezing on the Top of Nemrut Dagi

A small site in the Anti-Taurus mountains, the tumulus at Nemrut Dagi is supposedly at its best either at sunrise or sunset.  Since we missed the sunset, we chose to rise early and watch the sunrise.  Honestly, I’m not sure what the allure of going to the top of a mountain at sunrise is, but this seems to be a common theme all around the world…one I usually could have done without, and this is one of those examples. Nemrut Dagi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, is a small site that hosts the tomb of a little known king from the little known kingdom of Kommegene.  King Antiochos I (69-36 B.C.) is buried here, although no one has excavated …

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What to do in Cappadocia?

A tourist’s dream, Cappadocia has much to offer you no matter what your interest is.  To hike, to photograph, to eat good food, what else is there to life? Cappadocia evokes a romanticism of the Crusades.  In its unique rocks, eroded over millions of years in a region that is extremely volcanic, people have carved whole cities in which to live and hide for centuries.  Today, most hotels are built into the sides of these rocks to form cave rooms or shops for the millions of visitors that come here each year. The main attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Göreme Open Air Museum.  This particular area is host to a concentrated amount of churches in which much of …

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World Heritage Site – Hattuşa

We took a driving trip to Hattuşa to visit the ancient capital of the Hittites. I never expected to have so much rain during the Turkish springtime. When we arrived last September everything was brown, brown, brown, and it stayed that way for a long time. The forecast was again for rain, but we woke up to a bright day and decided to risk it. We were glad we did. The entire drive was a beautiful bright green, and we saw a number of storks along the way. There are three main locations that Hittite ruins can be visited, and we were able to go to two before the rain started coming down. The ancient capital was called Hattuşa, but …

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How to Eat Shabu Shabu

While we were living in South Korea, the “English” teachers, took Devon and I to this fantastic restaurant and introduced us to Shabu Shabu; it quickly became our favorite Korean dish. This meal supposedly originally came to Korea with the invading Mongols.  All of us had had Shabu Shabu in Japan, and in theory it could be the same dish, but this is definitely one item that trumps the one from Japan.  In Japan, the waitress brings you a plate of mushrooms, vegetables, and meat, you dump the whole mess into a pot of boiling clear, unseasoned broth, and when you are ready, you eat it.  It’s not bad, in fact it’s pretty good, especially on a cold winter’s day.  …

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The Killer Trek to the Buddha of Health, Gatbawi- South Korea

Famous in Daegu is a stone Buddha with a hat. Gatbawi is the Buddha of health, and many Koreans make a pilgrimage to him to attain blessings.  We’ve never seen a Buddha statue with a hat before, except for the many images of it plastered all over the city.  It would be criminal to have lived in Daegu three years and never climbed Mt. Palgong to see it.  So we did.  We did it!  It was tough, but we persevered!   Boy, did our thigh muscles scream for the next four days….but we did it! We climbed up there last Sunday, exactly one week ago.  As we drove up and up, we figured that great, the more we drove up the mountain, the …

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The Three Jewel Temples in Korea

The Three Jewel Temples of South Korea

Living in South Korea really gave us the opportunity to go out and find the best of everything, and I would say these three temples in Korea are the absolute best. All of them are important religious sites. They symbolize the three key tenets of Buddhism. Songgwangsa represents the Buddhist community or sangha, Tongdosa represents Buddha, and Haeinsa represents dharma or Buddhist teachings. These are immortalized in their library of UNESCO World Heritage Tripitaka Koreana, on a collection of woodblocks.   Songgwangsa temple is considered the greatest of the three temples and was founded in 1190 by a zen master whose teachings have been carried into modern Korean life. We rented a car and wanted to go explore the western …

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